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Issue 184 • 27 May 2011

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Latvala’s dues a win. Argentina? Start Ramp Service Park Parc Ferme

Petter Solberg and Pikes Peak 2012 Basso revs up for more IRC with PROTON SARC Juniors’ HMC Rally report

“Atkinson is holding talks with Citroën, Ford and MINI teams about a drive on the 8 - 11 September event as he looks to increase his tally of 67 WRC starts” - on Chris Atkinson, p4.

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Contents Issue 184 • 27 May 2011 04 START RAMP 04 Start Ramp - News Shorts 05 Petter Solberg and Pikes Peak 2012

06 SERVICE PARK 06 06 07 08

Basso revs up for more IRC with PROTON L’Estage gets ready for the Rocky The Road Show brings the Lobe Show to fans Loeb speaks about Rally Argentina

10 PARC FERME 10 12 13 14 15 16 16

SAORRC Atlas Copco 400 review SARC Juniors - HMC Rally review WRC Rally Argentina preview BRC Jim Clark International Rally preview SRC Reivers Rally preview FIRC ORC Canal Rally preview ERC Croatia Rally review

EDITORIAL INFORMATION Editor Evan Rothman

Photojournalist Eva Kovkova

Contributors Liga Stirna, Tor Andre Borresen, Patrick Vermaak, RallyBuzz, Motorpics, Newspress. All content copyrighted property of HANDBRAKES & HAIRPINS, 2007-11. This publication is fully protected by copyright and nothing may be reprinted in whole or in part without written permission from the editor. While reasonable precautions have been taken to ensure the accuracy of information from sources and given to readers, the editor cannot accept responsibility for any inconvenience or damage that may arise therefrom.

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Start Ramp Neuville steps up IRC bid with Yalta Rally entry Words: Staff Writer Thierry Neuville has stepped up his bid to win the Intercontinental Rally Challenge drivers’ crown by confirming his participation on the Prime Yalta Rally. Neuville shot to equal second in the IRC classification with his stunning maiden victory on Tour de Corse-E. Leclerc in mid-May. His original schedule of events did not include the all-asphalt round in Ukraine from 02 - 04 June but the 22year-old will now compete in Yalta at the expense of his planned entry on Barum Czech Rally Zlin in late August. “Upon reflection, we felt it was better to send Thierry and Nicolas [Gilsoul, his co-driver] to Ukraine rather than Czech Republic,” said a team spokesperson. “To all IRC competitors, the Yalta Rally will be a discovery and we believe Thierry can be particularly competitive there. This will maximise his chances of winning and also allow him to accumulate more kilometres on asphalt before the Ypres [Rally, his home event].” H&H

Ayrton Senna in rally car tests? Words: Staff Writer Rally news website http://www. rallybuzz.com posted this article this week: “Rare video footage of Formula 1 hero Ayrton Senna testing a variety of rally cars in a Welsh forest for Cars and Car Conversions magazine. “Ayrton Senna drove Phil Collins’ Ford Sierra RS Cosworth, Harry Hockly’s Vauxhall Nova Sport, Callum Guy’s Volkswagen Golf GTi, Allan Edwards’ 3.4-litre Ford Escort 4WD and a clubman-spec MG Metro 6R4 during the test session held at Jan Churchill’s Rally School in 1986. “Summing up his day testing rally cars, Ayrton Senna told CCC’s Russell Bulgin: “I think, overall, it has been much more exciting than I expected. Much more involving. It has

Team News Videos

involved me much more than I thought. I didn’t feel the time going by. It went so fast because I was finding out, and learning more and going harder and harder. Having some moments…it was very exciting. Feeling the car in the air and then bottoming. Something I have never experienced before in a road car. In a road car you go easy, eh?” YouTube video link: http://www.youtube. com/watch?v=pjdWM1t6nFw This video was uploaded by ayrtonsennaonline. Courtesy of http://www.RallyBuzz.com. H&H

Atkinson bids to compete at Rally Australia Words: Staff Writer Australia’s most successful international rally driver, Chris Atkinson, has launched a bid to take on stars of the FIA World Rally Championship such as Sebastien Loeb, Mikko Hirvonen and Petter Solberg when Rally Australia comes to the New South Wales Coffs Coast next September. Atkinson, 31, is holding talks with Citroen, Ford and Mini teams about a drive on the 8-11 September event as he looks to increase his tally of 67 WRC starts. The Europe-based Gold Coaster revealed his ambition to British magazine Autosport after contesting the FIA Asia Pacific Rally Championship at the International Rally of Queensland on the Sunshine Coast last weekend. Atkinson drove alongside World Champion Petter Solberg in the Subaru World Rally Team from 2005 until it withdrew from the sport at the end of 2008. He completed one round in a privateer Citroen C4 in Ireland in January 2009 and then, after amassing a total of 14 top-five WRC finishes, joined the Malaysian factory Proton Motorsports team in the APRC from 2010. “I’m determined to get back to the World Rally Championship and this is a step towards that goal,” Atkinson said in the article, WRC.com reported. “It’s not decided yet what car I’ll drive [but] it’s fair to say all of the cars look pretty exciting. Right now, I’m focused on getting everything in place.

Event News Breaking News

The car I’m driving is integral to that, but it’s about getting the funding right.” Despite his lack of recent running in the WRC, Atkinson is hopeful his APRC experience of driving Super 2000-type cars – which have similar handling characteristics to World Rally Cars – and that this year’s Rally Australia is using an all-new route, will ensure he is competitive on the gravel roads. “It [will be] a level playing field, but don’t forget those guys are out in their cars every three weeks – I haven’t driven one yet,” he said. “The bigger picture is about getting back to the WRC and competing on my home round is a must.” Atkinson’s hopes received a boost when Mini WRC Team principal David Richards admitted he would be keen to have the Australian in one of his cars if the squad added a seventh event to its limited debut-season schedule. “I’ve spoken to Chris about it and I’d welcome him back if there’s a budget to do it,” Richards told Autosport. Atkinson last competed in his home rally in Western Australia in 2006, finishing ninth. H&H

Tuthill returns to driving seat Words: Staff Writer Historic Porsche specialist Richard Tuthill is returning to rallying after two years out of the driving seat to take on the pace-setting Escorts on the Severn Valley National Historic Rally (Saturday 04 June). The event, based in Builth Wells in mid-Wales, marks the third round of the new-for-2011 Tuthill Porsche Challenge and also counts as round four of the Dunlop/WONAGO MSA British Historic Rally Championship. “I always set out in a rally with the aim of winning but I think this may be too much to ask this time,” said Tuthill. “I haven’t driven a rally car competitively for more than two years and I know the pace will be pretty fast out there. I’m not expecting to win, but the pressure will be on; I am unbeaten in the UK so have a lot to live up to.” For more information, please visit http://www.francistuthill.co.uk. H&H

THE LATEST NEWS FROM THE WORLD OF RALLYING

RallyBuzz.com features European rally championships, British rallying, RallyCar events, international rally results and videos, as well as S2000 and WRC news.

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Issue 184• 27 May 2011 • Page 05

Petter Solberg and the Pikes Peak Hill Climb 2012 Words: Staff Writer Picture: Tony Welam/PSWRT Petter Solberg has rescheduled his Pikes Peak project for 2012. For a while now, the Petter Solberg World Rally Team was scheduled to attend the Pikes Peak Hill Climb at Colorado in June 2011. With a selfconstructed vehicle, Petter Solberg was aiming to be the first driver to

reach the finish under 10 minutes. Unfortunately, a tight calendar forces the team to cancel this years attendance and instead looks ahead to be there in 2012. “I really really wanted to be there this year,” explains Petter Solberg. “However, I think we have made the correct decision and regrettably not go there in June. When we go there, we have one aim and that is to be the

fastest. To be fastest we need to have everything else at 110% in shape. Since we decided to join, we have taken on several other projects, this has left us with less time to focus on the Pikes Peak Hill Climb project. Pikes Peak – we will be there in 2012!” H&H

THIS WEEK’S BEST VIDEO << Here is a video tribute to Henri Toivonen from 1986, with scenes of the rally legend in action on the world’s stages for you: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dSu2EYrj0Wc Send evanrothman@gmail.com your favourite rallyrelated videos to to be featured in this section. Or, send us a twitter to @Evan_Rothman or a message on Facebook. To receive your FREE weekly HANDBRAKES & HAIRPINS eMagazine, or if you’d like to share this with a friend please send your e-mail address to evan.hhmag@gmail.com. HANDBRAKES & HAIRPINS is not a SPAM e-mail: email addresses are added to the mailing list voluntarily.


Service Park

Interviews Features

Profiles Technical

Basso revs up for more IRC with PROTON

L’Estage gets ready for the Rocky

Words: Staff Writer Pictures: IRC Series

Words: Staff Writer Picture: Tim Williams

Four-time Intercontinental Rally Challenge event winner Giandomenico Basso says the best thing about competing in the series is the high level of competition. Italian Basso is tackling an expanded programme of IRC events with PROTON Motorsports and scored points on his debut with the team on Rally Islas Canarias El Corte Inglés last month. “It’s really good for me to be back competing in the IRC: it’s a very competitive series with all the drivers pushing so hard to win but there is still a very friendly feeling between everybody there,” said Basso. “For example, in the Canaries, Juho Hänninen had a minor traffic fine, so we all had a whip round so that he had enough money to pay the fine in cash and get on his way without being late for the next control. I don’t think that would happen in many other championships.” The double European champion added that he has already identified a great potential with the Malaysian PROTON marque, adding: “It’s clear that we have a lot of work to do with PROTON but the car reacts well to set-up changes and the distance that we did in the Canary Islands was very useful to help me adapt the car to the way that I drive. My first impressions are good and there is a very nice atmosphere in the team. I can see that, like myself, [team boss] Chris Mellors is a person who puts his heart completely into what he does.” H&H

Quebec driver Antoine L’Estage and his co-driver Nathalie Richard continue their western tour this week. After two rounds of the Rally America series in the states of Washington and Oregon, which allowed them to increase their lead in the North American Rally Cup, the reigning Canadian, North American and Rally America champions head a little north to Alberta’s Rocky Mountain Rally this weekend, the second of six events in the Canadian Rally Championship. Victorious at the opening round of the season (February’s Rallye PerceNeige, in Maniwaki, Québec), Antoine L’Estage/Nathalie Richard will take to the start of the rally on this morning just west of Calgary in the Kananaskis region. In addition to leading the 2011 Canadian Rally Championship, the duo is also leading the North American Rally Cup. At the wheel of their Rockstar Royal Group Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X, their goal to make this a second consecutive Canadian victory is clear. “This rally marks the end of the longest break in the 2011 Canadian Rally calendar. The Rocky Mountain Rally is a tough event because we can never guess what Mother Nature has in store for us, but it’s a rally I enjoy and have had a good amount of success at. I’m pretty confident,” explains Antoine, three-time winner of this rally, as is co-

driver Nathalie Richard. “The Northwest US rallies have allowed us to get some good seat time in the car,” adds the Quebec driver. The Rockstar Royal Group team brings with them a full line-up of Yokohama tyres for this event, where the roads can just as easily be covered in gravel and dust as they can be in mud and snow, as was the case last year. “Thanks to Yokohama, we have very competitive tyres for all types of surfaces, which is key to doing well,” explains L’Estage. A good part of this year’s course is new for 2011. “Although it’s now 100% in the Kananaskis region that we’ve been going to for several years now, many stages will be a new discovery for us this year. We know some of the roads, but others will be completely new to us. In addition, the rally will take place solely on Friday, another big change for the 2011 edition,” indicates co-driver Nathalie Richard. Said L’Estage: “I like long competition days and it will be a big change of pace compared to the last US rally that was spaced out over three days,” he said. H&H


Issue 184 • 27 May 2011 • Page 07

The Road Show brings the Loeb Show to fans Words: Evan Rothman Picture: Citroën Racing Generating a buzz. This is an art that Citroën Racing has managed to make its own. A week before the World Rally Championship circus blows into Buenos Aires for the WRC Rally Argentina, the Citroën World Rally Team hosted another popular “Road Show” for rally fans. Closing down a wide stretch of road in downtown Buenos Aires, man-made jumps, banners and safety barricades were all in place for Sebastien

Loeb and Daniel Elena to wow the many thousands of fans gathered to catch a glimpse of their Citroën DS3 WRC in action in their city. Argentina, a country that plays host to a variety of motorsport, has for many decades embraced rallying. Federico Villagra (Munchi’s Ford Rally Team) is nine-times Argentine Rally Champion, and is supported by the many fans lining the stages to cheer on their national favourite. In 2009, the last WRC outing in Argentina, saw a little over one million spectators flock to the stages… It is a number I cannot comprehend!

Loeb sent his DS3 WRC over the jumps, flicked his car into fulllock power slides and pulled his car’s handbrake, burning up his car’s Michelin tyres in cheers and shouts from fans. With this marketing drive from Citroën Racing for their teams, it comes as no surprise to see the Citroën badge and red colour splashed over the fans on the rally weekend. Loeb and teammate Sebastien Ogier will favourites to win the top two podiums of this weekend’s event, with the team dominant over the last five outings here. H&H


Issue 184 • 27 May 2011 • Page 08

Sebastien Loeb speaks about Rally Argentina Words: Evan Rothman Picture: Eva Kovkova Q: Looking back on the first five rallies of the season, the score card reads two victories and the lead in the world championship so everything seems to be going pretty well… Sébastien Loeb: “This season will be hotly contested right till the very end. All the rallies are very closely fought. In Sardinia, we won by around ten seconds from Mikko Hirvonen. The gap between Sébastien Ogier and Jari-Matti Latvala in Jordan was only two-tenths of a second! It’s hard to predict how things are going to pan out in the coming months. It’s good to be in the lead, but it’s early days yet. There are many victory contenders. But I have to say I don’t think about this very much when I’m behind the steering

wheel, I just try to do my best.” Q: After your performance in Rally Italy, do you think that sweeping is still as important as ever this year? SL: “Maybe be the gaps are not as big at the same speeds. I think I was a bit lucky in Sardinia. The first day was very handicapping, and then I was quicker than my rivals in the second leg. It went off much better than we expected before the start. But you’re still penalized by this phenomenon when you’re first out on the road. If you have the choice it’s better to start behind.” Q: You’ve won the last five Argentinean rallies. Is it one of the events on the calendar you particularly look forward to? SL: “It’s got an ambience unlike any other. The Argentinean spectators

are mad about rallying. They’re very warm, very demonstrative and really participate in the event. There are people everywhere, from the hotel to the summits of the stages. We’ve got a good record in this rally, which I can’t really explain. The route’s very varied. Some stages alternate technical portions and quicker ones. Maybe I’ve just been a bit more successful than my rivals over the past few years. For sure, I feel good here!” H&H


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Parc Ferme

Event Reports Results

Rough and tough at the Atlas Copco 400 Words: Evan Rothman Pictures: Evan Rothman The new route for the Atlas Copco 400 in the KwaZulu-Natal changed the face of this Championship mainstay and livened up the racing action. So much so that the winners at this event were a welcome surprise. Production Vehicle Category: In historic battlefield country in the Biggarsberg the Castrol Toyota Hilux team won the skirmishes and the war on this past weekend’s Atlas Copco 400, Round Three of the Absa South African Off-Road Racing Championship. Former champion Duncan Vos/ Rob Howie led home teammates Anthony Taylor/Chris Birkin to give the factory team a crushing 1-2 victory. Vos/Howie took control of matters on the second of four loops that made up the race, and at the finish were around 06min ahead of Taylor/Birkin. The two Castrol Toyota crews fought an early cat-and-mouse game before a puncture hit Taylor/Birkin and handed to Vos/Howie an advantage they never relinquished. It gave Vos/ Howie their first win of the season, while Taylor/Birkin got a monkey off their backs by scoring their first finish of the season. Taylor and Birkin won the

Donaldson Prologue that determined start positions with Vos/Howie coming in behind reigning SA champions Chris Visser/Japie Badenhorst (Team Ford Ranger). An engine overhaul for the Vos/ Howie vehicle saw Toyota technicians burn the midnight oil, but the car never missed a beat. Toyota Dealer 400 winners Mike Whitehouse/Mathew Carlson produced another workmanlike performance to take the final podium place in the Regent Racing Nissan Navara. Fourth went to the father and son pairing of Hugo and Jaap de Bruyn (Micaren Exel Toyota Hilux), who were having only their second outing after a lengthy sabbatical. The top five was completed by Thomas Rundle/Juan Mohr, who produced a tiger-ish display in the Barden Tyre Services Nissan Navara. After a troubled prologue the pair were part of the mass start at the back of the field but, according to unofficial scoring, salvaged enough points to stay two points ahead of Whitehouse/Carlson at the top of the overall championship. Vos’s win takes him into third place in the Championship ahead of former SA Champion Hannes Grobler. The veterans Grobler/Hennie ter Stege (RFS BMW X3) were among the casualties along with Visser/Badenhorst who were forced to call it a day with power steering problems. A broken suspension saw Toyota

miss out on a possible top three clean sweep when Gary Bertholdt and Andre Vermeulen (Atlas Copco Toyota Hilux) retired late in the race with a broken suspension. That let in Whitehouse/ Carlson and Rundle/Mohr with Malcolm Kock/Johann Burger (Toyota Hilux) and Jannie Visser/Joks le Roux (International Toyota Hilux) next up. Louis Weichelt/Francis Boersma, who won Class D in the N1 4×4 Toyota Land Cruiser first time out this season, completed the top eight. A long way back in second were Jack and Sarel Oosthuizen, in a Land Rover, who increased their championship lead after mechanical problems sidelined reigning champions Deon Venter/Ian Palmer in the 4×4 Mega World Toyota Hilux. The tough conditions saw a high rate of attrition in Class E with Diederik Hattingh/Kristo Bosman (Transcor Toyota Hilux) the only finishers. They now join Dirk Putter/Koos Claasens, who were among those who failed to see out the distance, at the top of the Championship. Special Vehicle Category: The father-and-son team of Hermann and Wichard Sullwald pounded the opposition into submission in battlefield territory to win their Special Vehicle category. The Sullwald’s won with more than 06min to spare, but behind them just 26sec separated the next three cars.


Issue 184 • 27 May 2011 • Page 11

Another father-and-son combination in Nick and Ryan Harper, in the Motorite BAT, edged out local crews Clint Gibson/Gary Campbell (Gibson Racing SVR) and Lance Trethewey/Carl Wichmann (LT Earthmoving BAT) in a blanket finish. Trethewey/Wichmann started in pole position after winning the Donaldson Prologue on Friday, but were finally outgunned. The result sets up an interesting situation in the Special Vehicle championship. Unofficial scoring sees Herman and Wichard now join Kallie and Quinton Sullwald (Elegant Fuel BAT), the reigning South African champions, at the top of the overall standings. To add spice to the situation, the Harpers are lurking just two points in arrears. It sets up an explosive shootout at the Toyota 1000 Desert Race in Botswana for next month. The two Sullwald teams slugged it out in the first half of the race. At the halfway mark only 46sec separated Herman and Wichard and the reigning Champions. The situation altered when Kallie and Quintin retired early in to the second half of the race with electrical problems. It took all the pressure off the second Sullwald crew who cruised home while an almighty scrap developed behind them. The Harpers had only 19sec to spare over Gibson/Campbell after losing precious time at a river crossing. A tractor blocking the road held them up and the final margin was a little too close

for comfort. With Gibson/Campbell and Trethewey/Wichmann separated by just 07sec the three-way battle provided an exciting climax to the race. Boela Botes/ Johann Pretorius, who picked up their second top five finish in a row in the Botes Vervoer BAT, were another 03min in arrears. A steady performance took Archie Rutherford/Mike Lawrenson, in the Regent Racing Jimco, into sixth place and gave them the Class P honours. Rutherford/Lawrenson were disappointed with their prologue performance, but the Class P opposition gradually fell away with prologue winners Richard Fuller/ Geoff Minnitt (Atlas Copco BAT) retiring with a broken clutch. Class P championship leaders Marius and Jolinda Fourie, in the PHB BAT, and the Century Racing pair of Colin Matthews/Alan Smith were high profile casualties. After failing to finish the prologue the Fourie’s were part of the mass start at the back of the field, but failed to see out the distance while Matthews/Smith retired with gearbox problems. Former SA Champion Evan Hutchison and Danie Stassen (Motorite Revo 4×4) and another Class P crew, John Thomson/Clinton McNamara (Zarco), completed the top eight. After a poor start to the season it was another encouraging result for the Motorite crew who were sixth in Class A. The testing route took a heavy toll on the Class B contingent with local

pair Leon Bothma/Quintin Brand, in an early specification BAT, taking the honours. Championship leader Keith Makenete and brother Andrew (Zarco) and the father/daughter combination of Coetzee and Sandra Labuscagne (Raysonics Zarco) were among those who fell by the wayside. The next event is the Toyota 1000 Desert Race in Botswana from 24 – 26 June. H&H

OVERALL CLASSIFICATION Production Vehicle Category 01) D. Vos/R. Howie Toyota Hilux SP - 06h 43m 13s 02) A. Taylor/C. Birkin Toyota Hilux SP - 06h 49m 21s 03) M. Whitehouse/M. Carlson Nissan Navara SP - 07h 00m 21s 04) H. De Bruyn/J. De Bruyn Toyota Hilux SP - 07h 50m 25s 05) T. Rundle/J. Mohr Nissan Navara SP - 08h 01m 33s Special Vehicle Category 01) H. Sullwald/W. Sullwald SVR - 06h 45m 37s 02) N. Harper/R. Harper BAT Spec 4 - 06h 50m 25s 03) C. Gibson/G. Campbell Porter - 06h 50m 44s 04) L. Tretheway/C. Wichmann BAT Spec 2 - 06h 50m 51m 05) B. Botes/J. Pretorius BAT Spec 2 - 07h 03m 11s


Issue 184 • 27 May 2011 • Page 12

Junior Championship shifts up a gear Words: Evan Rothman Picture: Motorpics The Junior South African Rally Championship, made up of Class A7, S1600 and S1400 competitors, is as competitive as that of the overall fight for the South African Rally Championship. In a hammer-andtongs battle on every stage, rally fans have been spoilt with the close action and high-speed sideways driving antics from the 2WD entries thus far this season. Class A7 honours, with only two entries for this event, was claimed by Schalk Burger jnr/Armand du Toit (Toyota Corolla RXi A7). This Class, the premier 2WD category in terms of performance, has seen a dwindling in participants over the recent years with the rising popularity of Class A6 (now known as S1600). With the only other Class A7 stalwarts Gugu Zulu/Carl Peskin (BP Ultimate Volkswagen Polo A7) moving to S1600 for the HMC Rally, this the final of the manufacturer entries to leave Class A7 for S1600. The newcomers to S1600 didn’t have a smooth debut in their new Class as their Volkswagen Polo suffered a brace of mechanical woes to restrict their overall pace in a Class they will most likely be heading. No one was able to stop brother-and-sister pairing Christoff and Celeste Snyders (Sabretek Volkswagen Polo S1600) from claiming their second

Class win in succession. “We’ve been studying the way we do our pace notes and watching the DVD very carefully, and with our car running so very well, we have been able to go for it,” said driver Christoff Snyders after the event. “We keep it neat and tidy, and push wherever we think we can race hard.” And race hard they do, keeping the challenges of Ashley Haigh-Smith/ Hilton Auffrey (BP/Castrol Ford Fiesta R2 S1600) in check. Following their early retirement on last month’s SASOL Rally, Haigh-Smith aimed for maximum Championship points on the recent HMC Rally. A down-on-power Fiesta and troublesome ECU meant HaighSmith had to push his Fiesta to its limits while keeping it running reliably. His experience and maturity behind the wheel was evidenced: he brought his M-Sport built machine to the finish second in Class and just 33sec adrift of the Snyders’ Polo. Both these crews received time penalties (30sec to Snyders and 40sec to Haigh-Smith), and these penalties kept the racing in the Class close and intense. On Day Two’s eight stages, the crews were trading fastest stage times as they jostled to outgun one another for the final three stages and to pip the other to the finish. For the second round running, Snyders has drawn blood. With the upcoming Toyota Dealer Rally Gauteng taking place on roads familiar with Snyders, Haigh-Smith will have to bring his “A” game to the fight in

Gauteng again. His Fiesta is now running sweetly again, and it will be a close fight to follow all weekend. Third in Class S1600 was Craig Trott/Robbie Coetzee in their Team Total Toyota RunX. The high-speed nature of this event did not suit the RunX of Trott, with the experienced and highly talented driver losing time on the long straights and flat-out sections of the HMC Rally. He finished some 03min 14.4sec off the pace of Snyders and 02min 41.4sec of Haigh-Smith, but his consistency and skill saw him beat the rest of the Class soundly. Guy Botterill/Schalk van Heerden (Toyota RunX S1600) and Hans Himmel/Tommy du Toit (Toyota Corolla S16000) were locked in a rally-long battle, with the two rookie national crews putting on a spectacle for rally fans on each of the event’s 11 stages. Botterill finished fourth in Class S1600 and Himmel fifth, only 36.5sec behind. Class S1400 saw only one finisher, the young Henk Lategan and codriver Pierre Jordan (Q8 Oils Volkswagen Polo Vivo S1400), running with the second half of the Class S1600 crews. Megan Verlaque/Lirene du Plessis (BP Ultimate Volkswagen Polo Vivo S1400) retired early on Day Two with engine woes, as did Ian Young/Henry Dearlove (Toyota Yaris S1400). The next round of the South African Rally Championship takes in the Toyota Dealer Rally Gauteng on 10 – 11 June. H&H


Issue 184 • 27 May 2011 • Page 13

All to play for on the Argentinean stages... Words: Evan Rothman Picture: WorldRallyPics Yesterday’s Shakedown Stage results saw Citroën Total World Rally Team’s Sebastien Ogier top the charts after the 6.23km-long stage in his Citroën DS3 WRC. Privateer Peter Solberg (Citroën DS3 WRC, Petter Solberg World Rally Team) was third quickest, 2.9sec behind Sébastien Loeb (Citroën DS3 WRC) and ahead of the M-Sport Stobart Ford Fiesta RS WRC of Mads Ostberg (3.9sec behind Ogier). Pace on the Shakedown Stage seems to have set the tone for previous events this season, and going along wiht that premise it seems that the factory Ford Fiesta RS WRC crews will need to work extra hard and display otherworldly driving skills to keep apace with their rivals from Citroën. The talents of JariMatti Latvala and Mikko Hirvonen (both

of the Ford Abu Dhabi World Rally Team) should never be underestimated. With all four gravel events this season claimed by Citroën crews, and this event having been dominated by Sébastien Loeb on five previous occasions, the only crew with head-tohead opportunity to defeat Loeb is his teammate Ogier. The French youngster has only been to Argentina once before, so his pace on this demanding and uniquely technical event will restrict his outright speed. The event is run over three days, 19 stages and 378.15 competitive kilometres (of a total distance of 1,457.08km). This gravel event also hosts tarmac sections in its gravel stages, making for tricky conditions. Drivers will need to assess on the fly whether to push flat-out over the tarmac section to wear down their gravel tyres even quicker, or to gently negotiate it in order to preserve the tyre life for

the following gravel stages. It will add further spice to this trying event, and to we expect to see much team tactics coming into play as the crews jostle for the ideal road position for Day Two and Three. The first stage, a 3.02km super special stage, was held last night, but this was not as telling to all as was the Shakedown Stage in terms of pace. Here it was Loeb, Petter Solberg and Ogier on the top, with the rest of the top ten covered by Ford Fiestas. Will this be how this event plays out this weekend? The rally stages proper will be getting under way today, so Handbrakes & Hairpins will closely watch the action as it unfolds. Follow our editor Evan Rothman on Twitter at http://twitter.com/ Evan_Rothman, our website at http:// handbrakeshairpins.wordpress.com and on Facebook at http://www.facebook. com/HandHmag for stage-by-stage updates, pictures and news. H&H


Issue 184 • 27 May 2011 • Page 14

Time for tempting tarmac Words: Staff Writer Picture: Jakob Ebrey Photography It seems like just yesterday that the Dulux Trade MSA British Rally Championship was shoulder to shoulder with over ten thousand spectators at the start of its opening round the Rally Sunseeker in late February. Because of the hectic early championship schedule it may not be yesterday, but only thirteen weeks cover the first four rounds of the series, a real test of commitment for the crews to contend with. But it is the excellent mix of events’ length, nature, surface and location that continues to make the British Rally Championship the place to be, attracting crews from all over the World for over fifty years. The Jim Clark International Rally marks the half way point of the season and the first of three events on asphalt. The high hedges, fast straights and tight corners of the low lying stages contrast starkly with the moorland Abbey St Bathans test where the rally can be won or lost. But the overriding question on everyone’s lips during rally weekend will be, as ever, will it rain? The ribbons of sealed surface asphalt that separate neat and beautiful farmland are a real chance for crews to test their mettle, but frequent and heavy rain showers from scudding clouds regularly punctuate the rally, making the roads more treacherous than the forest gravel. The four wheel drive cars are

back at the front of the field after tailing the two wheel drivers on the first three gravel events. The move was intended to not only give them a little more profile ahead of the move to 2WD in 2012, but also to even the wear to the forest tracks, something that isn’t necessary on asphalt. Dulux Trade MSA British Rally Championship: Despite the continued influx of talent from overseas, it is a Scottish crew that sits atop the overall Dulux Trade MSA British Rally Championship points table, David Bogie and Kevin Rae taking two wins from three events in their Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX. Their dominance on the most recent event, the Pirelli Rally in April, meant they led from start to finish, only bettered on three of the twelve stages. They not only lead the BRC, but they are clear leaders of the Scottish Rally Championship too, hoping to do well on the Jim Clark International and Reivers Rallies during this multi-counter event. 2010 Pirelli Star Driver and Fiesta SportTrophy champion Elfyn Evans began his prize-drive year extremely well. The young Welshman took the podium on his and co-driver Kevin Rae’s Impreza debut, the pair going on to wow their home crowd with a measured and mature victory on Round Two in Wales. A puncture on the Pirelli, when they were just thirteen seconds adrift of Bogie, knocked some of the wind from their sails, but they hung on despite suspension damage and climbed to fourth at the finish. Championship leaders for much

of 2010 Jonny Greer and Dai Roberts have had a steep learning curve with their new steed in 2011. The Super 2000 Škoda Fabia promised much, but the Ulsterman struggled to get to grips with the screaming beast in the south of England. By Bulldog Rally North Wales it was clear that there was more to come when they took fourth, but their adjustment to the vagaries of the car showed with a podium on round three, posting a very handy second fastest time on one of the quickest stages of the event. By his own admission it is consistency that has put Tom Clark and co-driver Alistair Wylie fourth in the overall points table. Turning eighteen just two weeks before the Jim Clark Rally, the Englishman has made a huge transition to his Impreza from a much less powerful Suzuki, learning both car and rallies. But Jim Clark was the scene of his BRC debut last year, so from here on in, he has at least had experience of the events and can concentrate on honing his four wheel drive skills. Adam Gould was re-united with Seb Marshall at the start of the season, but a new car meant new challenges and despite popping-in a pair of fastest times on Rallye Sunseeker and leading the Bulldog, car set-up dropped them to third in Wales. Any hope of dispelling his Pirelli Rally jinx then disappeared on Friday’s very first stage when he clipped a rock and broke the rear suspension – game over! Like Greer, Robert Barrable has a new Fabia and like Greer he has taken


Issue 184 • 27 May 2011 • Page 15

a while to get used to it. But missing the second round of the 2011 BRC, when a pre-event test warm-up caused the engine to fail, wasn’t part of the plan. However he and Damien Connolly went some way to redressing the DNS with an excellent second place last time out. With the prospect of asphalt, the Irishman has to be itching to get to Kelso and show what the car can do. By comparison to his 2010 performance, Welsh youngster Jason Pritchard has had a very trying season to date. A 100% finishing record and a podium on the Isle of Man put him third in last year’s tables with only BRC champions ahead, but an annoying slip into a ditch on round one and ill health on round two left him well adrift of the top. The Pirelli was frustrating too, a roll on stage eight ruining what had been an excellent result in prospect. He and new co-driver Ryland James did end the event on a high though, posting a trio of third fastest times despite their damaged Impreza. Tom Cave had a fantastic Dulux Trade MSA British Rally Championship debut in Bournemouth, battling all day with David Bogie but displaying maturity beyond his years to settle for second. Sadly his second BRC event ended against an immovable Welsh tree, the crew sliding off the road near the end of the first test. The plan to bounce back on the Pirelli came to nought though, puncturing after a sensible start, they were forced to retire with the resultant suspension damage to great to continue. Daniel Barry and Alan Carmichael are both Mitsubishi men, both with just one score apiece. Barry’s change from Lancer Evo X back to familiar Lancer Evo IX should have been like putting on comfy old slippers, but mechanical problems robbed him of any chance of proving his pace. Carmichael opted not to contest the Pirelli, but he returns to his favoured asphalt here in the Borders. Last of the four wheel drive runners in the points table, but by no means least, is local lad Euan Thorburn. He and Paul Beaton have two retirements from two starts; the first was caused by a melted piston in their Mitsubishi, the second by a rear suspension strut that burst its way into the car. However they will relish the chance to push hard here, particularly on the Duns stage that runs quite literally past Euan’s house. Jim Clark International Rally and The Scottish Borders’ Jim Clark Rally is based in Kelso, but the start and finish take place in Duns. The ceremonial start and Mantis Instant Shine street stage take over the whole of the centre of Duns, kicking off with an autograph session in the Market Square at 17h30, the stage running at 19h00 and 21h30. With 43 of the event’s 140mi/224km of stage action to be completed on Friday evening, the remaining ten stages loop around the Kelso service area, finishing with champagne back in Duns just after 18h00 on Saturday. H&H

All set for Reivers tarmac test Words: Staff Writer Following a six-week layoff, the MSA Scottish Rally Championship will reignite on the fast and unforgiving lanes of Berwickshire this weekend. More than 100 cars are entered for the popular Jim Clark Reivers Rally on Sunday 29 May, the only tarmac event in the eight-round series. Defending title-holder and current points leader David Bogie will be targeting a third successive victory on this event – and his third win of the 2011 Championship. However, this time out, he will be powering through the lanes in his family’s 23-year-old MG Metro 6R4 – the same car in which his father John won the Reivers Rally in 2002. Bogie will switch from his more familiar Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX, which he will use on the Friday and Saturday of the Jim Clark weekend for the fourth round of the British Rally Championship, which he also leads, alongside co-driver Kevin Rae. “The tarmac roads can be really sore on a car – the engine, transmission and other components – so it would be really stupid not to have a back-up plan for the Sunday,” explained Bogie. “The Metro is being brought up from its base in Lincolnshire, and so as not to waste the opportunity, we’ve decided to use it on the Reivers. It’s a very enjoyable car to drive, and despite the fact it’s 23years-old, the same age as myself, I still think it can be competitive, and we can win the rally in it”. He will face stiff competition from a clutch of leading drivers, not least Euan Thorburn. Thorburn will be aiming to go one better this time out at the wheel of his Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX, co-driven by Paul Beaton. Missing from the start line will be the third seed, Dave Weston, who pipped Bogie by one second to win a memorable Granite City round in April in a Ford Focus WRC01. The Aberdeen-based competitor has had to withdraw his entry because of work commitments. Castle Douglas driver Jock Armstrong has had mixed fortunes over the first three rounds – a third place on the Snowman, was followed by a nonfinish on the Border Counties, while a puncture meant he could only manage seventh overall on the Granite City. Armstrong took the final podium spot on last year’s Reivers, and believes better settings on his Subaru Impreza could lead to an improvement in stage times, compared to twelve months ago. With regular co-driver Kirsty Riddick travelling to compete in Barbados Rally, Armstrong will be paired on the Reivers with top Irish navigator Barry McNulty. Following a fourth place finish on the Granite, Mike Faulkner moved into second spot in the drivers’ standings overall – eight points adrift of Bogie, and one ahead of Thorburn. With navigator Peter Foy, the Kirtlebridge-based driver is aiming for solid result.

“Although I’ve had some great results on tarmac in single makes, the Jim Clark has never been particularly good to me”, admitted Faulkner. “The Berwickshire roads are very difficult, very fast where late braking is key to a good stage time, but the grip varies a lot – particularly if it’s wet – and it’s very easy to get caught out.” Andy Horne, co-driven by Jim Howie, will be back in action on the tarmac in his DAM 4100GTi, in which he finished seventeeth overall, twelve months ago. The pair will be targetting a strong finish to get their campaign back on track after mechanical woes halted their charge in Aberdeenshire. The only non-SRC registered crew in the top ten are tarmac specialists Mark Jasper and Don Whyatt, who will be hoping to push for top honours in their recently-rebuilt Hyundai Accent WRC. The leading rear-wheel drive entry is the “historic” Mk2 Escort of Steve Bannister, who with Louise Sutherland on the notes, achieved a memorable second overall on the Reivers in bone dry conditions in 2008. That was followed by a fifth-place finish the following year, and a hard-earned fourteenth in 2010, when the pair were beaten to top 2WD honours by Keith Robathan/Ian Nicoll, who start further down the order in their Mk2. Championship returnee Robbie Head has said he relishes the prospect of the Berwickshire tarmac stages where he triumphed in 1997 – the year the Jim Clark Rally first became a closed road event. This weekend, he will be at the wheel of his Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX, alongside local navigator Claire Mole. The Lanark driver is currently lying fourth in the overall standings, six points behind Thorburn. Young Highland driver David Wilson turned in a storming drive to secure the final podium spot on a tie-break at the Granite City Rally. The Alness competitor will again be accompanied by Jedburgh-based codriver Dave Robson. Meanwhile, Barry Groundwater and navigator Neil Shanks – who were tenth overall in Aberdeen – will go into Sunday’s event having contested the National Rally the previous day in their Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX. The hotly-contested 1600cc category will see Jim Robertson (Citreon C2R2) attempting to extend his three-point advantage in Class 4 over Graeme Schoneville, who will also be chasing Brick & Steel Challenge honours in his Honda Civic. On the Granite, the Carluke-based driver suffered transmission problems on the penultimate stage, having built up a lead of more than 30sec: the Class win on the day going to a delighted Alasdair Graham, who will again be in action in his Vauxhall Corsa. The first car will be flagged away from Duns town centre at 08h45 on Sunday, with the leaders returning around 16h45. H&H


Issue 184 • 27 May 2011 • Page 16

Record entry for ORC Rally Words: Staff Writer Picture: IRC Series The first round of the Flanders International Rally Challenge (FIRC) championship, the ORC Canal Rally, takes place in Oostrozebeke, Belgium this weekend. Taking place on the challenging Flanders asphalt, the rally is sure to offer stiff competition for the British crews, with the Belgian rally organisers receiving a record 178 entries. With 140 competitors allowed to start the rally, seeding is sure to be a headache. If Melissa Debackere’s Subaru Impreza WRC is still in one piece following her recent accident on a road section of last weekend’s Sezoens Rally, she will be defending last year’s ORC win against local expert Paul Lietaer, also in a Subaru Impreza. Didier Duquesne’s Toyota Celica GT4 and the Peugeot 207 S2000 cars of Dominque Bruyneel and Philip Cracco will also be serious challengers for the podium. 27 British, Dutch and French crews have entered the rally, a great turnout for the FIRC in only the second season of the challenge. Top of the British crews must be last year’s FIRC championship winners, Andy Rowe and Cat Lund, in their trusty Mitsubishi Evo Lancer III. Fresh from another victory at their favourite United Kingdom venue, Twyford Wood, the crew are the FIRC team to beat in Class 3i, now that John Morgan and Llinos Jones-Edwards have moved from their ex-Patrick Snijers Escort Cosworth to the Historic Class with a Ford Escort RS. Joining Morgan on the Historic event is last year’s FIRC Historic winner Keith Pettitt with James McCullough in their Ford Escort MKI, together with Les Allfrey/Keith Fellowes and Henry Hardiment/Bernard Baker, who are both driving the legendary Mini Cooper S. Dominic Frattaroli and co-driver Jeannick Breyne are also bringing their pretty

Datsun 240Z to the party. In the modern event, Allan Smith/Graham Stanley in their Subaru Impreza STi are taking on the Evo III crew in Class 3i, alongside FIRC newcomers Marc Duponchel/ Dominique Turpin in a BMW 325i and Joost Kusters/Alex Eisenberg in a Ford Sierra Cosworth 4WD. Andrew Thomson and Richard Vincent are hoping for a trouble-free season this year in their Ford Focus, while Martijn Boekhuizen/ Frank Tuenissen are back in their Tommi Makkinen Edition Mitsubishi Lancer Evo VI. Meanwhile, crowd pleaser John Legg joins the challenge for the first time in his Escort Mk2 enjoying the freedom of running with the modern cars in Class 3h and enlisting the services of Belgian co-driver Colin Degroote. It looks like there will also be fierce competition in Class 3g, last year’s class winner Eep Borgers and co-driver Peter van de Wardt returning with an Opel Corsa Max and bringing several friends along, including Mark and Sander Van De Hel, both driving Opel Astras and co-driven by Kayleigh Sjoerds and Valentijn Martens respectively. Joining them in another Astra is Andre Van Middendorp. Briton Martin De VerePackford is back with a new and faster engine in his Peugeot 306 Rallye and after difficulty enlisting the services of a regular co-driver last year will have Belgian Filip Collez sitting alongside him. Finally there should be some flamboyant action from Henri Beve and Thierry Dechildre in their Opel Manta 200. Also competing from the United Kingdom are Garry Elswood and Teresa Butler in their Citroen Saxo VTS, joined in Class 2c by Omloop Van Vlaanderen regulars Neil Dodd and Val Thomson in their MG ZR. Andrew Dawe and Ernie Waldron round out the British entries with their Nissan Sunny in Class 2d. For further information check out http://www.fastestcat.co.uk, on http://www.orc-rally.be as well as at http://www.firc.be. H&H

Watch: The Croatia Rally 2011 video highlights from rallyvinodol

Rossetti wins Croatia Rally Words: Staff Writer Pictures: Archive Italians Luca Rossetti and Matteo Chiarcossi (Abarth Grande Punto) are the winners of the 38th Rally Croatia, second round of the FIA European Rally Championship. The reigning European champions led fellow countrymen Luca Betti and Maurizio Barone (Peugeot 207) and Polish Maciej Oleksowicz – Andrzej Obrebowski (Ford). With this result the Italian crew, which had also won the opening round of the series, scores full points and leads the continental ranking. Slovenian Rok Turk (Peugeot 207 R3T) won the two-wheel drive cars ranking and take the lead of the specific standings. Winners of Gr R and Gr.N were respectively Maciej Rzeznik – Przemyslaw Mazur (Subaru Impreza) and Mauro Patrucco – Chiara Bioletti (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX). In the third and final day of competition Luca Rossetti further increased his lead by winning almost all the special stages (the final total is of 10 stage wins against 3 for Betti and one each for Oleksowicz and Szymon Ruta with the Peugeot 207). A great fight for third position between Oleksowicz and Longhi (Skoda). The Polish driver managed to get past his rival before the latter was forced to retire because of the consequences of going off the road on the penultimate special stage, held in the rain. Once again it is worth to mention the performances, often in the Top 5, of Croatian Juraj Sebali (Mitsubishi), although he is far behind in the overall standings because of the nearly 20′ lost in the first two days of competition. Another excellent race by Niko Pulic (Abarth Grande Punto), the best of the local drivers, who finished seventh overall. Final Overall Classification: 01) L. Rossetti/M. Chiarcossi Fiat Grande Punto S2000 - 02h 21m 09.1s 02) L. Betti/M. Barone Peugeot 207 S2000 + 01m 42.1s 03) M. Oleksowicz/A. Obrebowski Ford Fiesta S2000 + 02m 51.9s 04) D. Iliev/Y. Yanakiev Skoda Fabia S2000 + 04m 24.5s 05) S. Ruta/S. Rozwadowski Peugeot 207 S2000 + 06m 05.1s 06) A. Tlustak/J. Skaloud Skoda Fabia S2000 + 07m 00.8s 07) N. Pulic/B. Santic Fiat Grande Punto S2000 + 07m 05.9s 08) M. Rzeznik/P. Mazur Subaru Impreza WRX STi + 08m 31.1s 09) R. Turk/K. Enej Loznar Peugeot 207 R3T + 13m 23.6s 10) E. Bossalini/D. Mangiarotti Peugeot 207 S2000 + 14m 39.1s

Drivers’ Standings 01) Luca Rossetti - 85 pts 02) Luca Betti - 47 pts 03) Maciej Oleksowicz - 30 pts 04) Renato Travaglia - 28 pts 05) Dimitar Iliev - 25 pts

H&H


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