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handbrakes &hairpins issue 28

Image: RallyStuff.Net


WRC Rally Argentina!

Latest WRC News

Toyota Dealer Cape Rally

this week:

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WRC Rally Argentina REVIEW 27 - 31 March 2008

All Images: RallyStuff.Net and SWRT Sebastien Loeb and Daniel Elena climbed the top step of the winners’ podium once again this past weekend, after claiming the overall win in treacherous conditions on the WRC Rally Argentina. His team, the Citroen Total World Rally Team got off to a strong start of Day One of this the fourth event of the 2008 World Rally Championship calendar. Driver Loeb and co-driver Elena ended Day One with a comfortable lead of 1 minute over the Australian Chris Atkinson and co-driver Stephane Prevot in their Subaru Impreza WRC2007. Petter Solberg and Phil Mills showed their limitless talent bringing their Subaru to a neat third at parc ferme on Day One, but the leader board did not reflect the dramatic start to this years Rally Argentina. The rally, which was predicted to have warm and dry conditions, turned into a mud bath more akin to the Rally Wales than this South American venue. Sebastien Loeb battled with his car’s set-up in the first four stages of Day One’s morning, but found his ideal set-up in time to tackle the afternoon’s loop of five stages, of which were re-runs of the mornings speed tests. Where are the Fords of Mikko Hirvonen and Jari-Matti Latvala, I hear you ask. Both factory Ford drivers suffered various problems early on, but this picture turned even more bleak suddenly for the team. Jari-Matti Latvala finished Day One in eighth position, while his team-mate Mikko Hirvonen was forced to retire from the rally on SS5 with a broken suspension after hitting a rock. Not only did the mud and rain affect the day’s rally, but so did the thick fog on the mornings’ stages. Another aspect regarding tyres to trouble the teams was that the cold weather they experienced did not suit the hard compound Pirelli tyres they were all to use on Rally Argentina. The tyres are selected by Pirelli beforehand, and the tyre technicians were unable to predict the adverse weather conditions on the rally. Ask Latvala about poor grip from cold tyres that are not designed for wet and muddy rallying, for he hit a rock in SS2 and lost a total of nine minutes in his bid to get back onto the road. This dropped him to 30th overall. The Subaru World Rally Team started their Rally Argentina campaign in the best possible way, with both drivers in the top three. In fact, the two Subarus were eight seconds apart!

Day Two’s stages were no different from the previous day’s. Despite the poor weather, the thousands of fans’spirits lining the routes were in no way dampened, as they cheered for their favourite WRC crew. Sebastien Loeb and Daniel Elena continued their assault at the head of the field, managing to maintain not only maintain their one minute lead, but also to gain another 19 seconds from a highly motivated Petter Solberg.

Solberg snatched second place overall from team-mate Chris Atkinson early on Day Two, and he showed his superior driving skills by winning no less than five stages! In fourth place was DanI Sordo in the freshly-liveried Citroen Total C4 WRC. Latvala pushed his Ford Focus RS WRC hard through the sticky conditions to a highly commendable sixth place by nightfall, and into a valuable points-paying position. And then disaster struck for the team once again: Latvala hit a rock, damaging his car’s starter motor to force him to retire from the rally at the side of the road. At this stage, the BP Ford Abu Dhabi World Rally Team had only one car running in the top ten, as Hirvonen restarted Day Two under SupeRally regulations. Driving cautiously to cross the finish line with a minimum of fuss was the talented Frenchman Sebastien Loeb and his co-driver Daniel Elena, winning the WRC Rally Argentina once more. Not all ran as smoothly for Petter Solberg who once again retired from a rally this season. His Subaru Impreza WRC2007 was unfortunately struck down with complete electrical failure, dropping him from his second place overall position only two stages from the finish. Sordo finished in third overall, followed by Conrad Rautenbach and David Senior (privateer Citroen C4 WRC) for fourth, Hirvonen in fifth and Villagra (driving a Munchi’s Ford Focus RS WRC07) to sixth overall. Drivers’ Points 1) S. Loeb - 30 pts 2) M. Hirvonen - 25 pts 3) C. Atkinson - 22 pts 4) J-M. Latvala - 16 pts 5) G. Galli - 11 pts 6) D. Sordo - 9 pts =) P. Solberg - 9 pts 8) C. Rautenbach - 5pts

LEADERBOARD Manufacturers’ Points 1) BP Ford Abu Dhabi WRT- 44pts 2) Citroen Total WRT - 41 pts 3) Subaru WRT - 33 pts 4) Stobart VK M-Sport WRT-22pts 5) Munchi’s Ford WRT- 10 pts 6) Suzuki Sport WRT - 6 pts

WRC Rally Mexico Final Classification: 1) S. Loeb/ D. Elena (Citroen) 2) C. Atkinson/S. Prevot (Subaru) + 2 min 33,2 sec 3) D. Sordo/M. Marti (Citroen) + 4 min 04,7 sec 4) C. Rautenbach/D. Senior (Citroen) + 20 min 03,5 sec 5) M. Hirvonen/J. Lehtinen (Ford) + 25 min 15,3 sec 6) F. Villagra/J. Perez-Companc (Ford) + 27 min 42 sec 7) G. Galli/G. Bernacchini (Ford) + 27 min 51,8 sec 8) A. Aigner/K. Wicha (Mitsubishi) + 28 min 59,3 sec

IRC Rally Istanbul PREVIEW 04 - 06 April 2008

All Images: IRC

A far too long winter season comes to an end for fans of the Intercontinental Rally Championship series, as the 2008 season gets under way this weekend with the Istanbul Rally. Also being run as the first round of the highly-competitive European Rally Championship, this event will have plenty of action! Based in Turkey’s capital city of Istanbul (a country where Europe meets Asia), this gravel rally comprises of stages varying

in terms of speed and character. The route is regarded as being fast and smooth, so competitors will have to be completely focused on the demanding 15 Special Stages set out over two days. Run over 255 competitive kilometres, reliability will be key to success on this rally. According to the weather experts, warm and dry weather has been predicted but as with all things in rallying anything can happen (and like with last weekend’s WRC Rally Argentina, the weather will turn). Over 41 crews have so far signed up for the event, with no less than 13 S2000s lined up! The first car off the ramp will be the Abarth Grande Punto of Giandomenico Basso (IRC champion last year), and he will be followed by drivers including Jan Kopecky, Freddy Loix, Nicolas Vouilloz, DanI Sola, Anton Alen and Luca Betti. Don’t miss the next edition of Handbrakes and Hairpins to read all the event news and results.


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Fuel Stop: News Briefs WRC rules to help new teams The World Motor Sport Council met in Paris on the 26th of March 2008 and made the following decisions in regards to the FIA World Rally Championship. “With immediate effect, the restriction on parts will be eased for new manufacturers in their first year of entering the Championship. A new manufacturer may ask the FIA for a waiver to use two additional engines without penalty, and a change of parts, as described in the Sporting Regulations.” This rule has been implemented following a request from the Suzuki World Rally Team. The Suzuki team, competing in their debut season, have encountered a number of mechanical issues during the first few rounds and were previously not permitted to make significant changes to the engines to solve the problems. The new WRC regulations were also announced. “The new technical regulations for the future World Rally Car will become effective from 2011. The WRC Car will be based on the current Super 2000 and Group N cars, fitted with a supplementary kit, which includes turbo and rear-wing additions. The kit must be able to be fitted or removed within a defined time limit, to be determined.” Cars built under the new World Rally Car formula will be allowed to compete from 2009, and be permitted to score championship points from 2010. The existing WRC Car formula has been extended to include the 2010 championship. The WMSC also announced a date change for the Japanese and British rounds of the championship. Rally Japan will now take place on the 31st October to 2nd November and Wales Rally GB will be run from the 5th to the 7th December. From the 1st January 2009, winning co-drivers in the FIA Junior and Production Car World Rally Championships will be awarded a world title for the first time, in line with their WRC counterparts. - Credit: FIA/RallyStuff.Net.

IRC Rally Portugal to feature Marcus Gronholm Two-time World Rally Champion Marcus Gronholm will drive the course car on the IRC Vodafone Rally de Portugal, the second round of the IRC that takes place from 8 - 10 May. “It’s an honour to come back to Portugal, on one of the best rallies in the world,” he said. “I hope to help put on a really good show!” Spectators will be helped to get the best views of the rally thanks to 22 carefully-chosen spectator zones distributed over the six different special stages that will be used on the event. - Credit: IRC.

Panizzi to compete in IRC Rally Portugal

Frenchman Gilles Panizzi – the winner of seven World Championship rallies – will start his IRC campaign in Portugal this year. Panizzi had hoped to take the start of the Istanbul Rally with an Automeca-run Abarth Grande Punto, but he will now drive in Portugal instead. Panizzi’s only previous IRC outing has been on last year’s Sanremo Rally, where he drove a Peugeot 207 S2000: the car that he helped to developed. However, he also has some Abarth experience from the past – as he drove a diesel Punto course car on the 2006 Sanremo event! - Credit: IRC.

Missed an issue of Handbrakes and Hairpins? Got an interesting motorsport story to tell, or are entering the challenging world of rallying as a competitor for the first time? Handbrakes and Hairpins would love to hear from you, and publish your story. This is YOUR rallying newsletter, so without your support Handbrakes and Hairpins would not be as entertaining a read as before you. 083 452 6892

Jan Kopecky to drive Peugeot in IRC 2008

Up-and-coming Czech star Jan Kopecky – who made a name for himself with some giantkilling performances on the World Rally Championship in a Skoda – will drive a Peugeot 207 Super 2000 car on at least the first four rounds of the IRC this year. The Czech driver’s campaign will start in Turkey at the Istanbul Rally, where he is seeded as car number two, just behind Abarth’s Giandomenico Basso. Kopecky has already had a brief test session with his Peugeot back home in the Czech Republic, but this was curtailed due to snow. His car will be run by his own Motorsport Kopecky team, with which he has plenty of experience. The Czech driver will also continue to test Skoda’s new Super 2000 Fabia throughout the season. Kopecky previously claimed the best-ever overall result for the Skoda Fabia WRC on the World Championship – with fifth overall on the 2006 Catalunya Rally. “I’m looking forward to the challenge of the IRC this season,” said Kopecky. “It’s a new adventure for me and I am sure it will be very competitive. So far we have the finance in place for the first four rallies, but I am looking to find the budget to complete the season.” Kopecky is set to be a frontrunner on every event this year, but he could be particularly strong in Portugal – as he will be the only top IRC driver to have contested the event last year. - Credit: IRC.

Wintish Road special stages renamed after Sgt Eddie Ryan Rally New York organisation received permission from the Ryan family to rename the Wintish Road special stages on the 2008 Rally New York USA after Sgt. Eddie Ryan, a true American hero and a resident of Wintish Road in Ellenville, New York. Sgt. Eddie Ryan is at home on Wintish Road recovering from severe, life threatening injuries he suffered in Ramadi, Iraq. He was shot twice in the head and the miracle marine survived the ordeal. Sgt. Ryan served in Iraq with the 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marines from 2002 to 2005. We are proud to honour this American hero who likes to watch rally cars going by his home. Many drivers and co-drivers have made plans to stop in and visit Eddie and his family during their stay in Ellenville. More about Sgt. Eddie Ryan story can be found at Rally New York organisation is the promoter and the organiser of the Rally New York USA, the first round of the United States Rally Championship (, scheduled for 4 - 5 April 2008 with the headquarters at the Nevele Resort in Ellenville, New York and the International Rally New York, the final round of the United States Rally Championship with a year-end Championship Awards Ceremony, which will take place on 31 October – 1 November 2008. Contact information and more information on all Rally New York events may be found at - Credit: Rally New York Media.

Travaglia to compete in Turkey with Grifone

Former European Champion Renato Travaglia will compete on the IRC Istanbul Rally in an Abarth Grande Punto run by the well-known Grifone team. Travaglia is usually engaged on the Italian Championship with the Abarth factory team, but on this occasion he has a dispensation to compete with Grifone. The Italian star – who featured on several IRC events last year – could compete on more events beyond Turkey if he finds the appropriate budget. - Credit: IRC.

Veszprem Rally join IRC Supporter Events

The Veszprem Rally in Hungary is the latest event to join the IRC Supporter Event programme. The rally, which is backed by tyre firm BFGoodrich, uses gravel stages that are also featured on the Central European Rally. With a mix of fast roads and rougher military terrain, it provides a massive challenge for all competitors. Previous participants on the event have included some of the sport’s top stars such as Gigi Galli and Jan Kopecky. - Credit: IRC.

Rallying is the most thrilling form of motorsport today, attracting an international audience of tens of millions each event. With boundless levels of talent, the drivers and navigators mesmerise these spectators with their gravity-defying antics. But, what got them started in sport? What makes them tick? Drivers and navigators: please send me these answers to!

FIA/Pirelli Young Rally Star promotion

Lola and Megan Verlaque. All Images: Motorpics FIA and Pirelli have started an initiative to find new “Young Rally Stars” within the FIA Regional Rally Championships, namely the European, Middle East, Asia-Pacific and African Rally Championships. The details of this promotion in relation to the 2008 FIA African Rally Championship are as follows: 1) The “FIA / Pirelli Young Rally Star” promotion is open to drivers below the age of 27 years on the 1st January of the year of the championship. 2)The drivers must be registered to score points in the FIA African Rally Championship and the form is available on the series website at 3) The winner of the promotion will be the “Young Rally Star” driver who scores the highest championship points at the end of the year within the entries of the promotion only. 4) At each event of the Championship the winner of the “Young Rally Star” drivers category will win a prize of Euro 2500 and trophies at each event. 5) Subject to approval of the budget the promotion coodinators will provide “travel money” to each participant in the “Young Rally Star” drivers promotion to help with travel to the events within Africa. 6) All entrants in this promotion must fund their own rally car and entry into the ARC championship rounds during the qualifing year. 7) During the year, drivers are not obliged to use Pirelli tyres. But any Media promotion after the event with the winners will be done using Pirelli caps and backdrops. 8) The winner of the “FIA / Pirelli Young Rally Star” promotion in 2008 will receive a prize of a fully paid drive in 6 rounds (European only) of the 2009 World Rally Championship in a Group N or S2000 car to be provided by a manufacturer or tuner contracted by FIA & Pirelli. 9) The winner of the “FIA / Pirelli Young Rally Star” promotion in 2008 will also be provided with a personal development programme to learn about presentation, fitness and promotion to improve the skills required for this. To enter this promotion go to and down load the “FIA / Pirelli Young Rally Star” entry form and submit it to the CACMS Africa representive at the start of the event with a copy of the drivers “birth certificate”. Within the FIA African Rally Championship this promotion will be coodinated by the FIA Confederation of African Countries in Motorsport (CACMS). - Credit: African Rally Championship.

Audi R8 wins at World Car of the Year awards When naming the Audi R8 as the 2008 World Performance Car, the jurors observed that it has “solid credentials on paper thanks to its mid-mounted 430nm torque, V8 engine and aluminum construction. But where it excels is in the exceptional balance, refinement and control that grant the driver the confidence to push it to the limit. It has astonishing precision for a car of its size category”. Last year, the Audi RS 4 collected the World Performance Car award, so this makes it two in a row in the performance category for Audi. This year there were two representatives from Audi in the final stages of voting, as the Audi S5 was also one of the top three finalists for the award.

Image: Motorpics For the 2008 World Car Design of the Year award, the jurors praised the Audi R8 for “transforming the sports car landscape. The R8 design is striking, original and full of interesting details, from the nose strakes to the much discussed vertical ‘blade’ behind the B pillar”. World Car design expert Tom Matano, Executive Director of the School of Industrial Design, Academy of Art University, San Francisco, USA commented that the Audi R8 is “a great visual representation of the technology within, a complete package of Techno-Iconic Design”. Last year, the Audi TT received the World Car Design of the Year award, so Audi has retained this design crown for the second year in a row as well. Audi won the overall World Car of the Year title with the Audi A6 sedan at the inaugural World Car of the Year awards in 2005. With one overall win and four category wins in total, Audi is the most successful manufacturer at the World Car of the Year awards. - Credit: Audi of South Africa.

Missed an issue of Handbrakes and Hairpins? Got an interesting motorsport story to tell, or are entering the challenging world of rallying as a competitor for the first time? Handbrakes and Hairpins would love to hear from you, and publish your story. This is YOUR rallying newsletter, so without your support Handbrakes and Hairpins would not be as entertaining a read as before you. 083 452 6892

Sasol South African National Rally Championship Round Two: Toyota Dealer Cape Rally PREVIEW: 4 - 5 April 2008 The Sasol South African National Rally Championship moves to the fast and sweeping gravel roads of the Western Cape for Round Two of this thrilling rally series. Jan Habig and Douglas Judd (BP Volkswagen Polo S2000) are looking comfortable and confident in their super-fast and super-reliable Volkswagen Polo S2000, and will be all out to repeat their success on the Hitachi Power Tools Tour Natal Rally held last month. With long, fast stages a characteristic of this rally, crews will have to not only be quick in the stages, but also make their certain their

machines will cross the finish line on Saturday afternoon. Twelve stages have been set out for this year’s event, so expect the teams to push hard from SS1! Hergen Fekken and Pierre Arries drove a strong rally last month, and were in the running to claim the overall win, but the rally gods were not smiling on this pairing then when their car’s engine was plagued with a power-sapping misfire that forced them to settle for second place overall. Their BP Volkswagen team-mates Enzo Kuun and Guy Hodgson will want to prove their speed on the Toyota Dealer Cape Rally, so expect sparks to fly… From the Castrol Toyota team Johnny Gemmell/Peter Marsh and Mark Cronje/Robert Paisley (both crews Toyota RunX S2000s) will be hoping for a trouble-free weekend in this their “home” event. Cronje, who wowed the crowds and drivers alike with this speed and skill at the last event, will most certainly be a force to be reckoned with in the Western Cape this weekend. Will Japie van Niekerk and Robin Houghton (Castrol Toyota RunX S2000) repeat their stellar S2000 debut performance here on the Toyota Dealer Cape Rally? I’m certain this talented duo will put pressure on the more experienced S2000 teams. Class A7 promises much action too, with Chris de Wit and co-driver Dean Redelinghuys (Total Toyota RunX A7) looking to take class honours this weekend. Another KwaZulu-Natal-based team to look out for are Kosta Koustamarakis and Barry White (in a privateer Toyota RunX RSi N3), who entertained crowds last month on his way to winning Class N3. Charl Wilken/Greg Goodrich (Sasol/Konica Minolta Subaru Impreza N4) lead the way in the first rally of this season, and will be looking to lead the rest of the highly-competitive Class N4 teams on this event. With longer fast sections on this rally, expect the top Class N4 runners to worry the S2000 leaders in the Western Cape…

All Images: Motorpics

Western Cape motorsport fans are enthusiastic rally fans and line the stages in their thousands. With good weather expected, and close rally action, the spectators will be entertained and wowed by the talented drivers and co-drivers for this weekend’s Toyota Dealer Cape Rally; it will be an impressive display of speed and driving skill, so don‘t miss it!

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