s e k a r b d Han &Hairpins
09 Edition 89 July 20
ld of rallying
he wor your insight into t
Fekken charges to Championship lead!
inside this week:
FIA presidency upsets sport
Spain wins Rally of Nations event
Welcome to HANDBRAKES & HAIRPINS
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The world’s latest rally news
David Higgins: Higgins wins in China!
Rally of Nations: Spain takes victory!
Pikes Peak Hillclimb: PREVIEW IRC article: Hanninen wins in Russia! SANRC article: Longmore Forest thrills!
Welcome to issue number 88 of HANDBRAKES & HAIRPINS, your FREE weekly insight into the world of rallying! The Volkswagen Rally provided Port Elizabeth fans with much to cheer about: close rally action, a Volkswagen one-two-three finish and plenty sideways action in the scenic Longmore Forest stages. A superb win by Hergen Fekken and Pierre Arries (BP Volkswagen Polo S2000) has rocketed them into the Drivers’ Championship lead, with only three events remaining. South African rallying is hotting up! In next week’s issue, fans of the FIA African Rally Championship will be able to read all about the recent Zambian International Rally, and also read my FULL event preview for the upcoming WRC Rally Finland. As always, I hope you enjoy this week’s exciting edition! Yours in Rallying, Evan Rothman
JULY EVENTS International Rallies: 17 - 18: RA New England Forest Rally 17 - 19: ERC Bulgaria Rally 29 Jul - 02 Aug: WRC Rally Finland
South African Rallies: 24 - 25: Sun City 400 25 - 26: Prisma Comms Special Stage Rally
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Ari Vatanen stands up to Max Mosley in FIA showdown! 1981 world rally champion Ari Vatanen has signalled his intention to run for the FIA presidency if current incumbent Max Mosley decides to stand again, according to The Guardian newspaper in the UK. Vatanen stated that he felt it was time for a change and says that he has the backing of a number of member clubs if he decides to go for election. MEP Ari Vatanen commented: “At the moment I am consulting the member clubs and am already seeing positive feedback. I am considering standing. I think the time has come for a change. I would go for it, even if not sure of winning.” Jean Todt is another person expected to run for president and is widely regarded as the natural successor to Max Mosley - Credit: guardian.co.uk and rallybuzz.com
Timo Glock test drives WRC car Timo Glock is an avid fan of rallying, in fact, he sampled a Toyota Corolla S2000 last year in Australia, but had never driven a World Rally Car in anger before, reported www. rallybuzz.com. That all changed at the weekend though, as Glock was invited to drive a Toyota Corolla WRC on the Goodwood Festival of Speed Forest Rally Stage. He was reported as being fairly impressive in the car, chucking it around the tree lined route like an old pro. Glock was driving an ex-works ‘99/2000 spec Corolla, fully rebuilt by McGeehan Motorsport and repainted in the original works livery, with the decals supplied by TTE and fitted by M-Tec Graphics. The car’s owner, Derek McGeehan, was on hand at Goodwood and sat with Glock for a few familiarisation runs on the forest stage. Both Glock and McGeehan can be seen pictured above in the Toyota Corolla WRC. - Credit: rallybuzz.com
Rally GB to move away from Wales? WRC promoter Simon Long has threatened to pull Rally GB out of Wales, after the 2009 running of the event, following the hard-line, no negotiation, stance of IMS figurehead Andrew Coe, according to autosport.com.
Coe has stated his desire to remain in Wales until 2011 when the original contract with the Welsh Assembly Government was due to end. The WAG, of course, have recently terminated the contract with IMS and are seeking a settlement this week. ISC CEO, Simon Long, commented to autosport.com: “If this event were to remain in Wales we would expect to see a significant changes. The quality would have to be raised across the board. You only have to look at the way the other events are raising their games to become world-class - we have concerns about the ability of Rally GB to do that in Wales. Undoubtedly, remaining in Wales would call into question Rally GB’s long-term future in the World Rally Championship. How could it not? When we have so many events, really strong, exceptional quality events fighting for a slot on the calendar. The bar has been raised here. We are in discussion with a number of parties in the north of England with a view to reestablishing Great Britain as one of the pre-eminent rallies on the calendar. I’m very optimistic about the possibility of bringing new parties to the equation to make this rally bigger and better for the rallying public of Britain from 2010 onwards. Wales Rally GB 2009 is due to be launched to be officially on this week, when the route and ticket prices will be announced. - Credit: autosport.com and rallybuzz.com
Latvala’s seat safe at Ford Malcolm Wilson has stated to crash.net that there are no plans to drop Jari-Matti Latvala from the BP Ford Abu Dhabi World Rally Team following despite the Finn being involved in a number of high profile accidents. Latvala crashed out of the recent Rally Poland in dramatic circumstances on the final stage, costing Ford a vital one-two result in their pursuit of the manufacturers crown and there was speculation suggesting that he might be dropped from the team. Speaking to Crash.Net Radio, Ford WRT boss Wilson also said that he intends to see Latvala continue driving for the works squad in 2010: “Hopefully Ford is going to be in the world championship in the future and he will definitely form part of our plans going forward if that is the case. It has been a difficult year for Jari, as everybody can see. What happened in Poland was probably one of the biggest mistakes I have seen in world rallying. But we have invested heavily in him and we have got to work with him, which is obviously what we are doing. He is getting a lot of specialist advice outside the car. The driving is not in question. But it is just taking a little bit longer to get him to where we wanted him to be than what we had hoped. However the performance up to that final silly mistake was fantastic. The last three rallies have been really good for him. He just made a very, very costly error late on,
THE LATEST NEWS FROM THE WORLD OF RALLYING
Featuring European rally championships, British rally championships, Rally America events, international rally results and videos, as well as S2000 and WRC news.
which we have got to get to the bottom of before Finland.” - Credit: crash.net and rallybuzz.com
Isle of Man Historic Rally results
Mark Higgins to compete in Rally of Scotland in an MG S2000 car Mark Higgins has said that he is planning to contest the Rally of Scotland in November in an MG S2000 car, according to Motorsport News. Higgins is nearing a deal to enter the event that would see him do battle with his British counterparts, Guy Wilks and Kris Meeke, on the final round of Intercontinental Rally Challenge aboard the Bill Gwynne Motorsport run MG S2000. Speaking to Motorsport News at the Goodwood Festival of Speed last weekend, Higgins, said: “There are a few things we are still trying to pull together such as money and the time we have available, but it’s looking pretty good at the minute. “Ian [Gwynne, the team manager] wants it to happen, the car is just sitting there doing nothing and it’s still a good car.” - Credit: rallybuzz.com
Prodrive plans for return to WRC in 2011, says boss David Richards Prodrive boss David Richards is aiming to make a return to the World Rally Championship in 2011 with his Banbury outfit, and has stated that he is in negotiations with three manufacturers about a possible comeback, according to Motorsport News. Richards wouldn’t confirm who the manufacturers are that he is having discussions with, but did say that he had instructed his team to design the ultimate car in accordance with the new technical regulations. Speaking at the Goodwood Festival of Speed, Richards said to Motorsport News: “We looked at the regulations carefully and realised that 60 or 70 per cent of the car is generic so we put that to our team to design what they believed to be the ultimate car to the new regulations. “Clearly some of the regulations weren’t known until recently, including the 1.6 litre turbo, but most of it we knew. We looked at it very carefully, from a practicality, cost and serviceability point of view. We took all the knowledge we’ve had over the last 25 years in the world championship and put it all together. We put the design team to work and they’ve been at it now for six months. They tell me they’re 50 per cent into the design now.” Richards added that a new Prodrive developed car could be ready in time for the 2011 WRC: “I would have hoped by the latter part of this year we would have announced what are intentions are. We can have our car testing by May of next year and have homologation ready as soon as the new rules apply.” - Credit: Motorsport News and rallybuzz.com
Gwyndaf Evans and co-driver Huw Lewis obliterated the opposition on the 2009 Isle of Man Historic Rally in the 2,0 Escort Mk2 BDG from Viking Motorsport (Phil Mills’ company). Evans finished over five minutes ahead of the Opel Ascona of Phil Collins and was fastest on every stage to win the Category 3 class. Indeed, had Evans been competing in the International event he would have been classified 3rd overall in the final results! Dessie Nutt, co-driven by Geraldine McBride, won the Category 1 class in the Porsche 911, while Steve Smith took top honours in Category 2 also driving a 911. FINAL Isle of Man Historic Rally 2009 CLASSIFICATION: Category 1 Cars (registered before 31/12/1967) 01) D. Nutt/G. McBride (Porsche 911 B5) - 02h 58min 14,0s 02) G. Edington/J. Edington (Singer Chamois B1) 03h 04min 27,8s 03) S. Higgins/D. Corlett (Mini Cooper S B2) - 03h 14min 22,8s 04) S. Kitani/M. Mizoi (Austin Mini Cooper S B2) - 03h 20min 34,8s 05) J. Moxon/S. Moxon (Volvo Amazon 122S B4) - 03h 21min 40,9s Category 2 Cars (registered between 1/1/1968 - 31/12/1974) 01) S. Smith/J. Nichols (Porsche 911 C4) - 02h 41min 16,6s 02) D. Stokes/G. Weaver (Ford Escort RS1600 C5) - 02h 42min 28,0s 03) E. Graham/A. Trimble (Ford Escort RS1600 C5) - 02h 44min 15,7s 04) D. Boyd/R. Boyd (Porsche 911 C4) - 02h 44min 40,7s 05) R. Lomax/D. Alcock (Ford Escort Mk1 C5) - 02h 44min 56,7s Category 3 Cars (registered between 1/1/75 to 31/12/81) 01) G. Evans/H. Lewis (Ford Escort D5) - 02h 32min 59,3s 02) P. Collins/D. Falvey (Opel Ascona D5) - 02h 38min 14,1s 03) M. Solloway/D. Golding (Ford Escort D5) - 02h 40min 38,3s 04) D. Moon/C. Parsons (Ford Escort MkII D5) - 02h 43min 26,1s 05) I. Corkill/R. Corkill (Ford Escort MkII D5) - 02h 44min 46,5s - Credit: mir.co.im, rallybuzz.com and Roy Dempster Photography
S E R U T A FE akes historic win in BRC Isle’sofHMuaairnoRuaRllyally
t a s in h in C g ig in H 9 k 0 r 0 a 2 M f r o e in iv •08: r w d t t s s r e fi t s is a h f l s h e o k t •09: Higgins tinas thrilling Rally of Nations, oSf Maine this weekend •10: Spain wmerica tackles gravel roadsction this weekend •12: Rally A eak International Hillclimb a ictory at Rally Russia •13: Pikes Pen scores Skoda’s first IRC v m at Volkswagen Rally •14: Hannin win for BP Volkswagen teaof Volkswagen Rally •15: Historicre Forest decides outcome •16: Longmo
Here HANDBRAKES & HAIRPINS goes behind-the-scenes, into the pit garages, into the team offices, to bring you the most interesting and in-depth feature articles.
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Mark Higgins takes historic win in BRC Isle of Man Rally
Pirelli TEG Sport’s Mark Higgins and Bryan Thomas have taken an historic victory on the 46th Rally Isle of Man, the fourth round of the MSA British Rally Championship. Higgins’ win makes him not only the most successful driver in the event’s history, the only person to have won here five times, but it puts him and Keith Cronin level at points at the head of the British Rally Championship points standings.
Differential problems for both triple BRC Champion and the 22 year old pretender to the crown meant that with three stages remaining, just 5,7 seconds split the pair. Higgins’ team was forced to remove the gearbox twice within four stages to fix the differential and a broken clutch. But despite the fierce battle, rallying camaraderie shone through when some of Cronin’s army of followers pushed Higgins off a bank after struggling round a tight hairpin with no clutch. “It has been the most difficult and hard fought event I can remember,” he said at the Douglas TT Grandstand finish. “It
was great to win here last year and add Rory (Kennedy’s) name to the trophy, but this is fantastic, especially as Bryan now has four wins, equal to Derek Ringer. Keith is a great opponent and I’ve been amazed at his pace on my Island!” Cronin and co-driver Greg Shinnors were second after one of the tensest events in the rally’s history, eventually finishing nearly a minute and a half adrift after a late puncture took the pressure off Higgins. The whole event had held its breath until the problem, with the lead changing several times and each driver taking ten stages wins apiece. Alastair Fisher and last year’s winning co-driver Rory Kennedy were third, the young Irishman not succumbing to pressure from Adam Gould who crashed out in his Pirelli Star Driver prize car on stage 17 of 20. It was Fisher who took the nomination for the 2009 Pirelli award shootout after his excellent first BRC podium place. Despite Gould’s accident, Pirelli TEG Sport’s lead in Championship. They now with Revolution Wheels a
Higgins’ result is enough to extend the MSA British Teams’ Rally lead by 31 points over Team JRM Lico further 19 points adrift.
Heading the Rally 3 class was Tom Walster with new co-driver Craig Parry, their fantastic sounding Clio R3 keeping the crowds entertained on their way to eighth place in the British
Rally Championship classified finishers. After two crashes in two days, Kris Hall and Robbie Durant were second, but only after a spirited drive from Friday’s Fiesta Sport Trophy winner Craig Breen and Gareth Roberts ended when they retired with just four stages remaining. Third were the distant but delighted Harry Hunt and Kris Killip, the 20 year-old Londoner contesting his first BRC event after moving up from the BRC Challenge. Taking Rally 2 and the C2R2 Cup were Martin McCormack and Phil Clarke in their immaculate Citroën C2, also winning the two wheel drive category, top placed Junior driver and a cheque for €4,000. The prize fund, which is awarded for the Citroën Racing Trophy, comprises €2,000 for the Citroën win, doubled up for being quickest front wheel drive. Jason Pritchard and Andrew Edwards were the only other finishers in the category, the little R2 cars placed sixth and seventh overall in the British Rally Championship order. In Rally 1 it was the Suzukis which dominated, Luke Pinder and Peter Scott taking the Swift Sport Cup by force too. They held a two minute gap to David Harrison until the final stage, where they took it very easy, still managing to finish over a minute clear and with it a cheque for £500. Honda Civic driver Joseph McGonigle overcame brake problems to take third in R1, relegating Gordon Nichol to fourth. Although the Scot and his co-driver Emma Morrison took highest placed mixed crew on the event and now lead the Swift Sport Cup Championship. The Diesel Cup went to Steve and Tony Graham in their “Boom Box” Astra. They had fitted a speaker under the bonnet of the ultra-quiet car in an attempt to warn spectators of their arrival, playing a range of classical and house music on the stages. Fin McCaul and Huw Mathias stopped on Friday when an accident left them with just three wheels on their BMW, but used restart rules to keep their Championship hopes alive. The next round of the MSA British Rally Championship. the Toddsleap.com Ulster International Rally, is based in its new Antrim home on 21st and 22nd August, from where new stages will effectively present a blank canvas for the continuation of battle for the 2009 title. FINAL BRC Isle of Man Rally CLASSIFICATION: 01) M. Higgins/B. Thomas (Subaru Impreza) - 02h 37min 47,3s 02) K. Cronin/G. Shinnors (Mitsubishi Lancer) + 01min 26,4s 03) A. Fisher/R. Kennedy (Mitsubishi Lancer) + 06min 25,3s 04) S. Quine/P. McCann (Mitsubishi Lancer) + 09min 56,8s 05) E. Thorburn/C. Roy (Subaru Impreza) + 10min 31,7s 06) D. Weston/A. Davies (Subaru Impreza) + 14min 22,8s 07) M. McCormack/P. Clarke (Citroen C2 R2 Max) + 15min 30,2s 08) J. Pritchard/A. Edwards (Citroen C2 R2 Max) + 16min 28,2s 09) T. Walster/C. Parry (Renault Clio R3) + 16min 43,3s 10) A. Leece/R. Skinner (Ford Fiesta ST) + 20min 00,6s
- Supplied: rallybrc.co.uk and Jakob Ebrey Photography
Higgins takes his first win of 2009 in China’s Huairou Rally David Higgins and Ieuan Thomas overcame food poisoning to provide a thrilling finale to the Huairou Rally in China on Thursday and Friday. This is the crew’s first Chinese win of the year, after they narrowly missed out on the top podium position on the Jiangning Rally last month. “It’s not been easy this weekend,” said David. “But that was nothing to do with the stages. Myself and Ieuan have both been ill all through the event with food poisoning. We did a great test of our Mitsubishi Evo IX at a kart track, and a good recce, then of course we got sick for the main event, and it was 40 degree heat which didn’t help. “But once we got in the rally car, the rally head takes over and you put your foot down. We were fastest on the first three stages and led until the rear diff seized in the fourth stage. The team changed it to a spare gravel spec diff in service, and we were fastest again on the next test – despite it being an asphalt rally. That left us 2,5 seconds ahead going into the last stage of day one, but an overshoot on a fast downhill section cost us the lead.” Overnight the crew lay second by 2,3 seconds. The WY Rally
Team were kept busy as they had to rebuild the asphalt spec diff so it could be fitted for day two. Meanwhile, David and Ieuan were ill throughout the night, but kept up the pace on day two. Showing the determination the crew have become known for in China, they were confident they could win going into the final stage – even though they were 6,7 seconds behind leader Jarkko Miettinen going into it. “We had been 9,1 seconds faster through the stage being used as the final stage when it had run earlier in the day, so we knew a win was
possible,” said David. “This time round we beat him through by 10,3 seconds, so we took the win by 3,6 seconds. “I would like to dedicate my win in China to my family. The day I travelled to China my son Matthew was taken to hospital with pneumonia. Thankfully he has recovered, but were it not for my wife Kara’s support I would not have been able to compete last week at all.” David and Ieuan’s win puts the WY Rally Team at the top of the points table for the teams championship in China joint on points with the KST team. The next round of the championship is the Fogang Rally in August. Later in the weekend the celebrations continued for the Higgins family on Rally Isle of Man where David’s brother Mark won, and his cousin Andy finished tenth.
Spain wins thrilling Rally of Nations, Stohl fastest driver
IMAGES BY rallyofnations.com
The inaugural Rally of Nations proved to be more thrilling than the organisers had anticipated. With world class drivers, first-rate cars and fast stages, the rally action was frenetic from the veryt first stage of Day One to the last on Day Three,WRITES EVAN ROTHMAN.
Only after the final two stages of the three-day rally was it confirmed that the Spanish team of Xevi Pons and Dani Sola scored the most points to grab the overall victory in the firstever Rally of Nations in Mexico this past weekend. An event that was previously run as the Rally Corona Mexico as a round of the World Rally Championship from 2004 to 2008, proved challenging to many of the crews participating in this Rally of Nations. Under sweltering heat and tough gravel stages, crews and machines were pushed to their limits over the three days of competition. Spainâ€™s Sola and Franceâ€™s Brice Tirabassi fell
victim to the tough conditions, but helped their countries in the competition to their podium results. Both members of Team Sweden (P.G. Andersson and Patrik Sandell) retired from the event, ending their Rally of Nations campaign prematurely. The Spaniards Pons and Sola were victorious in ten of the rally’s eighteen stages, accumulating a total of 1067,5 points. In second place were Austrians Manfred Stohl and Andreas Aigner, who together won on four occasions. At the close of the competition, only 128 points separated the two countries after 290km of nail-biting rally action. The last place on the podium was scored by France led by Didier Auriol, who, with the help of Brice Tirabassi, managed the fastest time on one of the stages. Spain, therefore, walked away with the $50,000 first prize!
World Rally Champion Didier Auriol claimed third place overall. Other nations have already shown interest in next year’s competition, and this will bring even more world class drivers to the Mexican event. It is clear to see that rallying as a sport is growing considerably quickly around the world!
Austrian driver Stohl has no reason to feel defeated: him being the fastest individual driver with a winning total time of 02h 57min 28,7s for the 18 stages, just 14,4 seconds faster than his fellow countryman Aigner. Stohl took home with him $15,000 for being the fastest driver on each day of the competition. The home team, Team Mexico, suffered mechanical problems with both cars throughout the event. Rodrigo Salgado and Rodrigo Ordonez finished the rally in ninth place overall, to great cheer from their countrymen. This first edition of the Rally of Nations was enjoyed by all those who took part, all of whom expressed their admiration for this new format, one which will undoubtedly draw many more competitors in the future. The first edition of this event confirms the enormous popularity of the state of Mexico’s roads as a venue for rallies, it having brought together major names from the rallying world, as can be seen from its line-up. On Day One, Team Spain suffered serious problems, but Pons and Sola both showed great determination to haul their cars to the top of the leaderboard at the end of the rally. In the Individual Drivers’ battle, Stohl took the lead from his team-mate Aigner, who had a flat during Day One Former
FINAL Rally of Nations CLASSIFICATION: 01) Spain (Pons/Sola) - 1067,5 pts 02) Austria (Stohl/Aigner) - 939,5 pts 03) France (Tirabassi/Auriol) - 712 pts 04) Germany (Gassner/Wallenmein) - 542,5 pts 05) Sweden (Sandell/Andersson) - 422,5 pts 06) Mexico 2 (Trivino/Salgado) - 320 pts 07) Finland (Gardemeister/Rovanpera) - 240 pts 08) USA 2 (Johnson/Bartram) - 191,5 pts 09) Mexico 1 (Ordonez/Cortes) - 127 pts 10) Peru (Tijero/Pestana) - 38 pts Individual Drivers’ CLASSIFICATION: 01) Stohl/Minor - 02h 57min 28,7s 02) Aigner/Weissengruben + 14,4s 03) Auriol/Giraudet + 01min 45,9s 04) Pons/Haro + 02min 14,6s 05) Wallenwein/Kopczyk + 07min 35,3s 06) Gassner Jr./Wustenhagen + 10min 11,7s 07) Sola/Sanchez + 11min 34,2s 08) Trivino/Salom + 16min 09,9s 09) Johnson/Beavis + 21min 25,1s 10) Ordonez/Pimentel + 24min 38,2s
Rally America tackles gravel roads of Maine this weekend
With the first five rally events of the 2009 Rally America National Championship in the record books already, the top Regional and National rally teams from across the United States and Canada will soon be making their way to the tiny resort village of Newry, Maine for the New England Forest Rally – home to the Sunday River Resort and round six of the nine-event Rally America National Championship. Set for this weekend, as many as 45 or more top-level rally teams are expected to be competing on some of the fastest gravel and forest roads in the country for top honors at this alwayspopular rally event.
Sitting atop the Rally America National points championship right now and expected to be competing at this year’s New England Forest Rally is three-time Rally America Champion and Freestyle Motocross legend Travis Pastrana who drives for Subaru Rally Team USA – the factory-backed rally team based in Colchester, Vermont. Along with his teammates Ken Block, cofounder of DC Shoes USA, and X Games & BMX legend Dave Mirra, the Subaru rally team will be looking for another overall rally victory at this year’s New England Forest Rally. Also expected at the top of the charts at this year’s event will be Canadian rally Ace Antoine L’Estage along with his co-driver and fiance’ Nathalie Richard driving their John Buffum-prepared & Rockstar Energy-backed Mitsubishi Evolution X. A former overall winner of the New England Forest Rally, L’Estage is a very technical driver as well as a multi-time Canadian Rally Champion who can’t be overlooked regarding the overall victory in Maine. New to this year’s New England Forest Rally will be a
large contingent of Regional rally teams from across the Northeastern United Sates and Eastern Canada. These teams will be competing for their share of $15,000 in prize money as the Maine-based rally will be just one of three rally events in the United States that make up the three-round MaxAttack! Championship for Regional rally teams for 2009 – the other two rally events include Rally Idaho and the Ojibwe Forests Rally in Minnesota. Although the New England Forest Rally will be contested over two days and 125-plus miles of gravel and forest stages for the National competitors, the Regional rally teams will compete on the very same roads as the National teams, but in two separate one-day Regional rally events run simultaneously with the National rally. Friday’s Regional rally will be known at the “Drive Your Future Rally” presented by the National Guard and will be highlighted by a “Super Special” in the town of Mexico, Maine. Taking place at the Mexico Recreational Area located just off Rt. 17 in Mexico, spectators will be have the opportunity to watch their favorite rally driver or team complete an entire gravel rally stage, complete with a jump, from start to finish right in front of them. Fans will also have the chance for an up-close look at the service crews as they take care of their rally cars at the Service Park which will also be based at the Mexico Recreation Area. As a special attraction for fans of all ages, National Guard units from Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont will be on hand at the Mexico Recreation Area with a large display of state-of-the-art military vehicles to check out. On Saturday, the rally action moves west along Route 2 to Coos County and the city of Berlin in Northern New Hampshire where rally teams will compete on a series of gravel and forest stages from Berlin north along the Androscoggin River to the sleepy village of Errol and beyond. A number of scenic spectator areas will be available along the competition stages where fans will be able to watch their favorite drivers compete. They will also be treated to a “Super Special” in Berlin on Saturday morning where teams will test their skills on a halfmile course that winds its way in and around the old Berlin paper mill site located on the north side of the city. - Supplied: Rally America
Pikes Peak International Hillclimb action this weekend
What began on 10 August 1916 as an automobile race featuring Barney Oldfield and Eddie Rickenbacker to help promote a new highway to the top of a Colorado mountain will present its 87th edition on Sunday 19 July as America’s second oldest motorsports event, behind only the fabled Indy 500. The Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, with almost 50 car or truck drivers and 115 motorcycle racers in 11 divisions, including automotive, semi truck, exhibition, open wheel, super stock car, pro truck and motorcycle classes, will attack the 14,110-foot peak in one of the nation‘s most exciting sports events. The Race to the Clouds takes its competitors to the summit of Pikes Peak, a distance of 19,99 km (12,42 miles) over 156 turns, climbing 1,439 meters (4,721 ft) from the start at Mile 7 on Pikes Peak Highway at 2,862 meters (9,390 ft) on grades averaging 7% over both gravel and paved sections. NASCAR rookie Max Papis will drive the pace car to open the historic race, which will be viewed by several thousand spectators who line the road to the summit. The buzz about this year’s race centers around four wellknown international drivers who will try to crack the Peak’s elusive 10-minute barrier for the first time in the Unlimited division. Two supercharged Ford Rallycross Fiestas from the Olsberg Motor Sport Evolution team from Sweden make their debut, driven by Andreas Eriksson and rally legend Marcus Gronholm. Eriksson, 35, is a four-time Swedish Rally Champion, with multiple Rallycross victories, and Gronholm, 41, is one of World Rallying’s greatest drivers with two World Championships and 30 WRC victories to his credit. Japanese superstar Nobuhiro Tajima will be back again this year in his Suzuki Sport speed machine to go for the mark again, but this time he faces the new and exciting challenge posed by the entry of the Fiesta and their super-star drivers. Tajima clocked 10min 18,250s last summer in his attempt to crack the barrier. But, the trio will also face British Rallycross Champion Mark Rennison, a new entry who will bring his famous 1999
Ford RS200 to the Peak to square off with the three other international drivers in the assault on the record. In all, a dozen defending champions are back from the 2008 event including record holders like veteran Rhys Millen of Huntington Beach, California (Time Attack 2WD). He set a world record on the Peak last summer with his winning time clocking of 12min 31,06s in his 2007 Pontiac Solstice GXP, but this time he’ll be driving a modified 550hp Hyundai Genesis Coupe as he goes for his third straight win. 2008 Super Stock Car winner Clint Vahsholtz has signed up to defend his Pikes Peak crown in a 2002 Ford Mustang to represent the famed family again. He’s won 15 of the 17 Hill Climbs he’s entered, and needs only three more wins on the Peak to break his dad’s (Leonard) record mark of 18. The first running of the Pikes Peak Hill Climb in 1916 was promoted by regional icon Spencer Penrose, who had finished widening the narrow carriage road into a much wider “Pikes Peak Highway.” The race was an idea to encourage tourism. The first Pikes Peak Champion was 22-year old Rea Lentz from Washington. His Romano Demon Special was the smallest car entered and he was the youngest driver. His time was 20 min 55,6s. After his win, he was never heard from again by anyone associated with the race. Among those entered in that first-ever event was crowdpleaser Oldfield. He drove a big Delage, and while he did not distinguish himself among the top drivers spectators came to watch this famous man attack the Peak. Rickenbacker, later to become famous as a World War I flying ace, was also registered to drive. The oldest current class is the Open Wheel division which has been run since 1916 and has been won by such names as Mario Andretti, Al Unser, Bobby Unser, and Robby Unser (the current class record holder, achieving 10min 05,85s in 1994). The overall record is held by Nobuhiro “Monster” Tajima from Japan who clocked a time of 10min 01,408 on 21 July 2007 driving the 1000 hp mid-engined Suzuki XL7 Hill Climb Special, breaking the previous record (set in 1994 by Rod Millen) by less than three seconds. The winning time in 1916 was 20min 55,40s set by Rea Lentz. In 1989 an award-winning short film about the 1988 event was released by French director Jean-Louis Mourey. The film, titled Climb Dance, captured the efforts of Finnish former World Rally Champion Ari Vatanen, as he won the event in a record-breaking time with his turbocharged Peugeot 405 T16 (pictured above). H&H will carry a FULL event review!
Hanninen scores Skoda’s first IRC victory at Rally Russia!
With three days and 13 stages behind them, the Skoda men can reflect on a dominant performance in which Hanninen was only beaten to one fastest stage time through the course of the entire event. “Of course, it’s great for my second time here in Vyborg and my second Rally Russia victory,” Hanninen said. “Of course, my goal was winning over here, but we all know how difficult this rally was. I did all I can to avoid the rocks. Luck also helped
a bit I think. But anyway, the most important thing is that I didn’t have any punctures. And it’s a 1-2 for Skoda, so a great result!” For Kopecky, the title fight has now become a reality, slotting in between Peugeot’s top drivers Kris Meeke and Freddy Loix at the top of the points table after another measured and mature gravel performance. “Last year, I lost second place after a puncture. So this year I told myself not to push 100%, because the risk is so high,” he said. “On a few stages I tried to push a little bit more and the times were not so bad. But Juho was very fast, like last year, and there was no way to catch him. This is the perfect weekend for us and now we can work towards repeating it on home ground in the Czech Republic next month.” Giandomenico Basso eventually prevailed to claim third place after a rally-long battle with his Abarth team mate Anton Alen and the flying Proton of Guy Wilks. “It’s always great to grab
some points after such a difficult rally,” the Italian said. “Yesterday, we had a water leak and that made us worry about the engine. The balance of the car was not good and we couldn’t fix that. Plus I had trouble with punctures and so we need to analyse the data, see what was missing, and use these points to boost our season.” Wilks meanwhile recovered from dropping back from third to seventh on Day 2 and ended the rally in fourth place, despite picking up another puncture on SS13. Next man up was Franz Wittmann, celebrating his best-ever finish in the IRC with Ralliart after a time penalty for Anton Alen was made following the final stage. For the local men there were slim pickings to be found on the 2009 Rally Russia. Reigning Russian champion Alesandr Zheludov retired his Peugeot 207, which had run as high as fifth. The attrition rate gave Franz Wittmann a chance to shine, taking his bestever IRC finish for Ralliart ahead of the similar Evo IX of Boris Zimin. Meanwhile Kaspar Koitla from Estonia not only gave Honda its second successive 2WD victory but also claimed a point for eighth overall. The next event in Madeira will see the works Skodas sit out the IRC’s second Atlantic trip of the season as they focus on repeating their dominance at home on the Barum Rally Zlin in six weeks time. FINAL IRC Rally Russia CLASSIFICATION: 01) J. Hanninen/M/ Markkula (Skoda Fabia S2000) - 01h 45min 15,2s 02) J. Kopecky/P. Stary (Skoda Fabia S2000) + 01min 20,9s 03) G. Basso/M. Dotta (Abarth Grande Punto S2000) + 04min 06s 04) G. Wilks/P. Pugh (Proton Satria Neo S2000) + 06min 33s 05) A. Alen/T. Alanne (Abarth Grande Punto S2000) + 07min 30,8s 06) F. Wittmann/B. Ettel (Mitsubishi Lancer EVO IX) + 09min 07,1s 07) B. Zimin/E. Zhivoglazov (Mitsubishi Lancer EVO IX) + 15min 53.9s 08) K. Koiytla/A. Heiskonen (Honda Civic Type R) + 20min 09,9s 09) D. Voronov/B.Demchinsky (Peugeot 206 XS) +30min 48,4s 10) A. Zolotar/T. Linistkiy (Peugeot 306) + 42min 00,8s
- Text and Images Credit: ircseries.com
Historic win for BP Volkswagen team at Volkswagen Rally
The BP Volkswagen rally team is celebrating an historic victory following the Volkswagen Rally on Friday and Saturday in Port Elizabeth. Traditionally this event is the chink in their armour on the national rally circuit, but not in 2009. This season the team not only won the event, but claimed all three podium positions in the process in their BP Ultimate-powered S2000 Volkswagen Polos. The defending national champions Hergen Fekken and navigator Pierre Arries were the only members of BP Volkswagen’s S2000 team that had not posted a Volkswagen Rally victory – until this year. The pair romped home to a convincing win – virtually a full minute ahead of their teammates Enzo Kuun and Guy Hodgson. Kuun and Hodgson had a rocky start to the season, not finishing the very first event this year. This has not deterred them and they have posted progressively better results at each passing event. Their second place in the event not only helped their team to achieve a significant victory, but has also given their 2009 championship points standings a boost. The third link in the chain for the BP Volkswagen team at this event was Jan Habig and Douglas Judd who filled the final podium position for the event. The team have threatened a one-two-three victory before, but events have conspired to prevent it from happening – until their home event. “Stage 10 was good for us,” says Habig. “We wanted to see how much time we could make up and we didn’t know if they could fix Gemmell’s problem so every second counted.”
The dash to beat Gemmell was complicated by an intermittent miss on the Toyota Auris. The Volkswagen team could not be certain if their opposition had actually repaired the fault and had to compete as though the competition was running at full capacity. “We’re very happy with the result,” says Fekken. “It was a good win and put us on a good footing for the rest of the season.” For Fekken and Arries the event could have turned out very differently – they picked up a log somewhere on stage nine and this lodged in their engine compartment. Incredibly it caused no damage and their performance was unaffected in the event. “We didn’t even know it was there,” says Fekken. “At the end of the stage the marshals said there was something stuck in the front of the car.” Down in the A5 class, Gugu Zulu and navigator Carl Peskin did not have a great deal of fortune in their BP Volkswagen Citi Golf. The duo had a good start to the event but on the third stage a sudden drop in oil pressure forced their retirement. Their teammates, André Cleenwerck and Des de Fortier, did not suffer any problems in their BP Ultimate-powered Citi Golf and powered their way through to a class win by the end of day two. “We’ve had plenty of trouble on this event in the past,” says Cleenwerck. “It feels good to finally finish the Volkswagen Rally – and do it with a class win.” - Text Supplied; Image by Motorpics
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Longmore Forest decides outcome of Volkswagen Rally
IMAGES BY MOTORPICS
Claiming a clean sweep of the winners’ podium this weekend was the BP Volkswagen Team, the first time in the history of South African Rallying that Volkswagen has scored a one-two-three result, WRITES EVAN ROTHMAN. As if choreographed, the BP Volkswagen Polo S2000s finished in the order of their rally numbers: No. 1: Hergen Fekken/ Pierre Arries; No. 2: Enzo Kuun/Guy Hodgson; No. 3: Jan Habig/Douglas Judd. The Volkswagen and BP bosses couldn’t have asked for a better weekend from their top flight crews! This their third win of the season, Fekken and Arries now lead the Drivers’ Championship by a healthy 14 points, with only three rounds remaining. With the rally’s 12 stages divided into 6 each day it was the Castrol Toyota Auris S2000 of Johnny Gemmell and Peter Marsh that lead proceedings by a slender three seconds at the end of the opening day’s stages. With the longest stage of the rally on Day Two (48km-long), Gemmell and Fekken both knew that the three tricky stages in the
Longmore Forest would decide the outcome of this rally. In the first stage of Day Two, Gemmell’s Toyota Auris S2000 developed a mysterious misfire that cost him 38sec to drop him from the lead to fifth place overall and handing the rally lead to Fekken. Gemmell fiddled under his car’s bonnet before the next stage, remedying the misfire. This allowed Gemmell to attack, moving him into fourth place. A spirited drive in SS9 (48km-long) rewarded Gemmell with third spot overall. Unfortunately, the misfire returned and dogged his performance for the remainder of the rally’s three stages. Habig, thrilling the crowd with his peerless driving skills, attacked Gemmell in search of the final podium slot. Habig managed to reel in Gemmell’s advantage to 1,2sec with only the final stage left to run. In spectacular fashion, Habig wowed the crowds by leapfrogging Gemmell to finish the rally in third place overall. Fifth position overall was claimed by Japie van Niekerk/Robin Houghton (New Africa Developments Toyota RunX S2000), giving them their best result this season. A hard-charging Mark Cronje and Robert Paisley in the second factory Castrol Toyota Auris S2000 left the road in SS3, resulting in a severely damaged radiator. In fixing the broken
radiator, seven minutes were lost at the service park to give the pairing a 01min 10sec time penalty for lateness. This penalty dropped them to eighth position overall at the end of Day One, but they clawed their way up to sixth position and a stage win at the end of the rally. The Rally Chicks, sisters Lola and Megan Verlaque, impressed with an 11th overal finish! Sporting eye-catching decals on their Volkswagen Polo S2000, the ladies are steadily climbing to a top ten overall result! Challenging the factory S2000 machines on every stage was the Subaru Impreza of Charl Wilken and Greg Godrich. The Sasol/Konica Minolta Subaru Impreza finished Day One in fourth place, but were unable to keep up with the S2000s in the Longmore Forest stages, and dropped to seventh place come the end of the rally. Wilken and Godrich did, however, claim their second consecutive Production Category and Class N4 Drivers’ Championship titles this weekend! The Class A7 battle, which was the most exciting fight of the rally, was won by Evan Hutchison and Elvene Coetzee in their Motorite Racing Toyota RunX A7. In a dog fight with Stevan Wilken/Greg Gericke (Pannar Seeds Volkswagen Polo A7) on Day One, Hutchison and Coetzee lay behind Wilken going into the Longmore Forest stages on Day Two after suffering a 50sec time penalty for incurring five minutes lateness in service to repair a damaged shock absorber. In the long 48-km Longmore Forest stage, Wilken slowed his pace while Hutchison attacked hard. The result was that
Hutchison and Coetzee were 90sec faster than their rivals, handing them the Class A7 lead. Wilken bravely fought back, closing the advantage down to 11sec but ran out of kilometres to challenge for the Class A7 lead. This was Hutchison and Coetzee’s first Class win in rallying and their first top ten overall finish. Chris de Wit and Dean Redelinghuys (Team Total Evolution Toyota RunX A7) struggled with their shock absorber settings on Day One, and finished third in class and 13th overall this weekend. Rodney Visagie/ Carolyn Swan (Toyota RunX A6) took Class A6 honours this weekend, beating the Team Total Toyota Auris A6 of Mohammed Moosa and Grant Martin. Both these crews suffered problems throughout the weekend, but managed to finish the event on the podium. In third place were Craig Trott/Robbie Coetzee (Team Total Toyota RunX A6) who limped through most of Day Two’s stages with only three gears. Class A5 was won by Andre Cleenwerck and Des de Fortier in their BP Ultimate Volkswagen CitiGolf A5. Cleenwerck and De Fortier, the reigning class A5 champions had a steady run after their team-mates Gugu Zulu/Carl Peskin retired their BP Volkswagen CitiGolf with a broken engine on stage 3. Round six of the eight round championship will take place on 22 August for the Osram Rally in and around Barkly East and Lady Grey. Always a nail-biting rally, this year’s event will be no exception!
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