s e k a r b d Han &Hairpins
09 Edition 91 July 20
ld of rallying
he wor your insight into t
Citroen and Ford to do battle in Finland!
inside this week:
Raikkonen to rally Abarth
Damseaux wins in Cape Rally
Contents / Issue 91 Welcome to H&H! News • • • • • • • •
Ford and Citroen to stay in WRC Raikkonen to compete in Rally Finland Q & A with Sebastien Loeb Gronholm to drive Abarth S2000 Vatanen ups FIA electioneering Monte Carlo opens IRC 2010 season Novikov in Skoda S2000 in IRC Petter Solberg race on water too
Features • Steve Perez: The Interview
Welcome to issue 91 of HANDBRAKES & HAIRPINS, your FREE weekly insight into the world of rallying! Ford and Citroen have both confirmed their participation in 2010 and 2011 championships of the FIA World Rally Championship. WRC and rallying bosses all breathed a sigh of relief, even heard here in South Africa this week. With more manufacturers promising to join the Fords and Citroens in 2010 and 2011, top flight rallying will get a much-needed shot in the arm. This weekend’s WRC Rally Finland, a highlight on motorsport calendars the world over, is regarded as the spiritual home of this sport. The WRC Drivers’ Championship is tight: only one point separates Mikko Hirvonen and Sebastien Loeb. Without a doubt, the rally action will be fast and furious.
Event Reports • • • •
Motorite Revo 1 claims fourth win Ford’s Flying Finns to win? Island paradise hosts thrilling IRC JP Damseaux victorious in Cape
This past weekend’s CPMCC Wingfield Motors Rally was exciting, with JP Damseaux and Rob Williams dominating the event. An event of high attrition, the conditions were challenging and demanding. As always, I hope you enjoy this week’s exciting edition! Yours in Rallying, Evan Rothman
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Hanninen to drive Red Bull Rallye Skoda Fabia S2000 in Finland Juho Hanninen will drive a Raimund Baumschlager prepared, Red Bull Rallye Team backed, Skoda Fabia S2000 on the forthcoming Neste Oil Rally Finland, according to GPweek.com. The Rally Russia winner will pilot the Fabia that Patrick Sandell normally uses in the PWRC and it is also the car which Raimund Baumschlager has taken to four victories in the Austrian championship this season. RBR team manager Baumschlager commented: “For sure this [the Fabia] will be a favourite to win the Group N category on this event and will be fitted with the latest specification shock absorbers. It is in an identical spec to the works IRC cars.” Hanninen will face competition from his IRC rival, Anton Alen, who will be driving his usual Abarth Grande Punto S2000 on his home event. Naturally the big Super 2000 category draw in Finland will be the WRC debut of Kimi Raikkonen in his Punto. - Credit: gpweek.com and rallybuzz.com
Hirvonen to debut his Ford Escort MkII in 2010 Artic Lapland Rally
Interestingly, the 57-year-old Finn claims his view is widespread. “The big, big majority of people involved in the FIA are not happy with the current state of affairs,” he said in an interview with Italy’s 422race.com. “FIA is not in a very good health,” Vatanen, who has criticised the way in which Todt has been positioned as Mosley’s natural heir, added. He believes the former Ferrari boss is being favoured. “Jean goes with a private plane with his girlfriend, supposedly as a FIA representative, to various parts of the world,” said Vatanen. “In fact, he is doing a campaign totally supported and paid of FIA,” he added. The FIA’s club representatives of Spain and Germany said recently they were not yet in a position to declare their support for one candidate over the other. But Vatanen said: “I’m just back from Spain and both the big Spanish clubs are behind me, the ADAC club (of Germany) is behind me, as is the biggest club in the world, the (American) AAA, in the person of his president Bob Dalbernet.
Ford works driver Mikko Hirvonen has decided to debut his Historic Rally Sport built Mk2 Escort BDA on next January’s Arctic Lapland Rally, according to autosport.com.
“We also need people from Asia and Africa behind a credible candidate,” he added.
Hirvonen tested the car for the first time in June when he drove the historic-spec Group 4 machine in the UK, where the car is built and prepared.
It is believed that more support can be found within the walls of the F1 manufacturers alliance FOTA’s Geneva headquarters, although the teams actually have no say in the election of the sport’s governing president.
“The Arctic Lapland Rally looks like a good event to use the car for the first time,” said Hirvonen. “I like the stages there and, more importantly, it’s on snow, so the stones won’t damage the car.”
Vatanen however insists he is “not the puppet of FOTA”, even if he sympathises with their plight amid the sport’s recent political turmoil.
“I’m really looking forward to getting out in it again. I’ll do some testing somewhere before then, but driving it on snow will be really good fun.” - Credit: autosport.com and rallybuzz.com
Vatanen ups electioneering
He believes the views of the teams, most prominently Ferrari, were ignored as Mosley tried to press ahead with budget capping. “Ferrari is the most successful business concept in the automotive world and we must learn from the best practice in life,” said Vatanen.
Ari Vatanen on Monday revealed he is already backed by some influential figures and bodies as he vies to become the next FIA president.
“Had they gone to a parallel championship, it would have been a disaster, but it would have been because they were obliged to go.
The former world rally champion and European Parliamentarian, who is to face off against the incumbent Max Mosley’s preferred successor Jean Todt, insists the October elections represent a choice between stale continuity or the fresh winds of change.
“They did not want to go, because it would have been lot of work for them, but it was reasonable,” he added. Vatanen also believes it is possible that Monaco’s Michel Boeri, currently president of the FIA senate, will nominate.
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“With Michel we are on the same side, because we are both for a new FIA. We are definitely against conserving the current FIA, which Jean represents. We are the persons for the change,” he insisted. - Credit: GMM and rallybuzz.com
Gronholm to drive Abarth Grande Punto S2000 in Rally of Scotland Marcus Gronholm has held talks with Abarth about driving a factory Grande Punto S2000 on the inaugural Rally of Scotland in November, according to Motorsport News. There have been some discussions but nothing more than that,” Gronholm said to MN. Rally of Scotland Clerk of the Course Iain Campbell said: “To get a double world champion like Gronholm would be a great endorsement for the event in its first year. All the main teams are due to be in Scotland and having Gronholm on the entry will provide another star attraction for the many fans we are expecting.” “The stages are a lot narrower than he is used to but they are fast and flowing and I’m sure he’ll like them,” added Campbell. - Credit: Motorsport News and rallybuzz.com
him second place on Rally Poland last month and says he will be part of the Ford team on all the remaining rallies this year - focussed on supporting team leader Mikko Hirvonen. Four weeks ago Latvala said his dramatic last stage crash was the biggest mistake he had ever made. The straight-talking Finn feared it could end his career at the BP Ford Abu Dhabi Team. “I understand really if they don’t want me to carry on with the team,” he said. Shortly afterwards, team boss Malcolm Wilson said he was ‘running out of ideas’ about how to get the gifted but accident prone 24-year-old back on track as a reliable second driver. Wilson did confirm, however, that Latvala would be part of the team in Finland. Since then he has been given the nod for all the remaining rounds this year. Today, in an exclusive wrc.com blog update after his pre-event test, Latvala said he has moved on from the events in Poland and is determined to help his championship leading team-mate to secure the 2009 drivers’ title. “My problems on Rally Poland are behind me now,” said Latvala. “Mikko is challenging hard for the drivers’ title so my tactics for the final four rounds of the year are to drive to support him, and do as much as I can to help him. He drove superbly in Greece and Poland so I hope he can repeat his successes in Finland next weekend.” - Credit: wrc.com
Q & A with Sebastien Loeb! How do you see the situation in the World Championship going into the ninth round? Loeb: “The way things stand at the moment, it’s hard to have a totally free mind, but I feel quite relaxed. Despite what some people have written, I didn’t spend my holidays in an F1 simulator! Indeed, I made the most of the short break to have some time to myself. Some friends came to visit us at our home and we spent a weekend in the Alps doing activities like mountain biking, rafting and canoeing. There are only four rounds of the 2009 championship left and we will have no alternative but to attack! Even if you just take calculated risks, anything can happen, and that’s what’s making this championship so challenging…” How much did having to retire on the opening day of Rally Poland affect you? Loeb: “I obviously didn’t take it well at the time. If I had spotted the tree-stump during recce, we would have noted it and I would have taken a different line through that turn. As it was, I turned in exactly how I wanted to and the stump broke the front suspension subframe. As is the case every time we have a problem, the technical team took a close look at that subframe and they noticed there had been a productionrelated problem with it. Otherwise, there’s every chance it would have taken the knock in its stride, although we will never know for sure.” There are only four more rallies to come. How will you approach them? Loeb: “Last year showed that we are capable of matching the Finns on their home event. Rally Australia will be new for everyone, so we will all start on an equal footing. In Catalunya, we have the edge on paper, but I am very much aware of how much Mikko has progressed on sealed surfaces. The season ends with Wales Rally GB, which is an event we won last year, although Mikko will be very much at home on it, too. It promises to be a very close and exciting final run-in. It could go either way should one of us fail to finish an event. If that should happen, it will probably be impossible to catch up if the other driver doesn’t make any mistakes. One thing which is sure is that a win in Finland would give me a psychological advantage going into the last three rallies…” - Credit: Citroen Racing
Latvala moves on from Poland error Jari-Matti Latvala has drawn a line under the incident that cost
Kosciuszko needs win in J-WRC Despite having led the Junior World Rally Championship, Poland’s Michal Kosciuszko now faces an uphill struggle to clinch the series he looked to be dominating for much of the season, according to www.wrc.com. The works Suzuki driver’s failure to collect points on the last round of the series, his home event: Rally Poland, means he goes to the forthcoming Rally Finland tied on points with Martin Prokop. His Citroen-driving rival has two point-scoring opportunities, while Kosciuszko will sit out the J-WRC finale in Spain. Technically, Kevin Abbring can still lift the award, but his chance is of the outside variety. Aaron Burkart, just six points adrift of the leaders, remains in the thick of the scrap as he still has two scores to come. For Kosciuszko, however, all he can do is push and try to win a third J-WRC round of the season. “Retiring in Poland has hurt my chances badly,” he said. “It’s very tough now. I won twice and finished second twice, but that one no score makes it very hard and maybe a little easier for [Martin] Prokop.” Like his rival, Prokop has won twice and finished second twice and the Czech Republic driver is very much the favourite to lift this year’s title in his C2 S1600. On the fast Finish roads, however, anything can happen. With a bigger emphasis on the car’s power output down the superfast straights and flowing stages, Abbring and his Renault Clio R3 could be ready to spring another surprise and collect a second straight J-WRC success. Abbring delighted onlookers with a stunning performance in Poland and he knows he’ll have to be just as quick and sure-footed to repeat that feat. “I like the fast stages,” he said. “Poland suited me well, we’ll have to see what happens on the next event. One thing is for sure, I’m certainly looking forward to getting there!” This event is the first time all of the Junior drivers will compete in one event since Rally d’Italia in May - and the field is also bolstered by highly rated Finnish driver Kalle Pinomaki, who takes one of the wild card entries in a Renault Clio. - Credit: wrc.com
Malcom Stewart: R.I.P. The chairman of Rally New Zealand has led tributes to one of the country’s best known motorsport names, Malcolm Stewart, who passed away on Wednesday morning (22 July) aged 63. Stewart, who lived in Hawke’s Bay, was a successful and active competitor in rally events and held the record for the most starts on his home round of the WRC, having contested it 29 times in the 39 years it has been run. His first event was in 1972, when he was aged 26. “It is with much sadness we record Malcolm’s passing,” says Rally New Zealand chairman Chris Carr. “Malcolm contested the annual event more times than any other driver with a best result of first Kiwi home and fifth overall in 1985 driving the Group B Audi Quattro. He also won the national rally championship title in 1983 driving a Ford Escort BDA. “Malcolm will be fondly remembered; his cheery smile and attitude is the lasting impression we will always have of him,” added Carr. “We express our deepest sympathy and sincerest condolences to Malcolm’s wife Sue and their family.” In recent years Stewart won the 2003 Rally of Nelson before finishing second Kiwi in the 2004 Rally New Zealand event. He was to have started the 2008 Rally New Zealand and celebrated his 30th start, but had to withdraw his entry when he was diagnosed with motor neurone disease. - Credit: wrc.com
New Cardiff base for WRC Rally GB The organisers of Rally Great Britain, the final round of this year’s World Rally Championship, have confirmed this year’s event will be based from a prestigious new location in the Welsh capital city, Cardiff, according to www.wrc.com. Plans for the new format were unveiled today at the rally’s official launch in Cardiff. For the past two years the event has been run from a Service Park on Swansea waterfront, but this year rally HQ moves to a new home inside Cardiff’s Wales Millennium Centre, while the Service Park is just outside, within sight of the Welsh Assembly government’s Senned building. The 16 stage route for this year’s rally was also revealed today and looks very similar to the 2008 version. Two notable exceptions are last year’s stand-alone Walters Arena spectator stage and the Cardiff Millennium Stadium super special - both of which have been dropped. The famous Walters Arena does still feature in this year’s event, however, as it forms part of the Rheola stage run twice on Sunday as SS14 and SS16. Back for this year, however, is the remote Service Park in Builth Wells, set in the midst of Friday’s stages in Mid Wales. Andrew Coe, chief executive of rally organisers IMS, said: “We are delighted to launch this year’s Rally of Great Britain and hope that the event will be bigger and better than ever. [The new location] means that not only will the hub of rally activity be easily accessible for visitors but it will create a fantastic
atmosphere within the vibrant Welsh capital.” - Credit: wrc.com
Petter Solberg races on water too World Rally Championship stars Petter and Henning Solberg were guest drivers at their home round of the Class 1 World Powerboat Championship at the weekend, and raced each other at speeds of up to 180kph. The pair were special guests at their home round of the Class 1 world powerboat championship in Arendal, Norway. It was the first time Petter had raced a boat since he was involved in a dramatic rescue six weeks ago at the PokerRun powerboat festival in Stavanger, when a five-man boat flipped over at 185km/h. This time Henning and Petter raced one another over a flying kilometre in Nor-Tech 3600 supercats, which are used as safety boats in the Class 1 series. Accompanied by throttlemen Trond Schou (Petter) and Per Carsten Michelsen (Henning), the brothers both reached speeds of 180kph (112mph) before calling a draw after winning one pass each. Both Solbergs will be back on four wheels next week when they start Neste Oil Rally Finland this weekend. - Credit: wrc.com
Pirelli confirmed as Official Tyre Supplier for BRC for further 3 years An agreement has been reached for Pirelli to continue as the Official Control Tyre Supplier to the MSA British Rally Championship for a further three years. Pirelli’s contribution to the Championship will ensure continued stability and the deal allows the Star Driver scheme to continue within Britain’s premier rally championship. Dominic Sandivasci, Managing Director of Pirelli Tyres Ltd said, “I’m delighted that we have been able to continue our long term relationship with the British Rally Championship. This is good news for Teams and Competitors alike, as it provides stability and a foundation which will allow the Championship to continue to flourish. Pirelli is committed to developing young talent with a view to driving the sport forward and our new agreement allows us to continue to do this within the BRC.” The MSA British Rally Championship will move into its 52nd year in 2010 and it is expected to continue to attract new, exciting and talented drivers as well as providing a showcase for established drivers and teams. The Championship has moved towards a level playing field approach, controlling tyres and fuel as well as restricting cars to production-based machinery. This format has allowed true talent to shine and has been instrumental in attracting drivers from the British Isles, Australia, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Ireland, Japan, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden and Zimbabwe. To reward the challenges faced in the British Rally
Championship, the Pirelli Star Driver scheme has already given two talented drivers the chance to contest a whole season in the BRC, with this year’s eventual winner benefitting from the same chance in 2010. The 2008 Star Driver shootout finalists have also been eligible for a share of £10,500 prize money across the season, £6000 already split between Jason Pritchard, Luke Pinder and Andreas Sjolander. Championship Manager Mark Taylor said; “Pirelli has been synonymous with the British Rally Championship for several years now and I welcome their continued involvement and support. It will be fantastic to continue working with a company which not only provides excellent products and service, but has a shared vision for the future of rallying here in the UK.” - Credit: rallybrc.co.uk
Confirmed: 2010 IRC season opens with Monte Carlo Rally The Automobile Club de Monaco (ACM) and Eurosport Events, promoter of the Intercontinental Rally Challenge, have announced that the Rallye Automobile Monte-Carlo, will, for the second year running, be the opening event of the 2010 IRC season. Now that the Monte Carlo Rally is no longer within the World Championship series, its organisers have decided to remain with the IRC for next season. As Rene Isoart, General Commissioner of the ACM, said, “The Monte Carlo Rally is staying with the IRC because we have found within this series all the necessary ingredients to allow the Rally to return to the fundamental values of the sport.”
Italian Rossetti, 33, was given the name “Mr 100 Per Cent” for winning four IRC rounds in succession between 2007 and 2008. However, he has concentrated on the Italian Rally Championship since signing for Abarth for this season and has only made one appearance in the IRC in 2009, the Rallye Automobile Monte-Carlo back in January, when he was an early retirement after crashing. He will partner Giandomenico Basso in the Abarth line-up. - Credit: ircseries.com
Romania’s Sibiu Rally joins IRC Support Events for 2010 The Intercontinental Rally Challenge Supporter Event programme has welcomed its latest addition after the Sibiu Rally in Romania, the country’s largest, signed up for the scheme for next season. “This announcement marks a great opportunity for the Sibiu Rally to make its name in Europe and the wider motor sport world. The partnership with IRC is also a big opportunity to promote the tourism in city of Sibiu,” said Berti Panaiot, the Sibiu Rally PR and Marketing Manager. “It is a first step towards our goal of one day joining the IRC calendar, and to learn from and work alongside our colleagues from this fantastic global series.” This year’s Sibiu Rally took place from July 16-18 and was won by Finns Jarkko Miettinen and Mikko Lukka in a Mitsubishi Lancer. - Credit: ircseries.com
Evgeny Novikov to rally Skoda Fabia S2000 in IRC Barum Rally Ziln
Geraldine Filiol, Director General of Eurosport Events announced, “We are very proud to again extend a warm welcome from the IRC to the Monte Carlo Rally and to continue our fruitful collaboration with the ACM. As with the 2009 rally, we are planning wide-ranging coverage of the event with live TV broadcasts of the specials offering viewers a unique coverage of this prestigious event.”
Evgeny Novikov has stated, in an interview with Russian website RallyZone.ru, that he will contest the IRC Barum Rally in a Skoda Fabia S2000 run by the Italian A-Style Team.
There will be several improvements to this 78th edition of the Rally, to enhance the opening leg of the 2010 IRC, which this year will be centred in Valence, capital of the department of Drome, in the Valentinois region (please check the IRC website for further details).
The Russian driver also confirmed that he will contest Rally Catalunya and Rally GB for the Citroen Junior Team, in the C4 WRC, as he has secured funding from Citroen Russia. - Credit: rallybuzz.com
The 78th Rallye Automobile Monte-Carlo will benefit from great international media coverage, with live broadcasts on Eurosport, Eurosport 2 and Eurosport Asia-Pacific, reaching nearly 70 countries. - Credit: ircseries.com
Luca Rossetti returns to IRC in second Abarth entry for Madeira Luca Rossetti will return to the Intercontinental Rally Challenge later this month when he drives a second factory Abarth Grande Punto on Rali Vinho Madeira.
Novikov went onto explain that Skoda Motorsport will provide an engineer for the Czech Republic event and they have also promised if any problems arise.
Kimi Raikkonen excited to compete in Rally Finland this weekend Kimi Raikkonen has been reported as saying that he can’t wait to compete on Rally Finland this weekend and have some serious fun. “Now I can’t wait to race at the Finland Rally, although I’m going there to have fun. We had some very good tests with my Fiat Grande Punto Abarth S2000 and we’re ready for racing. I’ve got great experience in Formula 1 but not in rally driving, although I know a bit what it’s about. Getting used to
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a new track in Formula 1 is quite easy, but in a rally the stages always change,” he enthused. “After this experience I’ll relax with my family and my friends. It’s high summer in Finland and it’s good to chill out a bit before we start with the preparations for the European GP at Valencia.” Meanwhile, Tommi Makinen commented to Finnish YLE News about Kimi’s abilities in a rally car: “Based on Monday’s tests I think that Kimi will do very well. The car appeared to work fine and Kimi was going astonishingly fast when you consider that he jumped straight out of a Ferrari and got behind the wheel of a rally car.” “It has to be remembered that this is the first Finnish WRC rally for Kimi. There are lots of places here where you would like to brake but you simply can’t.” “Kimi’s handling of the car is brilliant. Kimi’s driving style is relaxed, confident and professional. It’s comfortable to sit beside him when he’s driving although normally I don’t like to be onboard in anyone’s car.” - Credit: rallybuzz.com
Ford extends WRC participation in two-year agreement with M-Sport Ford of Europe this week confirmed its commitment to the FIA World Rally Championship by announcing its continued participation for the next two seasons. Ford, together with long-term partner M-Sport, will continue its successful WRC programme in 2010 and 2011. The record-breaking Ford Focus RS World Rally Car, which claimed the manufacturers’ world title in 2006 and 2007, will again contest the championship next season. In 2011 the team will switch to the all-new Ford Fiesta S2000, based on the hugely successful Fiesta road car which is one of Europe’s topselling vehicles. The team will retain its current driver line-up of Mikko Hirvonen/Jarmo Lehtinen and Jari-Matti Latvala/Miikka Anttila. Senior partners BP and Abu Dhabi will also continue their support. Ford has a long and successful heritage in world rallying. With 71 world rally wins in WRC and a record-breaking 115 consecutive points finishes, Ford is one of the most successful and formidable teams in the series. The squad goes into this week’s Rally Finland with Mikko Hirvonen and Jarmo Lehtinen heading the drivers’ points table with four rounds remaining. Ford of Europe chairman and CEO John Fleming highlighted the strong will to continue from both parties. “We’ve worked closely with Malcolm and M-Sport to reach this point, and today’s announcement is important because it emphasises the commitment that we share about maintaining Ford’s prominent position in motorsport globally. This renewed commitment builds on the excellent relationship that we have with Malcolm and his dedicated team,” he said.
participation is to the WRC itself. Everyone is working hard to make international rallying more attractive for manufacturers, the news media, and the viewing public, and we’re confident that this will increase the benefits to Ford, and draw in more competitors in the coming years,” he added. Gerard Quinn, Senior Manager, Motorsport, at Ford of Europe commented on this week’s announcement. “Ford participation in WRC is targeted to display the attributes of our road products and to send a clear message to the public from a hugely competitive environment. The WRC is a global showroom and our continuation in the championship is not only beneficial for Ford, but also for the sport as a whole. “The WRC has made significant progress recently, particularly in reducing the costs of participation and confirming new long-term technical regulations to bring much-needed stability for manufacturers. We believe that with the help of these changes the championship will benefit from greater global media exposure as it goes from strength to strength, and lead to other manufacturers following our path over the next two years,” said Quinn. M-Sport managing director and team director Malcolm Wilson said: “I’m delighted to continue our partnership with Ford. The announcement is a further vote of confidence in M-Sport and displays the importance in which Ford holds the WRC. “We have a young and dynamic driver line-up which continues to gain in experience and maturity. The Focus RS WRC has displayed its speed, strength and reliability time and again, while we have the infrastructure in place at our Dovenby Hall base to develop, with Ford’s support, the Fiesta S2000 into a car capable of taking the fight to our rivals in 2011. We’re not in WRC just for fun, we’re there to challenge for titles and we’ll do everything to win. “Throughout 2010 and 2011 we expect to maintain Ford’s significant presence in the WRC service park, both through the official ‘works’ team and via our customers,” added Wilson. - Credit: Ford of Europe
Citroen to continue its participation in FIA World Rally Championship Having racked up an impressive total of four manufacturers’ titles, five drivers’ world championships and 58 victories, Citroen will continue its participation in the FIA World Rally Championship for the 2010 and 2011 seasons. Citroen, which is currently leading the manufacturers’ standings, today confirms that it will enter the FIA World Rally Championship for the next two years (2010 and 2011). World rallying forms an inherent part of Citroen’s DNA, allowing the company to showcase its principle of Creative Technology. The team’s crews have demonstrated Citroen’s performance, quality and desire to succeed all over the roads and special stages of the world.
“The WRC is motorsport’s toughest competition for productionbased vehicles and we’re delighted to be extending our participation. I believe that our successes in WRC and other motorsport disciplines give Ford employees the opportunity to be proud of the company for which they work. I hope they will share my pride at seeing Ford’s vehicles on the winners’ podium around the world for years to come,” he added.
Olivier Quesnel, the director of Citroen Racing, said: “In the current tricky financial climate, it is important to keep on expressing ourselves through motorsport and through the victories of our teams and cars. The FIA World Rally Championship, where the costs remain contained, is an excellent promotional vehicle. Citroen Racing is delighted by the trust that has been placed in us by Citroen’s board of directors and the PSA Group.”
Ian Slater, Ford of Europe’s Vice President of Communications and Public Affairs, said: “Everyone at Ford is proud of our long heritage in Motorsport, and proud of the successes we’ve enjoyed in WRC, particularly our world titles in 2006 and 2007, and this new commitment with Malcolm to WRC shows that we are hungry for more success.
He added: “We are currently working with our existing driver line-up to renew their contracts. I am confident that Sebastien Loeb and Dani Sordo will be continuing their adventure with Citroen Racing into the future.” - Credit: Citroen Racing
“Just as the World Rally Championship is important to Ford, we understand also how important Ford’s continuing
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STEVE PEREZ THE INTERVIEW
HANDBRAKES & HAIRPINS’ news partner RallyBuzz last week met with drinks entrepreneur Steve Perez, and asked him about how his rallying season was progressing and also found out some interesting facts about his collection of rally cars... Steven J Garcia Perez was born in Chesterfield, Derbyshire, in the United Kingdom, in 1957 where his Spanish father ran a pub and restaurant. Having left school with few qualifications, Steve worked as a trainee chef in his father’s restaurant. When his father died the business was sold and Steve went to work for Allied Breweries as a Technical Manager. Disliking the politics that came with the job, Steve left the company in 1985. In 1997 his company GBL International was formed and created VK Vodka Kick, which proved to be a great success and the business grew rapidly. In 2005 the renamed “Global Brands” turned over £72m. The company received many accolades, including being named as one of “The Bank of Scotland’s fastest growing company’s”. Steve was named “Entrepreneur of the Year” by the CBI Growing Business Awards, as well as winning the “Northern Entrepreneur of the Year.”
Out of the office, Steve managed to find time to indulge in his many passions. He has become a helicopter pilot and has indulged his lifelong passion for cars and rallying. Steve successfully competes as a professional rally driver with the VK Rally Team in his many cars including a WRC-spec Ford Focus, Lancia Stratos and various historic Porsches. The VK Rally Team won the Historic Championship in 2004, the National Championship in 2005 and he was crowned the 2004 ANCRO British National Rally Champion. After your finish in first place finish at the Dukeries Rally what other events are you planning to do in 2009 and will you be taking part in the Wales Rally GB? Steve Perez: Following the Dukeries Rally, I am looking forward to the Swansea Bay Rally. There may still be an outside chance of winning the championship, if Marcus Dodd has several retirements. I will definitely be going flat out for
the rest of the year. It is a fairly quiet part of the year for me now, but I intend to compete on the rest of the ANCRO rounds and towards the end of the year things are hotting up as I will be competing on Rally GB once again. I have a couple of weeks off before going out again on the Roger Albert Clark Rally, which finishes on the 16th November, then me and the team fly out to Africa on the 19th for the Safari Rally so its all go! Going in to the 9th Round of the World Rally Championship the Stobart VK M-Sport Ford Rally Team are 3rd in the Manufacturers’ standings, can you see the team continue to beat the Citroen Junior Rally Team. Steve Perez: I am very pleased with the performance of this years Stobart VK M-Sport Ford Rally Team. I never expected them to beat the might of the main Ford & Citroen teams. And this year Matthew has shown reliability and consistency compared to some young guns at the Citroen Junior Team. Long may this continue! How did you get into Rallying and who are your rallying heroes? Steve Perez: I started off as a co-driver on Road Rallies co driving for people such as Alistair Sutherland. I stopped rallying for a number of years until I decided to have a go in the driving seat where I surprised myself by winning the 2003 British Historic Championship and the following year I won the 2004 British National Rally Championship. I was a great fan of Björn Waldegård and I must say what a pleasure it was to see him drive my Lancia Stratos. He is a master at setting the car up and he will be doing some work for my team prior to the Safari Rally. I am also a fan of Hannu Mikkola who I was honored to sit with last year in my Audi Quattro in which he won the Welsh and Mintex Rally.
Kick Energy has become the main sponsor of the UK Fiesta SportTrophy giving new drivers the chance to get into rallying. Do you think more should be done to encourage young people to take up the sport? Steve Perez: Kick Energy have been very pleased with the sponsorship of the Fiesta Sport Trophy. We are also the sponsor of the Junior Rally Championship for the 14-17 year olds. It is a great opportunity for them to get behind the wheel and gain real rally experience. I think it is a great incentive and should be encouraged further to get more people interested in the sport. We have seen you in a variety of rally cars at rally events, how many cars do you own and which car do you enjoying driving the most? Steve Perez: My list of rally cars include: 1967 Porsche 911s (2003 Rally Championship Winner) 1974 Lancia Stratos 1975 Porsche SCRS 1975 Datsun 240Z (Safari Rally Car) 1984 Audi Quattro 2005 Ford Focus WRC (Ex Markko Martin) 2007 Ford Focus WRC (Ex Marcus Gronholm) 2007 Mitsubishi Evo 9 (Peru Rally) I love my Lancia Stratos for the noise it produces and it is very popular with spectators and marshals; I just wish the noise levels were not so restricted in the UK. For the pure technological brilliance it is the Ford Focus WRC, the technical detail, speed and handling are mind blowing and it is always a real buzz to drive. We wish Steve all the best for the rest of the season and many thanks to Larry Carter for conducting the interview on behalf of RallyBuzz. - Credit: steveperez.co.uk and rallybuzz.com
MOTORITE REVO 1
IMAGE BY MOTORPICS
CLAIMS FOURTH WIN OF 2009
Evan Hutchinson and co-driver Achim Bergmann (Motorite Revo1) claimed their first Sun City 400 victory in the Special Vehicle category to move further ahead in the title fight for the ABSA South African National Off-Road Racing Championship, WRITES EVAN ROTHMAN. “This was the win Achim and I really wanted,” said Hutchison. “We have not had much luck at Sun City since we started contesting the premier Class A, although I won the Class B category in our first Sun City race in 2005, when we won the Class B championship.”
frustrating to see Evan and Achim go past, but that is racing and we had our slice of luck in Botswana.”
“I have to thank my crew for a great job,” said Hutchison. “The Motorite Revo performed faultlessly. We never missed a beat all day. Now we have our second special vehicle championship in our sights and just three races remaining.”
Nick and Ryan Harper (Atlas Copco BAT) and Naeem Moosajee/ Mohammed Moultson (Tyrerack Jimco) battled for fourth place, with the Harpers clinching the position. Sixth place was won by Herman and Wichard Sullwald (Sullwald Racing Zarco), with Ernest Corbett/Warwick Gosen (Century Racing CR2) and Jan Kraaij/Tiddo Vogt (Keymax BAT) claiming the other top eight spots. Corbett/Goosen’s performance also netted them Class P honours.
Shameer Variawa/Siegfried Rosseau (Total Motorsport Porter) led for much of the event, but a puncture 50km from the finish allowed Hutchison/Bergmann to attack for the lead. This same situation ironically also played out in the previous round at the Toyota 1000 Desert Race, when Hutchison suffered a puncture that allowed Variawa to claim victory. “It took us a little more time to change the wheel than would normally be the case,” said Rousseau. “The car was at an awkward angle and we could not get the jack into place. It was
Stepping onto the final podium position was father-and-son team Kallie and Quintin Sullwald in the Sullwald Racing BAT.
Class B was won by Toyota 1000 Desert Race winners Derick du Toit/Ian Pienaar (Orange Tree BAT). Finishing behind them were Simon Beckett/Tim Curtis (Century Racing BAT). Keith and Andrew Makenete (Zarco) rounded out the top three finishers of Class B.
CHALLENGING RACE SEES VOS TAKE SOLID WIN
“It was fast and dusty, but the only problems we picked up were two punctures,” said Duncan Vos. “Straying off the track was to court disaster, and this was a typical Sun City 400.” These words from the winners of the Production Vehicle category of the Sun City 400, Duncan Vos (with co-driver Ralph Pitchford in their Donaldson Nissan Navara), perfectly summed up this race of attrition, WRITES EVAN ROTHMAN. Making up the route were two 180km loops, over the rough and treacherous terrain. The predicted duel between the factory Castrol Toyota Hilux crews and the factory Donaldson Nissan Navara teams never materialised, as Lady Luck deserted the Castrol Toyota crews of Anthony Taylor/Robin Houghton and Hein Lategan/Chris Birkin. Starting from pole position after winning the Prologue stage, Taylor/ Houghton were early retirements from the event when they hit a rock that resulted in severe damage to their Castrol Toyota Hilux’s steering. Their team-mates Lategan/Birken, while leading the race, also retired as a result of a broken control arm. Other Toyota crews, Hugo and Jaap de Bruyn (Micaren Exel Toyota Hilux) and Chris Visser/Japie Baden horst (RFS Toyota
Hilux) were also forced into retirement, adding to Toyota’s woes this past weekend. However, it was all smiles at the Atlas Copco Toyota team though, as Gary Bertholdt/Andre Vermeulen (Atlas Copco Toyota Hilux) claimed a well-deserved second place, showing their performance in this challenging event. Neil Wooldridge and Kenny Skjoldhammer (Ford Racing Ford Ranger) snatched third place on the podium, showing their rivals the improved speed of their new twin-turbo dieselpowered Ford Ranger. In coming events this Ford Ranger will undoubtedly be a regular visitor to the podium… The Regent Racing Nissan Navara of Terence Marsh/Pieter
Groenewald posted their best result of the season to take fourth place, with Christiaan du Plooy/Henk Jansen van Vuuren (RFS Toyota Hilux) finishing in a solid fifth position. Former champions Hannes Grobler/Juan Mohr and Ivar Tollefsen/Quin Evans, in the other Donaldson Nissan Navaras, had disappointing outing in this weekend’s race. They were placed eighth and 11th respectively in the SP Class and Grobler’s woes included a wrong slot that cost seven minutes, while Tollefsen had to battle through much of the event without power steering after hitting a rock. Coetzee Labuschagne/Johan Gerber (Raysonics Nissan Hardbody) won Class D, their first win of the season, and ended their run of recent nonfinishes. The win by Labuscagne/Gerber ended a string of four successive Class D wins by Toyota crews. Cliff Weichelt/Johann Smalberger (N1 4x4 Toyota Hilux D-4D) were leading the Class, but their Hilux sadly broke down 20km from the finish. This moved Dewald van Breda/Johan du Toit (Northam Toyota Hilux D-4D) into second place in Class D. A string of Toyota wins in Class E was also broken when circuit racing and kart star Leeroy Poulter and co-driver Rob Howie (Ferodo Nissan Hardbody) won the Class by nearly 20min. Second were Louw de Bruin/Riaan Greyling (Ruwacon Ford Ranger) in their season-best performance.. A solid performance took Pikkie Labuschagne/Rikus Erasmus (4x4 Megaworld Toyota Hilux) into third and gave them the championship lead. Deon Venter/Ian Palmer (Toyota Hilux) were forced into retirement, while reigning Class E champions Jannie Visser/Joks le Roux (RFS Toyota Hilux) finished fourth. - IMAGES BY MOTORPICS
HOSTS THRILLING IRC RALLY!
More than 70 crews will contest the 50th running of Rali Vinho Madeira, round seven of the Intercontinental Rally Challenge, next week. The allasphalt event starts on Thursday and draws to a close on Saturday and features a total of 21 stages. The Funchal-based event is rallies in Europe, boasting a unique atmosphere and a huge contingent of fast and talented rally stars from Portugal to take on the rest of the world.
one of the most popular
Entries closed on 13 July and contain a total of 21 crews in S2000 machinery. Overall fifty-three entries are from Portugal, including 39 from the island of Madeira, while 19 are of other nationalities, with nine coming from Italy, four from France and two from the United Kingdom, including Kris Meeke, the current leader of the IRC drivers’ standings, and the impressive new Proton driven by Guy Wilks. Meeke’s title lead remains just one point over Czech ace Jan Kopecky, but the works Skoda star won’t be back out until next month on his home event, giving Meeke and Belgian title rival Freddy Loix the chance to maximise their scoring potential for Peugeot. With defending champion Nicolas Vouilloz of France and hard-charging Giandomenico Basso leading the way for Abarth, the stage is set for a thrilling event. Of the local drivers expected to make an impression, youngsters Bruno Magalhaes, driving a Peugeot 207 S2000, and Bernardo Sousa, in an Abarth Grande Punto, are the two most likely to trouble the IRC frontrunners. Magalhaes is the current Portuguese champion while Sousa was born in Funchal, the capital of Madeira, and learned his trade competing on its
demanding asphalt roads. He was a two-time winner of Madeira’s junior championship and claimed his first overall rally win on the island when he won the Rally Porto Santo Line in 2007. Since then the 22-year-old has competed in the Production Car World Rally Championship and made his IRC debut in Portugal in May 2008. He will drive an Abarth Grande Punto Super 2000 for the Italian Procar team alongside co-driver Jorge Carvalho. Sousa’s only other appearance in the IRC this year was on Sata Rally Azores in May when he finished tenth behind Magalhaes. Another eagerly-anticipated performance will be that of 2008 IRC 2WD Champion Marco Cavigioli, who will return to the IRC in Madeira at the wheel of an Abarth Grande Punto S2000. With co-driver Enrico Cantoni alongside him, the talented Italian is keen to make a big splash on his asphalt outing. The 2WD Cup is sure to provide fireworks in the Atlantic as well, with the return of two of the top contenders – Manuel Villa in his Fiat Punto S1600 and the remarkable turbocharged Peugeot 207 RC of Denis Milet – with both men determined to put a halt to Honda’s recent run of form. They will take on a huge number of local stars in similar equipment in what will be another key battle to savour on the Rali Vinho Madeira. - Credit: ircseries.com
FORD’S FLYING FINNS
TO WIN IN FRONT OF HOME FANS?
BP Ford Abu Dhabi World Rally Team’s all-Finnish crews head to their home event this weekend with the intention of extending their run of three straight wins and to boost Mikko Hirvonen’s standings at the top of the Drivers’ Championship leaderboard, WRITES EVAN ROTHMAN. Defending World Rally Champion Sebastien Loeb and co-driver Daniel Elena (Citroen Total World Rally Team) trail Hirvonen by just one point, and Loeb believes that the Drivers’ World Rally Championship will really start in Finland this week. Winning here last year, the one of only five non-Finns to do so in the event‘s 58-year history, Loeb is determined to repeat that performance once again over the fast and flowing gravel roads around Jyvaskyla.
“The time differences on this rally are always so small. If a driver wins a stage by five seconds then that’s a huge gap, so even a small mistake can prove costly. And the speeds are so high that a big mistake often results in an accident. When you’re flat out and fighting hard for tenths of a second, you often find surprises on jumps or corners that you think you know well. The car can fly further or higher and those are the kind of surprises that can bring problems.”
The WRC Rally Finland is the highlight of the season and always produces spectacular rally action. Regarded as the spiritual home of rallying, this year’s event promises to be memorable.
Loeb said: “It would clearly be more comfortable if we had a lead of, say, 20 points going into this rally. That said, we were only three points clear of Mikko before last year’s visit. This time, the gap is even narrower, and there are only four more rallies to come this season. As I see it, it’s as though the championship will be beginning afresh in Finland, and our only option will be to attack. Our C4 WRC is improving through detail changes at the moment and I know it is competitive on this event. Last year, I had every confidence in my car and that enabled me to push hard from start to finish. It turned out to be a very close fight, and the gap at the finish was less than 10 seconds… If we want to win again this time round, we will need to repeat the same sort of pace.”
Staged over 23 blisteringly fast rollercoaster gravel stages, organisers have continued their policy of introducing new stages to the event each year. For 2009, 30 percent of the route has been changed, including three all-new stages. Driver face 345,15km of competition in a 1 449,61km route. As with last year, the spectacular Ouninpohja stage has been left out… WRC Rally Finland boasts five of the six fastest rallies in the history of the sport, with the 2005 event topping the list with a breath-taking average speed of 122,86km/h (Petter Solberg, Subaru Impreza WRC2005). The gravel roads are hard and smooth, so is not a hard rally on vehicles. It is, however, technical for the drivers. Jumps, bends and crests, flat-out sweeps, and rollercoaster straights need to be attacked with accuracy and extreme confidence. One wrong pace note usually results in immediate retirement. “The view I’m taking is that the season is now a mini-four round championship with three rallies on gravel and one on asphalt,” said Hirvonen. “I’m leading by a point so the outcome is in my own hands. First in the start order for the opening leg isn’t the easiest position to be, but I’ll have to deal with that. I lost the rally last year by dropping time from the same position on the opening leg so I need to overcome that,” said Hirvonen.
A dark horse for this event is the blindingly fast pairing of Petter Solberg and Phil Mills (Citroen Xsara WRC). Always spectacular, the Norwegian has been building momentum in his outdated WRC machine. The fast yet technical nature of Rally Finland suits Petter “Hollywood” Solberg perfectly: could he outsmart and outdrive his rivals here this weekend? “We are working flat out to find a way to make the car faster for Finland, especially working on dampers and the height of the car,” said Solberg. “We are also working hard to find a solution that will make us able to fight for podiums all the way, unfortunately we didn’t get it before Finland. Being realistic, I think 4/5 is the best result we can expect here, considering how fast some of the stages are. But anyway – Finland is an awesome rally and I can’t wait until it starts.”
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IN CPMCC WINGFIELD MOTORS RALLY
JP Damseaux and Rob Williams, in their Team Total Evolution Toyota RunX S5, silenced their critics by winning the Cape Peninsula Motorcycle and Car Club (CPMCC) organised Wingfield Motors Rally by a dominant 1min 50s from Mike Nathan/Derek Jacobs (AWI Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX S5) this past weekend, REPORTS ERICA SOUTHEY. IMAGES BY ERIC JOSEPH. Sunny skies greeted competitors and spectators, but the rally’s roads were all but clear. Signs of the previous week’s rainy conditions were still evident by way of watersplashes, muddy and slippery roads on some stages with SS7 cancelled by organisers. Despite a dismal season Damseaux has now put his spell of DNFs firmly behind him this past weekend. “For a change, we finished,” said Damseaux with a broad grin. Second overall and second in class S5 was the duo of Nathan and Jacobs in their AWI Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX.
the road in SS2 as a result of choosing the wring tyres and overshooting sideways through an advertising banner. At prizegiving, the pair celebrated with their victory dance. Seventh overall was the pairing of Ashley Haigh-Smith/Hilton Auffray in their debut drive in their S2 Mitsubishi Lancer. Haigh-Smith and Auuffray used the event to familiarise themselves with this rally machine, and will be looking to challenge the frontrunners. Despite two broken shocks after SS1, Gavin Grierson/Paul van Greunen in their S4 Nissan Skyline finished eighth overall. “The roads were very very wet and trying, and it felt like we drove a wheelbarrow, but we finished second in class,” said Grierson. Rounding out the finishers were Kes Naidoo and Daniel Blaser in their S3 Freightmore Toyota Conquest. It was Blaser’s first outing in a rally car, and reported that is was a good experience. Naidoo commended his navigator, saying that Blaser had good potential.
Struggling with his car’s differential settings and wrong tyre choice on one of the muddy stages, Nathan and co-driver Jacobs powered through the final stages showcasing their impressive speed. A solid performance from Thorsten Pey/Mark Palmer in their Class S4 BMW 325i earned them the final place on the podium. Palmer felt their day in the rally went well, with few little hassles: “We lost the fan on the second last stage, so we couldn’t stop for long intervals. This is the most amazing car, and it just goes.”
For nine of the 17 finishers it was a happy day, while others were left frustrated at having their aims thwarted by harsh and unforgiving conditions. SS1 claimed the left sideshaft of Paul Emmanuel/Jodie Eadi’s S1 VW Chico, as well as the S5 Nissan Sentra of Winston Neethling and Garth Ritsch who were forced out of the event with a blown motor; Clinton and Keenan Sassman in their S4 BMW 325i retired after the engine overheated in SS2; Warren Scholtz/Justin Gay in their S3 1,6 Volkswagen Polo retired in SS4 with two broken shocks; Andre George/George du Toit in their S3 Toyota Conquest retired in SS4 with starter problems.
Charl Strydom/Sakkie Bosman in their S3 Sabre Paints 1,6 Volkswagen Polo claimed fourth overall.
Llewellyn Jones/Craig Gray in their S4 VW Golf broke a left front sideshaft which they managed to fix after SS1 and it looked promising for them to finish the rally. Unfortunately a blown engine prematurely ended their rally on SS5.
In fifth place overall were rally veterans Andy Haigh-Smith and Bill Bright in their S3 React Toyota Corolla RXi. I had it on good authority that between the two, they have 127 years experience.
John Peiser/Brian Hoskins in their S5 Subaru Impreza STI parked their rally car after bearing problems in SS4; Abduraghman Amlay/Yusuf Ganief (S4 Toyota RunX RSi) hit a fence in SS5 that took them out of the rally altogether.
Bright was still puzzled as to how he allowed himself to be convinced into navigating rather than be route director. He didn’t question that rationale for too long as the adrenalin kicked in, and he took to the rally action like a duck to water.
There was, however, good consolation for those who didn’t finish the rally in the form of a cosy prize-giving at the CPMCC in the form of a braai. With the dust barely settled from the Wingfield Motors Rally, teams are already preparing for the Witzenberg Motor Club’s All Tar Rally that takes place on 7 – 8 August 2009 at Killarney Racetrack. Do not miss this actionpacked rally where the Clubman’s and GTi competitors will also try their hand at rallying.
Stefanie and dad Willem Hugo in their S3 Toyota Corolla finished sixth overall after an exciting rally. “I enjoyed it, despite it being slippery,” said Stefanie. They got stuck on