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s e k a r b Hand s n i p r i a H & of rallying ld r o w e h t o t in t h your insig



ISSUE 176 • 31 MAR 2011

Corner speed analyzed, P6 MINI claims first win, P8 From Portugal rally, P10

BRC and Irish rally news BRC, B R P12 USA rallying snippets snip SA, S A P13

WRC and IRC WR news updates new

“Ouninpohja in Finland: it’s like a huge rollercoaster. If you don’t love Ouninpohja then there’s someting wrong with you” - Mikko Hirvonen, p6

Editorial Information Editor Evan Rothman

Photojournalist Eva Kovkova

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



04 05

Start Ramp - News Shorts Video highlights


Features Feature s

06 08 10

Corner speed analyzed New MINI scores first win From the stages of Portugal

12 12 14

Events BRC Bulldog Int’l Rally review SARC Total Tour Natal Rally review

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s e k a r b d n Ha Hairpins e world of rallying

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Welcome to issue 175 of HANDBRAKES & HAIRPINS, your FREE weekly insight into the world of rallying.

Yours in Rallying,



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SARC ROUND ONE TV SCHEDULE Words: Evan Rothman Premier Rally Broadcast: • 07 April - SS5: 00h30 • 07 April - SS2: 10h00 • 08 April - SS2: 23h30 • 11 April - SS7: 10h00 • 12 April - SS7: 17h00 • 16 April - SS5: 12h00 -

01:30 11h00 00h30 11h00 18h00 13h00

Junior Championships Broadcasts: • 11 April - SS5: 19h00 - 19h30 • 11 April - SS2: 23h30 - 00h00 • 12 April - SS2: 11h00 - 11h30 • 13 April - SS7: 17h30 - 18h00 • 15 April - SS2: 10h40 - 11h10 H&H

MIKKO HIRVONEN TELLS IT LIKE IT IS Words: Evan Rothman Mikko Hirvonen was interviewed by after the WRC Rally de Portugal. In this interview (, he made some interesting remarks. This is HANDBRAKES & HAIRPINS’ favourite: Question from WRC.COM: What’s your favourite stage? Mikko Hirvonen: “Ouninpohja in Finland: it’s like a huge rollercoaster. If you don’t love Ouninpohja then there’s something wrong with you.” H&H



Words: Evan Rothman In the recent round of the Argentine Rally Championship, WRC Academy sensation Miguel Baldoni competed in a Volkswagen Gol Trend. This machine runs S2000 specification, and as Handbrakes & Hairpins awaits official information on this exciting rally car we have the following event classification to highlight this car’s pace as well as images of the car in action. San Antonio del Areco Final Classification: 01) Marchetto (Mitsubishi) – 30m 59,1s 02) Pozzo (VW Gol Trend) – 31m 31,0s 03) Baldoni (VW Gol Trend) – 31m 38,8s 04) Domínguez (KIA) – 32m 04,3s 05) Martínez (VW Gol Trend) – 32m 04,3s 06) Padilla (Mitsubishi) – 32m 14,0s 07) Cantón (Mitsubishi) – 32m 15,8s 08) Menzi (Fiat Punto) – 32m 24,8s 09) Elvira (Mitsubishi) – 32m 25,4s H&H 10) Díaz (Mitsubishi) – 32m 38,6s

Words: Staff Writer A total of 76 cars are set to contest Rally Islas Canarias El Corte Ingles, which takes place on the island of Gran Canaria from 14 - 16 April. Thirty-five crews have entered the main Intercontinental Rally Challenge event with a further 41 competitors registered for the national-level rally, which counts as a round of the Spanish championship. Juho Hanninen is the number one seed for the main rally in his Skoda Motorsport Fabia Super 2000. The defending IRC champion is one of five drivers competing in the Czech machine, which include Toni Gardemeister, who is making his first appearance with his selfrun TGS Worldwide operation, and last

THE LATEST NEWS FROM THE WORLD OF RALLYING features European rally championships, British rallying, RallyCar events, international rally results and videos, as well as S2000 and WRC news.

Issue 176 • 31 Mar 2011 • Page 07

First glimpse of MINI Countryman S2000 in action at WRC Rally Portugal test session:

year’s winner Jan Kopecky. Rallye Monte-Carlo victor Bryan Bouffier, Briton Guy Wilks and Belgium’s Thierry Neuville are among the six Peugeot 207 S2000 drivers on the entry, which also features two factory PROTON Satria Neo Super 2000s for second seed Giandomenico Basso and PG Andersson. The IRC Production Cup will be a straight fight between Subaru Impreza runner Jose L Barrios and Ralliart Mitsubishi Lancer exponent Gustavo Sosa, while 20 drivers will be in contention for IRC 2WD Cup honours. Yeray Lemes, the first two-wheel-driver finisher on the event last year and reigning IRC 2WD Cup champion Harry Hunt will be among the contenders for victory. H&H

KIMI MOVES TO NASCAR Words: Evan Rothman With this headline breaking on 01 April, I wasn’t sure if this news was just another April Fools’ gag or not. Yet, pictures, press releases and vieos have emerged since then of Kimi Raikkonen testing a Nascar truck. The 2007 Formula 1 World Champion will start his first Nascar Camping World Truck Series race on 20 May at rhe Charlotte Motorsport Speedway. His WRC team, ICE1 Racing, has officially registered for selected rounds of this series and he will be continuing his WRC campaign in 2011 in his Citroen DS3 WRC. H&H

HOT RACING ACTION SET FOR MPUMALANGA Words: Evan Rothman The Toyota Dealer 400 off-road race, Round Two of the ABSA South African Off-Road Racing Championship, takes place this weekend in Mpumalanga. After a hotly contested Round One in the Western Cape last month, saw Hannes Grobler/Hennie er Stege (RFS BMW X3) claimed the first win of the season in the Production Cars Category and Colin Matthews/Alan Smith (Century Racing CR3) took honours in the Special Vehicles Category. A total of 20 SP Class cas have entered this event, bolstered by

numerous Class D and Class E runners. Class P entrants in for the Special Vehicles Category have proven as quick as their rivals in Class A, and have already claimed three overall wins since this event last year. The tough route for this weekend’s race is a demanding one, as is always expected in this rough and tumble championship, and with a bevy of top-flight crews not scoring points at the first round this will be the event for them to strike back at their fast fellow competitors. H&H

THIS WEEK’S BEST VIDEO << Watch the trailer that was shown at the Geneva Motor Show to get you in the mood for the MINI WRC Team’s outings in the FIA World Rally Championship: At the top of each page, a tabbed section contains video clicks we recommend viewing. In other tabbed sections, we have linked articles posted on our website that will add more perspective and insight into the article it accompanies. Together with the videos, HANDBRAKES & HAIRPINS aims to offer readers a fully-interactive reading experience. Send your favourite rallyrelated videos to to be featured in this section. Or, send us a twitter to @Evan_Rothman or a message on Facebook.


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CORNER SPEED ANALYZED: FORD VS TOYOTA VS VOLKSWAGEN Words: Evan Rothman Pictures: Evan Rothman The South African Rally Championship last season was upset by the arrival of an all-new rally machine, rocking the established Toyota and Volkswagen teams. World Rally Championship drivers and a team of over 200 engineers at the Cumbrian-based head office in the U.K have developed the M-Sport-built Ford Fiesta S2000, and immediately on its international competition debut

claimed an historic win at the 2010 Intercontinental Rally Challenge (IRC) Rallye Monte Carlo. It has since notched up wins across the world, and also here in South Africa at the hands of Conrad Rautenbach. Volkswagen and Toyota were left scratching their heads as to how to reel in the Ford of the Volkswagen Polo and Toyota RunX and now Auris are not running to the same high levels of technology as that of the Fiesta S2000. Remember that Volkswagen South Africa and Toyota South Africa, in conjunction with the FIA, drew up the plans for

the S2000 formula, and were the first to build and compete with S2000s internationally. That was in 2004/2005, and since then the formula has moved in leaps and bounds. As with the Ford Fiesta S2000, the Pirtek-sponsored Peugeot 207 S2000s of Hein Lategan and Visser du Plessis have created a stir in recent weeks in the South African rallying circles. This rally-winning machine made its debut in KwaZulu-Natal, but Visser du Plessis crashed and damaged his 207 S2000 in pre-event testing the day before the rally got underway and

Issue 176 • 31 Mar 2011 • Page 07

Teaser: WRC Rally de Portugal 2011:

had no time to repair the extensive damage, while Lategan suffered electrical problems that left his car’s engine severely damaged after only one stage. These new cars are not to be underestimated! Volkswagen’s mighty Polo, having won six consecutive national rally championship titles, and the equally illustrious Toyota RunX (and now the new generation Auris) follows in the same vein, and have fought bravely against the Fords in 2010. A raft of updates, changes and technological marvels have now been imbibed onto the Volkswagen Polos and Toyota Auris to make them even more competitive in the growing threat that is Ford in South African rallying. For a platform that is largely undeveloped for six years, the Polo and RunX/Auris have shown that our best motorsport engineers locally produced brilliant machinery... For 2011, Volkswagen and Toyota both effected changes to their rally cars. The Toyota now sports a brand-new suspension setup dripping with the latest and lightest parts the squad can get its hands on. After the first round in KwaZulu-Natal for the Total Tour Natal Rally, the factory Toyota Auris S2000s of Johnny Gemmell and Leeroy Poulter weren’t able to showcase these new changes to their cars as they were both beset with other minor problems

and punctures, with only Gemmell finishing the event in a lowly tenth place overall. We can expect the Castrol Toyota Auris S2000 to be on top form on Round Two in Nelspruit in three weeks. The BP Volkswagen Team has undertaken more changes to their car, and it will be debuting a new chassis based on the Skoda Fabia S2000 later this year. For this first round of 2011 though, the Volkswagen Motorsport engineers busied themselves over the off-season by updating the Polo’s appearance to match it to the Polo Vivo road car, added more flare to the wheel arches and a few under-the-skin changes too. The updated car, from speaking to the four factory drivers in Class S2000, all praise the work carried out by the team and feel this package brings the BP Volkswagen team closer to the Ford Fiesta S2000 package in terms of pace. With a car that has been in competition for nearly six seasons, Volkswagen has ironed out any reliability issues with the car to offer their drivers the best possible ammunition when taking on their opposition. Through three different corners analysed by HANDBRAKES & HAIRPINS at this past weekend’s Total Tour Natal Rally, and taking five competitors comprising of two Volkswagen Polo Vivo S2000s, a Ford Fiesta S2000, Toyota RunX S2000 and a Toyota Auris S2000, we can state that the quickest cars over

the three corners was: the Volkswagen Polo Vivo S2000 AND the Ford Fiesta S2000. The three drivers of these machines displayed different entry and exit approaches and speeds, but they reached the exit of the three corners at too-close-to-call-it times. Of the five cars used in this comparison, it was actually the Ford Fiesta driver who was only marginally quickest through these three different corners when the total times were added up. It must be restated that it was only marginally. For the Toyota camp, HANDBRAKES & HAIRPINS feels it was sheer determination and commitment that saw the six-year old Toyota RunX pip the two-year old Auris S2000 in this comparison. As can be evidenced by the final results of this event, the difference in times and speed through the corners is not only slight but it also proves that the drivers’ skill plays a large role in the outright performance of the machine. Enzo Kuun is always blisteringly quick on the Sasol Rally, and with it being the “home” event for the Sasol Rally Team we can all expect an out-andout fight there and for the remainder of the season! H&H

Watch Ken Block in-car footage from WRC Rally Sweden 2011:

MINI SCORES FIRST WIN Words: Evan Rothman Pictures: Massimo Bettiol/Prodrive The name Andrea Navarra is surely spoken in reverent tones at MINI and Prodrive after this weekend. The Italian rally ace, driving his brand-new MINI John Cooper Works rally machine, claimed the first win for this rally car this past weekend in Italy. This latest of S2000 machines forms the just one prong of MINI and Prodrive’s return to top-flight rallying, and this early victory has given MINI a confidence boost ahead of their WRC debut next month. For Navarra, his win at the weekend’s Rally dell’Adriatico, who runs as part of the Grifone Team, also showed the speed of this machine staightout-ofthe-box. Navarra was running Pirelli Scorpin K6 gravel tyres at the opening round of the Italian Gravel Rally Championship, and used on three sets

of tyres over 100km of stage distance. The Italian ace won the event by 12sec on only the MINI John Cooper Works S2000’s third competitive outing. Navarra said: “It’s a great honour for me to give MINI this first victory with Pirelli and another milestone in our history together. It was a fantastic rally that was competitive from start to finish: we had to push hard but in the end we got the result that we wanted. The Pirelli Scorpion K6 tyres were extremely effective and reliable from start to finish, giving me the confidence that I needed to go flat-out. One of the big strong points of the MINI is that it is extremely kind to tyres, and this meant that we were able to use the soft compound throughout the event. I really enjoyed driving the car: the turbo engine means that you can drive with the throttle all the time compared to a conventional Super 2000 car, where you are driving with the gears.” This championship is highly regarded for its fierce competition and


large entry lists, but Navarra and his MINI didn’t allow this to distract them from their task at hand. He won the first three stages, claiming the overall lead and never relinquished it. Chasing after Navarra was Andreas Mikkelsen in a Skoda Fabia S2000. This IRC rally sensation is gaining more experience in his new machine and building a database of knowledge for his IRC campaign for his team, Skoda UK Motorsport. Mikkelsen claimed the event’s remaining six stage wins. Despite his best efforts, the MINI driver remained out of touch. Interestingly, this 1.6-litre turbocharged MINI was running a 30mm turbocharger restrictor for this event, to balance the performance with the other normally aspirated S2000 machines. In the WRC, it runs a standard 33mm restrictor - the same as the World Rally Cars. H&H

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Ahead of the WRC Portugal 2011 - Service Park:

FROM THE STAGES OF PORTUGAL, FROM THE FANS Words: Evan Rothman Picture: Eva Kovkova Rally fans come in all shapes and sizes. From club-level events to the World Rally Championship, rally fans enjoy seeing sideways and exciting action. To follow their passion for the sport, rally enthusiasts travel the world to see their favourite stars and cars. Joining this journalist in his passion for this sport, Eva Kovkova (our talented photojournalist) travels the world to share her take on the various international rallies we attend.

From the dusty stages of the WRC Rally de Portugal, Eva Kovkova brings us her “rally fan” views of the event that took place on the last weekend of March. For the second year in a row, this rally was won by Sebastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia (Citroen Total World Rally Team) and teammates Sebastien Loeb/ Daniel Elena gave the team a welldeserved one-two. However, action took place not only at the head of the rally but also further down the leader board. Eva’s photographs give a taste of the excitement of a WRC event from a spectator’s point of view. H&H

Issue 176 • 31 Mar 2011 • Page 07

Toyota Corolla WRC tarmac action:

Event Reports & Results

Action Photography

EVANS AND EDWARDS IMPRESS AT BULLDOG Words: Staff Writer Pictures: Jakob Ebey Photography Welshman Elfyn Evans and Andrew Edwards have taken an emphatic first victory on home soil, as they won Bulldog International Rally North Wales, second round of the 2011 Dulux Trade MSA British Rally Championship. The 2010 Pirelli Star Driver winners lay second on the opening four stages, but moved ahead of early leaders Adam Gould and Seb Marshall as the event moved close to the twenty two year-old driver’s home. Five fastest stage times were enough to leave the Impreza pair just under eighteen seconds clear of championship leaders David Bogie and Kevin Rae, who return to Scotland with a two point lead at the top of the points table. Evans was typically modest at the finish in Welshpool, where the sun broke clear of light clouds in time for the finish ceremony at the town’s Livestock Centre. “We’re really pleased

and surprised a win has come so soon in such a long championship, but we’ll take it a rally at a time. Everything has worked well today and we have to thank Pirelli for such a great opportunity.” Bogie and Rae, who also lead the MSA Scottish Rally Championship, had a fight on their hands with Gould as the event progressed, passing the Bristolian on stage six after he struggled to get his Impreza to turn in. The positions reverted after stage eight though and it looked for a while like the championship would be tied between Bogie and Evans, but Gould slipped back to third on the penultimate stage after an under-bonnet fire, losing another eleven seconds on the final test. At the finish he considered himself very lucky to have made it all, even pushing the smoking car through the finish arch and handing Bogie his two point advantage. Dulux Trade MSA British Formula 2 Rally Championship The Dulux Trade MSA British Formula 2 Rally Championship points table

retains its International feel at the top and although Estonians Siim Plangi and Marek Sarapuu stay on top of the front wheel drive runners, it is with a margin of just a single point to joint second place. The crew battled hard in their Autosport Technology-run Twingo, but the R2 car was no match for the two new additions to the fight for F2 honours. Irishmen Marty McCormack and David Moynihan debuted the Citroën DS3 on British gravel and seemed to have the legs on Mark Donnelly’s equally new Clio, both Rally 3 combatants. However the Renault pilot and his co-driver Barry McNulty reeled in their compatriots and by stage seven had eked an advantage of 0.8 seconds. McCormack was having none of it, retaking the lead on the next stage, but the battle raged right to the finish, with the lead changing twice more before it was settled in favour of Donnelly. He admitted that he had gone off the road on the penultimate stage and was amazed to have still beaten McCormack, entering the final test

Issue 176 • 31 Mar 2011 • Page 07

WRC Portugal 2010 - Sebastien Loeb in action:

just 0.2 seconds clear. A stall from the Citroën driver at the start line of the very last stage could have been the decider, but both were pleased with their new French steeds and are looking forward to the next encounter. Fiesta SportTrophy / Rally 2 A somewhat distant third went to another Irishman Craig Breen and his Welsh co-driver Gareth Roberts. They did take maximum points in the Fiesta Sport Trophy though, bagging top spot in the Dulux Trade MSA British Rally Championship Rally 2 class to boot. Dulux Trade MSA British Teams Rally Championship With Plangi’s Autosport Technology Finnish team-mate Mikko Pajunen taking fourth place in the BRC Teams points, the multicultural outfit extends its lead

at the top of this table. M-Sport Ford took top points here in Wales by virtue of Breen’s excellent result, but John MacCrone had a driveshaft failure and retired, leaving Breen alone. 586 Sport’s Callum Black was another scoring points on his own, but as the Brackley team won’t have a second car until the Jim Clark Rally, it was always going to be a solo effort. Team C2R2 Max had a nightmare event, Joe McGonigle forced to withdraw before the start after a huge shunt in Ireland, his countryman Desi Henry suffering with a sick engine that caused his retirement at first service. Pirelli Star Driver With the 2010 Pirelli Star Driver Evans proving the worth of the prize, the nominee from this event was understandably delighted to receive

his yellow jersey. Mark Donnelly’s cool head under pressure and swift adaption to the Clio R3 was sufficient to impress the judges and he took the accolade on the podium in front of Greenlight TV’s cameras. H&H OVERALL CLASSIFICATION 01) E. Evans/A. Edwards Subaru Impreza N15 - 01hr 21m 15.4s 02) D. Bogie/K. Rae Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X + 17.7s 03) A. Gould/S. Marshall Subaru Impreza R4 + 44.2s 04) J. Greer/D. Roberts Skoda Fabia S2000 + 01m 04.7s 05) J. Tauber/R. Durant Subaru Impreza R4 + 01m 14.5s 06) T. Clark/A. Wylie Subaru Impreza R4 + 04m 41.0s 07) M. Donnelly/B. McNulty Renault Clio Maxi R3 + 05m 09.9s 08) M. McCormack/D. Moynihan Citroen DS3 R3 + 05m 16.7s 09) C. Breen/G. Roberts Ford Fiesta R2 + 06m 37.7s 10) C. Black/P. Wakely Suzuki Swift S1600 + 07m 49.6s

Ahead of the WRC Portugal 2011 - Service Park:

HAIGH-SMITH LEADS 2WD ENTRIES IN NATAL Words: Evan Rothman Pictures: Evan Rothman South Africaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s premier rallying category, Class S2000, is currently the strongest national S2000 Class championship in the world. Much attention (locally and internationally) is paid to these mighty machines and their crews. It is the Junior Championships, featuring Class S1600 and S1400, that has been introduced for 2011 to re-ignite interest in the lower Classes that drew as much interest

as the top flight crews. The opening round of the 2011 South African Rally Championship kicked off with the Total Tour Natal Rally on the final weekend of March. Battling for the fastest 2WD crews on this event were the S1600 entrants. After Gugu Zulu/ Carl Peskin (BP Ultimate Volkswagen Polo Vivo A7) retired after SS5 at the end of Day One, the 2WD torch was passed to Cape Town pairing Ashley Haigh-Smith/Hilton Auffrey (Ford Fiesta R2 S1600). Haigh-Smith had his work cut out for him as he worked the steering wheel of his Ford Fiesta

R2 to keep the charge from Morne Janse van Resburg/Rikus Fourie (GC Diesel Volkswagen Polo Vivo S1600), Tjaart Conradie (Silverton Engineering Toyota Auris S1600) and Craig Trott/ Robbie Coetzee (Total Evolution Toyota RunX S1600) in check throughout the weekend. However, Janse van Rensburg fell out of the running early on Day Two and this left the fight for Class S1600 honours between Haigh-Smith, Conradie and Trott, while brother and sister pairing of Christoff and Celeste Snyders (Volkswagen Polo S1600) slowly gained

Issue 176 • 31 Mar 2011 • Page 07

WRC Portugal 2010 - Sebastien Loeb in action:

in confidence and speed to creep closer to the leading crews in this competitive Class. At the end of Day One, HaighSmith was a handful number of seconds ahead of his rivals and finished the rally 34.5sec ahead of the chasing pack. The fight for S1600 saw HaighSmith running the fastest in Class in only one stage, while the majority of the fastest stage times went to Conradie. Where it mattered most, Haigh-Smith proved his consistency to drive a measured rally to bring his Ford Ford Fiesta R2 into the final time control ahead of his rivals without risking his lead. Playing catch-up, Conradie had attempted to reel in Haigh-Smith on Day Two, but the Capetonian youngster had the better of him as he stuck to his game plan. The hot pace set by the top five crews in Class S1600 in Round

One has promised an epic battle in the offing for the remainder of this season, as the young crews try to outdrive the experienced runners to be crowned the first Class S1600 Champion come October 2011. Class S1400, also new for 2011, saw the all-new pairing of Megan Verlaque/Lirene du Plessis triumph in their first outing together in the BP Ultimate Volkswagen Polo Vivo S1400. After a demanding and taxing event, their Class was whittled down as the stages were ticked off. Verlaque’s smooth driving style saw her reach the finish ramp as the only competitor in her class, but running amongst the Class S1600 competitors for much of the weekend to showcase her speed to her Class rivals. The Sasol Rally in two weeks time will once again test these Junior

cars and crews. With recent editions of this rally seeing crews taking on heavy downpours and muddy tracks, all crews will be hoping to not only reach the finish but to see them fight for podium positions. H&H

OVERALL CLASSIFICATION S1600 CLASSIFICATION 01) A. Haigh-Smith/H. Auffray Ford Fiesta R2 - 02hr 06m 32.6s 02) T. Conradie/K. Naidoo Toyota Auris + 34.5s 03) C. Snyders/C. Snyders Volkswagen Polo + 52.8s S1400 CLASSIFICATION: 01) M. Verlaque/L. Du Plessis Volkswagen Polo Vivo - 02hr 20m 09.4s