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Issue 179 • 22 April 2011
Ogier wins closest ever WRC rally Start Ramp Service Park Parc Ferme
Toyota claims 100th South African rally win Molly Taylor tackles more rallies Poulter wins SASOL Rally
“It’s been a process of collaboration and everyone is committed to making the Jordan Rally a success” - Simon Larkin, North One Sport.
The world’s only dedicated rally eMagazine - every week!
Editorial Information Editor Evan Rothman
04 News 04 05
Start Ramp - News Shorts Toyota wins 100th South African rally
Features s 06 Feature Photojournalist Eva Kovkova
Taylor and Smart ready for more Ashley Haigh-Smith talks to us
10 Events Contributors RallyBuzz, Motorpics, Newspress, Liga Stirna, Kriss Karnitis and Olivia Gauch. 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.
10 12 14 16 16 17
WRC: Jordan Rally review IRC: Rally Islas Canarias review SARC: SASOL Rally review ARC: Quit Forest Rally review SWRC: Jordan Rally review SRC: Granite Rally review
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Welcome to H&H! Welcome to issue 179 of HANDBRAKES & HAIRPINS, your FREE weekly insight into the world of rallying. Yours in Rallying, Evan and Eva
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Team News Videos
Mt. Washington Hillclimb all set Words: Staff Writer Officials at Vermont SportsCar revealed the invited driver list this past weekend for the return of the legendary Mt. Washington “Climb to the Clouds” Automobile Hillclimb, to be held 22 - 26 June. This event was furst run in 1904 and is considered to be one of America’s oldest motorsports events. The 2011 Climb to the Clouds, which makes a comeback after a ten-year hiatus, will be a five-day festival of motorsports with a 75-car competition field filled with some of the best drivers and cars from around the world competing for “King of the Hill” honors. The entry list includes three of the past five course record holders, former and current rally champions, several high-powered open-wheel cars, a vintage class filled with cars steeped in motorsport history and a first for the event: a purpose-built race-truck! Gunning for overall victory and a new overall course record will be a trio of past record holders. They include multiple rally champion Tim O’Neil, seven-time SCCA ProRally Champion Paul Choiniere and current Climb to the Clouds official-record holder and six-time Canadian Rally Champion Frank Sprongl. These drivers all hold records within a minute of each other and will be racing in the Open Class at the Climb to the Clouds. Other notable drivers going for the overall record include Jimmy Keeney and Todd Cook, both of whom will be driving purpose-built open-wheel hillclimb cars with upwards of 900hp but only two-wheel drive. Keeney was the second fastest qualifier at the 2010 Pikes Peak International Hillclimb and Cook is a multiple class winner at Pikes Peak. Two other open-wheeled cars are the 1968 McKee MK8, a Formula 5000-based car raced by Robert D’Amore and “The Patriot”, a bespoke hillclimb car built and raced by Jerry Driscoll. Driscoll set the current Speed Record of 113mph on the Mt. Washington Auto Rd. course in 1998 driving the very same car he’ll be racing this June. The Vintage Class features a lineup of prestigious racing cars from the 1930′s and 1950′s. Although all the entered vehicles are steeped in motorsport history, none as much so as
an extremely rare 1933 Alfa Romeo 8C 2300 that won Le Mans with legendary Grand Prix driver Tazio Nuvolari at the wheel. The 8C was shipped across the Atlantic, and in 1937 it raced and won the Mt. Washington Hillclimb and it returns this June, restored as it was raced, to compete 74 years later. The two-wheel drive and all-wheel drive Rally classes will be headlined by defending Rally America, North American and Canadian Rally Champion Antoine L’Estage in his Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X and former Subaru factory rally driver Ramana Lagemann in a 2010 Subaru WRX STI. The all-wheel drive class will be a showdown between the makes as five Subaru and five Mitsubishi rally cars are entered. H&H
The Finns are (still) coming! Words: Staff Writer The two Finnish crews registered for this year’s Dulux Trade MSA British Rally Championship will be joined on the next round, the Pirelli International Rally, by another two crews from the home of the Scandinavian flick. Joint second place in the Dulux Trade MSA British Formula 2 Rally Championship, Mikko Pajunen and co-driver Jani Salo might consider the solidarity slightly less welcome as they are the only Finns not piloting Ford products. However, they can take solace in their position, nine places further up the order than fellow BRC combatants Jussi Kumpumäki & Peter Flythström and in Autosport Technology’s place at the head of the Dulux Trade MSA British Teams Rally Championship. With the promise that Jukka Korhonen & Marko Salminen, who have entered a similar R2 Fiesta to that of Kumpumäki, will register for BRC and Fiesta SportTrophy points, the rest of the R2 field must be on their guard. Mentored by double World Rally Champion co-driver Risto Mannisenmäki, the crew has been competing in the Finnish Rally Championship and will bring recent experience from four events so far this season. Teemu Horkama and Pasi Haataja is the fourth Finnish duo to be tempted by the fast gravel of the
Event News Breaking News
infamous Kielder Forest stages. Whilst unlikely to register their Ford Puma for championship points, it will be interesting to see how this most recent batch of Finns fare as the Scandinavians continue the tradition of testing their mettle against the best of British and Irish. H&H
Run for Japan raises vital funds for the country Words: Staff Writer A charity run to help the victims of the people of Japan in the aftermath of the recent tsunami has raised more than 1000 Euros. Drivers, co-drivers and teams from the Intercontinental Rally Challenge plus members of the media and the IRC and Rally Islas Canarias organising teams each paid five Euros to take part in the run on the Las Canteras beach prior to the start of the island event. Additional donations were received from Peugeot Sport and Skoda UK Motorsport. The money was presented to the Red Cross. “Every member of the IRC community has been deeply saddened by the events in Japan during the last month and all our thoughts remain with the Japanese people at this time,” said Xavier Gavory, the IRC General Coordinator. “With this initiative we were able to show our support and our full solidarity to Japan.” IRC frontrunner Andreas Mikkelsen, who drives a Skoda UK Fabia S2000 in the series, won the race. “It was the least we could do to try and help and it’s great everyone got together in this way,” said Mikkelsen. As a show of further support all IRC cars carried Save Japan windscreen strips during the two-day rally. H&H
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Issue 179 • 22 Apr 2011 • Page 05
Toyota: The dominant force after 51 years of rallying in South Africa Words: Staff Writer Toyota’s success in the 20th Sasol Rally in Mpumalanga last weekend (April 16) not only marked the historic milestone of 100 Toyota victories in the 51-year history of the South African rally championship, but was also the latest in more than four decades of Toyota successes in national championship rallying. The Toyota brand is recognised as a dominant force in South African rallying and the leading motor manufacturer in South Africa can trace its first rally victory back to 1968 when Jan Hettema and Raggy Schjolberg won that year’s Moonlight Rally. The pair followed this up with a win in the Tour Natal Rally later in the season and these two wins combined with consistent finishes in the other five events in the championship saw Hettema and Schjolberg secure Toyota South Africa’s first championship title. Leeroy Poulter and Elvene Coetzee’s debut national championship win in the Sasol Rally last weekend ahead of Castrol Toyota teammates Johnny Gemmell and Drew Sturrock was also notable for the fact that it was just the pair’s third event together and only Poulter’s tenth National championship
rally and fourth in the premier Super 2000 Class. The 30-year-old former South African circuit racing champion and national and world karting champion has taken to the sport of special stage rallying like a duck to water since making his debut in Class A6 in a Toyota RunX in 2010 and winning the class with two rounds remaining. Poulter’s win perhaps signalled a changing of the guard in the rarified top echelon of this highly technical and demanding branch of motor sport. In his wake he left three former national champions (Hergen Fekken, Enzo Kuun and Jannie Habig) in Volkswagen Polo Vivos, who between them have won the last six championships. For Coetzee, it was also an historic achievement in only her tenth event in the premier class. The twentysomething former Class A7 National Champion was the fifth woman co-driver to win a National Championship rally and the first since 1996. It was appropriate that when Toyota crowned a perfect weekend in Mpumalanga with an emphatic 1-2 in the Sasol Rally that the legendary Toyota rally pair Serge Damseaux and Vito Bonafede, the most successful team in South African rallying, were on hand to witness this historic win.
Damseaux contributed no less than 73 of the 100 Toyota victories in a distinguished career that saw him win more rallies than any other driver (74) and a total of 10 championships between 1985 and 2007, all with Toyota. Bonafede partnered with Damseaux to win 7 of these championships. Also present to witness this historic occasion was Kassie Coetzee, a prominent rally driver and works team off road racer for Toyota in his younger days, and the proud father of Elvene. “Toyota’s achievements in rallying, crowned last weekend by the company’s century of rally victories in the national championship, are something of which all of us at Toyota can be justifiably proud,” said Calvyn Hamman, Toyota’s Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing. “Congratulations to our talented team under the direction of Glyn Hall on this latest Toyota achievement and long may Toyota feature at the sharp end of the sport.” Team principal Hall is full of praise for his team. “We have worked hard to improve the rally Toyota Auris and made many changes for the 2011 season. I believe we have all the ingredients to build on last weekend’s success in the Sasol Rally. There is more to come from the Castrol Toyota Auris and our talented crews.” H&H
THIS WEEK’S BEST VIDEO << Watch Ken Block and Mikko Hirvonen in action at the recent Dirt 3: Gymkhana Uncovered launch at London’s Battersea Power Station: http://youtu.be/FNCrh7hW_6I 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 firstname.lastname@example.org your favourite rallyrelated videos to to be featured in this section. Or, send us a twitter to @Evan_Rothman or a message on Facebook.
Taylor and Smart: Two rallies are better than one Words: Staff Writer Picture: Molly Taylor With no invitations to the Royal wedding appearing in the mail, Australia’s Molly Taylor and Rebecca Smart have decided to go rallying instead. The pair has a busy time ahead, with Round Three of the British Rally Championship to tackle on April 29-30, before they board a plane to Italy on May 1, to prepare for another round of the World Rally Championship. The duo is one of 20 crews contesting the WRC Academy, and one of six crews awarded a fully-funded scholarship for the year. The Academy is a sub-series of the WRC, replacing the previous Junior WRC category and designed to give young drivers a solid preparation for competing at the top level. They compete in six rounds of this year’s WRC series, with Rally d’Italia Sardegna (May 5-8) the second round, after their debut in Portugal last month. “I’m looking forward to the British rally (the Pirelli International) because I really like the stages and I had a good run there last year,” Molly says. “Given the mechanical dramas we’ve had in the first two rounds of this year’s series, we are certainly hoping for a better result this time. Getting some extra miles under our belts, and some good times, would make us both very happy! “It’s also handy that rally headquarters at Carlisle is only about
50km from home (Cockermouth, in Cumbria), because we must dash for London Airport as soon as we finish. We’ll go home, grab our bags and hit the road.” Molly’s mother – four-time Australian Rally Champion co-driver, Coral Taylor – is flying over to be ‘team manager’ for the two rallies, taking on the logistics and organisational role to relieve the pressure on the crew. She’ll also be on hand to celebrate Molly’s 23rd birthday, which falls during the Italian event. “Mum’s my birthday present and it’s a pretty good one!” laughs the young Sydneysider, admitting she still suffers from homesickness despite having now lived in the UK for two years. “But it’s not much fun for her, because she’s drawn the short straw to do the six-hour overnight drive from Cockermouth to London, so Bec and I can get some sleep on the way. Then we’ll all hop on the plane and see what sort of adventures we have over there. “I really don’t know much about Sardinia as an event, except that it is sandy and very rough with longer stage loops than we had in Portugal. We only have one remote service during the day, and that’s just 15 minutes, so we have to play it fairly cautiously. We still don’t know if the Academy will let us carry any extra spare parts, so it is going to be all about driving smart.” Molly says they were happy with the way they started in Portugal, when they posted some very quick stage
times. Despite some damage to the car after a light rollover on Day One, the crew still managed to finish eighth in the Academy field, and are aiming to improve their times and their results this time around. “Having Portugal behind us makes this much easier. It was a baptism of fire, but we knew it would be. Now we know what to expect, so I think I’m much more relaxed heading into the event. We both are. Hopefully that means we can achieve what we want to achieve. Getting better is always the goal.” Italy returns to the World Rally Championship after a one-year gap with the Mediterranean island of Sardinia again playing host to all the action. Rally d’Italia Sardegna kicks off on Thursday, May 5, with a ceremonial start on the waterfront at the port town of Olbia, which is also home to the permanent service park and headquarters. There are three full days of competition (May 6-8) but the Academy field will contest just two days. They spend the third day with their Academy tutors, reviewing their performance in readiness for the next round. The 20 WRC Academy competitors all drive identical Ford Fiesta R2s prepared by World Rally Championship specialists, M-Sport, with a Pirelli control tyre. Molly has bought an identical car for the British series. H&H
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Issue 179 • 22 Apr 2011 • Page 08
Ashley Haigh-Smith talks of his SASOL Rally weekend Words: Staff Writer Picture: Motorpics Ashley Haigh-Smith is a rising talent in the South African Rally Championship, campaigning in the Class S1600 Championship in a Ford Fiesta R2. Handbrakes & Hairpins will be throwing their spotlight on this youngster to report on his SASOL Rally experience. Ashley Haigh-Smith reports: “Our event started early this time with us leaving on Tuesday from home in the Western Cape, as this was a round of the FIA African Rally Championship and meant we were allowed to do a recce run of the stages. “Wednesday was an early morning for all who were to recce, and I can only say the day was tough. Who would have thought that running through the stages would be easy! Just trying to make sure our loan car would not be destroyed going through SS2, let alone SS4. But, we had a successful day and I can really say doing a recce does help. “My crew arrived early on Thursday morning and we headed to the Shakedown Stage. During shakedown, things didn’t go according to plan with us ending up on the side of a bank… After being towed out, we washed the car and headed to the Ford Nelspruit dealership where, with their help and my team, we were able to sort the problem out.
“Friday was an early start to the 20th edition of the SASOL Rally. Our first event, the Total Tour Natal Rally, was not a real show of what to expect throughout the year as believe it or not it was a” survival” rally; funnily enough, this rally was now attack, attack, and attack, and also being the second event of the season competitors should be comfortably settled into their cars and this would mean that the pace would be upped quite a lot. “We started the rally with a game plan, and after the first stage everything was going accordingly as we claimed the first win in our Class by a tight margin from Tjaart Conradie, Craig Trott, Christoff Snyders, Clint Weston and Guy Botteril. But, coming out of the first stage I thought we were totally off the pace as I had a terrible stage with brake failure for most of the time and had to stop because of cows. “In the second stage, we knew the fight was on between myself and Tjaart Conradie and we had to push hard, but 3km from the end of the stage we came to a standstill behind Craig Trott. We found out that Tjaart had taken out his front suspension on a bridge and blocked the road. I hope it was only minor damage and that we see Tjaart in the next event. After an hour we went in convoy to the beginning of SS3, all was going well and our split times in between showed we were 15 seconds faster than we were the first
time through that stage (SS1), but then on a straight at around 13km into the stage, our left front CV snapped in half. We don’t know why this happened (after examining the shaft we think we should have changed the shafts before the event as they have a life span), but this being our first new season with the Ford Fiesta R2 we have had to learn the hard way. We drove on for about a kilometre before an uphill and we just could not get up it. I would’ve loved to have been in the fight on the second day with Mornè Janse van Rensburg, Craig Trot and Christoff Snyders, as I think it would have been spectacular rallying. We have still got a lot to find out about the car as I am sure after this last race we will have to step it up. “I would like to thank SASOL and all the organisers of the event: it was amazing, especially seeing all the spectators, and the amount of effort that went into this event. I cannot wait until next year! I would also like to thank Lazarus for their generosity and help and a big thank you to the Ford dealers in Nelspruit for the use of their workshop and their time: we cannot thank you enough for being able to work in the dry! To my sponsors Castrol-BP, React, Promotor, Regent, Top Gear and my team and all our supporters, thank you very much for supporting us.” H&H
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Event Reports Results
Ogier and Latvala thrill rally fans with Jordan battle Words: Evan Rothman Pictures: WorldRallyPics, Citroen Racing Logistical nightmares in the lead-up to the World Rally Championship’s visit to Jordan last week created dramatic headlines the world over. However, with the might of the Jordan government, the Jordan Rally organisers, and the WRC teams and officials, resources were pooled to find a creative working solution to the myriad of issues. After much discussion, Day One of Jordan Rally was cancelled. This meant that the remainder of the rally was to be an all-out high-speed sprint for the podium. Cutting the rally route by a third didn’t reduce the rally action. In fact, this was one of the most riveting rallies of the 2011 season thus far. The two French Sebastiens, Ogier and Loeb (both in the Citroen Total World Rally Team), lead the way
for their rivals at the end of Day Two (which was effectively Day One). The Citroen DS3 WRC has proved its pace on the gravel and Ogier once again showcased this with a 30sec lead over his teammate who in turn had enjoyed a 33.1sec advantage over the Ford Abu Dhabi World Rally Team’s Fiesta RS WRC piloted by Jari-Matti Latvala. The first competitive day’s action was dominated by a battle of wits and courage from Ogier and Latvala, with each recording a pair of stage wins. As usual, Loeb wa supremely smooth over the rough gravel tests and was reflected in his stages times with the seven-times World Rally Champion consistently in the top three at the end of each stage. In his privateer Citroen DS3 WRC, Petter Solberg (Petter Solberg World Rally Team) shadowed the leading trio and kept within striking distance of the final podium position. Solberg’s talent in the privateer machine was not to be discounted. The Norwegian played
the waiting game to perfection, finishing 02sec off the podium position held by Latvala. This, however, was soon to change. The second factory Ford Fiesta RS WRC of Mikko Hirvonen (Ford Abu Dhabi World Rally Team) was sandwiched between the Citroen DS3 WRCs of Solberg and Kimi Raikkonen (ICE1 Racing), but Hirvonen was slowly dropping time to Raikkonen and a hard-charging Matthew Wilson (M-Sport Stobart Ford World Rally Team) throughout the opening day of competition. Before the day’s action reached Parc Ferme, Wilson had leapfrogged his Ford compatriot to take sixth place overall. Day Two’s shorter leg took in more of the trying and tricky gravel tests, with confidence in the cars running high. Stage times were once again nail-bitingly close. Sweeping the roads, Ogier lost some time to his rivals but his determination from the front
Issue 179 • 22 Apr 2011 • Page 11
was impressive. Latvala and Loeb slowly began to reel in the leader, and the final stage of the event, the Power Stage, was to set the scene for a dramatic finale as Latvala had moved into the rally lead by 0.5sec over Ogier. Petter Solberg ran into difficulties and was forced to retire from the rally while poised to take advantage of his road position to sneak onto the podium once more this season. Solberg is on the cusp of claiming his first WRC win since creating his own rally team. Loeb, Latvala, Hirvoenn and Ogier were separated by a handful of seconds at the start of the Power Stage. Running in reverse order, with Latvala the last car through this stage in a bid to score the three bonus points up for grabs, Hirvonen set a stage time that was just 0.04sec off the stage winner’s time. He was on course for the fastest time, but running wide into a turn was all it took for him to post the second fastest time through the stage. Hirvonen finished the event fourth overall. Loeb did sealed third place overall in the event, and his podium also meant he gained the lead of the Drivers’ Championship with two points over Mikko Hirvonen’s 72 in the Standings. Through the Power Stage, Ogier pulled a magic time out of his bag of tricks to set a time of 05min 21.7s. Latvala chased through the stage, but
stumbled on the final sector to set a time of 05min 22.4s, only 0.7sec slower than Ogier. This, which equates to the size of the Citroen DS3 WRC’s front bumper, was all that was required for Ogier to be declared the winner of the WRC Jordan Rally 2011. “Despite the fact that we were pushing like crazy, Jari-Matti gave us a hard time today,” said Ogier. “He banged in incredible times and we almost felt that there was nothing we could do about it. Thanks to the reversed order in the final stage, sweeping had no influence and we were able to do battle on an equal footing. It was tough, but we never stopped thinking we could win, and Lady Luck smiled on us! It’s hardly believable to win the rally by such a tiny margin, but we’ve bagged the maximum amount of points with the Power Stage bonus. That’s put us back in the title hunt and it augurs well the rest of the season.” “It was a fantastic way for the rally to finish but I’m so disappointed to lose out,” said Latvala. “It hurts when you fight so hard and lose by such a small margin. I made a few small mistakes on the final stage but I had no option to attack as hard as I could. I took big risks all day, and it nearly paid off. My heart was pounding on several occasions because I almost hit big rocks. This was my fourth consecutive podium
and they are valuable points. The car’s performance was great all weekend and it’s given me plenty of confidence for the next few gravel events.” Fifth went to Wilson and sixth went to privateer driver Raikkonen who ad his best finish in a year by taking sixth. The top eight were rounded out with Munchi’s Federico Villagra in seventh and Khalid Al Qassimi in a strong eighth.
OVERALL CLASSIFICATION 01) S. Ogier/J. Ingrassi Citroen DS3 WRC - 02hr 48min 28.2s 02) J-M. Latvala/M. Anttila Ford Fiesta RS WRC + 0.2s 03) S. Loeb/D. Elena Citroen DS3 WRC+ 27.7s 04) M. Hirvonen/J. Lehtinen Ford Fiesta RS WRC + 02min 44.7s 05) M. Wilson/S. Martin Ford Fiesta RS WRC + 05min 44.9s 06) K. Raikknen/K. Lindstrom Citroen DS3 WRC + 06min 14.9s 07) F. Villagra/J. Perez Companc Ford Fiesta RS WRC + 09min 18.7s 08) K. Al Qassimi/M. Orr Ford Fiesta RS WRC + 09min 43.7s 09) D. Kuipers/B. Degandt Ford Fiesta RS WRC + 14min 27.5s 10) B. Sousa/A. Costa Ford Fiesta S2000 + 15min 05.5s
Issue 179 • 22 Apr 2011 • Page 12
Hanninen impresses on Islas Canarias Words: Evan Rothman Pictures: IRC Media “Huge crowds flocked to the stages to the extent Friday’s final test had to be cancelled due to concerns over spectators safety and their vociferous support was widely praised by the leading IRC crews.” This quote succinctly sums up the Intercontinental Rally Challenge’s Islas Canarias Rally, Round Two of the series’ calendar. The event, staged on highly abrasive and technically demanding asphalt roads, was filled with drama and action from the first car entering SS1 to the last car finishing the final speed test after the 24-hour long event. After the event’s compact schedule that took in full IRC round in less than 24-hours, the top seven teams crews were covered by no more than 01min 00.6s. The dominant forces once more, as was in 2010 in the IRC, were the two factory-backed Skoda Fabia S2000s of Juho Hanninen and Jan Kopecky. The top spot of the leader board was claimed by Kopecky at the end of Day One, and teammate Hanninen leapfrogged his Czech colleague to move to the front of the field and take the overall victory.
Kopecky is regarded as an asphalt specialist, highly success on this surface in his career. In fact, he claimed victory here in 2010. This year’s event was not an easily contested affair, as a number of crews were capable of winning. The slightest of mistakes resulted in immediate relegation on the leader board, and teams were punished for their lack of total commitment on the stages. The Czech ace powered past his rivals, setting a string of fast stage times to beat out Thierry Neuville (Peugeot 207 S2000) by only 5.7sec at the end of Day One. The 22-year-old never put a wheel wrong all weekend, and on Day One he proved his worth as a top-flight rally driver. At the end of Day One, Hanninen was lying in third position overall, after jumping ahead of Freddy Loix (Skoda Fabia S2000). His first visit to this event, Loix started the rally off cautiously and upped his pace as is his customary method. However, his inexperience on these stages showed and hampered his ultimate speed. British ace Guy Wilks (Peugeot 207 S2000) was quick on Day One in two stages, but lacked that hot pace for the remainder of the leg’s tests. His inconsistent performance relegated him to fifth place at the overnight halt.
Round One IRC winner Bryan Bouffier (Peugeot 207 S2000) and Andreas Mikkelsen (Skoda Fabia S2000) were locked in a battle for sixth place, with the latter claiming the position after a cautious start to the event. The electrifying pace from the IRC regulars was such at 01min 03.8sec covered the top eight crews! Unfortunately, not all drivers enjoyed their first day in Gran Canarias: Proton Satria Neo S2000 driver P.G. Andersson suffered a puncture on SS5 and then picked up a slow right rear puncture later in the same stage. With only one spare tyre onboard and no service park between SS5 and SS6, he was forced to to limp through SS6 running on the wheel. Hanninen’s ominous pace on Day One was fully realised on the opening two speed tests of Day Two, moving ahead of the top leaders to squeeze a lead of 01.sec out of Kopecky and Neuville. Hanninen’s relentless charge through the tight and twisty black top stages saw the Finnish star open a more comfortable gap, albeit slender, over his rivals by the end of the penultimate stage of the event. Hanninen’s lead of a little over 01.0sec was increased to 01.5sec at the end of the rally, giving him his first IRC asphalt rally victory. Hanninen has now
Issue 179 • 22 Apr 2011 • Page 13
recorded six IRC wins, joining Loix as the most successful drivers in the history of the IRC. This event also marked Skoda’s first IRC success of 2011, and it was celebrated in fine style: Kopecky finished in second overall to give the team a much-deserved 1-2 result. Said Hanninen: “It has taken a long time but finally, without any snow or nothing like that, I have won my first Tarmac rally and of course I am happy with that but also because it was a big fight for the whole rally. You really needed to keep your concentration on this rally because nobody was making mistakes.” The win could have gone the way of any of the top three: Kopcky was blisteringly quick and the young ace Neuville impressed all with his speed and consistency. Neuville’s potential to win a round of the IRC has just trebled, in the humble opinion of Handbrakes & Hairpins. In fact, event organisers felt the same way and awarded him with the IRC Colin McCrae Flat Out Trophy. Neuville commented: “Juho and Jan were in the end too fast but we tried to follow, enjoyed it and learned a lot. Sometimes I was never sure if I could go on the same the pace but now I am sure. I only need some more tests with the car and then it will be perfect. This is really good for the future.”
Canarias rookie Loix settled in fourth place, Wilks in fifth (despite his lack of confidence in his car’s set-up for the conditions) and Mikkelsen finished sixth. This was the first finish in the IRC 2011 series for this driver, showing to his critics he is able to drive maturely and consistently. He fought off Bouffier (an asphalt specialist), and set promising stage times in his Skoda UK-back Fabia S2000. Proton scored their first points the 2011 IRC season, with Giandomenico Basso finishing ninth behind Bruno Magalhaes (Peugeot 207 S2000). Rounding out the final points-paying position was Toni Gardemeister (Skoda Fabia S2000) in tenth to record his new team TGS Worldwide their first point. Joan Vinyes won the IRC 2WD Cup following a dominant display over Suzuki teammate Gorka Antxustegi. Angel Marrero was third to claim the top IRC 2WD Cup manufacturer points for Honda. Defending IRC 2WD Cup champion Harry Hunt (Citroen DS3 R3) recovered to sixth in Class after being delayed by a fuel pump fault and a puncture. He finished one place ahead of former IRC Drivers’ Champion Enrique Garcia Ojeda in an M-Sport Ford Fiesta R2. Canary Islander Jose Barrios
claimed IRC Production Cup success in his Subaru Impreza after Gustavo Sosa retired his Ralliart Mitsubishi Lancer. H&H
OVERALL CLASSIFICATION 01) J. Hanninen/M. Markkula Skoda Fabia S2000 - 01h 40m 38.1s 02) J. Kopecky/P. Stary Skoda Fabia S2000 + 01.5s 03) T. Neuville/N. Gilsoul Peugeot 207 S2000 + 08.2s 04) F. Loix/F. Miclotte Skoda Fabia S2000 + 16.7s 05) G. Wilks/P. Pugh Peugeot 207 S2000 + 48.3s 06) A. Mikkelsen/O. Floene Skoda Fabia S2000 + 55.6s 07) B. Bouffier/X. Panseri Peugeot 207 S2000 + 01m 00.6s 08) B. Magalhaes/P. Grave Peugeot 207 S2000 + 01m 49.8s 09) G. Basso/M. Dotta Proton Satria Neo S2000 + 02m 37.8s 10) T. Gardemeister/T. Suominen Skoda Fabia S2000 + 02m 38.2s IRC Production Cup: J. Barrios/A. Martel (Subaru Impreza WRX) IRC 2WD Cup: J. Vinyes/J. Mercader (Suzuki Swift S1600)
Issue 179 • 22 Apr 2011 • Page 14
Poulter races to SASOL Rally win Words: Evan Rothman Pictures: Motorpics Five rally leaders, 17 stages and 200km of South Africa’s most technically demanding rally roads: the 20th edition of the SASOL Rally provied the fireworks that the South African rally Championship has needed in previous years to bolster its ever-growing supporter base. In an unpredictable high-speed game of Chess, this rally will long be remembered for its action and excitement. Leeroy Poulter/Elvene Coetzee (Castrol Toyota Auris S2000) came from behind to claim victory in the Mpumalanga Lowveld-based event, this their first overall rally win and Toyota’s 100th in the South African Rally Championship. Elvene joins four other ladies as the select group of female National Rally winners. After a disappointing start to their 2011 South African Rally Championship season, the factory Castrol Toyota Auris squad flipped the rally establishment on its head to record yet another special 1-2 victory with Johnny Gemmell/Drew Sturrock a handful of seconds behind them. Many teams had written the Toyoa squad off after a lacklustre performance on the Total Tout Natal Rally, Round One on the 2011 calendar. However, recent
extensive testing and development in the lead-up to the rally proved invaluable to the engineers and drivers. As expected, the threat from the ever-potent BP Volkswagen Polo Vivo S2000 crews reminded rally fans and competitors alke why they’ve dominated the Drivers’ Championship over the past six seasons. With four privateer M-Sportbuilt Ford Fiesta S2000s doing duty here, and putting on an impressive show in KwaZulu-Natal last month, the factory teams from Toyota and Volkswagen will need to be wary of their British-built rivals this season. Fighting for overall honours this past weekend were five crews: the two Castrol Toyota Auris S2000s, the BP Volkswagen Polo Vivo of Jan Habig/ Robert Paisely, the Team SASOL Ford Fiesta S2000 of Mark Cronje and the G-Fuel Ford Fiesta S2000 of Conrad Rautenbach/Nicolas Klinger. The opening stages were a Ford Fiesta showcase, with Mark Cronje picking up his incredible pace where he left off in KwaZulu-Natal. An unfortunate bad luck incident saw him drop off the lead and out of the top ten after SS2. Jan Habig took up the task of leading the pack after an intense battle on Day One’s opening eight stages saw him, Gemmell and Poulter never more than 13sec apart. There always seems to be one stage on each leg of the South African
rallies that proves to be telling for the leaderboard. Day One’s drama-filled stage came as early as SS2, a highspeed gravel and forest test in the Sabie region. After witnessing the rally field pass through SS1, and with all crews not holding back or sand-bagging their pace, the Class S2000 runners passed through SS2 relatively unscathed by the route’streacherously rough surface. The Class S1600 runners, also in a fierce four-way battle for Class honours, saw Tjaart Conradie/Kes Naidoo (Silverton Engineering Toyota Aris S1600 crash and block the route for following crews. The pairing emerged uninjured, while the stage was cancelled and all of the remaining competitors received equal time. This stage was also Habig’s first stage win on the weekend, and saw the hot pace of the Volkswagens become apparent to all. At the end of Day One’s speed tests, Habig was still in charge at the top of the leaderboard with Poulter only 6.3sec adrift. Gemmell finished the day in third, 13.2sec behind their teammates and with Hergen Fekken/Pierre Arries (BP Volkswagen Polo Vivo S2000) in fourth and Conrad Rautenbach/Nicolas Klinger (G-Fuel Ford Fiesta S2000) in fifth and only 30.3sec off the leader’s pace. Lying 23rd out of the events’ 47 original starters were Christoff and Celeste Snyders (Volkswagen
Issue 179 • 22 Apr 2011 • Page 15
Polo S1600) to lead the 2WD brigade. Henk Lategan/Pierre Jordaan (Q8 Oils Volkswagen Polo Vivo S1400) drove neatly to bring up the rear of the National field. The list of retirees at this point was already long, living up to the rally’s reputation of being taxing on cars and crews. Day Two started off with the spectacular Super Special Stage run in the heart of Nelspruit, with two cars not only racing against the clock but also against each other. After the second gravel stage of the day (SS11), Poulter leapfrogged his teammate, claimed the lead, pulled a slight advantage over his experienced rival and then had his lead crushed by Habig to see the wily driver create a 07.1sec gap over the chasing field. Something and someone had to give in this blow-for-blow fight, and it was the Volkswagen Polo Vivo S2000 of Habig that crashed out of the event in spectacular fashion in SS12. Habig and Paisely were fortunate to walk away from the expensive wreck that was once their Polo Vivo S2000, but co-driver Paisley was hospitalised with a suspected fractured collarbone. Further down the field, SS11 proved to be the day’s most drama-filled test: Enzo Kuun and Hergen Fekken both suffered in this stage, and dropped further off the leaders despite their best efforts as the conditions proved too rough for their war machines. It was also the scene of Conrad Rautenbach reminding us all of his pace, setting the fastest stage time while those around him seemed to stumble. Poulter was gifted the lead with the exit of Habig in SS12, but still had to contend with his teammate Gemmell
through the remaining five stages. In a fight that was only concluded after both Toyota crews had switched their cars ignitions off, it was Poulter who bravely maintained his lead to record his first ever National Rally win in only his tenth ever rally and fourth event in an S2000 machine. Rautenbach, winner of Round One, finished on the final podium positiom and also won the FIA African Rally Championship (ARC) leg that fell as part of the 2011 SASOL Rally. His winning margin over his ARC rivals was a dominant 11min 30sec! J-P. Damseaux/Carolyn Swan (Team Total Evolution Toyota RunX S2000) came home fourth after yet another impressive drive. Teammates Mohammed Moosa/Grant Martin finished eighth, but they showed the potential to also claim a top six position in the next rounds of the series. Mark Cronje/Robin Houghton (Team SASOL Ford Fiesta S2000) fought back on Day Two to finish the event in a commendable fifth place overall. Their teammates, Jon Williams/Cobus Very, who suffered a run of bad luck on Day One too, finished 11th overall but also set promising stage times in their fight back up the leaderboard. Rewarding their sponsors for a fantastic event, Cronje won SS15 and Williams posted the fastest stages times through SS16 and SS17. Their pace is threatening to other teams, and on paper this team seems likely to record wins this season! Charl Wilken/Greg Godrich (Basil Read/Bizhub Ford Fiesta S2000) ended sixth overall after a quiet rally, ahead of Hergen Fekken/Pierre Arries (BP Volkswagen Polo Vivo S2000).
Nicholas Ryan/Geoff Tyrer (Grandmark International Volkswagen Polo S2000) brought their machine home in ninth position overall with Hein Lategan/ Johan van dder Merwe (Pirtek Peugeot 207) rounding out the top ten in their distinctive and fast French flyer. The Snyders (Volkswagen Polo S1600) won the Super 1600 Class, battling withPort Elizabeth’s Morne Janse van Rensburg/Rikus Fourie (GC Diesel Volkswagen Polo Vivo S600) and Craig Trott/Robbie Coetzee (Team Total Toyota RunX S1600). On the final gravel stage, in the heat of battle while chasing hard after the Snyders, Janse van Rensburg crashed out of the event to hand a comfortable win to the brother-andsister Snyders pairing. They now also lead the South African Junior Rally Championship. Note that Henk Lategan/ Pierre Jordaan (Q8 Oils Volkswagen Polo Vivo S1400) was the only finisher in the Super 1400 Class and proved the old adage that to finish first, one has to first finish. OVERALL CLASSIFICATION 01) L. Poulter/E. Coetzee Toyota Auris S2000 - 02hr 17m 27.4s 02) J. Gemmell/D. Sturrock Toyota Auris S2000 + 07.6s 03) C. Rautenbach/N. Klinger Ford Fiesta S2000 + 02m 42.9s 04) J-P. Damseaux/C. Swan Toyota RunX S2000 + 04m 01.8s 05) M. Cronje/R. Houghton Ford Fiesta S2000 + 04m 27.0s 06) C. Wilken/G. Godrich Ford Fiesta S2000 + 05m 20.8s 07) H. Fekken/P. Arries Volkwagen Polo Vivo S2000 + 05m 37.5s 08) M. Moosa/G. Martin Toyota RunX S2000 + 06m 44.0s 09) N. Ryan/G. Tyrer Volkswagen Polo S2000 + 07m 20.6s 10) H. Lategan/J. Van der Merwe Peugeot 207 S2000 + 10m 32.7s
Issue 179 • 22 Apr 2011 • Page 16
Ryan Smart claims first-ever Championship round win Words: Staff Writer Queensland Toyota driver Ryan Smart dominated the opening round of the Bosch Australian Rally Championship (ARC) taking victory in the Quit Forest Rally after winning both heats in his Toyota Corolla Sportivo in the forests around Nannup in South Western WA. Smart, a 29-year-old motor mechanic from Yandina on the Sunshine Coast, tackled the second day of the rally with the same fast and aggressive style as he displayed on Day One to complete another flawless drive to win the heat by 29.1sec from Victorian Mitsubishi driver Mark Pedder. It was the first rally to be run under the new unrestricted formula for the Championship with the leading turbo cars not running turbo restrictors with up to 400 horsepower. Steven Shepheard led the heat after taking the first two tarmac stages around Busselton on Saturday evening, but a turbocharger failure mid-way through Day Two’s stages forced the Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X driver out of the rally, leaving Smart to battle Pedder and the Mitsubishi of Justin. Smart was fastest on four of the ten stages on Day Two and was always in command in the dry and dusty forests around Nannup, 60 km inland from Busselton on the West Australian coast. The victory for Smart, who was runner up in the 2010 Australian Rally Championship, means he takes the series to his home rally in the Sunshine Coast Hinterland in a month’s time. “It was a bit nerve wracking into the last one but we did it,” said Ryan Smart. “We’re over the moon, it was a lot of hard work in the off season and we didn’t know what to expect coming into this event. “I was disappointed on Friday evening being off the pace but once we were in the forests we knew we had the goods, my new co –driver John Allen has kept me level headed all weekend and we’re stoked at the win, it is really exciting and I am looking forward to Rally Queensland where we can really show some speed,” he added. “I am very confident heading to our home event, being familiar with the roads and terrain so we’re very confident of a win and bagging some more championship points to extend our lead.” Mark Pedder tried hard to match the pace of Smart but was unable to consistently take time from the Toyota driver in the dry and challenging forests. Pedder had his own battles to fight off the hard charging fellow Victorian Mitsubishi driver Justin Dowel. Despite nursing an ailing gearbox all rally Dowel managed to close to within three seconds of Pedder, crossing the finishing line 02.9sec behind in third. Subaru driver Alex Stone brought his car home in a fine fourth
place ahead of fellow Subaru WRX drivers Tom Wilde in fifth and Chris Anderson in sixth. Wilde took the Rallyschool.com. au Junior Australian Rally Challenge for four wheel drive cars, while Will Orders took the two wheel drive honours in his Nissan Silvia, the pair qualifying for the Junior challenge shootout at Rally Australia in Coffs Harbour in September. The rally took its toll with eight cars forced out in the second heat including the Shepheard Mitsubishi and the works Honda of Eli Evans that broke a drive shaft just three stages from home, while the local Subaru of Andrew McDonald exited with a spectacular rollover at a spectator point. Stewart Reid comprehensively won the Classic section in his newly built Ford Escort RS1800 coming home 02mins 27sec in front of the Holden Commodore V8 of former Australian Rally Champion Barry Lowe. Round two of the five-round Bosch Australian Rally Championship will be the International Rally Of Queensland on 13 – 15 May. H&H
Bernardo Sousa clai Words: Staff Writer
OVERALL CLASSIFICATION 01) R. Smart/J. Allen Toyota Corolla Sportivo - 01hr 06min 12.8s 02) M. Pedder/L. Tierney Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX + 29.1s 03) J. Dowel/M. Lee Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX +32.0s 04) A. Stone/H. Drury Subaru WRX STi + 02min 5s 05) T. Wilde/N. Wilde Subaru WRX STI + 02min 36.1s 06) C. Anderson/B. Searcy Subaru WRX STi + 03min 57.0s
Portugal’s Bernardo Sousa made a perfect debut in the 2011 Super 2000 World Rally Championship in Jordan this weekend after claiming his first series win behind the wheel of a Ford Fiesta S2000. The results at the second round of the S-WRC have now made for an exciting battle at next month’s event in Sardinia. With Bernardo Sousa now in joint second place alongside fellow Fiesta S2000 driver Martin Prokop, both drivers will be eager to snatch the championship lead from Karl Kruuda who is only five points ahead. Nasser Al-Attiyah increased his leading margin to nearly two minutes by the end of the first day but an engine glitch caused the Qatari’s retirement on Saturday’s opening stage - a bitter disappointment for the eight-time MERC champion who was hoping to secure his sixth rally win of 2011 this weekend. Said Sousa: “I’m lost for words and absolutely delighted with my first win in S-WRC. Yesterday morning didn’t go so well for me but and I said last night, Nasser [Al-Attiyah] was winning his rally and I was winning the other. He knows the stages well here and the times he was setting were incredible - it was impossible to catch him and I would have been very happy with second. Then Nasser had his problems this morning - obviously it’s not how I wanted to win but that is the nature of rallying. It’s been the perfect start to the championship though - we had a tough time in the championship last year
Issue 179 • 22 Apr 2011 • Page 17
Weston snatches dramatic Granite Scottish Rally round win Words: Staff Writer
ms first SWRC win
and I really appreciate the 25 points we got this weekend, I can’t wait to get to Sardinia now.” Al-Attiyah said: “Everything has been going so well for me this year but it seems I have no luck in this championship. I was very disappointed after Mexico and then when we had our engine problems this morning, I couldn’t believe our bad luck. I know this event very well but unfortunately it was engine problems and there is nothing I could do about that. I must concentrate on Sardinia now and hope that my bad luck is over so that I can push to pick up valuable championship points at the next round.” H&H
OVERALL CLASSIFICATION 01) B.Sousa/A. Costa Ford Fiesta S2000 - 02hr 03min 33.7s 02) K. Kruuda/M. Jareoja Skoda Fabia S2000 + 21.7s 03) H. Gassner jr/K. Wustenhagen Skoda Fabia S2000 + 02min 22.1s 04) A. Llovera/D. Vallejo Fiat Abarth Grande Punto S2000 + 17min 33.5s 05) E. Brynildsen/C. Menkerud Skoda Fabia S2000 + 23min 21.5s
The 2006 Scottish champion Dave Weston pipped current title-holder David Bogie by a single second to win his home event, the CARS Recovery Granite City Rally in Aberdeen, Scotland. The result denied Bogie his third straight Scottish Championship win of the season, and ended a remarkable run of eight successive victories in the SRC stretching back to the Granite of 2010. However, he still leads the series by eight points after three rounds. In what was one of the closest fought rallies in recent years, David Wilson took the final podium spot on a tie-break, after he and Mike Faulkner finished with an identical total time, following 44 stage miles (70.4km) in the Kincardineshire forests. Bogie, co-driven by Kevin Rae, was fastest out of the blocks in his Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX - and was 07sec up on Weston at the end of the opening stage. Weston, with Aled Davies on the notes, hit back with two successive fastest times through SS2 and SS3 in his hired Ford Focus WRC, and had a 06sec lead over his young adversary going into the only service break of the day. Jock Armstrong was third overall, a further 25sec adrift, in his Subaru Impreza. Bogie was quickest through SS4 – 07sec ahead of Weston - which gave him a 01sec advantage with two tests remaining. Robbie Head (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX) moved into third overall, after Armstrong slipped back following a puncture. As the rally reached its climax, it was nip and tuck between the two front runners: Weston 02sec quicker than Bogie on SS5, and the pair posting identical times for the fastest run through the final test. Wilson was a further 05sec back in his Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX, with a resurgent Armstrong fourth equal fastest with Faulkner. Weston, who had sat out the Border Counties after a first stage retirement on the season-opening Snowman, was delighted to be back on the top step of the podium with a hardearned victory. “We started really cautiously, and had no brakes for most of the second stage, and then had a rough run through the third test”, said Weston: “David had a real flyer through the fourth stag, but we managed to claw it back and it was a really exciting finish. It’s been a great event and really good day for us.” For his part Bogie was more than satisfied with his day’s work, although frustrated to have lost by such a slim margin: “We pushed on right to the end, and ultimately it was so close just one second - sometimes it’s better to lose by ten, perhaps fifteen seconds”,
said Bogie. “But all credit to Dave - he drove very well, and we still lead the championship, so I’m happy.” David Wilson, co-driven by Dave Robson, was delighted with his third place finish, which he secured under tiebreak rules thanks to a quicker time than Faulkner through the first stage. Robbie Head, with Claire Mole navigating, picked up his second successive fifth-place finish, and was frustrated at what he perceived to be a lack of raw pace. Euan Thorburn and co-driver Paul Beaton never really recovered from a freak incident on the SS1 when an overhanging branch struck the “kill” switch located on the outside of their Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX between the top of the bonnet and the windscreen. Thorburn managed to get the car going thanks to help from some spectators. However, he did have the satisfaction of taking Group N honours. One of the broadest smiles at the finish line belonged to Alasdair Graham, who, with Kenny Maguire on the notes, took top honours in the 1600 category in his Vauxhall Corsa. For much of the day Graham had been trailing Graeme Schoneville in his Honda Civic, the Carluke-based driver building up a lead of more than half a minute by the end of the fourth stage. However, when Schoneville was hit by transmission problems, leading to retirement on the penultimate test, Graham inherited the top spot and was “absolutely over the moon” on returning to the finish at the Altens Hotel rally headquarters on the outskirts of Aberdeen. Graham finished 18sec behind Malcolm Buchanan and Ian Nicoll, who were the first of the 2-wheel drive competitors to finish in their Mk 2 Ford Escort, twenty-fourth overall. Among the other class winners, Iain Haining from Dumfries, with Mairi Riddick on the notes, took their third straight victory in Class 3, with Tom and Sue Hynd second in a Peugeot 205 GTI. Of the 94 starters, there were 61 classified finishers.
OVERALL CLASSIFICATION 01) D. Weston/A. Davies Ford Focus WRC - 44min 10s 02) D. Bogie/K. Rae Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX + 0.1s 03) D. Wilson/D. Robson Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX + 01min 04) M. Faulkner/P. Foy Mitsubishi Lancer Evo VI + 01min 05) R. Head/C. Mole Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX + 01min 06) E. Thorburn/P. Beaton Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX + 01min 07) J. Armstrong/K. Riddick Subaru Impreza + 01min 48s 08) W. Sisson/D. Macfadyen Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX + 01min 09) S. Sinclair/L. SutherlandH&H Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX + 02min 10) B. Groundwater/N. Shanks Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX + 03min
20s 20s 32s 44s
48s 12s 15s