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WRC France Spain Wales Issue 14, December 2013

Ogier The NEW champ The Inside view & Monthly News Wrap-up

ERC Croatia Sanremo Valais


Jan kopecky the new european rally c hampion Image: FIA ERC


Thierry neuville enjoyed his bre akthrough season finishing second overall Image: Bas Romeny


Citroen had a v ery tough seaso n with just one w in for this pair Image: Bas Romeny


France found a new hero in sebastien ogi er Image: Bas Romeny


Rally-eMag

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Rally-eMag December 2013 / Contents

The season comes to a close Let me start by offering my apologies for the delay between the last issue and this one. It’s hard to build a business out of a rally magazine and although we have been working hard, there is still a long way to go to make it profitable. That means that we have other jobs to attend to as well. The busy end of year period caused some delay with creating this issue for you, so sorry for the wait, but you can be assured that we will keep doing what ever needs to be done to get you a monthly Rally-eMag the coming year! On a positive note, we have put together the most elaborate issue to date for you! We cover all six final rallies of the season which should keep you entertained for a while. In her season wrap-up Anna Rudd discusses the highs and lows of the M-Sport this season. I’d like to take some time to talk about the general highs and lows of the season here. When we talked to Mikko Hirvonen in Monte Carlo early this year he was full of confidence. He was the only top-ranked driver with a full year of experience in his current car. With Loeb’s departure this should be his year to shine. We now all know that is not quite how things played out. Hirvonen’s, or Citroën’s for that matter, season was disappointing. Just three wins and two of them for Loeb who wasn’t doing the full season. Dani Sordo scored an emotional win in Germany but that was not enough to prevent team management from taking drastic measures. Both Hirvonen and Sordo leave the team to be replaced by Kris Meeke and Mads Ostberg.Good news for the UK fans! Both Hirvonen and Sordo found a home elsewhere, at M-Sport and Hyundai respectively.

This Month Rallye de FranceAlsace - One down, one to go

RallyRACC-Rally de Espana

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Page 28

The inside view Anna recaps the season

Croatia Rally

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Enjoy reading! Steven van Veenendaal / Editor

Rallye Sanremo

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- Kopecky goes for gold

- It ain’t over till it’s over Page 50

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Rallye International du Valais

Of course, this was Volkswagen’s season. After a year long ‘test session’ they were ready, but modest at the season start. Aiming for genuine podium speed in the half of the season they rapidly matched and surpassed their own goals. Ogier was in incredible form this season and it’s difficult to imagine anyone taking his crown soon. Neuville has the speed but it remains to be seen how fast and reliable the Hyundai is next year. M-Sport did not log a single win this season, but with Neuville they did deliver the brightest young star of the sport. Neuville recorded a bunch of second place finishes to finish the championship in that spot too, definitely a breakthrough season. He’ll be the star at Hyundai next year making room for another young British talent at MSport in Elfyn Evans. Enough to look forward to again!

- An interesting ending to an interesting year

- I came, I saw, I conquered Page 20

Wales Rally GB

- All good things come to an end Page 58

Who made it? Publisher: Rally-eMag Words: Steven van Veenendaal, Harry van Veenendaal. Photography: Bas Romeny, Steven van Veenendaal.

Who helped?

Who we thank!

How to reach us?

Logo design: Minse Blom

PR Photography from: Peugeot Sport, Hyundai Motorsport, Citroen Racing, FIA ERC.

Email: info@rally-emag.com Web: www.rally-emag.com Facebook: www.facebook.com/ emagrally Twitter: @emagrally Issuu: www.issuu.com/rally-emag

Distribution: Issuu.com Columnists: Anna Louise Rudd, Michael Jenkins.


Rally-eMag December 2013 / News

This month’s wrap up ERC 2014 Calendar

Jännerrally (Austria) Rally Liepaja (Latvia) Sibiu Rally Romania Acropolis Rally (Greece) Circuit of Ireland SATA Rallye Açores Ypres Rally (Belgium) auto24 Rally Estonia Barum Czech Rally Zlín Cyprus Rally Rallye du Valais (Switzerland) Tour de Corse (France) (All dates are finish dates)

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Hyundai joins WRC

05 January 02 February 01 March 30 March 19 April 17 May 21 June 19 July 31 August 21 September 25 October 8 November

The FIA ERC calendar has been published and it must be said, it looks mighty interesting. WRC Dropout Acropolis has been added to the calender although it’s a shame to see Sanremo disappear. There will be special ‘Masters series’ this year too for the Ice, Gravel and Tarmac rallies. First up is the ‘Ice Master’. The driver with the most points after the opening three rounds (all held in ice/ snow conditions) will claim the Ice Master title. Image: FIA ERC

Image: Hyundai Motorsport

Hyundai Motorsport presented its WRC assault this month. The team will be back by Shell as its main sponsor and run under the official name Hyundai Shell World Rally Team. The introduction of Shell as a title sponsor was more good news as yet another world known brand committed itself to the WRC.

number of drivers. Dani Sordo will be the first to get a taste of the action as he will partner Neuville in Monte Carlo. After that not much is confirmed but it seems likely that Juho Hänninen will do Rally Sweden. Chris Atkinson will also get selected outings in the new car and is confirmed for rally Australia. No word yet on a program for Bryan Bouffier despite the test efforts The drivers for the 2014 season were the Frenchman put in. presented as well although some doubt remains as to who will do which rallies What we do know is that the car looks the exactly. Thierry Neuville is their number deal. It’s aggresive and the Shell sponsorone and will do the full season. A second ship definitely adds something. We can’t Hyundai i20 WRC will be available for a wait to see what it can do on the stages!


Rallye de France-Alsace / Overview

rallye de france-alsace

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Based in: Strasbourg Date: 22-25/08/2013 Number of stages: 16 Shortest stage: Peterberg – 9.23 km Longest stage: Arena Panzerplatte – 41.08 km Total stage distance: 372 km Surface: Asphalt Image: Bas Romeny


Rallye de France-Alsace / Rally review

One down, One to go After the minor disappointment of Australia, where Ogier just missed the title, France was much anticipated by all. No one really doubted that Ogier would be champion. But would he clinch his first crown in France? Would Thierry Neuville be able to postpone Ogier’s title a little longer? The answer came sooner then we thought‌

Words: Harry van Veenendaal

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Images: Bas Romeny


Rallye de France-Alsace / Rally review

Sordo decided the championship by winning the opening Powerstage.

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Ogier was very eager to win, not only because he needed some points to bag the championship, but also because his biggest rival was there. This was his last chance to beat Sebastien Loeb. Doing that on his own turf was an extra challenge for the young Seb. The ‘old’ Seb was quite relaxed but the true sportsman in him also wanted to win. So in his final WRC event he wanted to show who is the best. VW boss Jost Capito, looking at the result tables, allowed his driver to go for it, so there was no holding back from that point. Neuville too was poised for an attack. Dani Sordo wanted to score at home and after his first ever WRC victory in Germany it was clear he could be capable of grabbing victory here. So everything was in place for a vibrating finale. But it was all over in the first stage…

After a mighty impressive season, Neuville finally had to throw the towel.

PowerStage A mention of the PowerStage can usually be found at the end of our reports, not in France though… The French thought it would be a good idea to run the PowerStage as the opening stage. This would enable the spectators to see the competitors fight form the word go. Well in a way the organizers were right, there was a big fight on stage one. Dani Sordo was quickest, taking away the vital three points that Neuville needed to stand any (mathematical) chance. The M-sport recruit was second and Ogier only needed one point. (If Neuville would win everything.) On stage one he got this point and Neuville lost one. So it was game over for the young Belgian’s championship battle.

Ogier relaxed From then on the maximum attack mode seemed to be over for the new champion. Gradually he drops down the leader board to around halfway the top-ten. In the top Loeb showed he had hardly suffered from the lack of rhythm after the relatively long stop from active competition since his Rally Argentina victory in May. In his own backyard in Alsace he is doing quite well. After a strong Sordo assault that resulted in a top position, Loeb takes over the lead from the Spaniard and leads the pack from stage 4. But Neuville strikes back and on stage six he passed the multiple world champion. He holds this position overnight and halfway the next morning. Then on Hohlandsbourg Firstplan 2, the 28.48 km first stage of the second loop, the Belgian ran wide, spinned and almost lost one and a half minute. He is in fifth now, with Sordo taking over number one spot.


Rallye de France-Alsace / Rally review

Sordo vs Latvala Meanwhile a very nice fight develops between Jari-Matti Latvala and Dani Sordo. The Finn feels good and starts to claw back in the direction of the Spaniard. But Ogier is also off the leash. Het keeps on winning stages again. On Saturday’s final stage Latvala takes an extensive lead of no less than 0.4 of a second. Sordo follows him. Ogier is already on the podium again and Loeb is in fourth.

ing. After some scratches he took the lead, not to lose it again. Sordo, Latvala and Neuville took the last three scratches but Ogier was never really threatened, proving the championship went to the right man. Behind him the earlier mentioned threesome took up the following spots on the leader board. This means the battle for second place is still open. The point gap between Neuville and Latvala can still be bridged. But the driver’s and co-drivers title are in the hands of the Volkswagen team. Sprint from the champion The next goal (the constructor’s Although Ogier already was the title) will follow soon. champion, he did not stop push-

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Really getting to grips with the Polo WRC, Latvala is now also able to chase the top asphalt drivers on the black stuff.

Sebastien takes over the reign from Sebastien, Ogier is the new World Champion and ready to take Loeb’s spotlight.


Rallye de France-Alsace / Rally review 15/64

Loeb’s goodbye On his last WRC outing in the direct vicinity of his place of birth Loeb probably imagined another outcome but rallying is always tricky. The nine times world champion knows that from (limited) experience. Anything can happen at any moment, so also in your farewell event. After claiming his 900th stage victory in stage 10, he slid wide after a few kilometres in Vignoble de Cleebourg (stage 15), went into a spin and ended up upside down in a ditch. Rain had been falling for some time and the road was very slippery, due to standing water and mud thrown onto the road by other competitors. Was this the cause? Was there a very uncharacteristic loss of concentration? No one can tell. Loeb was attacking, so much is clear. “I was five seconds off the lead and obviously I wanted to win this last event. So I was going flat out. But we went off, definitely not according to my plan. For me it is OK, I have so many plans for the future and I have achieved a lot in WRC. But it is a shame for my fans; many of them were waiting for us to pass. They have defied the sometimes-horrible weather conditions here, just to see us pass one more time. Also for the team, they have been working hard to make this possible. It’s for all of them I feel sorry!” For the fans packed around the Haguenau stage it was not so bad however. Loeb could start a triumphal tour through his ancestral town waving the spectators in an open-top car quickly found by the organizers.


Rallye de France-Alsace / Final result 16/64

Final Result 1. Ogier - Ingrassia 2. Sordo - Del Barrio 3. Latvala - Anttila 4. Neuville - Gilsoul 5. Novikov - Minor

VW Polo WRC Citroën DS3 WRC VW Polo WRC Ford Fiesta WRC Ford Fiesta WRC

2:53:07.6 +12.2 +19.5 +1:14.1 +3:10.9

6. 7. 8. 9. 10.

Hirvonen - Lehtinen Mikkelsen - Markkula Ostberg - Andersson Kubica - Baran Dumas - Giraudet

Citroën DS3 WRC VW Polo WRC Ford Fiesta WRC Citroën DS3 RRC Ford Fiesta WRC

+3:37.7 +4:04.2 +4:35.2 +9:31.4 +11:55.8


Rallye de France-Alsace / Rally review 17/64

Championship standings 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10.

Sebastien Ogier VW Polo WRC Thierry Neuville Ford Fiesta WRC Jari-Matti Latvala VW Polo WRC Dani Sordo Citroën DS3 WRC Mikko Hirvonen Citroën DS3 WRC Mads Ostberg Ford Fiesta WRC Sebastien Loeb Citroën DS3 WRC Evgeny Novikov Ford Fiesta WRC Martin Prokop Ford Fiesta WRC Andreas Mikkelsen VW Polo WRC

Manufacturer standings 238 pts 143 pts 125 pts 117 pts 111 pts 81 pts 68 pts 57 pts 49 pts 40 pts

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8.

Volkswagen Motorsport Citroen Total Abu Dhabi World Rally Team Qatar World Rally Team Qatar M-Sport World Rally Team Abu Dhabi Citroen Total World Rally Team Jipocar Czech National Team Volkswagen Motorsport 2 Lotos WRC Team

339 pts 259 pts 157 pts 156 pts 59 pts 51 pts 40 pts 20 pts


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RallyRACC-Rally de Espana / Overview 19/64

RallyRACC-Rally de Espana

Based in: Salou Date: 24-27/10/13 Number of stages: 15 Shortest stage: Gandesa, 7.00 km Longest stage: El Priorat, 42.04 km Total stage distance: 356 km Surface: Mixed


RallyRACC-Rally de Espana / Rally review

I came, I saw, I conquered In the year 47 BC, Julius Caesar said the famous words, veni, vidi, vici. 2060 years later Jost Capito a man with the same initials to his name could have said those same words or rather the modern translation: I came, I saw, I conquered‌ These words might be justified by the double championship his team could achieve in Spain.

Words: Harry van Veenendaal

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Images: Bas Romeny


RallyRACC-Rally de Espana / Rally review

Shakedown and start The shakedown was more like a show-stage. It was situated in downtown Salou along the boulevards of the famous seaside resort. “We have to do our four rounds,” grumbled the new world champion. “So we will do this, but this has very little to do with the actual rally.” The others agreed, but Dani Sordo saw his chance. In front of thousands of fans he achieved to shine by ‘winning’ In Spain however there were other aims. Dani the shakedown. Sordo wanted to perform well and grab a second win before his home crowd. Neuville wanted But earlier the Spaniard had been critical about to defend his runner up position in the champi- the starting order in the rally. As we know Spain onship. Latvala on the other hand was eager to is the only mixed surface event in the championstop Neuville so that he could make it a VW one/ ship. Unlike last years the gravel stages will now two in the championship. be tackled at the end of the rally. According to the FIA regulations this means that starting order 21/64

In the beginning of this year Jost Capito was still quite prudent. He did not think he would have any chances to win the championship, perhaps an event on the podium in the second half of the season. We now know better. His team won almost anything that could be won. There was one final aim: the constructor’s title; only six points separated VW form that goal.

for the first day will be in championship order. On the other days (including the last (gravel-) day the competitors will start in rally classification order. Sordo feared some competitors would slow down deliberately in order not to start as first on the road on the gravel stages. “The slippery gravel will cause the advantage gathered on the first days to vaporize in no time,” says Sordo. So it’s of no use building a large gap in these initial days, you know you will lose your advantage rapidly.” The RACC Rally Spain organizers saw this problem and had already asked the FIA to be allowed to change the starting system, but the international governing body said they had to do it according to the existing regulations. “That is really a pity, but nothing can’t be done about it,” said bot Sordo and the organizers.


RallyRACC-Rally de Espana / Rally review 22/64

Barcelona On Friday the teams had to take a 110 kilometre ride to the city so successfully praised by Freddie Mercury and operatic soprano Montserrat Caballé in their hit song Barcelona. As last year the start ceremony was in the Avenida de la Catedral, the road leading to the huge cathedral providing an impressive background for the official start. Thousands of very enthusiastic mainly Spanish fans cheered their heroes before they left for the first three stages. As the official start was at the end of the afternoon, the competitive kilometres had to be done in the dark, adding some extra flavour to these stages. Night stages Nights in the southern Mediterranean tend to fall quickly, so most of the 62 kilometres of stages were driven in total darkness. “That is not easy,” commented Ogier. “At the first stage we we’re not

used to driving in the dark yet. But apparently all drivers suffered from this phenomenon as Ogier arrived back in Salou winning all three stages. Neuville, in fourth after Sordo and runner up Latvala, already lost almost twenty seconds.

side by side with Sordo on the top of the leaderboard. Ogier finished this stage losing just under one minute. I’m playing my first strategic card,” he laughed. “I don’t want to start first tomorrow!” The hole in his front tyre told another story. “Oh that must have been a rock in the grass when we cut a The all tarmac second day showed an early battle corner. It wasn’t in our notes,” he explained. between Sordo and Latvala. They tackled the rerun of the 16 kilometres Riudecanyes stage equal- Latvala vs Sordo vs Neuville ly fast and some 9 seconds faster than Ogier’s The rest of the day it was a constant battle bewinning time of the night before. Ogier was, as he tween Latvala, Sordo and Neuville. The Belgian said, “not fully awake yet” and ended up in third on picked up a win in the PowerStage on the way but the stage. Next stop was El Priorat stage. Includ- the day ended in this order. The distance between ing El Molar one of the nicest hairpins/ junctions in the first three was very limited and even Ogier in the whole championship. Thousands of Spaniards fourth only had a 45 second gap between him and were applauding, cheering and waving their flags. a win. Would it be possible for him to close this Mostly this was for one man: their compatriot Dani gap on the gravel stages of the last day? It was Sordo. These fans made him fly as he picked up clear anyway that leader Latvala was in the worst his second scratch in a row here. But on stage 6 position. He would have to clean the roads for the Latvala retaliated and won the stage bringing him competition.


RallyRACC-Rally de Espana / Rally review

Finale Latvala is in pretty good shape and although he is feeling more and more comfortable on tarmac, gravel is still his favourite turf. But being first on the road is not easy on gravel. Andreas Mikkelsen who started as eleventh WRC driver sets two fastest times. Latvala’s lost time was relatively limited because of the dust issue. Of course Latvala threw up the greatest amount of dust. So Sordo was not rewarded for the tactics that brought him behind Latvala on the asphalt stages. He was even 1,5 second slower because of the dust of the Finn. But Ogier started a new offence bringing him closer to the top. Especially when the dust situation improved. From the middle of the day Ogier starts to climb the ladder. On the penultimate stage, the second passing of the 26-kilometre Pesells stage, Ogier strikes his final blow and passes Latvala. Latvala wasn’t doing too bad but at the end of the stage he lost some time due to a fire in his engine bay. At the

stopfinish fire extinguishers do their job and the Finn can continue. That is not the case for Dani Sordo who was in maximum attack mode to get back his second place. At the first split of the stage he actually was faster than Latvala but not much further he leaves the road breaking his suspension. It’s game over for the Spaniard. Ogier was in the mood because he also grabs the last scratch of the rally, thus securing the rally win and (much more than) the six needed points to win the constructor’s title, making it a double for VW in their first competitive year. Thierry Neuville has been a bit unhappy the whole rally. His set up on asphalt was not as he wanted it and the gravel settings bothered him in the beginning of the final day. But after some changes during the afternoon service he felt better and climbs back on the leaderboard. In the end he is in fourth, enough to keep his chances alive for a possible runner-up position in the championship.

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Latvala did himself a good favour by finishing second, Neuville’s fourth spot keeps the fight for the runner-up poistion live until the very last rally in Wales though.


RallyRACC-Rally de Espana / Rally review Final Result

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1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10.

Ogier - Ingrassia Latvala - Anttila Hirvonen - Lehtinen Neuville - Gilsoul Novikov - Minor Ostberg - Andersson Prokop - Ernst Paddon - Kennard Kubica - Baran Al-Kuwari - Duffy

VW Polo WRC VW Polo WRC Citroën DS3 WRC Ford Fiesta WRC Ford Fiesta WRC Ford Fiesta WRC Ford Fiesta WRC Ford Fiesta WRC Citroën DS3 RRC Ford Fiesta WRC

3:33:21.2 +32.9 +1:13.7 +1:33.9 +2:01.0 +2:26.0 +4:55.8 +6:55.7 +11:14.1 +13:26.8


RallyRACC-Rally de Espana / Rally review 25/64

Championship standings 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10.

Sebastien Ogier VW Polo WRC Thierry Neuville Ford Fiesta WRC Jari-Matti Latvala VW Polo WRC Mikko Hirvonen Citroën DS3 WRC Dani Sordo Citroën DS3 WRC Mads Ostberg Ford Fiesta WRC Sebastien Loeb Citroën DS3 WRC Evgeny Novikov Ford Fiesta WRC Martin Prokop Ford Fiesta WRC Andreas Mikkelsen VW Polo WRC

Manufacturer standings 265 158 144 126 117 89 68 67 55 40

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8.

Volkswagen Motorsport Citroen Total Abu Dhabi World Rally Team Qatar M-Sport World Rally Team Qatar World Rally Team Abu Dhabi Citroen Total World Rally Team Jipocar Czech National Team Volkswagen Motorsport 2 Lotos WRC Team

382 274 174 169 63 57 40 20


Wales Rally GB / Overview

Wales Rally GB

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Based in: Deeside Date: 14-17/11/2013 Number of stages: 16 Shortest stage: Chirk Castle, 2.06 KM Longest stage: Hafren – 32.14 km Total stage distance: 311 km Surface: Gravel


Wales Rally GB / Rally review

An interesting ending to an interesting year Apart from a mathematical battle for second, most championships have been settled before Rally GB, making it the perfect setting for an open battle where everyone can show their best without the pressure of having to perform well for the championship. So everything is set for a relaxed ending of an interesting rally year. Words: Harry van Veenendaal

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Images: Bas Romeny


Wales Rally GB / Rally review 29/64

The drivers of the year, Neuville and Ogier. The Belgian was the biggest surprise this year and developed into a real star. Ogier was in a class of his own looks hard to beat in the coming years.

Interesting? I see a few eyebrows raised after seeing the adjective ‘interesting’ in the former sentence. Before we go to the rallying action of this year’s edition of Wales Rally GB, we take you back on a little trip through 2013. It all started in Monte Carlo where Volkswagen debuted their long anticipated Polo R. As we earlier indicated, the team came, saw and conquered. Not right away but during the season it became completely apparent that they were the ones to beat. In the end it shows that they are one step short of winning everything possible. In Wales they had to try to achieve that: the one/ two in the championship. Is that interesting? Well in a way it is: the global player VW that sees a future in our beloved sport. They are

prepared to invest enough money and to take the time to build a team that can’t be beaten. That’s good, but perhaps for the sport it is even more important they launched a PR campaign that is directed at the general public in every possible way. What company dares to put an old VW van in Rallying the world livery up an extremely slippery mountain road leading to the holy shrine of rallying, the (in-) famous Col de Turini? VW does, and they continue to do so if we look at their end-of-year ‘currywurst’ campaign. Check YouTube for this little gem of a video.

Thierry Neuville. We don’t expect Hyundai to follow VW in it’s tracks in 2014, they didn’t take the learning year that VW did, but we expect them to be challenging quite a few teams in 2015.

The last interesting thing we noticed is the promoter. They have to work on their PR skills, but at last something seems to come out of them. And the interesting proof of that was the little play the three rally bosses (Capito, Matton and Wilson) performed at Ford’s happy hour in Wales. “We want to cooperate with the new promoter,” seemed to be their message. It’s not always And then there is Hyundai. Up till now they seem been so peaceful among the competing teams! to do everything right. And they even attracted We’ll see al about it in the next season starting in the most interesting driver of the 2013 season: about a month from now.


Wales Rally GB / Rally review

Back to Wales The organizers of Wales felt a change was necessary; both the numbers of competitors and of spectators had dropped to dramatic depths in last year’s edition. In the competitors department the numbers increased from 31 to 56. Still not the numbers of the early days of the RAC Rally but a considerable increase of more than 80%, add to that the national and historic rally cars that were on the menu too and you can understand the enormous crowds that were attracted to come to the stages. An intensive marketing campaign was more successful than anticipated because at certain points traffic came to a complete standstill due to the affluent numbers of spectators going to and from the stages. To such an extent that even some special spectator points had to be closed because they were, more than, fully occupied. Next year they have to work on that but

that there is a revival in the interest for the event is very clear. The move to the northern part of Wales may have been of influence as well. The new Rally HQ at the Toyota engine plant in Deeside needs some work. Although there is enough space, in the atmosphere department it is not yet what we expected. Basically it is an industrial estate nothing more noting less. A nice Wales Rally GB arch is not enough to make it into the warm heart of the rally. But there is enough as a counter balance, the spectator stages (if you managed to get there), the ceremonial start and last but not least, the re introduction of the Great Orme stage. For us the balance has been good.

decided not to participate in favor of Polish Formula 1 driver Robert Kubica whom he said ‘deserved a chance in a full specs WRC’. Another piece of news was that Kubica’s notes would be read by a new co driver. Fellow Pole Maciek Baran had thrown the towel after Spain and he was replaced by the Italian Michele Ferrara. After scrutineering the marshals had a bad surprise for Dani Sordo. His team had made an infringement to regulations as stipulated in FIA WRC Art. 64.4.2. So what happened? A chassis intended for the Citroën B-team had been used for Dani’s car. This being chassis number nine made it an infringement to the FIA rule. Consequently Sordo had to start with a five-minute penPre event facts alty. “Sometimes I make a mistake, sometimes it Much to the regret of many local fans Kris Meeke is someone else,” was his stoic remark after hearwas not behind a WRC wheel in Wales. But Cit- ing this. At Ford they had to miss Nasser Al Attiroen did have another surprise. Khalid Al Qassimi yah who was suffering from a previous accident.

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With some impressive outings, including here in Wales, Evans earned himself a spot in the Fiesta WRC next year as a full-time factory driver.

Kubica was equally impressive this year and also secured a full-time seat next year in a Fiesta WRC. He’ll be running for the Lotos team though.


Wales Rally GB / Rally review

Qualifying In what, for now, will be the last qualifying stage ever, Latvala was 0.07 seconds slower than teammate Ogier. In a lighthearted show hosted by BecsWRC-live-Williams Latvala puts the rugby ball with his number on the first spot. He chooses to be first on the road in the slimy conditions the Welsh forest roads have to offer. The other drivers follow him apart from Mikko Hirvonen who, tempted by Becs, kicks the ball far into the audience, an excellent proof of the playful atmosphere before the rally. The rally But once the start has been given. It’s flat out, especially for Sebastien Ogier. Simply being the champion is not enough to slow him down. And after the first loop of stages he is in the lead. Behind him an interesting fight develops between Latvala and Neuville, both fighting for the runner up spot in the championship. On the Clocaenog test, the last one of the evening, Neuville strikes his first blow by setting fastest time. Transporting him to second position before his runner-up rival. But a 2 second lead in this stage of the rally of course does not mean anything yet. On Myherin (stage 6) Neuville has to bough his head for Latvala. “I don’t seem to get enough grip the Belgian explains the considerable gap between him and Latvala.

Flat right tightens to fifth This is what Järmo Lehtinen should have said, but after ‘Flat right...’ he stops and Hirvonen keeps the car in sixth, which is way to fast for the tightening corner. Consequently the car starts rolling. It’s game over for the Finn, who did not have his best of seasons. By then Kubica has left the rally already after, on stage 4, he rolled his car. More of the same Ogier controls the proceedings, so at the end of Saturday’s stages he is still enjoying a comfortable lead. Twenty seconds behind him is teammate Latvala and half a minute behind the Finn we find the revelation of this season Thierry Neuville. Today’s casualties are Novikov and (again) Kubica both on stage 11. After his second off due to a mistake in a pace note Kubica will not come back. The Ford mechanics succeed in rebuilding the Fiësta so that Novikov can end at least his miserable season driving. All is well... The battle for the top three has been fought but behind them we find a Norwegian battle between Mikkelsen en Østberg. After a spin of Mikkelsen, Østberg is the winner. All is well that ends well, Volkswagen ends the rally and the year with a one two victory, is that well enough for you? For the German manufacturer it is.

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Latvala and Neuville got better and better as the year progressed but in Wales Ogier showed them once again that he is still the top dog in the sport.


Wales Rally GB / Final result

Final result

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1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10.

Ogier - Ingrassia Latvala - Anttila Neuville - Gilsoul Ostberg - Andersson Mikkelsen - Markkula Prokop - Ernst Sordo - Del Barrio Evans - Barritt Ketomaa - Suominen Higgins - Williamson

VW Polo WRC VW Polo WRC Ford Fiesta WRC Ford Fiesta WRC VW Polo WRC Ford Fiesta WRC CitroĂŤn DS3 WRC Ford Fiesta R5 Ford Fiesta R5 Ford Fiesta R5

3:03:36.7 +21.8 +1:24.5 +1:48.2 +2:03.4 +7:37.5 +8:26.9 +11:13.1 +12:16.2 +13:21.0


Wales Rally GB / Rally review 33/64

Championship standings 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10.

Sebastien Ogier VW Polo WRC Thierry Neuville Ford Fiesta WRC Jari-Matti Latvala VW Polo WRC Mikko Hirvonen Citroën DS3 WRC Dani Sordo Citroën DS3 WRC Mads Ostberg Ford Fiesta WRC Evgeny Novikov Ford Fiesta WRC Sebastien Loeb Citroën DS3 WRC Martin Prokop Ford Fiesta WRC Andreas Mikkelsen VW Polo WRC

Manufacturer standings 290 176 162 126 123 102 69 68 63 50

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8.

Volkswagen Motorsport Citroen Total Abu Dhabi World Rally Team Qatar M-Sport World Rally Team Qatar World Rally Team Jipocar Czech National Team Abu Dhabi Citroen Total World Rally Team Volkswagen Motorsport 2 Lotos WRC Team

425 280 190 184 65 63 50 20


2013 / Who’s hot?

Who’s hot? Words: Harry van Veenendaal Images: Bas Romeny

Rather then to take you through the Hot or nots of the last rallies of the season which would be a repeat of earlier reports in this section, we would like to take you through the season and award the Hot and Not’s of the whole season. HOT After considerable consideration we at Rally-eMag could only came to one conclusion. The hottest man of the season is Sebastien Ogier. Not because he is the now reigning champion but for the way he did it. Last year he had to bite his nails for not being able to challenge the likes of Sebastien Loeb and others. But during that year he built a car that totally suits him, a car that during the 2013 season showed it was the best car of them all. Together with the best driver of them all, this proved to be a lethal combination for the championship aspirations of the competition.

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The runner-up position without any doubt goes to Thierry Neuville. He grew from the nice fast Belgian to the hottest item on the wish list of all team bosses. He did this by total dedication. Nasser Al Attiyah told us that for Neuville rallying is his total live. There is nothing else he thinks about and if anything goes wrong he doesn’t stop analysing. Elsewhere in this issue you’ll find Anna Louise Rudd telling you the same. As M-Sport’s PR representative she sees him quite often so she knows what she is talking about. Hyundai’s Nandan can be happy he acquired this talent to his stable. Although his achievements are a bit mixed. We pick Robert Kubica for our third HOT item. Winning WRC2 is one reason, but here dedication also plays an important role. After his horrific accident in a rally car the Polish F1 star came back and though his first love seems to be with F1 he seems to have settled for second best and next year we will see him with M-Sport.


2013 / Who’s not?

Who’s not? NOT It’s a pity but here the choice has been quite clear also. The number one spot is for Evgeny Novikov. He is very fast and he can be leading rallies, but he still seems to be incapable of listening to his co-driver and flies off the road too often. It’s a shame because he has an enormous fanbase in an important market of Russia but he does not seem to be able to convince us he is the real talent we saw in him earlier.

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In possibly his worst season ever Mikko Hirvonen is rewarded with the runner-up position in the NOT category. Being one of the nicest guys around in the WRC scene is clearly not enough to really convince us. His fourth place doesn’t seem to be that bad, but he had too many bad days during this year’s seasons. And if you proclaim this to be YOUR season at the beginning it’s not good enough. We hope coming back to M-Sport will change his winning moods again. Our third price in this category goes to time keeper SIT. In Wales they failed to be able to declare the winner for a long time. OK they were unlucky because hackers, making it impossible for them to trust their own results, have attacked them. But nowadays it unfortunately is imperative to protect your connections and to have by passes if you do get attacked. But apart from the Wales drama FIA already in the summer launched an investigation. This was because they frequently failed to provide the data they have been hired to provide. It’s true they had very little time to prepare themselves, but getting a job like this they should have known what was coming. Perhaps in this field they have to share their price with the FIA who at a very late date decided to replace the long time and therefore very experienced supplier Stage One Technology. Let’s hope SIT gets their act together next year.


Rally-eMag Dec. 2013 / The Inside View

The Inside VieW By: Anna Louise Rudd Images: Qatar M-Sport WRT

Anna Louise is the Press Officer of the Qatar M-Sport World Rally Team. she is the one who knows what’s going on with anyone in the team, from the drivers to the bosses, to the mechanics and the engineers. In her monthly column she gives you a peek behind the scenes of a world rally teaM. What a year 2013 has been. In terms of expectations, this has been one of the best seasons in M-Sport’s long and prestigious history. At the beginning of the year, I don’t think anyone could have imagined that we would finish as vice champions in the drivers’ standings, and I only wish I had made that bet back in January! Thierry [Neuville] and Nicolas [Gilsoul] were nothing short of sensational this year, and I feel privileged to have witnessed their development first hand. As Thierry said at the end of event press conference in Wales, they came to M-Sport as two little children, and we took them under our wing.

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They truly gelled within the team and it will be very emotional to see them line-up in rival machinery in Monte-Carlo next year. But this is not the time to lament on what might have been were Thierry to be back behind the wheel of a Fiesta, this is the time to celebrate what was and look ahead to what will be. After retiring early on last year’s season opener, who would have thought that these talented young Belgians would go on to claim seven podium finishes and come tantalisingly close to securing a maiden WRC victory? If I were an egoist, I would say that I predicted it all along ;)

I may have only been in this sport a short three years – something which makes me a real baby of the service park – but I have never come across a pairing who work as hard as Thierry and Nicolas. Yes, they are talented, but so are a lot of drivers. In my mind, it is their sheer determination, professionalism and drive which makes them such a success story. There is one example of this which stands out in my mind. In Australia, a number of drivers were struggling with their pacenotes on the first day, but while others made the decision to look over their onboards that evening and enjoy their lunch during midday service, I didn’t see Thierry and Nicolas once. They were in the engineering office – conscientiously making adjustments to their notes, and it paid off as they were straight on the pace that afternoon!


Rally-eMag Dec. 2013 / The Inside View

Then there was Elfyn ‘Elf’ Evans. He had his fair share of misfortune this year, but there were some standout results which speak for themselves. He challenged a former Formula One driver during the latter half of the season – Robert Kubica even declaring that Elfyn was something special – and then there was that incredible sixth place finish in Sardinia How many drivers can boast a result of that calibre on their debut in a world rally car? Sebastien Ogier can’t, and neither can Sebastien Loeb! Working for as well as driving for M-Sport, he has become truly integrated within the team – something which could see him go far in the years to come. As it stands, his 2014 programme is yet to be confirmed, but I for one would like to see him back on the WRC stage.

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Of course I cannot go without mentioning Nasser [At-Attiyah] and Giovanni [Bernacchini] either – two of the loveliest people I have ever had the privilege of working with. They enjoyed their best ever start to a WRC season this year with a string of top-five finishes; and their achievements in the Middle East were inspirational. They are both a joy to work with. They have time for everyone and I don’t think I’ve ever seen either of them without a smile on their face. For a man of Nasser’s talent to be so down to earth and approachable is testament to his warm character, and he always managed to make a smile appear on my face too!


Rally-eMag Dec. 2013 / The Inside View

Of course there was a bitter sweet undertone to this season as both Mads [Østberg] and Evgeny [Novikov] perhaps didn’t have as strong a season as they were hoping for. I have a real soft spot for both Mads and Evgeny. They were amongst two of the first drivers I ever worked with, and you would be pushed to find two guys with more raw talent. Let’s remember, Mads is just 26 and Evgeny a mere 23 – it took Sebastien Ogier another three years before he could claim the title. The talent of both Mads and Evgeny has certainly been proven this year. In Mexico, Mads was challenging the newly crowned champion for the win, and at the end of the event, Ogier even proclaimed that Mads would be his main rival in 2013. And let’s not forget the Acropolis Rally, where Evgeny held a massive 40 second lead going into the second day of competition. Yes, they have both made mistakes and have both suffered at the hand of technical misfortune, but their talent is clear to see.

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A season can make a lot of difference, and Thierry is living proof of that. I have no doubt that both Mads and Evgeny will prove their potential. Given the right environment, and a supportive team behind them, they can go far.


Rally-eMag Dec. 2013 / The Inside View

All in all, 2013 has been a thoroughly enjoyable season for me, but now attention turns to 2014. I am always surprised when journalists call me after Wales Rally GB and ask if I am ‘enjoying my break?’ Break? What break?! As some of you might imagine, this is in fact the busiest time of the year. We have less than two months to make all the preparations for 2014; all that with Christmas smack-bang in the middle. So rather than enjoying a welldeserved rest, the M-Sport team are flat-out behind the scenes. Our driver line-up may not be official yet, but there are media kits to devise, liveries and racesuits to design, team clothing to prepare, and that’s just the obvious things! For now, I wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and a successful new year. Here’s hoping that the fruits of our hard work will bring a smile to the face of many a rally fan when the season resumes in January.

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No time yet for Anna to have a seat and take a breather


ERC: Croatia Rally / Overview

Croatia Rally

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Based in: Porec Date: 26-28/09/13 Number of stages: 14 Shortest stage: Porec – 1.70 km Longest stage: Saleria – 29.88 km Total stage distance: 239 km Surface: Asphalt Image: FIA ERC


ERC: Croatia Rally / Rally review

Kopecky goes for gold Jan Kopecky came to Croatia with one goal and one goal only, to claim the 2013 ERC driver’s title. His main rivals opted to skip the Croatia Rally providing a clear path. But as we all know, in motorsports, you can’t celebrate until you are actually across the finish line in one piece. Words: Steven van Veenendaal

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Images: FIA ERC


ERC: Croatia Rally / Rally review

In the rain Aigner took the right tyres and stunningly took the lead.

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New base Seaside resort Porec is the new host town for the event. During the summer it’s a favourite among holidayers looking to catch some of the boiling Croatian heat and the town restarted it’s party atmosphere for the rally weekend. The fans (who were out in their thousands) were treated to much more than rally action. A beauty pageant, rally parties and some of the best Croatian DJ’s were on the program to keep the fans happy and entertained.

In her smaller and less powerful car Ekatarina Stratieva took the fight to Molly Taylor for a thrilling Ladies Battle.

The other fights Although all that extra entertainment may seem a bit excessive, one could argue that it was actually quite necessary as the battle on the stages was somewhat diminished. Due to the ERC’s point scoring system not all drivers take part in each event. On the one hand this is a plus. It lowers budget costs enabling more teams to take part. On the other hand it can provide unwanted situations such as in Croatia. While Kopecky closed in on the title, none of his rival entered the Croatian rally, not quite the way a championship should be decided.

Thankfully some of the other championships did get some real competition in Croatia. The biggest clashes were to be found in the Production Car Cup and the ERC’s Ladies’ Trophy. Jaroslav Orsak had to forfeit due to illness leaving the production class fight to Andreas Aigner and Germaine Bonnefis. The two trailed Orsak by 18 and 22 points respectively prior to the event giving them an excellent chance to close in on the Czech. At the ladies’ department Ekatarina Stratieva and Molly Taylor faced off once again and got some fierce local competition with no less than three other female drivers bidding for success.


ERC: Croatia Rally / Rally review

Tyres are crucial Meteo crews play a crucial role in rallying these days. Many of the front running crews expected dry conditions on the opening stages opting for hard tyres in the process. Andreas Aigner must have been ‘up all night’ because he opted for the soft compound and got lucky! As the rain set in Aigner used his grip advantage to storm into an unexpected lead. Kopecky hit back on the drier third stage but could not prevent Aigner from leading at the midday service. Under no illusions, Aigner remained realistic: “It feels nice but I don’t expect it to continue because Jan will be very fast this afternoon.”

get to witness a fight after all. Germain Bonnefis crashed his Renault Megane RS out of the event causing a bit of a shock. He was transported to a local hospital with potentially serious injuries. After receiving treatment he was diagnosed with a fractured vertebra but should fully recover. Aigner must have breathed a sigh of relieve upon hearing this news, mainly because of the well being of his colleague, but also because Bonnefis was his main remaining contender in the production cup category.

Campione! As the day continued and conditions got drier there was no stopping Kopecky. Eager to clinch his first ERC title as soon as possible Look out! the Czech put in an admirable display and We all knew he was probably right, but his per- swiftly moved ahead of Aigner to open up a 52 formance did spark a bit of hope that we would second lead by the end of the day. Points are

awarded for day results too in the ERC and the lead granted Kopecky seven of them. This was enough to ‘make a dream come true’ as Kopecky claimed his maiden ERC title. Best of rest Obviously newly crowned champion Jan Kopecky was fastest of all in Croatia but behind him an exciting fight developed between Andreas Aigner and Herman Gassner Jr. for second. The two R4 drivers fought until the very end when Aigner took that second spot with a margin of just over 15 seconds. He battled hard throughout the awarded and was duly awarded. His second place overall and first in the production cup category moved him ahead of Jaroslav Orsak in the production cup standings. Furthermore he received the Colin McRae Flat Out Trophy for his performance.

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Orsak’s absence gave Bonnefis a great chance to close in on him fr Production Cup Gassner Jr. stayed close to early leader Aigner but eventually was able to beat him and honours. His crash ended all hopes though. win the group N class.


ERC: Croatia Rally / Rally review

Switching up What do you do when you want to drive an ERC event but it’s hard to find the budget? You look for another driver with the same wish and make it happen! That’s what Pieter Tsjoen and Bernd Casier must have this year as they enrolled together for the Ypres Rally, opting to share a car and swap seats after a day of action. Their Ypres Rally came to an end before it had properly started and the pair opted to try again in Croatia. Things went a lot smoother this time. Casier drove the first day and Tsjoen the second, setting two fastest stage times in the process. The finished a happy fourth overall. Mrs. Champion After an up and down season Molly Taylor clinched the ERC Ladies’ Trophy. It’s interesting that an Australian can win a European title, although this takes nothing away from her performance. Finishing second lady driver in Croatia was enough to take the title. After some bad luck early on in the season the ever-cheerful Taylor fought her way back to overtake Ekatarina Stratieva in the championship standing and earn that ticket to Paris to receive her trophy.

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Molly Taylor was happy enough to win the Ladies Trophy while Tsjoen and Casier were happy enough to redo their Ypres attempt to dual-drive.


ERC: Croatia Rally / Final Result 46/64

Final result 1. Kopecky - Dresler Skoda Fabia S2000 2. Aigner - Watzl Subaru Impreza R4 3. Gassner Jr - Mayrhofer Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X 4. Tsjoen - Casier Skoda Fabia S2000 5. Lategan - White Skoda Fabia S2000 6. Hadik - Kertesz Subaru Impreza R4 7. Humar - Rus Renault Clio R3 8. Saskin - Bruner Ford Fiesta RRC 9. Trcek - Oslaj Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX 10. Bessenyey - Nyirfas Honda Civic Type-R R3

2:23:11.0 +1:55.6 +2:09.8 +2:54.3 +4:04.6 +6:49.0 +6:59.5 +7:58.8 +9:52.3 +10:06.5


ERC: Croatia Rally / Standings 47/64

Championship standings 1. Jan Kopecky 2. Bryan Bouffier 3. Craig Breen 4. Francois Delecour 5. Andreas Aigner 6. Kajetan Kajetanowicz 7. Vaclav Pech 8. Jari Ketomaa 9. Freddy Loix 10. Jaromir Tarabus

Skoda Fabia S2000 Peugeot 207 S2000 Peugeot 207 S2000 Peugeot 207 S2000 Subaru Impreza R4 Ford Fiesta R5 Mini JCW S2000 Ford Fiesta S2000 Skoda Fabia S2000 Skoda Fabia S2000

287 pts 129 pts 121 pts 75 pts 57 pts 50 pts 49 pts 39 pts 37 pts 25 pts


ERC: Rallye Sanremo / Overview

Rallye Sanremo

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Based in: Sanremo Date: 11-12/10/2013 Number of stages: 10 Shortest stage: Coldirodi, 14.34 km Longest stage: Ronde, 33.87 km Total stage distance: 233 km Surface: Tarmac Image: FIA ERC


ERC: Rallye Sanremo / Rally review

It ain’t over till it’s over With the championship done and dusted Jan Kopecky didn’t need to participate in the 55th Rallye Sanremo, giving way to some of the other bright young stars. Could this be Breen’s, Bouffier’s or Lappi’s rally? Or would one of the ever-strong local Italian stars take the spoils? The championship may be decided, but all is to play in the northern Italian jet-set town of Sanremo.

Words: Steven van Veenendaal

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Images: FIA ERC


ERC: Rallye Sanremo / Rally review 51/64

Uncharacteristically Lappi took a steady approach to the Sanremo, it paid off in the end.

No champion Kopecky took the ERC during the previous event in Croatia while Lappi was boosting his air miles by competing in the Asia Pacific Rally Championship (APRC). Although he took two wins, he had to let the title to Indian Gaurav Gill, also in a Skoda. Next year though, the Skoda factory drivers will switch roles. Kopecky will head east to try and clinch the APRC crown while Lappi gets his chance to shine on the European continent. From that perspective, it’s not that strange to see Lappi compete in Sanremo rather than the newly crowned champion Kopecky. However it did feel somewhat weird to have crowned a champion but not have him at the start of the remainder of the season (he skipped the final round in Switzerland too).

Top-seeded Craig Breen was once again disappointed as mechanical problems ended his chances of succes.

The absence of Kopecky, who has been utterly dominant this year, did give the opportunity to Breen and Bouffier to add some luster to their seasons. Breen was touted as one of the championship favourites before the season and started well enough. Four podium finishes in the first six rounds brought him up as high as second in the championship (behind the shear unbeatable Kopecky). However his luck turned for the worse in the second half when technical issues and some mistakes put him out of contention. His pace is unquestioned though and it really should be only a matter of time before he secures his first major rally win.

No stranger to winning is Bryan Bouffier. The experience Frenchman already has the mayor French rallies of Monte Carlo and Corsica to his name and is out to add yet another classic to his list of victories. Despite Kopecky’s absence he will still face formidable opposition though. The main competition will come from the local Italian drivers who are out in force. The most notable names are those of Giandomenico Basso and Paolo Andreucci, both multiple winners of the event. They are both running a Peugeot 207 S2000 just like Bouffier and Green. So close cars, close skills, this should be a good one!


ERC: Rallye Sanremo / Rally review

Short rally? This year’s Sanremo consisted of only ten stages but with the stages running through the mountains just north of Sanremo and the shortest stage at over fourteen kilometers, this would be no easy feat. Friday night featured the daunting Ronde stage that used to run at over 55 kilometers, in the dark. For this year’s event the stage was split in two (stages 4 and 4bis, so there were actually 11 stages in total), to the disliking of Basso who reflected that ‘the only problem in the rally was that the Ronde stage was split in two’. Even so, it was still a massive challenge for the teams to complete.

First blood Bryan Bouffier set out on his mission in style and drew first blood. He won the opening stage and held on to the lead on the second stage. From then on though, the Italians showed who reigned around Sanremo. Andreucci snatched the lead and would not relinquish it for the remainder of the opening day. Trouble loomed for Craig Breen when he hit mechanical problems on the second of the Ronde stages, forcing him to retire. It was another disappointed for the young Irishman though he has something to look forward to in 2014 when he will partner up with Kevin Abbring in the official Peugeot 208 T16 R5 car.

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In the dark, it’s good to know where you’re going. The experienced Andreucci knew best of all and stormed ito an early lead.

Bouffier strikes back It’s Saturday morning, time for the second leg of the Sanremo rally and one man was out to proof a point. Bouffier blasted through the opening stages, winning them all. On the third stage of the day Andreucci went off and out of the lead. He wasn’t feeling too happy about himself. “I noticed before the stage there was low pressure in one tyre so we changed it but the tyre was worn,” Andreucci explained. “Then in a slippery section about four kilometers in I lost it. It was quite a straightforward place and maybe I did not pay enough attention. I hit something in the rear so we changed the left-rear tyre and that was it. Of course you make mistakes but I don’t remember making a mistake as stupid as this.”

Despite a few setbacks Bouffier kept fighting untill a final stage puncture truly ended his chances of victory.


ERC: Rallye Sanremo / Rally review 53/64

Finale Extravaganza With Andreucci’s demise, Basso could rise to prominence. He inherited the lead from his fellow countryman and had a comfortable cushion over Bouffier who was in second. Bouffier though would not settle for second and pushing until he closed to gap to a mere seven seconds before the final stage. Basso still felt confident before the stage, but his lead over Bouffier had been as big as 45 seconds at one point. With well over twenty kilometers to go in the final stage, Bouffier might just have enough to edge the Italian out of victory.

the top as those around him faltered. Bouffier’s demise also promoted Lappi to second with Perico in third. Lappi had been adopting a cautious approach as he lacks experience on these tricky roads and was mainly here to learn the event. His uncharacteristically calm performance paid dividends just like Basso’s. It is so easy to make a mistake around Sanremo. The roads are fast, tight, covered with leaves making the grip levels very difficult to judge and on top of it all they are lined with trees, barriers and cliffs, not something you want to encounter. More than anywhere, the saying ‘to finish It wasn’t to be Bouffier’s rally first, you first have to finthough. Continuing to push ish’, applies to this event. he hit a puncture on the final stage and was forced to Production Cup Honours change a tyre on the stage. Another delighted man This of course left him with at the finish was Andreas no chance of victory and Aigner. He wasn’t as much actually dropped him down in the spotlight as he had all the way to fourth. Basso been in Croatia, with a car was happy enough though. not quite suited to these Throughout the entire rally roads. It didn’t bother him he only won one stage, but though as he did enough to his steady performance claim the ERC Production was enough to bring him to Cup for group N cars.

Local knowledge goes a long way. Basso didn’t win many stages, but he knew exactly were not to make a mistake, crucial in Sanremo. In the end the win was a just reward. Ready to move up to the big league? Andreas Aigner clinched the Porduction Cup title in Sanremo and will be looking to step up to a top car for 2014.


ERC: Rallye Sanremo / Final Result

Final result

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1. Basso – Dotta 2. Lappi - Ferm 3. Perico - Carrara 4. Bouffier - Panseri 5. Albertini - Scattolin 6. Andreucci - Andreussi 7. Gasperetti - Ferrari 8. Vittalini - Tavecchio 9. Tassone - Rosso 10. Gryazin - Chumak

Peugeot 207 S2000 Skoda Fabia S2000 Peugeot 207 S2000 Peugeot 207 S2000 Peugeot 207 S2000 Peugeot 207 S2000 Renault Megane RS Citroen DS3 RT Renault Clio R3 Ford Fiesta S2000

2:37:37.3 +1:43.0 +1:47.1 +1:52.9 +2:10.4 +10:01.0 +10:35.2 +11:40.2 +11:48.8 +12:26.3


ERC: Rallye Sanremo / Standings 55/64

Championship standings 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

Jan Kopecky Bryan Bouffier Craig Breen Francois Delecour Andreas Aigner

Skoda Fabia S2000 Peugeot 207 S2000 Peugeot 207 S2000 Peugeot 207 S2000 Subaru Impreza R4

287 pts 149 pts 123 pts 75 pts 57 pts

6. 7. 8. 9. 10.

Kajetan Kajetanowicz Vaclav Pech Jari Ketomaa Giandomenico Basso Freddy Loix

Ford Fiesta R5 Mini JCW S2000 Ford Fiesta S2000 Peugeot 207 S2000 Skoda Fabia S2000

50 pts 49 pts 39 pts 38 pts 37 pts


ERC: Rallye du Valais / Overview

Rallye International du Valais

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Based in: Matigny Date: 7-9/11/2013 Number of stages: 18 Shortest stage: Les Casernes, 6.18 km Longest stage: Les Cols, 37.13 km Total stage distance: 288 km Surface: Asphalt Image: FIA ERC


ERC: Rallye du Valais / Rally review

All good things come to an end The Rally International du Valais formed the last round of the 2013 ERC. A rally previously tackled by the legends of old such Juha Kankkunen, Per Eklund, Jean Ragnotti and Francois Delecour it was the battleground of the stars of the future this year. Craig Breen and Esapekka Lappi went head to head, with Jeremy Ancian, Andreas Aigner and local aces Olivier Burri and Gregoire Hotz providing the opposition.

Words: Steven van Veenendaal

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Images: FIA ERC


ERC: Rallye du Valais / Rally review

Breen started of in command but after a check-in error dropped back.

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Contenders The only one with anything really left to play for was Craig Breen. By scoring 27 points he could still overhaul Bryan Bouffier to claim the runnerup spot in the ERC standings. Not the biggest prize, but definitely something worth fighting for. Breen also wanted to finish strong after some disappointing results on the last couple of rallies. Meanwhile Esapekka Lappi was feeling very confident after his solid showing in Sanremo. The young Finn had a very steady run, keeping his foot a bit too far off the throttle to his liking. Eventually he was rewarded with second though. He looked to go one better in Switzerland and claim his first ERC win.

A remarkably similar scenario unfolded for Ancian who joined led after the first stage but then also made a check-in error.

The two favourites would not get anything easy though. Seasoned veteran Olivier Burri first won the Rally du Valais back in 1993 and went on to do so another seven times. He had the material to do some damage too in the form of a Ford Fiesta RRC. His local knowledge being a mayor benefit of course as well. After clincing the Production Group title in Sanremo, Andreas Aigner was both on a high and relieved of the championship battle burden. He was free to go out and push, and he would do just that and then some! Someone who has shown glimpses of good pace this year, but never quite seemed to get all the pieces of the puzzle in the right place is Jeremy Ancian. The Frenchman had already contested five other ERC events this year but couldn’t yet

better a fifth place, would this be his rally? Drama The short opening leg consisted of three stages around the town of Sion. Breen and Ancian were both right on the pace and set equal fastest time on the first stage. On the next stage Ancian was slightly blinded by the low sun giving Breen the chance to claim the lead for his own. Ancian took back some time on the next stage seemingly setting things up for a nice battle between the two. Disaster loomed for both teams though as somehow they both managed to check-in early to stage three. Breen got a two minute time penalty while Ancian even got three minutes of extra time added to his total.


ERC: Rallye du Valais / Rally review

Surprising leader Due to Breen and Ancian’s check-in woes it was Andreas Aigner who, surprisingly, found himself in the lead. Testimony to his driving skills was that he managed to take the lead in his regular Subaru Impreza R4. Of course this Group N machinery should not be able to keep up with the built-to-rally S2000 and RRC cars, but somehow Aigner managed to stay ahead of most of them. Aigner did enjoy a very smooth rally up to this point “The biggest problem was starting the second stage on time because there were a lot of traffic and road works.”

would inherit his lead? Olivier Burri might seem the logical guess with his massive experience of the event, however it was an asphalt novice who would actually snatch the lead. Esapekka Lappi was in the form of his life while going through a very busy month. After claiming second in Sanremo he flew to China to go on and win the APRC China Rally Longyou. Just under a week later he is back in Europe again and finds himself at the top of the Rally du Valais after four stages, still a long way to go though…

Fortunes changing? Both Craig Breen and Jeremy Ancian knew there Another leader were up against a massive challenge to retake However good Aigner was driving, it would of the time they lost earlier due to their check-in course not be possible to retain the lead in his errors. On the other hand, they also knew they group N car. The big question then, was who had the speed to challenge for the win, so why

60/64

Second in Sanremo, first in China’s Longyou rally, could this become Lappi’s first ERC

not push for it? Especially Ancian took it upon himself to fight back to the front spots, winning most of the stages of day two. Unfortunately another time penalty cost him dearly. Now a total of four minutes of penalty puts him down in seventh overall, only 3 min 40 sec behind the leader though. That leader of course still being Lappi. The young Finn is proving to be capable of controlling victories. He had a strong lead over his rivals, knew that he would overtake Aigner in the less powerful car, so all he really had to do was get to the finish on a decent pace. However, that, is one of the absolute hardest things to do in rallying. Most drivers will tell you it is far easier to just push and go flat out than drive on 90-95%. You are still going at high speeds, but it is very hard to retain your concentration.

Andreas Aigner powered his Impreza over the stages for the last time before switching to a Peugeot207 S2000 for next season.


ERC: Rallye du Valais / Rally review 61/64

More bad luck This really wasn’t Craig Breen’s nor Jeremy Ancian’s rally. Both put up some solid driving but both were also constantly chased by bad luck. After the time penalties, now it was time for the cars to break down. Breen was hampered by a broken power steering (imagine that in the Swiss mountains…) while Ancian was slowed down by a puncture which required changing in the stage. All their best efforts aside, Breen got no higher than third with Ancian taking fourth. Ancian was also rewarded with the Colin McRae Flat Out Trophy though for his inspired driving and hard work during the weekend. More drama Up front Lappi was enjoying himself and edging further and further away. Behind him, more drama was about to unfold. Andreas Aigner had been very impressive in second

place until he pushed his Impreza just a bit too hard. He went off the road totaling his Impreza, thankfully both he and co-driver Barbara Watzl were unhurt. This crash promoted Russian youngster Vasily Gryazin up to third, a good result for the teenager. He too though, would not finish the rally. Just after the start of stage 15 he crashed his Ford Fiesta S2000 suffering mayor rear end damage, ending his rally. There was still one last bit of excitement in the rally when Burri, who was in a solid second place, started hearing strange noises from the engine of his Fiesta. With two stages to go and a one minute lead over Craig Breen in hand, his car started misfiring. He managed to get through the last two stages, but was quite lucky to do so “It was getting worse and worse, I don’t know if we would have finished if we had another stage.” But finish they did, with just 8 seconds in hand over Breen.

Despite strong resistence from local hero Burri (below left) Lappi managed to hod on for his first ERC win (not to mention his first proper win on tarmac). 18 Year old Vasily Gryazin also had a very promising run untill he crashed on stage 15.


ERC: Rallye du Valais / Final Result 62/64

Final result 1. Lappi - Ferm 2. Burri - Saucy 3. Breen - Vanneste 4. Ancian - Vitrani 5. Orsak - Kostka 6. Althaus - Ioset 7. Gono - Horgnies 8. Perroud - Marchand 9. Michel - Arlettaz 10. Salinas - Micheli

Skoda Fabia S2000 Ford Fiesta S2000 Peugeot 207 S2000 Peugeot 207 S2000 Skoda Fabia S2000 Peugeot 207 S2000 Subaru Impreza R4 Peugeot 207 S2000 Citroen DS3 Renault Megane RS

3:13:42.8 +3:28.2 +3:36.2 +6:21.1 +6:26.7 +6:42.9 +7:57.7 +13:15.9 +13:17.7 +14:12.4


ERC: Rallye du Valais / Standings

Championship standings

63/64

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10.

Jan Kopecky Bryan Bouffier Craig Breen Francois Delecour Esapekka Lappi Andreas Aigner Kajetan Kajetanowicz Vaclav Pech Jari Ketomaa Giandomenico Basso

Skoda Fabia S2000 Peugeot 207 S2000 Peugeot 207 S2000 Peugeot 207 S2000 Skoda Fabia S2000 Subaru Impreza R4 Ford Fiesta R5 Mini JCW S2000 Ford Fiesta S2000 Peugeot 207 S2000

287 pts 149 pts 145 pts 75 pts 64 pts 63 pts 50 pts 49 pts 39 pts 38 pts


Next issue, January, with the ERC J채nnerrally and the WRC Preview. See you there!

Rally-eMag 014 Dec 2013  

WRC: France, Spain & Wales ERC: Croatia, Sanremo & Valais The last issue of the year, more action-packed than ever before!