World Rally Championship – Otago Rally Fri, 18 Nov 2022 20:48:12 +0000 en-US hourly 1 World Rally Championship – Otago Rally 32 32 INTERVIEW: Ken Block drives an Audi electric Fri, 18 Nov 2022 20:48:12 +0000

In 1932, the German automobile manufacturer Audi merged with the automobile companies Horch, DKW and Wanderer to form Auto Union. During this time, Auto Union created the line: “Vorsprung durch Technik” or “Being ahead through technology”. The modern era for Audi began in the 1960s when Volkswagen took over Auto Union. In 1965, the brand was relaunched as Audi with the guiding principle “Vorsprung durch Technik”, which was embossed into the company’s processes and products.

Fast forward almost 60 years and this slogan has come true for Ken Block.

“Audi is the brand that ignited my brand for motorsport,” Block said in a 2021 press release announcing his partnership with the brand. “Together we will develop innovative projects and push the boundaries of electric mobility.”

RACER sat down with him to find out more.

Q: Audi, Strom… You’re in a new dimension now, aren’t you?

KEN BLOCK: Yeah, it’s been a pretty cool ride here, doing these Gymkhana movies and really living out my dream of being a rally driver, driving amazing cars and doing cool marketing projects like this. Being able to work with great brands like Ford and Subaru was incredible, and building great projects like the Hoonicorn was really a wild experience, but then stepping into the future with an incredible brand like Audi was awesome.

Audi was willing to risk things and come up with some really unique and quite dynamic projects around electric cars like the S1 Hoonitron they built me ​​and it was just incredibly cool. I mean, Audi is the brand that made me like rallies when I was younger. Now I work with them and they build me amazing cars and I get to do these incredible film projects with them like ELECTRIKANHA in Vegas.

It’s more than a dream come true at this point. It’s really incredible to also be at the forefront of electric car technology development and the development of cool products all around is just wild. There aren’t very many performance EVs out there, especially one-off prototypes like the Hoonitron, so it was amazing that they would build me this car and then work with us to develop it to really work the way I do never experienced with other cars.

Q: How did the Audi connection come about?

KB: My business partner in Hoonigan, Brian Scotto, is a total Audi nerd and has had many Audis over the years. He has been working with them for several years now and when my contract with Ford expired he mentioned the possibility of working with us. It took a few years to put it all together, it’s not something that happened overnight. Everything really aligned with Audi wanting to push its performance message in the EV space. They saw us as a great way to deliver a very different message than the other EV brands on the market. We have a very distinct audience with Hoonigan and I have a very large following with what I do with rally, gymkhana and rallycross, so combining all of that with some very great performance products was something that Audi really likes. We put together a great program that worked well for both of us and it was really fun.

Q: The Audi S1 ​​e-tron quattro Hoonitron was heavily influenced by the Audi Sport Quattro S1 Group B rally car driven by the great 1980 and 1982 World Rally Champion Walter Röhrl at the 1987 Pikes Peak in Colorado. can you talk about it

KB: Absolutely. Back in the 1980s, rallying didn’t get a lot of attention in America, so actually seeing it as a kid and being influenced by it is really cool for me. Watch things like ABC’s Wide World of Sports and keep abreast of the development of Audi’s all-wheel drive system in magazines car and driver magazine and engine trend really influenced me. When Audi came to the States and raced at Pikes Peak, they won with the four-wheel drive systems developed in the 1987 World Rally Championship with the Quattro S1 Pikes Peak. It was just one of my favorite cars in the world for a really, really long time – basically since I saw it as a kid. Now later in my life working with Audi after becoming a rally driver and having a lot of success and joy with that career is all just a carrot of sorts, on top of the opportunity to experience and work with such great companies during this time career.

Man, I met Hans Stuck and Walter Röhrl and all these heroes of mine that influenced me a lot when I was growing up. Now to be able to drive some of their vehicles and even have the current Gymkhana designed by Audi’s design center has just been an incredible journey and I have to thank the amazing people and company at Audi for wanting to be it involved in me and my company.

Q: How do you see automotive electric mobility and the future?

KB: As a racer, I just want things that let me go fast and win. I see the EV revolution as a very unique and interesting thing. A lot of people just complain about the lack of noise but I enjoy developing new and amazing things so I’ve had an incredible time racing and developing various rally cars and gymkhana cars and working with great companies like M-Sport and the companies that build things like the Hoonicorn or us.

It’s been a lot of fun working with a company like Audi and helping to develop some of the systems and programming and ideas around things that you can do with an all wheel drive vehicle like this. It was just really cool. It’s an opportunity I just couldn’t pass up. I love working on new developments and thinking things differently and the idea of ​​developing a Gymkhana car from scratch with an incredible company like Audi is an opportunity I just couldn’t pass up.

Q: A recent quote from Ken Block that I’d like to share with you: “Electromobility is the future.” Is that how you see things?

KB: Yes, I mean, electric motors have been around for ages, but getting them to work for mobility like this hasn’t really been as accessible as it has been for the past five years. It really needs a push from the public saying, “Hey, that’s something we want!” That really helped push manufacturers to come up with some great new technologies.

It’s by no means perfect. Do not get me wrong. I don’t think we’re anywhere near as good as it can be. But for me it’s really fun to be a part of this development and to see where this can lead and now see some benefits. There are things I can do with this Hoonitron that I just can’t do with my other cars, you know? I’m not limited by a gearbox, I’m not limited by the fact that you can’t go 50mph forward and backward in a regular car, but I can in an electric car! So, it’s cool stuff like this that just opens up different possibilities that are very interesting to me.

I’m all for progress and developing new things that make life better. If I can help in any way by making a little tire smoke to hopefully lighten things up and find more ways to improve mobility, I’m up for it.

Q: All of this can potentially have a profound impact on the automotive and aftermarket industry, right?

KB: I hope so. I think for auto racing and motocross and bike racing there is still a way out until there is a perfect one for all of this. However, if we don’t try and pressure the manufacturers, we’re going to kind of stagnate with what we’ve been doing for decades and decades. You see things like Nitro Rallycross and Audi developing new electric vehicles that perform really well. There are places where EV technology can really make a difference and make the vehicle really capable. Just finding these right ways, finding the right technologies and developing all the platforms is a lot of work and for me it was very cool to work with Audi to start from scratch on the development of this quattro system and its possibilities. We’re actually exceeding expectations where I thought we were going to be.

Spanish rally champion Sergio Vallejo will make his Dakar Rally debut in 2023 Tue, 15 Nov 2022 05:31:19 +0000

Sergio Vallejo is one of the best rally drivers in his native Spain Spanish Rally Champion 2009 and 2014 and last year won the GT class of the Spanish Tarmac Cup. Rally Raid will be a new foray for him as he is ready to do his Dakar Rally Debut in 2023. He will race a Century CR6 in class T1.

His younger brother Diego competed as a co-driver at Dakar Oscar Fuertes from Astara team. While the elder Vallejo had long been keen to compete as well, his fascination grew when he entered the race to support Diego. A lack of money and time to train for the race prevented him from attempting the 2021 and 2022 editions before hiring a CR6.

“It has very similar handling to the dirt Porsche I drove in 2017 and 2018,” Vallejo tells La Voz de Galicia. “It’s a very powerful car, predictable and easy to drive.”

Nicknamed ‘The Wolf’, Vallejo has competed in the World Rally Championship, initially just at the Rallye de España as his home rally before expanding to multiple starts in 2001. His best WRC result is nineteenth place at this year’s Rallye de France.

Although he has never competed in a rally raid, the 55-year-old is testing with his brother in an SSV in Morocco.

“It’s my first time, I worry about almost everything” Vallejo continued. “There were world rally champions who couldn’t win the event on their first or second participation. That tells me everything about the demand. I would like to finish among the top rookies, but at some point when I feel risky I slow down because my main goal is to cross the finish line.”

Mario G. Tome will act as his co-driver. While Tome has worked as a rally co-driver, he is also a newcomer to Dakar. Vallejo joked to la region he wanted Diego to do this for him, but Fuertes “won’t let him go” but added he believes he and Tomé “Form a good team” although no one has Dakar experience.

The 2023 Dakar Rally begins on December 31, 2022.

Mazda’s 323 GTX was a pocket rally rocket Thu, 10 Nov 2022 18:13:09 +0000

Welcome to Throwback Thursday, where we look back at classic cars of yesteryear and their impact on automotive history. This week’s recap: Mazda’s fabulous 323 GTX.

The 1980s and 90s were happy days for Japanese automakers. Honda, Toyota, Nissan, Mitsubishi and Subaru all developed sports coupes and hot compact cars with new and eye-catching technologies like Active Aero, all-wheel steering and twin-turbo engines.

Mazda was no exception, and although most would argue their biggest hit of the era is either that MX-5 Miata or third generation RX-7A small gem from Mazda was built there that still has cult status today: the 323 GTX.

First released in Japan in 1985, the GTX was a rally-ready version of Mazda’s compact 323. Mazda blessed the GTX with a 1.6-liter turbocharged inline-four rated at 138 hp and 137 lb-ft. Those numbers might not sound impressive today, but the tiny 323 was a featherweight at just over 2500 pounds. The GTX was also fitted with a permanent four-wheel drive system with a limited-slip differential and a five-speed manual transmission.

The GTX had success in Category Group A of the FIA during the 80’s. The rally versions were significantly more powerful than the street GTXs with around 250 hp. The success of the GTX on the rally stage led to the launch of a special homologation version, the GT-Ae. The Japan-only GT-Ae appeared in 1988 and featured a 10 hp increase in power and a viscous limited-slip differential on the rear wheel.

1988 was also the year that the GTX appeared in the United States as Mazda’s first North American offering of an all-wheel drive car. The US and Canadian versions of the GTX featured the same turbocharged 1.6-liter I4 and all-wheel drive system. Just over 1300 GTX were imported to North America in 1988-1989, making them a very rare find today.

Although sales of Mazda’s Pocket Rocket Rally ended in North America after 1989, in Japan the model was carried over to the next generation 323. The new car received the more powerful 1.8-liter turbocharged engine with 185 hp and came standard with a pair of viscous limited-slip differentials.

As with the previous generation, a homologation version was added later in production. Dubbed the GTR, it received unique front and rear bumpers, hood vents, fender flares and upgraded suspension. In addition, the front and rear subframes were strengthened, and the GTR featured five-hubs with larger brakes.

The GTR’s engine was also upgraded with a more powerful crankshaft, connecting rods and pistons. Other improvements included enlarged piston oil squirts, an oil cooler, sodium-filled valves, a baffled intake manifold, larger fuel injectors, a front-mounted intercooler and a larger turbo. These changes boosted the GTR’s power output by 25 hp over the GTX, for a total of 207.

Mazda also produced a special GT-Ae version of this generation. The GT-Ae’s engine remained unchanged but was mated to a close-ratio gearbox. The GT-Ae was also 66 lbs lighter. thanks to the deletion of the anti-lock brakes, air conditioning, electric mirrors, windows and locks and the sunroof of the GTX. Only 300 examples of the GT-Ae were produced.

HORN, AUSTRIA – NOVEMBER 16: Markus Stockinger of Austria and Franz Stockinger of Austria in their Mazda 323 GT-T Open-N during Waldviertel Rallye Horn on November 16, 2019 in Horn, Austria. (Photo by Markus Tobisch/SEPA.Media/Getty Images)

Although the car was only sold in the US for a few years, the GTX remains a cult favorite among rally fans and continues to be a hit popular rally platform 30 years after production stopped. With the later GTX and GTR versions now legal for US import, it’s likely that another wave of these cars will soon be appearing in North America.

Sebastien Loeb Racing teams up with Polaris to field the SSV for Xavier de Soultrait at the 2023 Dakar Rally Mon, 07 Nov 2022 22:20:41 +0000

Xavier de Soultrait has long competed in rally raids on two wheels after winning a stage Dakar Rally in the Bikes category and will be taking part in the event for eight years. However, for 2023 he will switch to four wheels when racing Polaris RZR Pro in the SSV (T4) category for Sebastien Loeb Racing. Polaris SUV will provide factory support under a new five-year deal with SLR.

Soultrait won the 2016 FIM Bajas World Cup and has titles in enduro racing. He made his Dakar debut in 2014 as a works rider for Yamaha won its first stage in 2019 on track for a career-best seventh overall. However, after a series of retirements, he switched to Husqvarna and competed as a privateer in the 2022 rally, where he finished fifteenth.

“Having done side-by-side passenger testing with Sébastien Loeb, we are making progress on my move into this category.” said soul trait. “The demands as a motorbike or SSV rider are very high and I hope that this next cycle will be as long as my first on two wheels. I will put in all the intensity and effort required to successfully complete this new challenge. The Dakar Rally is about adventure and human encounters and I think that with Sébastien Loeb Racing the story can become virtuoso. Of course, the presence of Sébastien Loeb as our team principal will be valuable as his experience and knowledge of the discipline will be necessary to help us progress faster. My desire to play the leading role, as I’ve tried to do on two wheels in recent issues, is undiminished. I’m sure it will be another fun adventure and I can’t wait to get started.”

Loeb is better known for his nine world rally championships but has increased his involvement in rally raiding since retiring from full-time rallying. Race in class T1 for Bahrain Raid XtremeLoeb finished second in the Dakar Rally 2022 and Rally Raid World Championship to Nasser Al-Attiyah.

SLR has followed its owner to various series including the FIA World Touring Car and World Rallycross Championshipsalthough Loeb races for other teams rather than his own race.

“The Dakar is my current discipline, which I have discovered over time and have come to appreciate in recent years,” Loeb commented. “I think it’s a big challenge that we have to take on. It’s a difficult, long, endurance race that highlights the collaboration between a team, its drivers and its supporters. It’s great that we can get involved in this discipline with SLR.

Dominique (Heintz, team manager) started as a motorcyclist in Dakar and it was important to him to return to this program one day. The opportunity to work with a manufacturer like Polaris is particularly motivating for us. Using Polaris vehicles is a great opportunity for our team. We will try to do great things together, so why not win the category in the future?”

Polaris will try to break the grip Can-Am is holding on T4 at Dakar. To Leandro Torres Won the class in an RZR in 2017, Can-Ams has won the category every year since, including a podium in the last four editions.

“An initial period of ten years has just come to an end, in which we experienced many things that shaped the whole team,” commented Heinz. “We are entering a new decade and want to mark this with new projects. The future of the Sébastien Loeb Racing Team will be rally raids. The Dakar is a monument and will remain so for a long time. The human factor makes this discipline a unique competition.

“We will not take this new challenge lightly, as there are many subjects to be mastered in this discipline and chance has no place. Humility has always been our way of working with Sébastien, so we will keep cool to offer a competitive structure. We are exceptionally fortunate to have Seb on our side on a program he knows well.

“This new adventure with Polaris is the logical continuation of our desire to work with renowned manufacturers since the team’s inception. I am convinced that our cooperation will bring great things and we have already started to be ready in early 2023. It is an extremely difficult event, all scenarios must be considered and we are working on it with the Polaris teams.

“For me, the Dakar started thirty years ago and is an event that has guided my whole life, so I want to face this next challenge with my team full of emotions.”

One of the last Ford Escort RS Cosworth is for sale Fri, 04 Nov 2022 17:00:00 +0000

The car has only had one owner and is in immaculate condition!

Ford Escort RS Cosworth

Ford introduced the Escort in 1968 and kept it in production until 2000, with over 4.1 million escorts sold. That To accompany was the best selling car in Britain, particularly in the 1980s and 1990s. The fifth generation, arriving in 1990, brought the RS Cosworth – a rally version developed to qualify as a Group A car for the World Rally Championship. The racing car was very successful in 1993 and 1998, so Ford decided to also offer a road version of the RS Cosworth. It was built in very limited numbers in three different variants: Motorsport/Roadsport, Standard and Lux ​​(Luxury). Ford ended production in January 1996, but still had hardware left over for two more vehicles. One of the two remaining units can now be yours thanks to you collect cars.


Related: Fantastic car for sale: Ultra rare 1985 Ford Sierra RS Cosworth

The last RS Cosworth has a unique history

Ford Escort RS Cosworth 2
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Ford Escort RS Cosworth

The last two units built at the Karmann factory in Rheine were built to original specification, down to the bonnet. Both units were offered with a 93 MY rather than 91 MY bonnet, as the latter was no longer available. While the penultimate car for Wilhelm Karmann jun. was built, the last one – i.e. this specific example – served as a company vehicle for a Karmann project manager. So the car spent its first two years only on commercial plates with no formal registration. In 1998 it was taken over by Dieter Hahne, former head of Ford’s SVE (Special Vehicle Engineering) department. Since then he has been involved in the development of ultra-hot hatch, he grew very fond of the car and has kept it in his possession for the past 24 years. Now he has decided to give another enthusiast a chance to take care of the car as he has just turned 80.

It features an Auralis blue exterior and black interior

Ford Escort RS Cosworth 3
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Ford Escort RS Cosworth

The Escort RS Cosworth was built around the shortened chassis and mechanics of the Sierra Cosworth. Along with the hood of a 1991 Escort, the Cosworth featured unique Karmann front and rear fenders and a revised upper body. The car is painted a sleek Auralis Blue and rides on 16-inch five-spoke alloy wheels wrapped in Continental SportContact2 tires. It forms a very cool contrast to the black leather cabin. Standard equipment on this model included air conditioning, a Ford-brand stereo with a separate CD player, and power windows, sunroof and door mirrors.

Related: Someone built a 1/3 scale Cosworth DFV V-8 and it sounds fantastic

Power is derived from one of the most tunable engines

Ford Escort RS Cosworth 4
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Ford Escort RS Cosworth

Under the hood, the Escort RS Cosworth has a 2.0-liter turbocharger Cosworth engine with an output of 224 hp. It was the engine that made the RS Cosworth so popular as it offers amazing tuning possibilities. There are tuners who have been able to achieve outputs of over 1,000 hp. The engine’s power is sent to all four wheels via a manual five-speed gearbox and a limited-slip differential. The RS Cosworth accelerates from 0 to 60 mph in just 5.7 seconds and can reach a top speed of 144 mph.

The current bid is €48,900, but with three days left anything can happen!

Routec Racing and RAW Motorsports prevail in the Birkett Six Hour Relay Wed, 02 Nov 2022 10:43:58 +0000

Routec Racing’s BMW Compacts won a dramatic six-hour relay from Birkett and took the lead from sister team BMW Triers in the last 30 minutes at the unusually warm Silverstone.

The handicap trophy was, as always, the top prize at the endurance classic and the Routec Compact team was the seventh different leader to appear in the half-hourly bulletins. Not included, however, were previous doubles winners The Three Amigos, who also launched compacts as the crew had done for their 2019 and 2020 successes. Paul Hinson had a violent retirement at Copse, causing one of six safety car periods, while multiple Hot Hatch Champion David Drinkwater’s version regularly overheated, leaving much of the driving to Adam Read.

The Routec crew was luckier, however, as their plan to finish the race with just two pit stops proved flexible. “They sorted me out because I’m a bit too slow and now sent out a fast guy, Martin Gadsby,” admitted Martin Roche in the final hour of the race. That change could have proved crucial as the Compacts – with Colin Whitehouse also part of the lineup – were just 24 seconds clear.

A squad of MR2 Roadsters – Lock Stops & Two Smoking Tires – led by Adam Lockwood, winner of the championship race, along with Jim Mew and Danny Bryant, took second place after leading by a three-quarters distance. The best of several teams consisting of CALM All Porsche Trophy regulars – Dads and Their Lads (Daniel Crego with the McHugh and Walker families) completed the podium and also took a class win. Last year’s winner, now known as RAF Team Flywheel, was classified just 48th after a series of problems for the team’s cars. They lost the inter-service battle to RAF team Per Ardua, who finished sixth overall.

The early front runner, MX-5 based Team Red Rascal (who won competing in M3s in 2018) lost a number of laps when one of their members was disqualified for a flag violation, while Triple A’s Racing only ran strong midway through the race , to get it re-handicapped for using slicks. Another MX-5 team, Mazda Misfits, led three of the 12 intermediate standings but finished fifth.

The Scratch win went to the RAW team aboard Radical SR3s

Photo by: Steve Jones

The battle for the Scratch honors was equally intriguing, although only four Radical-based teams stood a realistic shot at victory in a race riddled with reliability and penalties.

The fastest of the teams – as evidenced by the fastest lap set by 2020 winner Shane Stoney – was Doris NWH’s team, which also included Roger Bromiley, Mark Williams and Ryan Harper-Ellam. This crew led the first four hours, after which a gearbox problem on one car and a spool problem on another left the team temporarily with just one working SR3.

Despite this, Stoney was able to take the team home in second place, benefiting when RJ Motorsport 1 had to serve a stop/go penalty for a yellow flag violation minutes after Wade Eastwood had taken the lead and minutes before scheduled end of the race. This crew – also featuring Alastair Smart and Charles Graham – had only been sixth after the wet first half hour but moved up as others struggled. The trio eventually finished third, continuing a streak of seven podiums for Graham.

However, the winner was RAW Motorsports – Rob’s Wronguns, with Chris Preen taking the checkered flag in his Radical SR3 XX. Despite two split penalties, the team – which also included John Macleod and Ben Stone in SR3 RSX – emerged 20 seconds clear.

Cadwell Park CSCC: Webb/Watson and Nuttall share seven wins

Stephen Nuttall flew high in the Magnificent Sevens

Stephen Nuttall flew high in the Magnificent Sevens

Photo by: Mick Walker

In challenging conditions at Cadwell Park, Rich Webb chased Stephen Nuttall to claim a Magnificent Sevens win for himself and Dave Watson before Nuttall hit back in the sprint race. Watson led away on a slippery stretch but polesitter Nuttall crashed into Hall Bends. Watson’s Spire RB7 then shadowed the leading Caterham Supersport until a spin cost him about 15 seconds.

With the pit stops completed, Nuttall now held a 13 second lead over Webb with less than half of the 40 minute race remaining. A series of fast laps by Webb on the drying track closed the gap and as Nuttall tried and failed to react to worn rain tires Webb swept up the field on the final tour at Coppice. “I didn’t have much left to give,” Webb said. Behind the leaders, Tim Davis used a few spins to give John Cutmore’s second Spire a third place finish.

The sun shone through for the 20-minute sequel and Nuttall was ‘on a mission’ after switching to dry tyres. After chasing Watson while his rubber got up to temperature, last year’s Caterham Seven UK champion passed the park straight and then pulled away to a 30-second victory. Watson struggled with wet tires, a nosecone-damaging trip to oil on the gooseneck didn’t help. Cutmore also suffered from the oil, once again losing third place to Davis.

Tom Mensley returned to Tin Tops after recent Modern Classics outings and claimed his first win of the year. His Renault Clio took Adam Brown’s Ford Fiesta ST through the early corners before Brown got the upper hand. With a 30-second penalty, Brown built up a 7-second lead over as many laps before Mensley pitted.

Tom Mensley won Tin Tops at the wheel of his Renault Clio

Tom Mensley won Tin Tops at the wheel of his Renault Clio

Photo by: Mick Walker

Both crews managed super-fast turnarounds, but Brown came out nearly 20 seconds back. He was 12 seconds down when the checkered flag flew five minutes early after a huge explosion for John Ridgeon’s Clio. John Hammersley and Nigel Tongue (VW Scirocco) prevailed in the Clio 197 driven by Tom Oatley and James Joannou
simultaneous Turbo Tin Tops.

On his first visit to the circuit, Connor Kay overcame a penalty to win Group 1 of the Swinging Sixties by battle. That left Kay’s MG Midget ahead of James Hughes’ Austin-Healey Frogeye Sprite. The pair traded the lead but a delay when the Spite refused to restart cost the flawless Hughes much of his theoretical pit stop advantage. Kay locked it and rushed to victory in traffic.

In the fading light, Stephen Pickering (Sunbeam Tiger) led the early stages of Group 2 but his 30 second penalty saw him fall behind Dean Halsey’s Datsun 240Z. Halsey had been chased by Group 1 Gast Watkinson in the opening stint before a slow pit stop and traffic cost the Mini driver. Likely competitors – albeit facing penalties – Jamie Keevill (Lotus Elan S2) and Jon Wolfe (TVR Tuscan V8) were each edged out by driveshaft and differential failures.

The lead alternated back and forth in a combined Modern Classics and Future Classics race. But after clearing the road, Martyn and Rob Adams’ Triumph TR7 V8 eventually had the legs of Shaun Ely’s sprightly Peugeot 205 GTI. Clinton Ewen (BMW M3 E36) was honored at Modern Classics.

Cambrian Rally: First BRC victory heralds changes

Skoda driver Ruairi Bell led the BRC runners in Wales

Skoda driver Ruairi Bell led the BRC runners in Wales

Photo: Jakob Ebrey

Six laps down in the British Rally Championship, only two drivers had won in the 2022 season. But with both winners – champion Osian Pryce and runner-up Keith Cronin – opting to skip the series finale, there would be a chance for a new breed of BRC stars to shine at last weekend’s Cambrian Rally.

Whoever scored maximum points in the world-class North Wales forests would be first-time BRC winners and while the champions had been decided in Yorkshire in September, much was at stake for BRC1 hopes. Oliver Solberg, driver of the Axed Hyundai World Rally Championship, would also contest the event in a Volkswagen Polo R5 and thus provide the series competitors with the perfect benchmark.

Two closed-road tarmac tests in the darkness on Friday night added a twist to the event and while Solberg secured the lead, it was Skoda Fabia driver Garry Pearson who led the BRC crews after stage one.
But when the clocks stopped at Saturday morning’s first gravel test, it was fellow Skoda driver Ruairi Bell who had stormed to the lead after Pearson struggled in the rain-soaked conditions.

Like the other crews, Bell and co-driver Max Freeman struggled with the wet stages but largely stayed out of trouble to enjoy an 11-second lead over Pearson heading into the final stage of the morning loop. However, Pearson did not get out of the Penmachno test after damaging his steering.

Solberg was on the road for almost two minutes at the finish and with a rather meager national start, Bell was able to ride to his maiden BRC win. “It’s been such a difficult weekend on the stages and we’ve now had three podiums under our belt so to end our year with a win is just fantastic,” said a delighted Bell.

“It was a phenomenal season for us [in the BRC] and we’ve progressed with every single rally. I’m really looking forward to continuing to grow and improve and see what next season brings.”

Johnnie Mulholland took the Junior BRC win as his rivals faltered

Johnnie Mulholland took the Junior BRC win as his rivals faltered

Photo: Jakob Ebrey

Second place went to Junior BRC Champion Eamonn Kelly, who made his R5 gravel debut on BRC1 machines in a Polo R5. A trouble-free run was rounded off with the fastest overall stage time at the final test to give the Irishman a confident result.

For James Williams in his Hyundai i20 R5 it was a rollercoaster ride of a rally. Boost pipe issues on Friday night cost him almost two minutes before hitting back with three fastest BRC times on Saturday morning as the event switched to gravel. But a bale impact and more turbo issues hampered any further chargeback and he was lucky to cross the finish ramp at Llandudno with a BRC podium third.

The Junior BRC would also have a new winner thanks to Kelly’s entry into the R5 machinery, but it was an attrition rally for the youngsters. Early leader Fraser Anderson was forced to retire with engine problems on his Fiesta Rally4 ahead of Saturday’s opener and Ioan Lloyd did not make it out of the second race at Brenig with a driveshaft failure on his Peugeot 208 Rally4. With that, Johnnie Mulholland in his Fiesta landed his first Junior BRC win and secured second place overall.

Reports by Ian Sowman, Mark Paulson and Matt Cotton. Photography by Steve Jones, Mick Walker and Jakob Ebrey Photography. Interested in more reports from the world of national motorsport? Subscribe today and never miss your weekly motorsport issue again with Autosport Magazine

World Rally-Raid Championship is finally coming to North America Mon, 24 Oct 2022 17:38:06 +0000

Great news for rally fans this side of the pond! The FIM World Rally-Raid Championship is coming to North America for the first time, with the Sonora Rally in Mexico being added to the series. The five-round global championship is jointly sanctioned by both the FIM and FIA organizations and kicks off the season with the legendary Dakar Rally.

Bringing the prestigious World Rally Raid Championship to North America will certainly help raise the profile of Rally Raid, a mainstream attraction in Europe and Africa, on this side of the motorsport world. Especially in a championship that carries the grueling Dakar Rally as its flagship event.

FIM World Rally-Raid Championship is finally coming to North America

Championship participants will attend the Sonora Rally in Mexico for the first time in April 2023. The five-day off-road navigation event is popular with both international and American drivers, with routes taking participants deep into the vast deserts of the Sonoran Desert in northern Mexico. Founded in 2014 by Darren Skilton and Scott Whitney, the two Dakar veterans have authentically fueled the passion and growth of the sport, bringing decades of experience to the table in the form of world-class road books, pre-event navigation courses and professional logistics management.

But North America won’t be the only country honored with inclusion in the World Rally-Raid Championship. FIM and FIA have also announced that the series will come to Argentina’s prestigious Desafio Ruta 40 in late August 2023. A former Dakar Series round, the South American event utilizes desert stages alongside Argentina’s Ruta Nacional 40. A recent edition ran between Tucumán and San Juan, utilizing some of the most challenging terrain in northern and western Argentina.

FIM World Rally-Raid Championship comes to North America for the first time

“We are very happy to welcome new organizers who will make the circuit even more balanced and consistent. Expanding the event to include the Sonora Rally in Mexico and the Desafío Ruta 40 in Argentina will inspire the globetrotter in every rally-raid fan and competitor. The rich tapestry of landscape will also provide opportunities for all sorts of talent to shine,” said David Castera, ASO Motorsport Director.

Photos by ASO

Sanjay Takale from Pune will represent India at the World Motorspots Games Tue, 18 Oct 2022 15:34:22 +0000 Pune-based International Rally Champion Sanjay Takale will be the sole Indian at the forthcoming second edition of the World Motorsports Games, to be held October 26-30 at Circuit Paul Ricard in Marseille, France.

“This is my first time representing India, which makes this opportunity very special,” said Takale. He will sit on the wheels of the French car Peugeot and take part in the competition in the Rally4 class.

The multi-sport motorspot event comprises 18 disciplines and is being held after a two-year hiatus due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Former Asia-Pacific Rally Champion, Takale has been endorsed by the Federation of Motorsports Clubs of India (FMSCI), the sport’s national governing body, the world governing body based in Paris, the Federation Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA). .

After being cleared by FMSCI, Takale said he will have Australia resident Mike Young as his navigator. Young is an established rally driver and the two – Takale as driver and Mike Young as navigator – finished seventh at Rally Estonia in Tallinn in 2019.

Young was Takale’s teammate in the APRC championship and drove for the Japanese rally team Cusco Motorsport.

World RX – Suárez prepares for the electrifying homecoming of the RX2e Sat, 15 Oct 2022 12:11:00 +0000

The World RX of Catalunya (29-30 October) will mark a momentous homecoming for Pablo Suárez as the Spanish driver seeks a first win on home soil at the end of his second season of the FIA ​​RX2e Rallycross Championship.

The 30-year-old, who is from Gran Canaria and lives in Barcelona, ​​made his rallycross debut at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya last year.

“I was standing on the starting line at my very first rallycross race and there was a portal above me that said ‘FIA World Rallycross Championship’ and I was like, ‘What the hell am I doing here?’” admits Suárez.

“It was a case of let’s see what happens. I was leading in the first turn, but in turn two Jesse Kallio touched me and I ran into the inside wall.

“I lost two positions but it was like ‘Welcome, this is Rallycross!’

“I finished fourth in my first race, close to the podium and with all my friends there it was a really cool moment for me.”

Before rallycross, Suárez was a promising rally driver. He was the 2014 Canary Island FWD Tarmac Rally Champion, gained national experience competing in the 2016 Dacia Sandero Challenge and finished second in the 2018 Catalonia RACC Rally Challenge in his second season.

Suárez works at Spanish e-mobility specialist QEV Technologies, one of the founding partners of RX2e, which is how he came to the all-electric World RX feeder series.

“I was looking for a good electric motorsport project because I knew it would be more attractive for sponsors,” says Suárez.

“My boss at QEV said, ‘Why don’t you do rallycross?’ It was an interesting idea, but I’m a rally driver and I’ve never done rallycross. But then I thought, ‘Why not?’”

And Suárez has done very well in his debut season, finishing third in the 2021 RX2e Drivers’ Championship.

“I like driving in a championship where all the cars are equal and it’s even more so with the RX2e because there really isn’t any difference,” confirms Suárez.

“In a combustion engine car you can have a car with a bit more power because the engines can’t be 100% the same, but in electric racing they really are the same. You see that because the races are so close and you never know who will win.

“I’m still learning how to direct the races. In rallying you have two and sometimes three days to complete the race, but in rallycross you always have to do 120 percent in a very short time. It’s very intense and not that easy. I haven’t karted, so I’m still learning about the craft of racing and how to make good decisions in a short space of time.”

Suárez is also looking forward to racing at the World RX of Catalunya as it will be the first 100% electric event of the FIA ​​World Rallycross Championship.

It will include a pioneering e-mobility experience festival, considered the largest e-mobility fair in southern Europe.

All major car manufacturers will be represented and there will be opportunities to test drive electric road cars, other modes of transport such as electric bicycles and scooters, exhibitions, trade stands and an area for young people to get a first taste of safety and sustainable electric driving.

While Suárez looks forward to visiting the e-mobility show, his main goal will be to win his first RX2e race.

And he’s arriving in great form – having finished third at Spa-Francorchamps last time out.

“Since the FIA ​​World Rallycross Championship has come to Barcelona, ​​it has raised the profile of the sport and rallycross fans are becoming more aware. They like it and want to watch,” says Suárez.

“It will definitely be a very special event for me and I want to do better than last year and show how much I’ve improved as a driver.

“I really like the track in Barcelona. I’m enjoying it very much and I’m going back this year with a lot more experience.

“Am I going there to win?

“Of course!

“I can’t say less.

“That would be a dream result for me.”

Driving – Generation K – Residents of Portugal Fri, 14 Oct 2022 09:04:37 +0000

A 22-year-old boy is currently the best rally driver in the world. Can he become the best…ever?

Harri Rovanpera was a good rally driver. He raced in the World Rally Championship from 1993 to 2006 and was often a fan favorite at gravel events where he usually excelled.

His greatest racing success was fifth place overall in 2001, just eight points behind title winner Richard Burns, despite missing two rallies during the year. Had he competed in both events, he would have had a shot at first place. In the end he only won one rally, the Swedish round of the WRC in 2001.

Like many who have come before and after him, Rovanpera was gifted behind the wheel, someone who could connect with a car in ways you and I can only dream of, but there was always someone even better as he.

However, when Harri was the first on the 50thth At the end of the Rally Sweden, on February 11, 2001, his most important act in the history of motorsport had already taken place. On October 1, 2000, he gave birth to his son, a little boy whom he named Kalle.

FIA World Rally Championship 2022 / Round 11 / Rally New Zealand 2022 / September 29 – October 2, 2022// Worldwide Copyright: Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT

And at just 22 years old, Kalle became the youngest ever World Rally Champion. He was actually 22 and a day old when he celebrated his birthday on the eve of his title. Unlike his father, Kalle is not a gifted driver – Kalle is a genius, one of the greats of all time. It would be risky to write this about someone so young, but I’m not the only one saying that.

His peers, his competitors, ex-racers, the entire specialized press, everyone is in awe of this boy who won his first world rally event at the age of 20 (also a record) and has already claimed six wins in eleven outings this year . He already sealed the championship two rallies before the end.

Also, unlike his father and really most other drivers, he is no better on any given surface. The fact is that he won in Sweden in the snow; in Portugal on gravel; the safari rally on a mixture of sand and mud. Only Tarmac is missing from his list, but Spain and Japan are two more opportunities he doesn’t want to miss in 2022 – and who would bet against him?

You see, Kalle is the latest, greatest Flying Finn, a term coined to describe the best riders from Finland, which is by far the country that has produced more racing greats than any other nation.

On the rally side, there’s Timo Makinen (four rally wins), Rauno Aaltonen (six podiums), Hannu Mikkola (one world championship, 18 rally wins), Markku Alén (one world championship, 19 rally wins), Juha Kankkunen ( four world championships, 23 rally wins), Tommi Makinen (four world championships, 24 rally wins), Marcus Grönholm (two world championships, 30 rally wins) and now Kalle. In Formula 1 you have Mika Häkkinen (two world championships, 20 race wins) and Kimi Raikkonen (one world championship and 21 race wins).

Driving - Generation K
FIA World Rally Championship 2022 / Round 11 / Rally New Zealand 2022 / September 29 – October 2, 2022// Worldwide Copyright: Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT

There is a pretty good explanation for this and if you google “Kalle Rovanpera 8 years old” you will immediately understand. In Finland it is normal for children to ride on ice and gravel on closed roads as they can reach the pedals. I think it’s a cultural thing in families that are racing related or just interested in motorsport.

And because they start so early, they develop faster than others. And because so many of them do, there are simply more very good Finnish drivers out there than French or Germans or Italians or (insert country if you like).

In the case of Kalle, his father trained him as a rally driver when he was a small child. And to all the work he’s done, he’s adding a talent that only comes along once in a generation. In addition to rallying, he is a drifting champion in Finland. He does it because he enjoys it – and he says it also improves his rallying skills. But he’s also a national hero and the biggest topic of conversation in the country right now.

Finland loves cars and racing and since the arrival of the two Frenchmen named Sébastien (that’s Loeb with nine titles and Ogier with eight) Finland hasn’t had a rally champion in 20 years.

Kalle was barely two years old when his compatriot Marcus Gronholm clinched the title in 2002, but now he’s set to be the man – I mean the boy – to beat in the next decade. And it’s really a pleasure to watch. It seems he never pushes too hard; He only takes the car as far as it needs to be faster than everyone else.

Which car? The current icon Toyota GR Yaris Rally 1. Just like the street version, the rally car is just better than anything else, while Kalle is just (much) faster than everyone else.

Kalle and the Yaris are a couple made in heaven and logic says they will be unbeatable in 2023. But he’ll have a kind of pressure on him that he’s never felt before. He has to win. The stage is set for a fabulous season and my spot on the living room sofa is booked.

Through Guilherme Marques

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