Tuesday, 17 September 2019

Rally - Wales Rally GB

Wales Rally GB has published its international and national event entry lists but the big surprise (or not!) is the lack of Scottish crews taking part.

Last year there were about 8 crews in the International entry list and 10 more in the National event. This year it looks very much as though there will be only 5 crews in total from the northern outpost of Britain.

On that basis, my big pal Jaggy will not be attending this year's event so there will be no crew by crew, daily report and pics from Wales Rally GB appearing on Facebook and the Blog.


Rally - UK Rally Scene

There's more good stuff in the latest issue of the 'UK Rally Scene' magazine which is out now. It just keeps getting better, eh? There's Part 1 of an article from Mark Grierson. You can tell he's a school teacher because there is a second part to come in the next issue. Typical, have you ever met a teacher who will mark an exam paper in ten words when fifty words will dent the kid's confidence even further?

However, in this case, and in all fairness to Mark, there is quite a tale to tell. If there are any amateur rally drivers out there who think they've done it all, this account of four club crews tackling the national part of Rally Finland provides an eye opening and enjoyable romp across the northern continent of Europe.

On a more serious note, and with the recent joint BRC/SRC Galloway Hills Rally fresh in our minds, there is an insightful column from Jamie Edwards about the current state of the British Rally Championship. Sadly it is not alone, Scottish rallying is also suffering reduced entry numbers and an ongoing worry about non-viable events. We all know what the problems are, we just don't know how to fix them.

Elsewhere in the mag there is the usual mix of rally reports, features and foties - and all for the miserly sum of a fiver. Get it from Ebay (or look out for Bob at the rallies)

Monday, 16 September 2019

Rally - Ogier plucks Turkey

With 3 rounds to go in this year's FIA World Rally Championship, Sébastien Ogier has plonked himself right in the middle of the battle between current series leader Ott Tänak and Thierry Neuville who has dropped to third in the standings.

As ever Turkey provided a tough, rocky and dusty backdrop to the world series with Citroën Racing scoring a one-two finish on Sunday afternoon.

Ogier finished 34.7sec ahead of longtime rally leader Esapekka Lappi to claim his first victory since March and close the gap to series leader Ott Tänak to 17 points with a maximum 90 available from the final three rounds.

Lappi took the lead on the third of the 17 speed tests on Friday morning with Ogier coming from behind to close down the gap to second place. The Frenchman hit the front late on Saturday when Lappi stalled his C3’s engine in a hairpin and eased through Sunday’s finale for his third victory of the year.

Tänak retired his Toyota Yaris on Saturday with an electrical problem, but returned on Sunday to claim maximum bonus points with a banzai drive through the final Wolf Power Stage. Neuville could manage no better than 8th after an accident on Saturday.

Lappi finished half a minute ahead of Andreas Mikkelsen, who delivered vital points to extend Hyundai Motorsport’s lead in the manufacturers’ series to 19 points.

Teemu Suninen was unable to fight Mikkelsen for the final podium place on Sunday, but fourth in a Ford Fiesta was a strong result for the Finn after a lacklustre display on the previous gravel round in his home country.

Dani Sordo was 5th in another Hyundai i20, ahead of early leader Jari-Matti Latvala, who lost time with a puncture in his Yaris.
Kris Meeke had an eventful rally too finally finishing 7th just ahead of Neuville: “It’s been a tough weekend, since the long stage on Friday afternoon when we lost a lot of time in the rain, which put us into a bad road position for Saturday," said Kris, "We’ve struggled for a bit of speed here and it was about damage limitation in the end. But we’ll come back stronger in the last three rallies.”

And didn't Gus Greensmith do well, 10th overall in the new R5 Fiesta and first WRC Pro2 car home. “That has to be the most dramatic win of my career!" said Gus, "The first two stages went as planned and we were just managing the lead, but then on the penultimate stage I got distracted – completely missed the final corner and rolled into a ditch. Somehow we managed to get out and back on the road, but then we had to improvise some repairs on the road section which included changing a wheel without a jack! But we did it. We made it back, made it through the Power Stage, and won – amazing!”

And now for something completely different. After the heat and dust of Turkey, attention now turns to Wales. What lies in wait there, we wonder, eh?.

Rally Turkey result:
1, S Ogier/J Ingrassia (Citroën C3) 3hr 50min 12.1sec
2, E Lappi/J Ferm (Citroën C3) +34.7sec
3, A Mikkelsen/A Jaeger-Amland (Hyundai i20) +1min 04.5sec
4, T Suninen/M Salminen (Ford Fiesta) +1min 35.1sec
5, D Sordo/C del Barrio (Hyundai i20) +2min 25.9sec
6, J-M Latvala/M Anttila (Toyota Yaris) +2min 59.1sec
7, K Meeke/S Marshall (Toyota Yaris WRC) +3m53.3s
8, T Neuville/N Gilsoul (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC) +5m34.8s
9, P Tidemand/O Fløene (Ford Fiesta WRC) +7m22.9s
10, G Greensmith/E Edmondson (Ford Fiesta R5 Mk2) +15m18.7s

FIA WRC (after Rd 11 of 14)
1, O Tänak 210 points
2, S Ogier 193
3, T Neuville 180

(Thanks to Toyota Gazoo and M-Sport for the pics) 

Sunday, 15 September 2019

Rally - Long day in Galloway

No surprises here. David Bogie and John Rowan fired up the German sausage tin and simply disappeared over the horizon to take a final end of season forest rally win in Scotland on yesterday's Armstrong Galloway Hills Rally. A lack of familiarity with the MINI WRC was no hindrance, but the worry is, he reckons there's more to come.

The Subaru was showing its age as Jock Armstrong and Cameron Fair gave valiant, but ultimately fruitless chase, and there's a new threat in town, the fast improving Michael Binnie and Claire Mole were third overall in the Evo9. It would appear from this year's performances that when Michael is having a tough time on the farm, he takes it out on the rally car. He was 4th and leading Lancer last month having been levered out of the combine harvester to do the Grampian, and had just finished the harvest on Friday before being whisked across to Dalbeattie for 'the Hills' where again he was top Lancer.

Having given the Hyundai a run out on the Tyneside, Stephen Petch was back in more familiar surroundings yesterday with the Fiesta WRC finishing 4th ahead of Rory Young, who had struggled with set-up in the R5, while Scott Beattie again impressed the old hands with 6th place in the Lancer.

John Wink was in the top six till the third stage till an over-ambitious 'cut' in the third test sheared the tops off the bolts securing the Hyundai's front strut. Andrew Gallacher was out too with strut trouble striking a rock in Dalbeattie's long grass with the Fiesta.

In the final round of the British Championship contesting the longer 75 mile version of the Armstrong Galloway Hills Tom Cave did all he could do to try and wrest the British crown from Matt Edwards. Matt only needed a top 7 finish to retain his British title. He finished third overall while Tom took the rally victory. Sandwiched between the two was Jonathan Greer.

On paper the two event in one format looked quite ingenious, and indeed quite practical, but on the day the schedule was scuppered by thoughtless spectators, or perhaps equally worrying, some who didn't know any better. Although the BRC squad got away on time at 08.00 Hrs in the morning, the Scottish event start was delayed by some 40 minutes and there was a further big delay later on.

The saving grace was the quality of the stages and the fair weather. Certainly a long day out in the woods, but an enjoyable one.

There will be a full report and pics from both events in Wednesday's 'Motorsport News' and that will be followed by the usual longer report in the on-line mag.

45 mile event top six
1    David Bogie/John Rowan (Mini JCW WRC) 41m 15.2secs
2    Jock Armstrong/Cameron Fair (Subaru Impreza) +1:08.3
3    Michael Binnie/Claire Mole (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo9) +1:52.6
4    Stephen Petch/Michael Wilkinson (Ford Fiesta WRC) +2:01.1
5    Rory Young/Allan Cathers (Ford Fiesta R5) +2:13.3
6    Scott Beattie/Paula Swinscoe (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo7) +3:07.4

75 mile event top four
1, Tom Cave/Dale Bowen (Hyundai I20 R5)
2, Jonathan Greer/Dai Roberts (Ford Fiesta R5) +54.9
3, Matt Edwards/Patrick Walsh (Ford Fiesta R5) +2:16.1
4, James Wilson/Arthur Kierans (Ford Fiesta R5) +3:39.4