Thursday 29 November 2012

Road - New Forester

Subaru may have built its reputation with rally cars, but even though it has stopped competing at the top level, the pedigree continues.

The company has just revealed details of its fourth generation Forester, and while it’s no trouser wetting performance car, they will be producing a version with 276 bhp. That should be enough to get them damp at least!

However, they ‘entry-level version will have a more modest 148 bhp, although both cars will still have all wheel drive transmissions. These will come in standard six speed manual mode or with Subaru’s Lineartronic (CVT) transmission.

I’m no fan of CVT ‘boxes so we’ll all have to wait till early next year before we find out how good they are in a car with definite performance possibilities, although Subaru has promised that: “The Lineartronic transmission has been modified to manage the increased power while also providing improved fuel efficiency.” Fingers crossed, eh?

Tuesday 27 November 2012

Rally - Success in France

Garry Pearson and Craig Wallace did themselves a power of good in France at the weekend on the Rally du Var.

First time out in the Italian GIMA Autosport team run Renaultsport Twingo R2 Evo, Garry and Craig finished 84th overall and 7th in the Twingo class. They were also 9th R2 car overall behind 8 French drivers and one German.

They would have finished higher but for a front puncture on the final 33 km stage and did the sensible thing by stopping to change the wheel.

As a prize for winning the British Junior Raly Championship, Garry and Craig had been offered the drive by Renaultsport and although they had some time to acclimatise to the ‘new’ car, this was their first rally in the Evo version which had 60 hp more than their own R1 Twingo and also had a sequential change gearbox for the first time.

Garry cooked the brakes during the test session and spun the car as he deployed his demon Jim Clark left foot braking techniques! He did it again on the third stage of the 12 stage event but they achieved what they set out to do, finish, and didn’t put a mark on the car.

At the finish, Garry said: "Wow, what an excellent prize! The little Twingo R2 Evo is a proper rally car and these are proper stages that you must respect. Craig had a lot of work to do too - those corners are never ending and he did a great job again. I'd also like to thank Renault and GIMA, it has made me want to move up to the R2 even more."

Twingo Renaultsport Trophy UK Manager Simon Moss commented: "The guys have done a great job here. I'm so glad that they approached it as an experience and didn't try to match the pace of some of the French regulars; it is such a specialist rally. I think Renault made the right choice to come here as the prize, I'm looking forward to next year's UK Twingo Trophy already."

Not bad for a couple of young guys who went to France not knowing how to order porridge and black pudding in French!

Monday 26 November 2012

Rally - Ostberg joins M Sport

Hard on the heels of the announcement that M-Sport has secured funding for its 2013 World Rally Championship campaign from the State of Qatar comes the news that Mads Østberg and Jonas Andersson are joining the team.

The Norwegian driver scored a top-five finish on each of the 11 rounds he contested in 2012 and finished fourth overall in the drivers’ championship, just 5 points behind Jari Matti Latvala in third.

Ostberg has been nominated as Qatar M-Sport World Rally Team’s point scorers for all 13 rounds of next season’s championship.

Rally - Stocious in Perth

Photo: Martin Luke
There was much consumption of aged distilled water and fermented barley broth in Perth on Saturday night. It was the annual Scottish Tarmack Rally Championship Awards night as over 80 souls celebrated the successful conclusion of the 11 round national series.

Ross Fernie and John Young were declared Scottish Champions, but it was close. A mere three points separated Ross from Jim Sharp after the final round.

The food was plentiful, the raffle was huge, the disco bearable (now there’s a change!) and the crack was grand. There was even a wee bit of floor-shoogling at times as the DJ resurrected some foot-tappers from times gone by.

And then when the room fell silent after the witching hour, it was time for bed and a stroll through the christmas fairy-lit twinkling streets back to a warm room in a nearby coaching inn.

Fortified with the afterglow of a ‘guid nicht oot’ comprising a bowl of broth, a large portion of game pie (or was it roadkill pie?) and sticky toffee pudding topped off with the numbing effects of assorted bevvies and tipples, guests returned to their various hotels and hostelries around the fair city which provided a cosy and welcoming warmth against the damp and chill night air.

Oddly enough the way home was illuminated by a large bright star in the sky guiding the weary, and somewhat wayward steps, of the travellers. Then to bed, and the healing effects of slumber aided by the gentle lullaby of sheep bleating and asses snorting in the stable below - or was that simply the after-effects of a drink-dulled and addled brain, and an over active imagination?

And by the way, the two lady Polis I encountered on my stroll back to my digs were perfect ‘gentlemen’ – if you see what I mean.

Photo shows, left to right:

Matt Reid (3rd Co-driver o/a), Kathryn Forgan (Runner-up Co-driver), John Young (Champion Co-driver), Ross Fernie (Scottish Champion Driver) and Matthew Kesson (3rd Driver o/a) – Jim Sharp wisnae there!

Friday 23 November 2012

Rally - Roger Albert Clark

The 9th Roger Albert Clark Rally got underway at Pickering earlier this morning with 80 competing crews facing a full day in Yorkshire today before heading north and west into Kielder and overnighting in Carlise on Saturday night.

Sunday sees them in Scotland, so if you fancy a grand day out in the woods, how about the sight and sound of 2 stroke Saabs, the full throated bellow of a Healey 3000 and the piercing wail of a Stratos V6, plus assorted soul stirring Twin Cams, BDAs and flat sixes?

Sunday’s timetable is: 
07:46, Restart, H&H Borderway Mart and Exhibition Centre, Carlisle
08:34, SS 16, Glen Dhu
08:56, SS 17, Newcastleton  
09:26, SS 18, Florida 1 
09:54, SS 19, Riccarton  
10:40, Re-group & Service, Hawick
11:28, SS 20, Craik  1
12:05, Service, Hawick
12:38, SS 21, Craik  2
14:43, SS 22, Wauchope
15:23, SS 23, Florida 2
15:46, SS 24, Kershope
17:00 Ceremonial Finish, Brampton Town Centre
19:00, Prize Giving , H&H Borderway Mart and Exhibition Centre

Most Car Parks charge 10 quid per car but a few will cost £20 but that’s because they are run twice during the day, so pay attention.

Detailed spectator maps are available to view at: