Monday 31 March 2014

Rally - Greek postcard

Further to the earlier report on Craig Breen and Scott Martin’s success in Greece, Peugeot Sport sent out a press release with some pics. They got Scott’s name correct in the text, but they misspelt or mistyped his name in the results – they called him ‘Scoot’!   

Don’t laugh, we’ve all done it, but I think the name should stick, eh?

Here’s hoping Craig gets more drives after his success though. He set fastest time on 4 stages over the weekend with team mate Kevin Abbring getting two fastest times before the Dutchman retired with a punctured radiator.

Next outing for Craig and ‘Scoot’ in the 208 T16 will be next weekend’s Fel’s Point Circuit of Kerry Rally in Tralee as a high speed test ahead of rround four of the ERC, The Circuit of Ireland Rally on Easter weekend.

Rally - Breen in Greece

Craig with the McRae trophy

Ireland’s Craig Breen gave the new Peugeot 208 T16 its maiden victory on a European Rally Championship round when he won the weekend’s Acropolis Rally in Greece.

With co-driver Scott Martin, from Cumbria, Breen now leads the ERC standings after three rounds.

Bryan Bouffier and Xavier Panseri (Citro├źn DS3 RRC) finished second with Kajetanowicz and Jarek Baran third in their M-Sport Ford Fiesta.

Breen’s performance also earned him the Colin McRae ERC Flat Out Trophy, and afterwards paid tribute to Gareth Roberts, his best friend and former co-driver who lost his life in a rally crash in 2012. He also remembered his idol, the late Frank Meagher, who was the last Irishman to win a round of the European championship.

“It’s been the perfect weekend,” said Breen. “We showed a lot of speed on the tarmac on Saturday and everything worked just as well on gravel on Sunday so hats off to the team and Peugeot Sport for all their hard work. Frank Meagher was my absolute idol. But I remember Gareth and me asking ourselves the day before the accident how long it would take until we could be winning one of these events. A couple of years later and it’s an amazing feeling and thanks to Scott, he’s done a fantastic job.”

Thursday 27 March 2014

Rally - Border Class report

That's the final part of the Brick & Steel Border Counties Rally report posted in the rally mag now, a full roundup of all the Classes and finishers, and some who didn't finish!

There's a few snippets and gossipy bits to go up tomorrow night, but if any car club wishes to 'pinch' bits of the report or information for their own club mags, I don't mind, as long as you credit the source.

Wednesday 26 March 2014

Rally - Border report

That'sthe main report from the weekend's Brick & Steel Border Counties Rally now in the rally mag. Full of stories, quotes - and excuses!

Bogie won and Thorburn didn't. Armstrong, Milne and Gallacher did well - and Faulkner, Collie and MacDonald didn't. It was quite a day.

Full Class roundup will follow tomorrow night.

Rally - Toyota for WRC

It looks like Toyota is serious about making a return to the WRC which can only be good for the sport as a whole – another manufacturer getting involved.

The company has previously been testing their new 1.6 litre Global Race Engine and drivetrain in a Yaris S2000 car in South Africa, but this week they were testing a prototype of their proposed Yaris WRC challenger in Italy. Sebastien Lindholm and Stephane Sarrazin both had runs in the car.

But don’t go getting your hopes up, a full-blown return is not quite imminent. There’s a new Yaris model coming next year and the firm will be expected to homologate that rather than the current car, which makes commercial sense. However, the company will continue to test and develop the Toyota Motorsport Division machine ahead of a possible return in 2017 to conform with the new WRC technical regulations which are due to come into effect then.

It’s 15 years since Toyota curtailed its WRC programme, it’s time they were back!

Monday 24 March 2014

Rally - BRC statement

Following the cancellation of Rally North Wales, UK Rally Ltd has issued a statement.
Full text here:

Rally - Free ferries!

The Armstrong Galloway Hills Rally is bidding to attract more Irish crews over for the end of season thrash in the south west in October by offering them “free ferries”. Unfortunately this is not the munificent offer that it first appears. Although the headline attraction is a ‘free ferry’, the small print makes out that it is only a ‘free return trip’ on a ferry.

In other words if you want to captain your own vessel, buy a rowing boat at Largs. Still it would be good if more of those celtic furriners from across the waatter could come across for the weekend.

I well remember those pre-rally parties on the Saturday night before the rally on Sunday morning. The term a ‘grey dawn’ took on a new meaning. It wasn’t the sky that was grey, it was the pallour of the many faces reeling and staggering out of the Gatehouse of Fleet hotels and guesthouses. Nowadays it’s all soft drinks, fruit and yoghurt.

Rally - New 208 T16

Photo by: FPF Sport (Italy)
This weekend sees the 60th running of the Acropolis Rally in Greece on the 28-30 March. It will be the third round of the 2014 European Rally Championship and there’s a big change to the format. The rally will use tarmac roads on Leg one and traditional gravel tracks on Leg 2. Based in Loutraki on the banks of the Gulf of Corinth. The action begins with a Qualifying Stage on Friday afternoon with the rally running over two days from Saturday until Sunday.

Of particular interest to UK rally fans will be the appearance of Peugeot’s new 208 T16 in the hands of Peugeot Academy rising star Craig Breen and Scott Martin.

The new car actually made its debut on the Rally Il Ciocco in Italy (March 16), the week before the Border Counties, where  Paolo Andreucci drove the car to third place behind rally winner Giandomenico Basso in a Ford Fiesta R5 and Umberto Scandola in a Skoda Fabia S2000.
Photo by: FPF Sport (Italy)

This is an important car for Peugeot, as the company has already got 22 orders for the new R5 machine. Peugeot Sport Director Bruno Famin commented. “The 208 T16 is a strategically important flagship product for Peugeot Sport, especially this year which marks the 30th anniversary of the 205T16’s introduction! There is significant demand for the 208 T16 and our priority is to work closely with all our customers, whether they be subsidiary-backed or privateer teams, to help them win on all types of surface, with the 207 S2000 as our benchmark!”

To date, Peugeot Sport has now received 22 firm orders - eight in Italy, five in France, three in the Czech Republic, two in Germany and one in Brazil, Denmark, Latvia and Belgium.

On Friday afternoon, (March 28) Craig and Scott Martin will compete on the 3.27km tarmac qualifying stage to determine road position for the following day. Later on that evening they will take part in a spectacular start ceremony high above the Corinth Canal.

Day one features 124.62km of new tarmac stages in the north eastern part of Peloponnese while Day two will use 114.22km of the event’s more traditional fast and rocky stages. This year also sees the introduction on day two of an all-asphalt seaside superspecial mid loop which takes place in Korinthos – with the cars still in gravel spec!

Dutchman Kevin Abbring will partner Craig in a second Peugeot Rally Academy-entered 208 T16.

Sunday 23 March 2014

Rally - BRC Rd1 Cancelled

The organisers of Rally North Wales on April 5th have been forced to cancel their opening round of this year’s British Rally Championship due to insufficient entries. The club stood to lose more than £10,000 had it gone ahead.

The first round of the Championship will now be the Pirelli Carlisle RB Foundation Rally on the 3/4 May after which the British series heads north to Kelso for the Jim Clark Rally on 30/31 May then the RSAC Scottish Rally at Dumfries on 27/28 June before heading across the water to Ulster for the Todds Leap Ulster Rally on 15/16 August.

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