Thursday 28 January 2016

Rally - GoRally gets Bogie

David Bogie
It will be a night of rally stars and hairy lines, shiny cars and spot heights, special stages and table top rallies. The great, the good, the not-so-good and the downright hopeless will gather for one night only under the flight path at Edinburgh airport on February 4th. Not long now!

If you know of anyone who wants to find out what the sport of rallying is all about this is the place. There will be lots of folk to talk to from rally champions to rally newcomers and all have been primed to chat with visitors and answer questions.

The trouble with rallying is that unlike football or athletics there are no stadiums or clubs where folk can find out information. Rallying is a nomadic sport and so are the clubs. In a bid to reach out to the public this 'GoRally' event is being staged by the Scottish Association of Car Clubs primarily to attract and inform newcomers to the sport. So please, one and all, spread the word. If it's not a success it won't happen again. A lot of folk are putting a lot of time and effort into this for the common good -  and not just for the teacakes!

The latest names to join the throng are David Bogie and Robert Reid, Caroline Carslaw and Blair Brown, plus many more.

Visitors can come and go at any time between 6pm and 9pm, on their way home from work or after tea, and it will happen in the Pentland Land Rover showroom, Hallbarns Crescent, Newbridge, Edinburgh EH28 8TH.

And it's FREE!

Wednesday 27 January 2016

Rally - ET for BRC

No, you're right, it's not a Ford. Now we know why Euan Thorburn has been struggling to read his Christmas present Haynes Manual - it's in French! Go ET!

Rally - BRC on TV

The MSA British Rally Championship (BRC) has concluded a deal with Channel 4 to cover the seven-round 2016 series. It will also be shown on BT Sport as part of a new broadcast package.

Produced by Worcestershire-based Hayfisher Productions, each BRC round will have a half-hour
slot on Channel 4 as part of the channel's weekend morning sports programming, with a repeat of the action later in the week. BT Sport viewers will enjoy a longer 60-minute programme.

Keep an eye out for more news on the timing of these programmes as the first round of the series approaches on the 5/6 March in Wales.

Sunday 24 January 2016

Rally - VW wins Monte

It's the year 2016, it's a new season of world rallying, and it just seems as though it is business as usual for the Volkswagen squad. A VW one-two at the 'Monte' provided the third in a row for Sébastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia with team-mates Andreas Mikkelsen and Anders Jæger finishing runners-up. The latest victory marked the 35th triumph in 40 rallies for the Polo R WRC the 33rd career win for Ogier/Ingrassia, while Mikkelsen racked up his 15th podium finish.

Sandro Munari did it with Lancia, Walter Röhrl with Opel, Lancia and Audi, Tommi Mäkinen with Mitsubishi and Sébastien Loeb with Citroën. Sébastien Ogier has now joined this elite circle of rally champions – as the fifth driver in the history of the World Rally Championship to win the Rally Monte Carlo three times in succession. The 318hp Polo R WRC joins the Porsche 911, Lancia Stratos, Lancia Delta, Mitsubishi Lancer and Citroën Xsara as the sixth model of car with three 'Monte' wins in a row to its name. With 35 victories from 40 rallies, the Polo R WRC is also the most successful car in rally history, thanks

The Rally Monte Carlo is unique on the World Rally Championship calendar. And the 2016 rally lived up to its reputation as perpetually unpredictable. With 16 special stages and 377.59 kilometres against the clock, the drivers had to get the tyre selection just right. Thankfully, the three Volkswagen duos could rely on their route note cars. The 'ice spy' for winner Sébastien Ogier was Simon Jean Joseph, Andreas Mikkelsen had Bernt Kollevold, and Jari-Matti Latvala was able to call on Toni Gardemeister. Their information helped the Volkswagen drivers make intelligent decisions – none more so than Andreas Mikkelsen, who was the only driver to take more spiked tyres with him on Saturday and gained time on his rivals as a result.

For Jari-Matti Latvala and Miikka Anttila, the rally came to a disappointing end on Saturday. The duo came off the road on stage eleven, skidding into a ditch and out into a field on the other side. In the process, light impact was made with a spectator, who was thankfully unhurt. Damage to the car resulted in Latvala/Anttila arriving late at the Control ahead of the following special stage, bringing their rally to a premature end. The Finnish duo was subsequently fined for not stopping at the scene of the incident, as stipulated in the regulations. The stewards also handed Latvala/Anttila a suspended sentence, which will only come into effect should they be found guilty of another breach of regulations. Driver, co-driver and team have accepted the penalty.

Stéphane Lefebvre and Gabin Moreau scored their best result to date in the World Rally Championship when they finished fifth overall while DS team mates Kris Meeke and Paul Nagle were reduced to the role of spectators following yesterday's retirement after gearbox failure.

Congratulated by Bernard Piallat, Team Principal, Abu Dhabi Total WRT and Yves Matton, Citroën Racing Team Principal, Stéphane Lefebvre and Gabin Moreau were finally able to relax when they reached the final podium.

In three weeks’ time, the Abu Dhabi Total WRT will pursue its season at Rally Sweden (11-14 February) with three cars driven by Kris Meeke/Paul Nagle, Craig Breen/Scott Martin and Khalid Al-Qassimi/Chris Patterson.

Elfyn Evans and Craig Parry also have good reason to be well-chuffed, with victory in the WRC2 class and 8th overall in the M-Sport Fiesta.

Provisional Final Overall Standings:
1, Ogier / Ingrassia (VW Polo-R WRC) 3h49.53.1
2, Mikkelsen / Jaeger (VW Polo-R WRC) +1:54.5
3, Neuville / Gilsoul (Hyundai i20 WRC) +3:17.9
4, Ostberg / Floene (Ford Fiesta RS WRC) +4:47.7
5, Lefebvre / Moreau (DS 3 WRC) +7:35
6, Sordo / Marti (Hyundai i20 WRC) +10:35.5
7, Tänak / Molder (Ford Fiesta RS WRC) +11:39.9
8, Evans / Parry (Ford Fiesta R5) +18:30.8
9, Lappi / Ferm (Skoda Fabia R5) +20:41.0
10, Kremer / Winklhofer (Skoda Fabia R5) +20:43.9

Rally - Meeke's Monte

Kris Meeke and Paul Nagle were forced to retire from Rallye Monte Carlo yesterday afternoon leaving new team mates Stéphane Lefebvre and Gabin Moreau to take up the cvhase and they finished in fifth place overall last night.

As is often the case at the Rallye Monte-Carlo, the day began with some serious discussions about tyre choice. With damp patches having an annoying habit of turning into ice, both Abu Dhabi Total WRT drivers decided to opt for Michelin Pilot Sport SS5 tyres (super soft slicks) for the 51km-long “Lardier et Valenca – Faye” stage.

Forced to cope with dirt pulled onto the road by the four cars ahead of him, Kris Meeke finished about ten seconds behind Sébastien Ogier. The loop continued with “St Léger les Mélèzes – La Bâtie Neuve”, including a section several kilometres long on the slopes of the Ancelle ski station. With a mix of slicks and studded tyres, the drivers had to perform something of a balancing act Kris Meeke fell another ten seconds behind the leader, but he was pleased with his performance back at the midday service.

The afternoon got off to the best possible start for Kris, who beat Sébastien Ogier to the stage win on SS11. The gap between the leaders was 26.8s at that point, with the third-placed Mikkelsen over two minutes back.

And then it all fell apart on the next stage. On a right-hand turn, the Northern Irishman’s car ran over a large slab of bedrock that had come loose, which ripped off the sump guard. Kris made it to the end of the stage, but he was forced to retire shortly afterwards due to the damage caused to the gearbox and the intercooler.

As there is no Rally2 service facility for drivers retiring on the Saturday, Kris and Paul will not be rejoining the rally today.

A disappointed Meeke said: “I was pleased with my morning, because my times were consistent with the road conditions that I had. There was a lot of snow and mud being pulled onto the road by the guys ahead. That’s just how it is, if I want to be first on the road in Monte-Carlo then I have to be world champion! Obviously, it’s bitterly disappointing to go out like this after coming through all the challenges of the last three days. It happened on the exit of a fast bend, I felt a big impact under the car even though I had taken the same line this morning. We now know that there was a large piece of bedrock that must have come loose as more cars completed the stage. Nevertheless, it was a strong performance we produced with Paul, the team and the car, so I’m pleased about that. It’s encouraging for the rest of the season.”

But what about young Evans in the WRC2 Fiesta? He was leading the WRC2 class by 2 minutes from Kremer in the Skoda at the end of Saturday, and both are in the top ten overall.

Last night Elfyn added: “The first stage [today, SS9] wasn’t what we wanted as we had to stop and change a puncture. We lost the lead momentarily but managed to get a good gap back to our rivals on the following speed test. After that, it has just been a case of managing the rest of the rally to secure the victory. There will be a lot of tricky sections tomorrow so we’re not planning to take any risks and will just focus on bringing the car home."

“I have to say that the car is absolutely incredible – everything and more than everyone expected. It’s really rewarding for the team to see that the performance is as good as we all hoped!”

Leaderboard after 13 (of 16) stages:
1, Ogier / Ingrassia (VW Polo-R WRC) 3h19:05s
2, Mikkelsen / Jaeger (VW Polo-R WRC) +1:59.7
3, Neuville / Gilsoul (Hyundai i20 WRC) +2:12.2
4, Ostberg / Floene (Ford Fiesta RS WRC) +4:25.9
5, Lefebvre / Moreau (DS 3 WRC) +7:29.4
6, Tänak / Molder (Ford Fiesta RS WRC) +10:42.3
7, Sordo / Marti (Hyundai i20 WRC) +10:44.5
8, Evans / Parry (Ford Fiesta R5) +17:14.5
9, Kremer / Winklhofer (Skoda Fabia R5) +2:11.9
10, Lappi / Ferm (Skoda Fabia R5) +19:38.1

Saturday 23 January 2016

Rally - Monte underway

Back in the old routine ... The first round of the 2016 FIA World Rally Championship got underway in Monaco on Thursday evening. And at the end of the opening two stages Kris Meeke and Paul Nagle were leading.

Then came Day two yesterday. They lost the rally lead on the rods around Gap but continued to impress throughout the second leg finishing the day in second place just 10 seconds behind Sebastien Ogier.

The opening leg was held in the dark, with yesterday's three stages, each contested twice, in daylight. Predominantly dry, the Champsaur roads nonetheless had enough ice on them to make tyre choice tricky at the day’s first service.

An enthralling battle developed between the leading Abu Dhabi Total WRT crew and VW's Sébastien Ogier for the overall lead, with matter of a few tenths separating them. Despite a stage win on SS4, the Ulsterman lost the lead at the end of SS5, by just 1.5s!

Following a half-hour service in Gap and a few set-up adjustments, the fight at the front served up even more thrills in afternoon runs. Kris Meeke set a blistering time on SS7 to retake the overall lead. But on the following test, Sébastien Ogier hit back with a convincing win in his own backyard. He ended today’s second leg with a 9.5s lead over Kris.

Saturday’s leg is set to be the longest of the rally, with five stages covering almost half of the total distance of timed sections. The crews are expected to reach parc ferme in Monaco from 7.48pm.

On Friday night, Kris said: “I’m pleased with today, I feel good in the car and it’s really nice to be challenging for the lead. There were just a few seconds between me and Sébastien, but he made the difference on a few kilometres between Les Costes and Chaillol. As far as I’m concerned, I was happy with my driving; I really don’t know how he made up the time! But in any case, it’s still tight and the fight is by no means over. Tomorrow, we’ll have to deal with the long 51km stage and the one that includes a section on the Ancelle ski slopes. Tyre choice will be all about getting the right compromise, and it could swing the race one way or another. And then there’ll be the legendary Sisteron-Thoard stage to tackle before we reach Monaco. It really will be the biggest day of the rally!”

Elfyn Evans was the leading WRC2 driver in the M-Sport Fiesta holding 11th place at close of play on Friday evening less than a minute (58.5 seconds) behind the outright leader, No bad, eh?

Leaderboard after 8 (of 16) stages:
1, Ogier / Ingrassia (VW Polo-R WRC) 1h29:06.1
2, Meeke / Nagle (DS 3 WRC) +9.5
3, Latvala / Anttila (VW Polo-R WRC) +1:08.1
4, Mikkelsen / Jaeger (VW Polo-R WRC) +1:33.8
5, Neuville / Gilsoul (Hyndai i20 WRC) +1:47.8
6, Ostberg / Floene (Ford Fiesta RS WRC) +2:18.5
7, Sordo / Martin (Hyundai i20 WRC) +3:07.8
8, Lefebvre / Moreau (DS 3 WRC) +3:32.0
9, Bouffier / Bellotto (Ford Fiesta RS WRC) +4:18.6
0, Tänak / Molder (Ford Fiesta RS WRC) +5:25.8

Friday 22 January 2016

Rally - More from GoRally

It's a brave, or silly, man who turns his back on Jock Armstrong but intrepid interviewer Stewart Weir shows no fear in pursuit of the soundbite and we'll be able to see and hear from all three of them at the GoRally night at Newbridge on 4th Feb. 

Both Euan Thorburn and Jock Armstrong have agreed to appear on the night and are willing to talk to allcomers about starting rallying and their progression through the sport. And speaking of progression, young Andy Struthers is another who has agreed to attend on the night to chat about the 14-17 year old Junior 1000 series and his next step up to the Citroen C2 Ecosse Challenge.

For those of you who are too shy to ask, Stewart will be engaging with Euan, Jock and Andy plus others yet to be announced during the course of the evening. But no-one needs to be shy, the GoRally night will provide a unique chance to find out all you need to know about taking up the sport.

So if you do know of anyone who wants to get started in rallying or wants to find out more from the horsepower's mouth so to speak, then you know where to come on Thursday 4th Feb. Please spread the word either by telephone, telegraph or tellawoman!

More details here: