Monza Rally Show - A 'LastRallyNews' Report


The Monza Rally Show was only the third event this year for Luca Rossetti, who had been away from competition for some months; the three-time European Champion has not forgotten how to race and moreover how to win.

Despite the evident lack of training with respect to his opponents, he topped the Super 2000 category in a ŠKODA Fabia Super 2000, finishing 52 seconds ahead of Craig Breen; the Irish driver of the Peugeot Rally Academy had to content himself with  second place. Rossetti and Breen also fought head to head in the Memorial Simoncelli - Masters’ Show, an end-of-event shootout on the start/finish straight of the Monza track, where the Italian driver beat his Irish rival in the class final.

Rossetti was at a charge and outpaced his opponents with a strong performance; his 2013 season has been poor in events, only three, but he once again proved that given the chance he is one of the fastest, concrete and winning professional drivers in activity. The Italian, ever a star on the international stage and the only driver to have won the European Championship three times, has shown in Monza that his absence from the continental series is depriving a championship in a great sports and media comeback of one of its protagonists.

Despite the domination in the 2013 Monza Rally Show, the 2014 season of the Italian driver is yet in the dark; neither the driver nor United Business which has been taking care of his sports management for many years have issued statements related to next year. The many fans of the three-time European Champion hope in a season at International level; Rossetti’s domination in the event over the weekend proves that, should he return to the continental series, he would still be the man to beat.
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Molly, 2013 has been a special season, can You recall something from each rally?
It's been a very different type of season from anything I'd known previously. A great experience and an insight into what it takes to move forward, from rallying for fun to try to turn it into a career. The whole year has been an incredible learning curve for me.
-Azores was incredibly unfortunate, the situation which happened with another car, and definitely not the way we wanted to start our championship. It's an incredible location for a rally, until the accident it was a fantastic experience.
-Corsica was the highlight, my favourite event so far. Being second in 2WD and winning stages in our class was great as it was the first time we managed to do it.
-Ypres was probably the most heartbreaking rally in my life
-Romania was fantastic to be back on gravel but a really tough event, incredibly rough. It was about having to manage many factors, not just the speed, to preserve the car and get to the finish
-Barum was also fantastic, we were a bit unfortunate with the weather which made some stages not ideal. It was still good experience as we do not normally get many opportunities to drive on such roads and conditions. In this year's ERC it tended to rain pretty much everywhere so we're getting used to it. When conditions were dry, the stages were incredibly fun to drive.
-Poland was not at all like we expected it, coming into the rally we believed it to be very fast. Conditions on event were, like in Romania, a real test of survival
-Croatia was a nice rally, we enjoyed the stages and had some god fights and stage times with in between quite a lot of unforeseen issues. We've been lucky all year with the reliability of the car, there almost everything that could go wrong did so, but we fought very hard and are happy with the final result.

How important is it to build on experience rather than rewriting new pacenotes every time? Is your pacenote system still evolving?
After Ypres we changed our pacenote system quite dramatically. Seb and I started training on random roads previously unseen, as well as on events. It has been a challenge as we are only allowed two passes while developing a new system at the same time. For sure we notice an improvement in stage times when stages are repeated in the rally and know that we still have room to move in this area. This is what has been really good about this year, developing this system on new rallies; we have a better understanding of how pacenotes relate to the speed. There is also the fact that every round of the ERC is very specialized, it's not just a tarmac or gravel rally: Asphalt in Barum is different from the one in Corsica, just like the sandy surface in Poland is different from the rough in Romania. Each rally has its individual characteristics, for sure going back a second time would be a massive help.

Do you normally prefer gravel or tarmac, and do you have a favourite event based on what you've seen this year? Based on your experience this year,  is it easier to make a difference on tarmac or on gravel?
I've always preferred gravel, since pretty much all of my rallying back home has been on this surface, that's where I learned how to rally and the feeling of pushing a car to its limits on gravel. We've had many tarmac events this season and it's been good to get some confidence on this surface, tarmac can be great fun if one has the right level of confidence especially on certain kinds of roads. It's a different sensation and feelings, trying to find the limit is not so progressive as on gravel. My favourite event this year was Corsica, which is on tarmac, I'm slightly contradicting myself there but for me, having less experience on tarmac, I think that it's on asphalt that it is possible to make more of a difference as it's often an “all or nothing” situation. Gravel is a lot more progressive and all about the feeling so one can play around with the limit, with a little give and take either way; one can slide a little bit more, turn the car in and have more room for adjustment through each corner if conditions change whereas tarmac is not so forgiving if you hit a slippery bit which you were not aware of. In this respect I find tarmac more specialized.

Molly, although you've praised your car's reliability there have been times when You have had to perform work on the car. You and Seb must have learned a lot as you had to carry out repairs roadside. You also spend time with the team and at the workshop, learning more about the car and what to do to take care of it.
We've been bush mechanics, as they say. It's important to know what it is possible to fix in between services with the tools and spares we have in the car; in Poland we were very lucky because due to the ruts and very rough surface we damaged and bent the rear beam in the car to the point where some bolts unwound loose: ultimately only one bolt was holding the rear beam into the chassis and we had to try to repair it. The socket that doesn't fit, the angle you can't quite get... we did our best to try and fix it and thankfully it only just got us through the last stage. Understanding of such things is vital, if whe hadn't tried to fix the car on the road section we wouldn't have got to the end of the rally. Knowing the car is crucial, both in terms of on-event repairs in between stages but also when You want to set up the car. It's important to know what you can change, what you are doing, what effect that will have on the car and why. I think that is really important so we do whatever we can and now that I have some time I plan to spend some more days in the workshop helping to prepare the car, for my own knowledge and benefit.

You said this season might possibly be the one where You learned the most in your career so far. You have come a long way since your debut, also going through the WRC academy. What are the differences between being in such a one-make series as opposed to having a team of your own, where you all work together but where you can also speak your mind and plan the work ahead. And what, if any, of this work do you do?
I guess the year in the Pirelli WRC Academy was an incredible learning experience; this year has been different as a whole group of different stakeholders have come together to make this season happen. Working with United Business and a whole lot of  sponsors, supporters and stakeholders coming from different areas is demanding; you are working as a team trying to put everything together. There are so many other things to think about: the performance inside the car is one thing but also all the other things which need to happen to make sure everyone gets their value from the year can help to make a career progress. From that point of view it  has meant working with all the factors involved in the sport, not just driving.

How important is it to have somebody helping you out, such as a good team and a professional management company? Again, what part of the job do you do and what do you entrust to others?
It has been critical for our progression to try being more professional in the sport, to have a proper management team. Thanks to United Business we've been able to get that step done, and we can now work towards the professional level. It's a commercial sport, not just one person going out there but rather putting a plan together. We have to learn our place in that wheel and how to make the best of it. From my side, I've worked very hard back in Australia to bring my supporters and sponsors together and through United Business we've made that a plan for the European Championship. I work with United Business to make plans for the events, it is then my responsibility to get out and do my job.

What does it feel like to have won the first edition of the FIA ERC Ladies' Trophy? How was your season, in terms of the relationship with your main opponents and what feedback are You getting from Australia? I imagine that an Australian girl becoming Europaen Rally Champion must attract attention?
Winning the championship was our goal coming into the season and we are really excited to have been able to achieve it. In some events we've had quite a lot of competition, which has been really good. With Ekaterina Stratieva we get on really well; many people were joking and trying to instigate some sort of girl catfight but it was really friendly and we very much enjoyed the competition. I'm quite surprised by the feedback from Australia, there's been a good reaction. We get quite a lot of support in every rally we do but particularly after Croatia when we sealed the championship I was quite overwhelmed by the amount of congratulations and the involvement of local media. Many people told me they'd heard me on news announcements of radio stations, it was much more than I'd expected.

Croatia was the first time you had a team mate, and a fellow countryman too. What was it like?
It was good to have some company and not being the only Aussie out there. They're great guys and we'd competed with them before this year. It was good to have them over and I think they really loved the experience. I remember when I first came over to Europe without knowing anybody, I was trying to start up, get a team organised, meet people.. it was nice to be in the position to help someone else to come along, hopefully they'll be back.

Last but not least, one more word on the support you can get from management companies. They can do a lot for you but ultimately you have to deliver with the driving. What can they take off your back and how can they help you to progress?
If you want to be viewed as a professional rally driver, I think you have to act in that way. Having a third party, a  management company to take care of the organization, the direction, the strategic  thinking about the future, deciding which rallies are going to be beneficial and why. All that side, the decision making process and looking ahead is where they really help. Also, acting as a representative on your behalf is useful when dealing with commercial partners, manufacturers, supporters. Everything has got to be dealt with at a professional level, and just as a driver it is not enough. You need to have the full package, and it is very hard for just one person. Ultimately our job is to get out and do the driving but we really see the help we get from a company like United Business.

Racing Press

United Rally Management s.r.l. |  V.le delle Terme, 97 |  27052 Salice Terme/Godiasco (PV) ITALY |  Tel.0383/944916 Fax 0383/934583
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39° K1000 Rally - 2013 | Indian National Rally Championship - Round 4

39° K1000, the fourth round of Indian National Rally Championship of 2013 is scheduled for this weekend. After a long hiatus the rally returns back to its older territory, famous for the car breaking mining stages near Gubbi, Tumkur.

As year the rally moves from the previous few years' Sidlaghatta's forest stages to the age old mining area near Kibbanahalli cross, the transport section is much bigger and makes most of the rally's cumulative distance. The weather is mostly dry and dusty, and temperature is expected to hover around 30+ °Celsius, but must confess to its spectacularly scenic countryside around the stages.

There are three physical stages, in which are run totally thrice for each of them. Total distance of the rally is 562.48 km, total liaison distance is 453.37 km and a total SS distance at 109.11 km. There are six stages for Saturday, 9th November 2013 and third loop of 3 stages for the final day on Sunday, 10th November 2013.

That being the difference of venue, coming to the rally cars in India which are finally evolving to the much modern day models like Volkswagen Polo, Mitsubishi Evo X in the top level competition makes the championship much more exciting.

Day one starts with a long liaison of 88.96 from the rally HQ to the service park. Rally starts on Saturday with the opening stage, at 10:13 hrs with the Alpha Stage [14.50 km], quickly followed with the Beta Stage [14.55 km] and later the India Mines Stage [7.32 km]. This completes the morning set of stages, and the much battered cars and crews head to the service are for the much needed pampering for the both.

Post a mid-day service, at the service park located near to the stages adjacent to NH-206, and the repetition of morning's loop of stages starts at 13:12 hrs, for the first car pass. Day's action with the total six special stages of the day and the return liaison to the Rally HQ will conclude the day's action.

The final day's action on Sunday, will start with the same long liaison and the remaining third loop of the stages, with service breaks before and after the specials. The final return liaison will end the rally back at the Rally HQ, with the announcement of results and Podium ceremony.

The entry list can be found here,  and the itinerary in this link should help to understand the event. Watch out for more update, tomorrow.
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Final Round of ERC @ Swiss Alps | Rallye International du Valais - 2013
Rallye International du Valais being the final rally to conclude the 2013 season of FIA European Rally Championship. Esapekka Lappi will be joining the final round, following a victorious trip to China in his factory supported Skoda Fabia S2000. Craig Breen & Jeremy Ancian will be driving Peugeot 207 Super 2000.

Sixty-eight crews will start the final round of the 2013 FIA European Rally Championship. The top 15 drivers ran in two-minute intervals with the remaining contenders running in gaps of one minute.  

Craig Breen lead the field away in his Peugeot 207 Super 2000 and won the first two stages. Jeremy Ancian equaled Breen in the opening stage, and was second on the leader-board by the end of SS3. Lappi claimed the third and last stage victory and sits in 4th overall.

Top 5 results at the end of SS3 [Day 1]
PEUGEOT 207 S2000

PEUGEOT 207 S2000



Results source

Seven stages tomorrow, with 3 new stages run twice and the repetition of the [last stage of today], will leave another 8 stages for the last day on 9th to end the rally.

Itinerary for Day 2 - Friday 08 Nov
SS4Vercorin 1  (26.58 kms)09:45
SS5Veysonnaz 1  (13.62 kms)10:55
SS6Nendaz 1  (12.08 kms)11:15
SS7Vercorin 2  (26.58 kms)13:40
SS8Veysonnaz 2  (13.62 kms)14:50
SS9Nendaz 2  (12.08 kms)15:10
SS10Les Casernes 2  (6.18 kms)16:00
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Korean Car for Belgian Bullet | Thierry Neuville to Drive Hyundai i20 WRC in 2014

As much speculated and anticipated, it happened. Belgian bullet Thierry Neuville has been confirmed by the Korean car manufacturer Hyundai, for its car number 1 seat in the upcoming debut season of its new spec WRC car, Hyundai i20.

Almost since a month, the Belgian was spotted in the Hyundai campus, and various news and rumours were lingering around ever since. And since the official statement being made, it is pretty transparent. Thierry Neuville, who started his career in the WRC car last season in Citroen Junior World Rally Team and showed his potential. He displayed a stunning speed and brave driving style for a debut WRC driver, but it was the consistency that he had lacked. But his pace setting run in this season, the Belgian was offered a seat by the French team, and the outcome of the meeting was quite obvious in the last weekend's speech by its team principal, Yves Matton.

After moving to M-Sport's base this year, in the newly formed Qatar based World Rally Team, Thierry quickly settled down and started delivering what he really does his best. However, his real performances came to light after the mid-season break, where he came close atleast twice to win an event, but perhaps it was his rookie status that evaded his quest for immediate glory. His results were so strong, that he almost overshadowed his team-mates in QMWRT.

He currently holds a strong second overall with just the finale at Rally GB to happen. Let's hear, what he and his new boss-to-be Michel Nandan had to say during the announcement.

"I believe Hyundai Motorsport is the perfect fit for me because it is a young, emerging and ambitious manufacturer team with long-term objectives for championship success and I have long held aspirations of driving for a manufacturer team," Neuville said. "I was impressed with the team's facility, their approach to the rally programme and their clear potential. I hope my two years of experience in WRC will be beneficial to the team as we build a harmonious working partnership. We know we have a steep learning curve ahead of us in our first season but I am convinced we will have a successful future together."

Hyundai team principal Michel Nandan said, "Thierry is having a fantastic 2013 season and is proving himself to be one of the most exciting young drivers in WRC." He gladly mentioned that signing Neuville reflects Hyundai's long-term ambitions in this [WRC] top level sport.

"His raw speed, driving skill and dynamic approach to rallying make him the ideal lead driver for Hyundai," added Nandan, "By signing a driver of Thierry's talent, we can show that Hyundai's WRC engagement is serious and focused on long-term success. It is also great recognition for the work that the entire team has carried out in such a short time."

It was no-doubt that M-Sport was sad to lose Neuville, especially to its competitor and managing director Malcolm Wilson unquestionably admitted that losing Neuville was a serious blow to the team's future plans, especially when he was yielding results like it ought to be.

Malcom said, "we are obviously disappointed that Thierry has made the decision to go to Hyundai after a strong performance from all the team this year. However, now that he has made the decision, our focus turns to Wales Rally GB and securing his second position in the drivers' championship."

Malcom also mentioned, "Once this goal is achieved we will then re-direct our attention to the 2014 season. We are speaking to a number of drivers about potential options. M-Sport has a strong history of developing drivers in the WRC and we look forward to announcing our 2014 programme in the near future."

In two competing seasons in the World Rally Championship, Neuville has contested a total of 32 rallies. He finished seventh in the 2012 championship, which acted as a prelude to a championship challenging 2013 season in which he has so far claimed four consecutive runner-up results (Italy, Finland, Germany and Australia), in addition to two third-place finishes (Mexico, Greece), leaving him second in the WRC standings with just one rally left to run.

This is still not just the end of the shuffle, but just the beginning of the game of musical chair. Citroen is certainly not happy of loosing its numero-uno status to the new-comer and newly titled champions. We believe it would start to unravel once the dirt and muck kicks up and settles down for a while at Wales in all about less than a fortnight from now.
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Gaurav Gill new APRC Champion - 2013 | Esapekka Lappi wins China Rally

Indian driver Gaurav Gill is the new Asia Pacific Rally Champion, 2013, and team trophy for Team MRF Skoda. Although he was crowned at the end of day one itself, the manufacturer's and team trophy was sealed by the end of rally. Esapekka Lappi enjoyed his debut China Rally with a victory, and the top two finish in the team ensured the team & manufacturer's title for Skoda Motorsport.

Gill's early crash during shakedown dreaded him and Team MRF about the consequences, but it was mostly cosmetic and went on to lead the rally in the early stages until a puncture put him down his team-mate.

Excited with the APRC-title Gill says, "This is definitely the high-light of my career so far, we've come close on several other occasions and this year wasn't easy either. I have to thank the team, my co-driver Glenn (Macneall), Skoda and a big thank you to MRF tyres too as they've stuck with me all these years and so it's nice to reward them and my country." He also explained his mis-fortune of loosing the lead, "We stopped and changed it loosing 2-3 minutes, but the main thing is to get it the car back here."

Excerpts from the Indian Rallying Facebook Group.
Shakedown crash or no shakedown crash, Gaurav Gill is the new Asia-Pacific champion after Michael Young was a no-show on the China Rally Longyou, which began with a 1.82-kilometre superspecial stage this afternoon.

Young, from New Zealand, was the only driver in with a shout of preventing Gill from taking the title, despite his front-wheel-drive Toyota Vitz giving away a stack of performance to Gill’s pacesetting Skoda Fabia Super 2000. But Young’s non-appearance means Indian driver Gill cannot be caught in the championship charge.

And Gill, 31, celebrated his triumph by setting the pace among the APRC contingent on the opening superspecial stage. He was 0.5s faster than Team MRF Skoda stablemate Esapekka Lappi – who along with Gill is one of two drivers eligible for APRC points in China – through the spectator test.

Gill follows 2012 champion Chris Atkinson’s lead by winning the APRC title for the MRF-backed Race Torque Engineering team.

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