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.
Read more ...

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 fiaerc.com

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
Read more ...

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.
Read more ...

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.

Read more ...

All-time Top 5 +NEWS