Mikkelsen’s mistake is Neuville’s lead, WRC

Rally Australia leader, Andreas Mikkelsen hand over the lead to his team-mate after his unexpected exit after a mistake in SS10 left his two tyres damaged. With just one spare in the car meant, retiring from the rally for the day. He enjoyed his start position from the beginning of the rally, while the World Champion and other front runners cleaned the loose gravel off the roads.

Mikkelsen‘s retirement promoted the ranks of the trailing competition, and thereby Kris Meeke who had slipped from 3rd to 4th overall after the opening stage regained his position. The rest of the crews are now heading to mid-day service, who are left another 68.97kms of competition stretch before calling it a day for the final day on Sunday.

Sebastien Ogier is far reach to the podium as his Fiesta WRC had issues with hydraulic gear shift system and had to negotiate with manual shifting, and similar fate to Esapekka Lappi who had power steering issues, both in Friday’s competitive kilometers. Craig Breen‘s pace is very commendable, considering his first outing in the Rally Australia.

Ott Tanak had his own scares on Friday and is getting closer to the podium reach if the leaders slip, then he could take over bot for himself, as well as Malcom Wilson’s wish to finish all the rallies on the podium this season. Still, that is quite a distant dream and as they famously say, “anything can happen”!

Sunday action consists of 5 stages, with a total of 64.64kms including the power-stage.

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Twin Retirements Rock Rally Australia, WRC

Two front runners crashed out in saturday’s action of Rally Australia, the final WRC event. The then rally leader, Andreas Mikkelsen clipped a bank too fast at SS10, damaged two of his left tyres and was forced to retire as he was carrying only one spare wheel in his Hyundai i20 WRC. However this became a boon to his team-mate Thierry Neuville who was right under his tail, took advantage and was automatically promoted to no.1 spot.

Mikkelsen says,

“It’s devastating, but what can you do? We are trying to push as hard as we can, sometimes you get away with it, but not today. With our tyre choice we didn’t consider two spares. We were saving our tyres for later.”

In a similar style to the Norwegian, Brit driver, Kris Meeke clipped a bridge in SS12 and suffered a critical suspension failure few kilometers after the incident. However, he was able to limp out of the stage and tried hard to repair, but luck was not on his side too and had to call it a day.

Meeke quoted,

“Unfortunately we glanced a small bridge with the right rear.. initially I wasn’t aware of any problem and was able to continue at full speed. But 5km from the end of the stage a part broke on the rear suspension. The team asked us to retire for the day.”

Meeke’s retirement meant, Ott Tanak who was pushing hard in the down order was able to secure the third place and retained it till the end of the day. Jari-Matti Latvala so far had a incident free rally and sits comfortably at position no.2 for the rally. World Champ Sebastien Ogier had his share of scares this rally, and was seen with a missing front bumper, and sits at a giant gap (by his standards) with over 1m47s to the rally leader, and says

“It’s hard to find any positives today, but we are here and it’s part of life. Not a big drama. We try to do better tomorrow. There is no hope in the classification but let’s see – the weather conditions look tricky.”

Another 64.64KMs of specials in the remaing 5 stages, including the power-stage on Sunday remains and shall declare the winners down under, for the last time this year for the World Rally Championship event.


Sit tight, and lets see what we have in store for the ultimate day shootout tomorrow. Until then, happy rallying! 

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Jagat Nanjappa to RFC 2017 – Global Series Finale, Malaysia


Veteran Rallyist Jagat Nanjappa and co-driver Chetan Changappa to represent India at RFC 2017 Global Series Finale in Malaysia

New Delhi, November 15, 2017: After impressing everyone with their incredible performance at the Force Gurkha RFC India 2017, Veteran Rallyist Jagat Nanjappa and co-driver Chetan Changappa are all set to hoist the tricolor on the Malaysian soil at the 21st edition of the Rainforest Challenge Global Series Finale. To be held from 24th November to 5th December, RFC 2017 Global Series Finale is going to be a grand clash of the best offroaders from across the globe, as they compete for the winner’s trophy at one of the top 10 toughest motor races in the world.

RFC 2017 Grand Final is the culmination of the Global RFC Series, which has 25 editions worldwide in countries like India, Australia, Russia, China, Vietnam, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Korea, Myanmar, Ukraine, Balkans, South Europe and North Europe among others. In India, the event was launched in 2014 by Delhi-based Cougar Motorsport Pvt. Ltd. and despite being only four editions old, has gained enormous acclaim across the international offroading fraternity.

Jagat Nanjappa and Chetan Changappa sealed their entry into the RFC Global Series Finale this year due to an exceptional performance at Force Gurkha RFC India 2017, wherein they claimed the overall second position. When asked about his plans for the forthcoming event, Jagat shares, “I went to watch the RFC Malaysia event in 2011 and was amazed by the level of vehicular modifications and equipment at play. After 37 years of racing in India, this is my maiden opportunity to go abroad and compete. I want to put every bit of effort in it and win it for my country. To prepare for the challenges ahead, Chetan and I have adopted a tougher fitness regime, as the competition is going to last for 10 days which is a bit longer than its Indian version. We plan to land there and acclimatize ourselves with climate & the vehicle a few days prior to the flag-off. We want to stay cool, carefully walk our path and try to clinch a podium finish. Rest, we have our fingers crossed, let’s see how it fares out.”

Speaking of his vehicle, Mr. Nanjappa explained, “I’ll be driving a rented modified Jeep, turbo charged with a 2L Petrol engine. We are using a mechanical winch, which happens to be faster than the electrical ones. I’m satisfied with the vehicle and I’m hopeful that it’ll perform well.” At the age of 59, Mr. Nanjappa carries with him a vast experience in offroad motorsports and has been a celebrated Motorcyclist and rallyist, having won the prestigious National Rally Championship nine times in his illustrious career, before entering into offroading.

Cougar Motorsport has played a pivotal role in helping Nanjappa realize his dream of representing India at this prestigious international event. The organization is supporting Team India by sponsoring their RFC 2017 Grand Finale entry ticket worth $3,900 and return airfare to Malaysia amounting to $914. Moreover, Cougar Motorsport is contributing a significant amount towards the cost of hiring ($6,150) the competition vehicle.

As per Cougar Motorsport’s Director Mr. Ashish Gupta, “Ever since we brought RFC to India, I have dreamt of seeing an Indian team emerge as an overall champion at the Global Series Finale. We tasted a milestone victory last year at the RFC Global Series Final with Team India winning their category for the first time ever. That victory said a lot about the massive progress that has been made by Indian offroaders in such a short span since the launch of RFC India. My belief that Indian offroaders are very much capable of giving a tough fight to the international offroaders was strengthened by the incredible performances we witnessed this year at RFC India. I am confident that Jagat Sir and Chetan would deliver an outstanding performance and make India proud at the international offroading stage.”

This year’s edition of RFC Global Series Finale will start in Kuala Lumpur and subsequently travel to Pahang, the biggest state in Malaysian peninsula and a tropical paradise for sports & adventure based tourism. The event will have twenty four Special Stages (SS) that will be divided into four progressively difficult competitive legs – the Prologue, the Predator, the Terminator and the Twilight Zone. The competition will test the competitors’ strength, endurance, driving and vehicle recovery skills under extreme off-road conditions and the team with the maximum points at the end of all the SS will be announced as the winner.

This is the third attempt by an Indian team at RFC Global Series Finale. Chandigarh’s Gurmeet Virdi and co-driver Kirpal Singh Tung successfully won their category in the previous edition of the competition. Though the top 4 teams from Force Gurkha RFC India 2017, including Champions Gurmeet Virdi and Kirpal Singh Tung, qualified for the mother event in Malaysia, the other three teams are unable to participate due to personal commitments. Therefore, Jagat Nanjappa and Chetan Changappa would be the sole team among the RFC India 2017 Top Four that would represent India at the mega event this year.

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Neuville vs Tanak for Driver’s Runnerup, WRC 2017


It is Thierry Neuville vs Ott Tanak for Driver’s Runnerup, WRC 2017 at Rally Australia. With the final event of the season, the battle for the second position has intensified at the rally down-under. Even with the season’s drivers title been secured by the Frenchman for the 5th time in succession, the fight for the remaining top positions seems more obvious, which makes the event alive for the weekend.

Neuville says,

“I will try to end the season with the best possible result. We are aiming for a victory. If I see that there’s a possibility to win the rally, I will push hard and if it’s necessary to take risks, I will take them.”

Having said that it is not easy as Tanak is not the only one who is aiming for a victory, but the last year’s winner Andreas Mikkelsen wants to repeat his success. And we are sure Sebastien Ogier is not going to sit loose for a victory, that could become a feather on his already secured crown. The event being Hayden Paddon‘s second home is another contender with a lot of familiarisation of the roads around Coffs Harbour, from this previous rally experiences is certainly to be watched for this weekend.

Kalle Rovanpera surely wants some piece of the shiny metal and has returned for a second successive time this season in WRC2 spec Fiesta R5, after the disappointing retirement in his debut at Wales Rally GB. Dani Sordo & Juho Haninen are the only two drivers who are left out from the regular entries, with the Finn’s retirement had been announced with Wales Rally being his last. Jari-Matti Latvala is another high potential driver, although his success in the Yaris WRC has not been very consistent so far.

Coming to manufacturers/teams, Citroen Racing are confident to win the final round with Kris Meeke at the wheel of C3 WRC, while M-Sport atleast wants to finish the season with another podium finish, for a record consecutive finishes on the steps on every event of the season.

“The season is not over yet. We might have secured all three championships, but we want to end what has been an immensely successful year on another high and secure another podium to complete our clean sweep,” explains Malcom Wilson.

With shakedown done and dusted earlier today, the stages are set for Friday’s test,

  1. Pilbara (9.7 km),
  2. Eastbank (19.0 km),
  3. Sherwood (26.6 km)

which are repeated in the afternoon, and the day ends with a short 1.2km spectator specials twice to end the day.

Rally Map

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DMACK pulls branded Car off WRC in 2018

DMACK has announced to pull out the branded WRC competition car off the 2018 season, and makes it a point to mention the tyre support with development of new tyres.


We reached all our goals in WRC 2017, won first event, fastest times on 7 rallies, led 4 rallies, 3 podiums. Next year no DMACK WRC car but we focus on product development & commercial opportunities, building on this success.

Despite Elfyn Evans bagging the British tyre firm its maiden victory in Wales last event, the announcement comes at a surprise during the driver’s seat speculation of the upcoming season. As it is more obvious that Elfyn would be filling up the seat for Ott Tanak’s vacancy, still there was no official statement of it from Msport as of yet.

Responding to this, DMACK managing director Dick Cormack says sporting success has come at the cost of development and supplying key markets around the world, prompting a change of approach for this year.

“We’ve generated huge success for DMACK and made a significant contribution to the M-Sport World Rally Team’s title-winning season. But now it’s time to step back from there; the commitment to competition this season has taken its toll on our test programme. It’s time for us to focus on further development in areas like our asphalt tyre and to be returning to the core customer base in areas like WRC2.”

Having investors and shareholders to satisfy, understandably, looking out for a fresh focus on the commercial side of the company was more obvious outcome for the tyre manufacturer.

With that, one car short to start with the next WRC season after this official announcement.

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Toyota to debut Rallying in India, INRC

It almost looks like Coffee Day India Rally has set their ground for Toyota to debut its rallying history in India. Toyota’s venturing into the motorsports in India begun around 2012, under their historical motorsport brand-horse name TRD (in short for Toyota Racing Development), with the support of Red Rooster Performance that was based in Bengaluru, India at that time. After a few years into one make racing, their debut into rallying has reportedly set the stages at the final round of APRC 2017, India Rally a week away from now.

After Toyota’s making a comeback into WRC with 18 years of pause under the new brand-name, Toyota Gazoo Racing looks certainly promising to the Indian counterpart to do well and get established. Although their entries were revealed for the rally unofficially, the crew tackling the stages are Japanese at the moment and any further rallies aren’t promised nor declared officially by Toyota.

We are sure with Toyota’s committed entry into rallying will rekindle the interest for Volkswagen India, who had successfully developed their Polo Group N & Polo R2 (APRC/India spec) rally cars. It can definitely be noted by their support to the privateers over the years, and could make a comeback at full-swing to the battle forward in the future rallies/seasons.

Toyota’s Etios is definitely a strong & reliable car, with 1.5-litre high-revving petrol engine and can give the Polo’s their run for the money! However the billion rupee question is, will they!? We hope they will!

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