NEWS FLASH: Conrad Rautenbach named 2011 South African Rally Champion

After a months-long wrangle in appeals courts and hearings, it is today confirmed that Conrad Rautenbach (GreenFuel Ford Fiesta S2000) is the 2011 South African Rally Champion. Provisional winners Mark Cronje/Robin Houghton (Sasol Ford Fiesta S2000) are now demoted to second place overall, but Robin Houghton is still named as Co-Drivers’ Champion as Rautenbach’s co-driver Nicolas Klinger does not score points in the South African Rally Championship. This shock result comes as a result of the rendering of the Toyota Dealer Gauteng Rally as null and void, with no competitor scoring points.

The overall championship points have also changed, and please find attached a FULL FINAL Championship Standings for your perusal:

Conrad Rautenbach/Nicolas Klinger - Picture by Evan Rothman.

STATEMENT: North One Sport speaks out

The World Rally Championship (WRC) is a Championship and series running under regulations from the FIA. The media, television and marketing is controlled and owned by North One Sport, which in turn is owned by Convers Sports Initiatives (CSI).

In the past week, CSI has seen a number of its concerns suffer as a result of financial regulations. Apart from managing the WRC, CSI also owns Portsmouth Football Club, and both these concerns are now under pressure as CSI’s boss Vladimir Antonov is under investigation. Last week, in fact, he was arrested for his involvement in an international banking saga.

Here is a media statement from North One Sport on
“In response to yesterday’s announcement that parent company Convers Sports Initiatives (CSI), has been placed into administration, North One Sport would like to categorically confirm that the business is a stand-alone subsidiary and that it is not in administration.

“The priority is to ensure that North One Sport continues to successfully promote the WRC to fans, stakeholders and partners.

“Following a spectacular 2011 season we look forward to an exciting 2012 Calendar starting with the return of the iconic Rallye Automobile Monte Carlo in January.”

Here is a media statement from Peter Kubik, a partner at UHY Hacker Young accountants who have been appointed as Administrators, that confirms that the above statement from North One Sport might be slightly incorrect: “On the 25th of November 2011 my partner at UHY Hacker Young Andrew Andronikou and I were appointed as Joint Administrators to Convers Sports Initiative plc (CSI).

“CSI own a number of sports teams, media franchises and entertainment rights businesses.

“We were appointed as Administrators after uncertainty arose over the future of CSI. CSI has a number of sports related assets and we are very confident of finding interested buyers for these subsidiaries. Our aim is to ensure that the sale process is as smooth as it possibly can be.

“We will now be undertaking a period of due diligence at CSI and once that has been completed we will be in a better position to answer questions.”

The FIA is said to be monitoring the situation. The ramifications of this situation are enormous…

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Welcome to issue 211 of HANDBRAKES & HAIRPINS, your favourite free source of rally entertainment!

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As always, please enjoy this week’s read!

Yours in Rallying,

Evan Rothman (Editor) and Eva Kovkova (Photojournalist)

“Crazy” Leo wins Rally of the Tall Pines

“Crazy” Leo Urlichich and co-driver Martin Brady beat a record-breaking number of entries at the 2011 Rally of the Tall Pines, their first win at a Canadian Rally Championship event. Competition was extremely strong, with main CRC rivals Pat Richard and Antoine L’Estage as well as 2011 Rally America champions David Higgins and co-driver Craig Drew, on hand for their first ever Rally of the Tall Pines.

“Wow, this is incredible,” said Urlichich, who literally jumped around on the podium in excitement. “All season the whole team has been working hard to get to this point, and so this win really proves how much the team has put into the effort.” Continue reading “Crazy” Leo wins Rally of the Tall Pines

Pierre Campana continues to shine

Pierre Campana has ended an incredible 2011 season today with a fine fourth place in Rallye du Var but a sensational stage win this morning really epitomised Campana’s season as he beat WRC stars Jari-Matti Latvala and Ott Tanak by a tantalising 0.3 seconds.

Rallye du Var has been something of a mini-WRC event this weekend with a heightened level of competition for all participants. Pierre Campana has drawn upon his combined experiences with the Drive-Pro team and the MINI John Cooper Works WRC car in recent months which have seen the potent combination take three rally wins in the six events contested since the summer. Continue reading Pierre Campana continues to shine