WRC.com talks to Jari-Matti Latvala

Jari-Matti Latvala set the fastest time on the Vodafone Rally de Portugal Qualifying Stage in his Ford Fiesta RS WRC to earn the right to pick his starting position for Thursday’s stages first. He told www.wrc.com why he decided to go 17th on the road.

Q: Why did you decide to start 17th on the road on day one?
JML: “We are counting more on the cleaning effect that it will be cleaner with more grip. The organisers have promised there is no dust on the [night] stages so we are also counting on that and the information in our team that we are confident the cleaning effect is bigger than the dust problem.” Continue reading WRC.com talks to Jari-Matti Latvala

WRC Rally de Portugal: Day One Classification

The fourth round of the World Rally Championship takes in the Rally de Portugal. After an action-packed start to the event on Thursday evening, the rally suffered its first big-name casualty in Sebastien Loeb/Daniel Elena who crashed out of the event. Today’s action is based around Tavira, north-east of Faro, over roads that were not used last year. Some are totally new to the rally. After restarting at 11h00, drivers tackle two identical loops of three stages covering 132.68km. The two loops are split by service at the Algarve Stadium in Faro, and drivers return there for the overnight halt at 19.05.

Leaderboard after Day One:
01) J-M. Latvala/M. Anttila (Ford Fiesta RS WRC) – 25min 04.6sec
02) P. Solberg/C. Patterson (Ford Fiesta RS WRC) – 25min 07.2sec
03) M. Hirvonen/J. Lehtinen (Citroen DS3 WRC) – 25min 09.6sec
04) O. Tänak/K. Sikk (Ford Fiesta RS WRC) – 25min 20.3sec
05) T. Neuville/N. Gilsoul (Citroen DS3 WRC) – 25min 38.6sec
06) M. Østberg/J. Andersson (Ford Fiesta RS WRC) – 25min 57.9sec
07) E. Novikov/D. Giraudet (Ford Fiesta RS WRC) – 26min 07.5sec
08) J. Ketomaa/M. Stenberg (Ford Fiesta RS WRC) – 26min 19.6sec
09) H. Paddon/J. Kennard (Skoda Fabia S2000) – 26min 44.2sec
10) D. Kuipers/R. Buysmans (Ford Fiesta RS WRC) – 26min 51.7sec

Click, click: download! Issue 226 of Handbrakes & Hairpins now available!

Welcome to issue 226 of HANDBRAKES & HAIRPINS, your favourite free source of rally entertainment!

To download this week’s issue, please click here: https://handbrakeshairpins.files.wordpress.com/2012/03/hh-226.pdf

As always, please enjoy this week’s read!

Yours in Rallying,

Evan Rothman (Editor) and Eva Kovkova (Photojournalist)

BREAKING NEWS: Jost Capito moves from Ford to Volkswagen Motorsport

Jost Capito (53) will take over the management of Volkswagen Motorsport effective 1 May 2012. He is following Kris Nissen (51), who will be supporting his successor during the orientation phase and subsequently be available to the Group in an advisory role.

Jost Capito is joining the Volkswagen Group from the Ford Motor Company USA and has been gathering racing experience over several decades, including – among others – in Formula One but also as a co-driver and winner of the Paris-Dakar Rally in the truck classification. Capito, who has a degree in engineering, started his professional career in 1984 as a development engineer for high-performance engines at BMW. From 1989, he was Head of Carrera Cup Organisation at Porsche and subsequently assumed overall responsibility for all Porsche Cups. From 1996 to 2001, he served in a leading role at Sauber Petronas Engineering and from 1998 was Chief Operating Officer in the Sauber Red Bull F1-Team. At the end of 2001, Capito switched to Ford where he most recently had worldwide responsibility for the performance vehicles and motorsport strategy.

Kris Nissen (51) has been Managing Director Volkswagen Motorsport since 2003 and has achieved important motorsport successes for Volkswagen during this time. Dr Ulrich Hackenberg, Member of the Board of Management for Development of the Volkswagen brand, thanked Nissen for his successful work: “Mr Nissen has advanced Volkswagen Motorsport in a major way, leading the motorsport team in what has so far been its most successful phase. He made a crucial contribution, for instance, to Volkswagen having scored a one-two victory at the 2009 Dakar Rally and making motorsport history with the one-two-three victories at the Dakar Rally in 2010 and 2011.”
– Credit: Volkswagen Motorsport.

Rally America announces the 2012 U.S. Rallycross Series

Rally America and New Jersey Motorsports Park (NJMP) present the 2012 Rally America U.S. Rallycross Series, with the first event being held on May 19, 2012. The U.S. Rallycross Series will consist of at least four events at the New Jersey Motorsports Park, with other venues to be added later in the year.

The U.S. Rallycross Series marks a return to the Rally America schedule after a taking a year off from the sport. Rally America introduced Rallycross to the U.S. for the first time in 2010 with a 4-event series at New Jersey Motorsports Park and also worked closely with ESPN to introduce Rallycross competition to the very popular X Games. Continue reading Rally America announces the 2012 U.S. Rallycross Series

Sander Pärn and Ken Järveoja will promote auto24 Rally Estonia at WRC Rally Portugal

TV 6 Rally Team Sander Pärn and Ken Järveoja will take part in Rally Portugal this weekend. This is the fourth round of this year’s WRC series. Young and talented crews from Estonia will drive Group N Subaru Impreza prepared by Markko Märtin’s team at MM-Motorsport. Sander has been working the last two years with Markko Märtin who will also be present at the Rally Portugal. In Portugal they will also promote the biggest autosport event in Baltics – auto24 Rally Estonia. Their Subaru Impreza has a special livery made for the Rally Portugal and this is very unique marketing for the first time that the Rally Estonia will be promoted in such a way.

Sander Pärn said: “Rally Portugal is the third WRC rally for us and as we have not been in Portugal before
it will be a good experience for us. In four days we will drive almost 450km on gravel which is a good
training for us before gravel season in Estonia and Latvia. It is important for us to finish the rally and
drive smart because the roads in Portugal can be very rough for Group N car. As I said, this is a new
rally for us and so we will go on step by step and our aim is to compare the speed with other Group N
cars. And of course as we are promoting auto24 Rally Estonia we have to show a good result!”

Urmo Aava, director of auto24 Rally Estonia, said: “auto24 Rally Estonia is held two weeks before Neste Oil Rally Finland. This makes our rally very attractive for teams and drivers in WRC. We are glad that
Sander and Ken will promote the biggest autosport event in the Baltics. They are helping to introduce
auto24 Rally Estonia to the WRC.”

auto 24 Rally Estonia 2012 is held on 20 – 21 July. It is a round of the Estonian, Latvian, Baltic and
NEZ Rally Championships and for the first time a round of FIA Historic European Sporting Rally
Championship. More information: www.rallyestonia.ee and www.sanderparn.com.

Petter Solberg Engineering and Hankook to support Patrik Flodin in the IRC series 2012

Petter Solberg’s company ‘PS Engineering’ will together with tyre-supplier Hankook run a Ford S2000 car for the young and talented Swedish Driver Patrik Flodin. Patrik and his co-driver Göran Bergsten will take part in seven events of 13 in the 2012 IRC-series. The first event will be Tour de Corse, Corsica, France 11th – 12th May.

“I am very happy we are able to support Patrik. He is an extremely talented driver and I’m confident he will be able to achieve a lot in the IRC this year,” said Petter.

After running a private team for three years, and also running a car in the SWRC last year, PS Engineering has the manpower and the knowledge to help Patrik with his rallying this year.

Patrik Flodin has been rallying since 2001 and is looking forward to be able to compete in the IRC this season. – To do this with Petter is a great chance for me and the conditions can’t be better, says Patrik.

PS Engineering is based in Torsby, Sweden and owned by former World Rally Champion Petter Solberg. PS Engineering ran a car in the SWRC for Norwegian driver Eyvind Brynildsen in 2011, and has now signed with tyre-manufacturer Hankook to run Patrik Flodin in the IRC.

PS Engineering and Patrik Flodin will contest on 7 of the events in the IRC-series this season:
11th – 12th May: Tour de Corse, asphalt
22nd – 23rd June: GEKO Ypres Rally, asphalt
6th – 7th July: Rally San Marino, gravel
20th – 22nd July: Sibiu Rally Romania, gravel
31st Aug – 2nd Sept: Barum Czech Rally Zlin, asphalt
29th – 30th Sept: Rally Sliven, asphalt
12th – 13th Oct: Rallye Sanremo, asphalt
– Credit: PS Engineering.