Your insight into the world of rally, part 260

Welcome to issue 260 of HANDBRAKES & HAIRPINS, your favourite free source of rally entertainment!

To download this week’s issue, please click here:

As always, please enjoy this week’s read!

Yours in Rallying,

Evan Rothman (Editor) and Eva Kovkova (Photojournalist)

Cover 260

CONFIRMED: Mads Ostberg named as Qatar M-Sport World Rally Team’s number one driver!

Following the recent announcement that M-Sport will team up with the State of Qatar for the 2013 edition of the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC), the company is pleased to confirm Mads Østberg and Jonas Andersson as Qatar M-Sport World Rally Team’s nominated point scorers for all 13 rounds of next season’s championship.

Following a sensational performance this season, Østberg was a strong candidate to help guide the team to success in 2013. Securing a top-five finish on each of the 11 rounds he contested in 2012, the Norwegian secured fourth place overall in the drivers’ championship – just 5 points adrift of Ford World Rally Team’s Jari-Matti Latvala in third.

Despite his relatively young age, Østberg has more than 20 years of experience in motorsport and has been a regular on the world stage since 2006. Having piloted the Ford Fiesta RS WRC since its debut in 2011 – contributing to a clean sweep of the podium for the Fiesta on its maiden outing in Sweden – the Norwegian is well versed in how to get the maximum from the car and has already demonstrated his ability on snow, gravel and asphalt.

With 15 stage wins and his first WRC victory under his belt, Østberg has regularly challenged his more experienced rivals. Harnessing a working knowledge of the team and car, the ambitious youngster is poised to produce another successful season behind the wheel of the Fiesta RS WRC and will be looking to prove his potential as one of the championship’s most sought-after talents.

M-Sport Managing Director, Malcolm Wilson OBE, said: “Mads’ [Østberg] performance this year has been very impressive. He has always had the speed, but his progression on Tarmac and the maturity he has demonstrated this season proves that he is ready to make the next step in his career and made him the ideal candidate to join the team in 2013. He has an old head on young shoulders and I am confident that we will see some strong performances from him as he rises to the challenge next year.”

Mads Østberg said: “I am really happy to have been chosen to join the team and continue working closely with M-Sport next season. We’ve been working with the car [Ford Fiesta RS WRC] for two years now – we know the car and we know the team so from the technical side of things, I think we will be in a really good position as there won’t be too much of a change to get used to.

“But from the other side of things, it will still be a big challenge – albeit a big step in the right direction! This season has been really good for us, and I hope we can continue that into 2013. I am really looking forward to next season, and I can’t wait to get back behind the wheel and start testing with the team [in the next couple of weeks].

“This is a great opportunity for me. I have had many dreams in my career, but achieving this drive is definitely one of the biggest and I am certainly going to try and make the most of it.”

– Credit: M-Sport.

BREAKING NEWS: Qatar joins M-Sport for 2013’s WRC season

M-Sport are pleased to announce a new partnership with Qatar for the 2013 edition of the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) which will see the Cumbria firm run three Qatari liveried Ford Fiesta RS WRCs under the Qatar M-Sport World Rally Team banner in next year’s championship.

Making their debut in the Fiesta RS WRC, Nasser Al-Attiyah and Giovanni Bernacchini will contest a seven-round programme scheduled around their other motorsport commitments. Launching their 2013 campaign at Rally Sweden in February, the duo will be looking to build upon their previous successes in the world series.

Set to do battle for a record-breaking eighth FIA Middle East Rally Championship title with M-Sport’s Ford Fiesta RRC at the end of November, the Qatari driver was instrumental in making the partnership a reality and enjoys a strong relationship with the Cumbrian firm.

Piloting the Ford Fiesta S2000 to its maiden victory at the 2010 Qatar International Rally – on the same weekend that saw Mikko Hirvonen secure victory in Monte Carlo – Al-Attiyah has a working knowledge of M-Sport’s range of Fiesta rally cars and is poised to contest what could be his best ever season in the WRC.

M-Sport Managing Director, Malcolm Wilson OBE, said: “We are delighted to welcome such a prestigious partner as Qatar on board for 2013. The partnership with Nasser [Al-Attiyah] and the Qatari State will enable M-Sport to continue at the pinnacle of the sport and we are looking forward to working together in the future. Since the 2012 season came to a close, work has not stopped and the entire team is working around the clock to ensure we deliver a strong package for next year.”

Nasser Al-Attiyah said: “We are looking forward to building on our strong relationship with M-Sport and working with them in 2013. I have a good knowledge of the car having driven the [Ford] Fiesta S2000 to its debut win in 2010 and now looking to secure my eighth title in the Middle East with the [Ford] Fiesta RRC. I am really looking forward to getting behind the wheel of the [Ford] Fiesta RS WRC and contesting as many WRC events as I can around my other motorsport commitments.”

– Credit: M-Sport

Opel returns to rallying!

Opel is returning to motor racing in the form of an internationally oriented rally program with the new Opel ADAM. “These new motorsports activities play an important role in the strategic re-alignment of the company; they are a fundamental element of our brand profile,” says Dr. Thomas Sedran, Opel’s Deputy CEO. Especially in grassroots, popular sports, the Ruesselsheim carmaker can look back on a long and successful tradition. The aim of the company is to create a new competition that appeals to customers which is both technically sophisticated and reasonably priced, while at the same time providing a platform for young ambitious drivers to continuously develop their talent.

With its commitment to rallying, Opel has the European stage now in its sights. After all, beyond the core market of Germany, there is a strong interest in rallying in all of the key European markets of the brand. Moreover, the World Motor Sport Authority FIA also has fixed regulations that provide entry points and advancement opportunities for young drivers. A rally cup version of the new Opel ADAM, which has been closely specified to FIA R2 standards, will be used in the 2013 season. As part of the “ADAC Rally Masters” race series these customer cars will compete in a branded cup (” ADAC Opel Rally Cup “). The allure of the competition is also increased by the fact that the most successful drivers can expect to win cash prizes. In addition, there is a special “junior rally” points system for drivers younger than 27 years. The overall winner of a set of final trials will get special coaching in the next season.

As a strong partner Opel was able to gain an ally in the ADAC that shares an almost identical vision for new talent development. Above all, the ADAC uses its organisational and motorsport infrastructure for the common project. Opel’s strategy has been devised to last initially until 2016. After that a modular development program has been envisaged where talented rally drivers can graduate from the “ADAC Opel Rally Cup” to an international level. In the first two of four stages, the ADAM will be employed. In stages three and four the next generation Opel Corsa is expected to be the rally vehicle.

The most successful era of the company’s rally history began in the mid-seventies. It was quite literally “driven” by the German driver, Walter Roehrl, one of the all-time top rally pilots. During his time with Opel, he and his Ascona A won the European championship title in 1974 and again in with the Ascona B in 1979. The crowning glory of the Regensburg man’s era was his world championship title in 1982. He achieved this with his legendary Ascona 400.

Your insight into the world of rallying, part #259

Welcome to issue 259 of HANDBRAKES & HAIRPINS, your favourite free source of rally entertainment!

To download this week’s issue, please click here:

As always, please enjoy this week’s read!

Yours in Rallying,

Evan Rothman (Editor) and Eva Kovkova (Photojournalist)