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Welcome to issue 291 of HANDBRAKES & HAIRPINS, your favourite free source of rally entertainment!

To download this week’s issue, please click here: ISSUE 291

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As always, please enjoy this week’s read!

Yours in Rallying,

Evan Rothman (Editor) and Eva Kovkova (Photojournalist)

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Win a once in a lifetime rally experience with South Africa’s best driver

Reigning South African Rally Champion Mark Cronje is a fantastic ambassador for the sport. His smooth driving style has brought him four wins from the five rounds of the 2013 national rally championship this far, but it is his dedication to raising the awareness and profile of rallying in South Africa that is to be commended too. Mark’s latest project is a wonderful one, a “Chance in a Lifetime”…

“Like” his Facebook Page HERE and follow the instructions to stand a chance of a hot seat experience with him ahead of the Toyota Western Cape Dealer Rally on 19 – 20 August in the Malmsebury, Western Cape area.


Handbrakes & Hairpins is a FREE weekly eMagazine. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter for the latest news and entertainment from the world of rallying. Click here to download the latest issue:

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Juha Kankkunen’s got the most drool-worthy rally car collection on the planet

Four-times World Rally Champion and all-round Finnish legend Juha Kankkunen knew a thing or two about chucking a car sideways into a corner. He is also the only driver to successfully wear a moustache in rallying. The WRC Neste Oil Rally Finland has a stage that passes by his street, and he has a road named after him too. What he is also very well known for is having a garage of cars that make grown men (and some women) drool…

Car website Edmunds had good fortune to meet the Finnish star and have a walk around his car collection. View it here:

Here’s Juha doing what makes him so special to the world of rallying…

Handbrakes & Hairpins is a FREE weekly eMagazine. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter for the latest news and entertainment from the world of rallying. Click here to download the latest issue:

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Top Ten Videos from WRC ADAC Rallye Deutschland

It is a slow day at the Handbrakes & Hairpins Towers. So’ve thrown together this compilation of the best WRC videos from Rallye Deutschland we could find.

To recap on the rally you can read our reports here:
Day ONE:
Day TWO:

The OFFICIAL ADAC Rallye Deutschland video recap…

Watch the WRC stars claim more air miles over the Gina Jump…

Another look at the Gina Jump, but from another angle…

Sebastien Ogier versus Thierry Neuville…

Robert Kubica does not fear speed…

Thierry Neuville on the limits…

This is a mix of test days and rallying. Well worth a click…

Here’s 4min 32sec of unadulterated action…

And another 3min 57sec…

Pure sound for 8min 23sec…

Handbrakes & Hairpins is a FREE weekly eMagazine. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter for the latest news and entertainment from the world of rallying.

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Slipping and sliding, Sordo is the one to smile!

The WRC ADAC Rallye Deutschland was all that WRC means to its loyal and passionate competitors and fans. Starting with a 0.8sec deficit between the two protagonists at for Day Four’s two stages, and with two manufacturers and two teams and two drivers fighting for their first WRC victories, the 49km of cmpetition were bound to be as tense as imagined.

Thierry Neuville (Qatar M-Sport World Rally Team) was a mere 0.8sec adrift of Dani Sordo (Citroën Abu Dhabi World Rally Team) at the beginning of Dhrontal 1, but by the end of the special stage Sordo had managed to stretch the gap to 03sec.

A two-hour Service Park session was used to best effect to prep and prime the Citroën DS3 WRC and Ford Fiesta RS WRC for the final 24km Power Stage. From an electric atmosphere, the WRC crews rolled out for the repeat stage in reverse order. This meant that, seeing as Sebastien Ogier (Volkswagen Motorsport) was last on the WRC leader board due to his running under Rally2 rules, he was first to run with Sordo the final car to take to the stage. Neuville, the hunter on the previous stage, became the hunted for Sordo…

Ogier set the fastest time through the Power Stage to collect the bonus three Championship points. But, all eyes were focused on the Neuville versus Sordo battle reaching its climax. And, Neuville sprinted through the stage and went too hot into a corner and went off the road. It was inevitable: the pace at the front was too fast. Sordo maintained his confident pace and held on to claim his first WRC victory in his ten-year career!

Neuville’s off cost him some 50seconds, but his lead over Mikko Hirvonen (Citroën Abu Dhabi World Rally Team) meant he was still comfortable in second.

It was in the final time split section of the final stage that the WRC ADAC Rallye Deutschland was decided, and it was a do-or-die push from Neuville. A brave effort from the youngster, and a result he and his team will be celebrating his third runner-up placing in succession.

Sordo charged to the finish line with a helmet-filling smile and surely a rush of Spanish superlatives to co-driver Carlos del Barrio. It was a concerted and calculated drive from the Spaniard, driving for his WRC future. He didn’t push form the outset, and he and team-mate Hirvonen slowly picked off their rivals one by one over the course of the event’s 15 stages.

Hirvonen had a quiet drive to third, not sticking his neck out on any of the stages but rather feeling his way through the speed tests. This proved to be to his favour, although he was quite off the leaders pace. He would have been out of the top five we fell, should Ogier, Jari-Matti Latvala (Volkswagen Motorsport) and Mads Ostberg (Qatar M-Sport World Rally Team) would have been ahead of him. That is a BIG what if as he DID claim third position overall.

Martin Prokop (Jipocar Czech National Rally Team) scored his best WRC career result in fourth place overall, shining in his privateer rally machine once more in 2013.

The WRC2 Class battle was as thrilling as that for the overall rally victory. Robert Kubica (Citroën DS3 RRC) and Elfyn Evans (Ford Fiesta R5) once more crossed swords on the final two stages, and after changing position twice yesterday it was Kubica who managed to hold onto a 12.9sec advantage over the hard-charging Welshman. Evans has once more put his hand up as a future major player in the WRC.

Hayden Paddon (Skoda Fabia S2000) impressed as the fastest of the ‘conventional S2000’ cars, blowing his S2000 rivals away with this pace. He finished third in WRC2, but his problems earlier in the weekend meant he was to settle with a gap to the leaders of nearly 03min.

Sebastien Chardonnet was the Top Citroën Driver in Germany, but was kept honest by Irishman Keith Cronin. On Day Four, it was a somewhat processional drive to the finish: Cronin was nearly 02min 50sec off Chardonnet after a lateness penalty, but he sliced that lead down by 30sec on the final two stages. He finished 02m 24sec off a smiling Chardonnet and his manager nine-times WRC Co-Driver Champion Daniel Elena.

The WRC now moves to the southern hemisphere for the Coates Hire Rally Australia on 12 – 15 September.

Final Overall Classification:
01) D. Sordo/C. Del Barrio
Citroën DS3 WRC – 03h 15m 19.4s
02) T. Neuville/N. Gilsoul
Ford Fiesta RS WRC + 53.0s
03) M. Hirvonen/J. Lehtinen
Citroën DS3 WRC + 02m 36.1s
04) M. Prokop/M. Ernst
Ford Fiesta RS WRC + 08m 00.8s
05) R. Kubica/M. Baran
Citroën DS3 RRC + 09m 01.3s
06) E. Evans/D. Barritt
Ford Fiesta R5 + 09m 14.2s
07) J-M. Latvala/M. Anttila
Volkswagen Polo R WRC + 09m 55.0s
08) H. Paddon/J. Kennard
Sokda Fabia S2000 + 13m 01.2s
09) M. Osberg/J. Andersson
Ford Fiesta RS WRC + 13m 28.1s
10) E. Novikov/I. Minor-Petrasko
Ford Fiesta RS WRC + 15m 17.9s

Photos by Citroën Racing, WorldRallyPics and Volkswagen Motorsport.

Handbrakes & Hairpins is a FREE weekly eMagazine. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter for the latest news and entertainment from the world of rallying.

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Tumult, Torrential Rain, and Three Offs

Day Three of the WRC ADAC Rallye Deutschland started off with sunny skies and smiles with SS9 at 08h03. Rolling over the valleys and hills, came a thunderstorm to wreak havoc on the asphalt stages. The Baumholder military grounds’ Arena Panzerplatte, the signature stages of this event, brought the biggest upsets to the sport this weekend, with a reported double fatality on SS11 Arena Panzerplatte 1 that led to the cancellation of the stage’s second run at 16h54.

Sadly, it is reported that a “Slowly Sideways” crew in the Historic Class of the ADAC Rallye Deutschland went off the slippery roads and struck a tree. The driver and passenger succumbed to their injuries at the scene of the accident. Handbrakes & Hairpins’ thoughts and prayers are with those of their family and friends.

Jari-Matti Latvala (Volkswagen Motorsport) started Day Three where he left Day Two off: fast! The Finn pushed his Polo R WRC hard in the morning loop of three stages, and edged out to 14.8sec over Thierry Neuville (Qatar M-Sport World Rally Team) and 25.8sec over Dani Sordo (Citroën Abu Dhabi World Rally Team). Neuville, racing to the extremes of his skill levels and the limits of the car, he was simply unable to match the Polo R WRC’s superior pace.

The WRC2 battle, with Robert Kubica (LOTOS Citroën DS3 RRC) and Elfyn Evans (Qatar M-Sport Ford Fiesta R5), reached fever pitch in SS9 when the Welshman blasted past the Polish former F1 star to take the Class lead by 2.5sec. Kubica regained the lead on SS10 and pushed in SS11 to finish the morning loop just 1.4sec ahead of Evans. This fight saw Evans claim two of the three stage wins, and only an off slowed his pace.

The spark in the WRC3 Class fizzed out in the morning loop with the Keith Cronin being handed a 01min 30sec time penalty for lateness. Sebastien Chardonnet inherited a cushy lead over the rest of the Citroën DS3 R3T rally machines and maintained an impressive pace at the front over the 41.08km of the Arena Panzerplatte stage.

Pontus Tidemand was unstoppable on the morning loop in the Junior WRC, and put more clean air between himself and the chasing Ford Fiesta R2 field. Michael Burri was second at the mid-day service stop, over 02min adrift of the leader. In third was Martin Koci, but a further 50sec back.

The SS11 Arena Panzerplatte 1 stage was dramatic to say the least. A hinkelstein grazed the right hand side of Latvala’s Polo, but it caused damage than was initially suspected. Team-mate Sebastien Ogier, running under Rally2 rules, set the fastest time through the intimidating stage, and commented in his cheeky way: “It’s OK…the grip is not high enough, with higher grip it could be a great stage…but OK.” If only he didn’t sideline himself on Day Two…

SS12 created the most excitement: torrential rain washed over the asphalt stages to make the roads dirty, slippery and muddy. Latvala went off, ploughing into the German bush. With Miika Anttila battling to call the pace notes and clutch his open car door, it was unsurprising that a mistake would be made. This error forced their retirement while in the lead, rubbing salt into Volkswagen’s wounds.

Nearby, Neuville also left the road and collected a fence post. This was dragged under his Fiesta RS WRC for the duration of the stage, and caused an exhaust problem that robbed his car of valuable engine power.

A weekend of problems for Mads Ostberg came to an end, but in a cruel fashion: he too went off the road in his Qatar M-Sport World Rally Team Fiesta RS WRC to become stuck. He was forced to retire from the event, with an undamaged car. He will take to Day Four’s two stages in an attempt to salvage Power Stage points.

Sliding into the lead at the end of the day’s stages was Sordo. He snatched the lead from Neuville on SS13 by 0.8sec, and it sets up a thrilling two stages for Day Four. Who will claim the top step? Both Sordo and Neuville are hungry for the rally win and will undoubtedly push beyond their limits to sip the winners’ champagne.

Mikko Hirvonen (Citroën Abu Dhabi World Rally Team) slipped into third overall. Fourth, with his best position to date, is Martin Prokop (Jipocar Czech National Rally Team).

The next two cars on the overnight leader board are WRC2 competitors, Kubica and Evans. After the two stages to conclude the day, Kubica was able to gain time on Evans in the adverse weather conditions to end the day 07.8sec ahead of the Welshman. Hayden Paddon (Skoda Fabia S2000) is third in the Class, but 03min behind the leaders. Sepp Wiegand, with whom he was embroiled in a fascinating Skoda Fabia S2000 showdown, picked up a problem and dropped some 09min in stage time to be well off the Kiwi’s racing boots’ heels.

In WRC3, Cronin has seemingly settled into a steady rhythm and is not interested in chasing in Chardonnet for the Class lead. The Frenchman is now nearly 03min in the lead, and is sure to seal the deserved Class win he was robbed of in last month’s WRC Neste Oil Rally Finland.

With the end of Day Three came the conclusion of the Junior WRC. These Ford Fiesta R2 crews put on a stellar display of rallying, and some have most certainly caught the attention of team bosses for the next stage of their careers. Top junior competitor by a country mile was Tidemand. He dominated proceedings, and upstaged his rivals. Burri was the closest, but not enough to be of any worry to the leader. Yeray Lemes was expected to chase Burri, but a late problem with his Fiesta saw him settle for third position.

Day Four comprises of two stages, Dhrontal 1 and 2 0f 24.58km will also see the second run of this form the Power Stage. Action starts at 09h18 and finishes at mid-day. Sebastien Ogier, Jari-Matti Latvala and Mads Ostberg will be going all out to redeem their team bosses and to pinch those Power Stage points. The fight for the victory is far from settled: Sord versus Neuville will be the hightlight of this event. If Neuville’s car is completely repaired and damage-free, Handbrakes & Hairpins will stick its neck out to say this youngster will claim the victory. His speed is superior to that of Sordo, and his determination is pure and passionate. How many hours until the stage starts?

Photos in the below gallery by WorldRallyPics, Citroën Racing and Volkswagen Motorsport.

Top Ten at the end of Day Three:
01) D. Sordo/C. Del Barrio
Citroën DS3 WRC – 02h 43m 48.5s
02) T. Neuville/N. Gilsoul
Ford Fiesta RS WRC + 0.8s
03) M. Hirvonen/J. Lehtinen
Citroën DS3 WRC + 01m 27.6s
04) M. Prokop/M. Ernst
Ford Fiesta RS WRC + 06m 06.3s
05) R. Kubica/M. Baran
Citroën DS3 RRC + 07m 33.1s
06) E. Evans/D. Barritt
Ford Fiesta R5 + 07m 40.9s
07) J-M. Latvala/M. Anttila
Volkswagen Polo R WRC + 09m 27.0s
08) H. Paddon/J. Kennard
Skoda Fabia S2000 + 10m 37.3s
09) M. Ostberg/J. Andersson
Ford Fiesta RS WRC + 12m 27.8s
10) E. Novikov/I. Minor-Petrasko
Ford Fiesta RS WRC + 14m 11.8s

Handbrakes & Hairpins is a FREE weekly eMagazine. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter for the latest news and entertainment from the world of rallying.

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Latvala tops the timesheets in Germany

It would have been a very different leader board this evening, had a certain Frenchman still been in competition. The early demise of Sebastien Ogier and his Volkswagen Polo R WRC (due to a broken front left suspension after driving up a pavement and slope-side) saw the face of the rally turn with the snapping his car parts. Not entirely gifted, team-mate Jari-Matti Latvala has worked every inch of the day’s six stages to keep the Volkswagen flag flying at the top of the leader board of the WRC ADAC Rallye Deutschland.

Overnight leader Ogier simply went too hot into a turn, in damp conditions and cold tyres, and smacked his car’s left front corner. He limped out of the stage, and attempted a repair between SS3 and SS4. It didn’t last long as he called it quits early in SS4. The damage was not as severe as was initially perceived, as his VW service had retrieved, repaired and prepped his car for Super Rally (Rally2) action on Day Three by the mid-day service session.

Qatar M-Sport World Rally Team’s Thierry Neuville, sensational in WRC Neste Oil Rally Finland, has bested his own best performance in the WRC to date by keeping Latvala honest on the six stages today. The Belgian claimed four of the six fastest stage times, with Latvala clinching the final two of this evening’s three-stage loop. Latvala holds a slender 7.3sec advantage over Neuville, and it was a thrilling battle that will see both crews seeking every opportunity to gain a tenth of a second on Day Three’s 153.70km of stage kilometres.

Latvala found a space for himself to remain calm on the final two stages on Day Two, and this was enough to stop the Belgian leapfrogging him. It is not the first time Latvala has lead an event in 2013, but it is his first true chance to shine for the Volkswagen Motorsport squad, and at their home event on his least favourable surface too. This is as much a test of his speed as his psychological strength.

Behind the squabbling two leaders, Dani Sordo is patiently sitting in third place. A puncture, an overshoot or worse, will see the Citroën Abu Dhabi World Rally Team driver promoted to the top. This is his favoured surface, but WRC ADAC Rallye Deutschland is not a pure asphalt rally. Sordo has a cushion of 21.3sec over team-mate Mikko Hirvonen, who in turn is 01min 24.7sec ahead of Mads Ostberg (Qatar M-Sport World Rally Team), so the Spaniard needs to maintain his concentration.

What of Citroën and M-Sport’s lead drivers? Beset with setup problems and mechanical niggles, they’ve been upstaged for by their junior team-mates once more in 2013. Hirvonen is still in with a chance at a podium position, but for the Norwegian he will need to reel in over 2min to catch his Fiesta RS WRC team-mate and the Volkswagen Polo R WRC event leader.

Tyre choice was vital for Day Two’s stages, with optimal traction found on the harder compound rubber tyres. Damp and slightly wet in places, the stages offered ever-changing levels of grip – more so than gravel stages.

It was yet another WRC2 thriller, with Robert Kubica (Citroën DS3 RRC) losing time to a hard-charging Elfyn Evans (Ford Fiesta R5). These two drivers dominated the Class, leaving Sepp Wiegand (Skoda Fabia S2000) and Hayden Paddon (Skoda Fabia S2000) to fight for the final podium position. The S2000 cars are no match for the new-generation R5 and RRC cars, but Wiegand and Paddon are equally matched and only 3.7sec separates them. That said, Paddon set the pace in the opening loop of stages for the Class but Kubica eclipsed his times on the evening loop.

Kubica and Evans have been throwing their all into the stages, with the former F1 star using all his asphalt skills to keep the Welshman behind. Who will feature on Day Three is anyone’s guess with these WRC2 runners, and rally fans are in for another fantastic day of all-out rallying.

In WRC3, two of the three Citroën DS3 R3T crews have been hassling with the WRC2 cars. Sebastien Chardonnet leads Keith Cronin and Mohamed Al-Mutawaa. Chardonnet is nearly 02min ahead of Cronin and 13min ahead of Al-Mutawaa.

Jose Suarez dropped from an overnight first place in the Junior WRC to sixth place and over 04min off the new Junior WRC leader Pontus Tidemand. The roads become dirty as the cars pull sand and stones onto the asphalt when cutting the corners. For the two-wheel drive crews, this slows them considerably. Experience is needed to drive around these problems, and Suarez’s first foray on asphalt is an admirable one. Tidemand has the bit firmly between his teeth as he seeks to gain more Championship points: he currently leads the Class by 02m 24.0sec. Michael Burri is second with Marius Aasen third.

Day Three comprises of six stages, with two loops of three speed tests. It includes the spectacular Arena Panzerplatte in its full 41.08km of rallying awesomeness. The first stage, SS9 starts at 08h03 and the final stages of Day Three concludes at 17h10. Then, Day Four’s two stages will see who will be crowned the winner.

Top Ten at the end of Day Two:
01) J-M. Latvala/M. Antilla
Volskwagen Polo R WRC – 01h 38, 04.1s
02) T. Neuville/N. Gilsoul
Ford Fiesta RS WRC + 7.3s
03) D. Sordo/C. Del Barrio
Citroën DS3 WRC + 26.3s
04) M. Hirvonen/J. Lehtinen
Citroën DS3 WRC + 47.6s
05) M. Ostberg/J. Andersson
Ford Fiesta RS WRC + 02m 12.3s
06) M. Prokop/M. Ernst
Ford Fiesta RS WRC + 04m 17.6
07) N. Al-Attiyah/G. Bernacchini
Ford Fiesta RS WRC + 04m 52.1s
08) R. Kubica/M. Baran
Citroën DS3 RRC + 04m 59.5s
09) E. Evans/D. Barritt
Ford Fiesta R5 + 05m 11.9s
10) S. Wiegand/F. Christian
Skoda Fabia S2000 + 06m 53.7s

Handbrakes & Hairpins is a FREE weekly eMagazine. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter for the latest news and entertainment from the world of rallying.

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