With a busy international calendar of events, we bring you another feature-filled edition to feed your rally love. Inside you can read the latest on Andreas Mikkelsen’s “new” WRC co-driver, a look at the growth of the Rally America series, a preview of this weekend’s PMC Gauteng Rally in South Africa that is set to be a thriller, and we bring you a big review of the FIA ERC’s SATA Rally Azores. The beautiful island’s gravel roads gave competitors more than just a few headaches and kept rally fans on the edge of their seats with the nail-biting action. Another great exhibition of rally talent!
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Volkswagen Sasolracing’s 19-year old Henk Lategan left South Africa last week to contest the FIA Europena Rally Championship’s (ERC) Acropolis Rally in Greece. This rally takes place from Friday to Sunday, 28 – 30 March.
“The Acropolis Rally takes place on both gravel and tar,” says Lategan. “There is a very strong entry list and I’m expecting it will be a tough weekend, not just facing the top drivers and teams there, but also the unfamiliar stages.”
Lategan contested three international events last year, with his best result a fifth overall in Croatia. In preparation for the Acropolis Rally, part of the European Rally Championship, he will make a quick stop in Austria to spend some time testing with the BRR (Baumschlager Rallye & Racing).
“Competing in Europe can be very different to competing in South Africa,” says Lategan. “The road surfaces, the stage layouts and also the language can often be obstacles that need to be overcome. It certainly adds a different dimension to competing there.”
To this end, Lategan will be teamed with navigators experienced in competition in the European championship. For the Acropolis event his co-driver is Klaus Wicha, a German competitor with more than three decades of experience and one of the top professionals in his field. The pair will contest a Skoda Fabia S2000 in the RC2 class, a category which accounts for most of the entry list.
In celebration of M-Sport’s 50th completed R5 Ford Fiesta rally machine, we took a look at the future of this rallying class and what lies in store for competitors and fans alike, plus we also feature the first round of the always-exciting South African National Rally Championship – and this was no disappointment in terms of high drama and action action aplenty.
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The 2014 South African National Rally Championship will be all about who can prevent reigning champions Mark Cronje and Robin Houghton (Ford Dealer Team Fiesta S2000) from winning their third successive title.
After taking seven victories in last year’s eight-round Championship and winning more than half of the stages, the Ford pair starts the new season as hot favourites. But they will have to contend with a strong challenge from the S2000 factory teams of Toyota and Volkswagen. Continue reading South Africa’s first rally of 2014 is GO!
Inside this week’s issue of Handbrakes & Hairpins we feature the WRC Rally Mexico, a look at this weekend’s opening round of the South African National Rally Championship, and an interview with Bulgarian star Ekaterina Stratieva. We also debut our new Social Media Marketing initiative. More about this inside!
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The 2014 South African National Rally Championship calendar has been revealed, as well as some of the shock driver musical chair movements in recent weeks…
The series remains an eight-event championship, starting off with the traditional KwaZulu-Natal opener in March. It concludes nine-months later with the Toyota Gauteng Dealer Rally at the end of November. With TOTAL South Africa no longer active South African motorsport, the highly-popular TOTAL Rally in March is in search of a title sponsor. This predicament also exists for the PMC Rally, which used to be the Toyota Gauteng Dealer Rally. Taking in six of the country’s nine provinces with over 1,200km of special stages, the 2014 season will be another exciting instalment in this series’ long history. Continue reading South Africa: 2014 season gears up