New i20 could be head­ing for Ul­ster or Isle of Man with Ab­bring and Mar­shall

Motor Sport News - - Rally News - By Jack Benyon Photo:bret­tex site ser­vices Photos: Jakob Ebrey, FIA ERC

Hyundai’s new i20 R5 could make a Bri­tish Rally Cham­pi­onship de­but later this year ac­cord­ing to team man­ager Alain Pe­nasse.

The team’s R5 car has been tested ex­ten­sively by Kevin Ab­bring and Seb Mar­shall, who scored their first WRC points on Rally Italy ear­lier this month. Pe­nasse be­lieves the Ul­ster or Rally Isle of Man are pos­si­bil­i­ties for the ma­chine after a deal to do the Nicky Grist Stages in July fell through.

“Yes, it’s pos­si­ble that we will come to some rounds of the Bri­tish Rally Cham­pi­onship,” con­firmed Pe­nasse. “We had an idea to come to the Nicky Grist Stages, but it wasn’t pos­si­ble in the end – it didn’t suit with the dates. So, that one was a no, but I know there are two Tar­mac ral­lies later in the year and we are look­ing into this.”

Pe­nasse added that if events fit into the test­ing pro­gramme of the car, the Ger­man-based Korean team would jump at the chance to com­pete. And Ab­bring and Mar­shall would be first in line to pilot the car.

“The most im­por­tant thing for us is to fol­low the test dates for the R5 car and if an event fits into that pro­gramme, then why not? It’s true that it’s not so easy to go to Bri­tain, it’s an is­land and you can lose a lit­tle bit of time, but we will see what we can do – and Kevin [Ab­bring] would, most likely, be driv­ing.”

The i20 R5 is set to make its event de­but this week­end in Ypres, with Ab­bring and Mar­shall run­ning un­der the VIP reg­u­la­tion mean­ing it didn’t ap­pear in the over­all clas­si­fi­ca­tion. The same reg­u­la­tion al­lowed Ford and Peu­geot to de­but their R5 cars on the event in 2013.

If the car was to fea­ture on the con­clud­ing round, the Rally Isle of Man, the event could see Ab­bring go up against an­other top-level WRC driver in Mads Ost­berg along with the BRC reg­u­lars. Ost­berg’s fa­ther Morten con­firmed to MN that the Adapta team were in­ves­ti­gat­ing an en­try in the Manx to im­prove Mads’ asphalt pace.

In its re­turn after a year away, the Bri­tish cham­pi­onship has fea­tured R5 cars from Citroen, Ford, Skoda, and Peu­geot.

BRC cham­pi­onship man­ager Iain Camp­bell be­lieves that Hyundai’s in­tent to com­pete demon­strates the strength of the re­formed Bri­tish se­ries and the two have been in con­tact since Hyundai launched the car.

“We have been talk­ing with Hyundai about the R5 project since De­cem­ber last year and I’ve been watch­ing its test progress,” said Camp­bell. “To think that we could com­plete BRC 2016 hav­ing had all the R5 man­u­fac­turer cars com­pet­ing in the se­ries would be a huge achieve­ment. The com­pe­ti­tion has been ex­cel­lent to-date and we know that the cham­pi­onship is be­ing watched world­wide by a lot of in­flu­en­tial peo­ple within the sport.” Ad­di­tional re­port­ing by David Evans

So there we were at the start of the Ea­gle Rally in 1995 when a po­lice pa­trol car turns up. Out gets an of­fi­cer who de­manded to know what was go­ing on. This sur­prised us a lit­tle as we had been in con­stant touch with the lo­cal po­lice sta­tion through­out the run up to the event, this in­cluded a visit just four hours pre­vi­ously.

“That was an­other shift” I was told by the PC. He was only pla­cated when I pro­duced the au­tho­ri­sa­tion let­ter for the rally signed by his Chief Con­sta­ble. But he was em­bar­rassed and pa­trolled the route look­ing for prob­lems un­til he was called off to at­tend to a mass brawl in Broad Street at 0100hrs. See, drunken hooli­gan­ism does have its use­ful as­pects.

My ex­pe­ri­ence was far from be­ing an iso­lated in­ci­dent, sim­i­lar sto­ries can be told by most rally or­gan­is­ers. Many ral­lies have been stopped by a lo­cal pa­trol car un­aware that what they’ve ac­tu­ally hap­pened across is a fully au­tho­rised event, not what they think is a joy rid­ing con­ven­tion.

For­tu­nately, an ini­tia­tive that started in the Dyfed-powys Po­lice area a cou­ple of years ago is en­sur­ing that such misun­der­stand­ings are part of his­tory and can be con­signed to ral­ly­ing folk­lore. There is at least one po­lice of­fi­cer in at­ten­dance at all road events in the force’s area. Both fully liv­er­ied and un­marked pa­trol cars are present, gen­er­ally for the full du­ra­tion of a rally. Prior to the event of­fi­cers are made aware, not just of the route de­tails, but also of the PR process and any mat­ters aris­ing from that. At the fin­ish of the rally any po­lice con­cerns can be raised di­rectly with the or­gan­is­ers.

The fo­cus isn’t just on com­pli­ance with the law, there is also an em­pha­sis on spec­ta­tor safety and spec­ta­tor be­hav­iour. The po­lice have been con­cerned for some time about these mat­ters given the large crowds that are at­tracted to Welsh road ral­lies.

This year the pol­icy has been ex­tended to North Wales Po­lice. It was a very timely move as a highly vo­cif­er­ous pro­tes­tor has been rais­ing com­plaints against ral­lies, and many other ac­tiv­i­ties, through­out the area. A close po­lice pres­ence on events showed that there wasn’t an is­sue with the way road ral­lies were be­ing run; there were few, if any, com­plaints from res­i­dents and the driv­ing stan­dards of com­peti­tors was good. In ad­di­tion, there was an ob­vi­ous sup­port for the sport amongst the vast ma­jor­ity of the lo­cal pop­u­la­tion.

The ini­tia­tive shows that road rally or­gan­is­ers need not fear po­lice in­ter­est in their events. Close co­op­er­a­tion can be a ma­jor ben­e­fit.

After all, a well run rally has noth­ing to hide. And the Con­stab­u­lary will be aware of what’s go­ing, even if there had been a change of shift.

Or­gan­iser: Loth­ian Car Club When: Starters: 121 June 18/19

There were two very dif­fer­ent run-offs at Doune’s Bri­tish Hill­climb meet­ing last week­end.

In the first at­tack, old hands Scott Mo­ran and Trevor Wil­lis fin­ished first and sec­ond fol­low­ing sev­eral class records be­ing smashed in qual­i­fy­ing. Be­hind them, Wallace Men­zies and Will Hall scored well and, de­spite rac­ing with a bad hand in­jury, Sean Gould man­aged to power his way to the fifth best time.

That was the stan­dard part of the week­end but as the se­ri­ous ac­tion got un­der­way for the sec­ond runs, the weather started to play its part.

The first two run-off con­tenders in round 14 were Eynon Price and Simon Fi­doe. They set their times as the rain­drops started to fall, and a se­ri­ous de­lay to the pro­ceed­ings when lo­cal com­peti­tor John Macken­zie crashed out at Gar­den Gate held things up. He was taken to hospi­tal for checks while bar­rier re­pairs were made.

With no­body able to run in con­di­tions any­where near as good as Price and Fi­doe, they were left to col­lect the top two slots.

Of the rest, it was Trevor Wil­lis’s wet track mas­tery and start­ing

Ab­bring and Mar­shall have tested the i20 R5 on asphalt in France Bri­tish cham­pi­onship has wel­comed all R5s

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