HYUNDAI CONFIRM 2016 BRC ROUNDS POSSIBLE
New i20 could be heading for Ulster or Isle of Man with Abbring and Marshall
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