COLIN CLARK

“Tommi, maybe you are stretched too far...”

Motor Sport News - - Round - By Brian Pat­ter­son

Dear Tommi,

How are you my friend? Not so good if what I hear from around the ser­vice park is true. It re­ally does suck when three key mem­bers of your team de­cide to leave you in the lurch. I know you are ridicu­lously busy, so I guess you just hadn’t got round to telling Jarmo Le­hti­nen that Mr Zo­tos (Michael, tech­ni­cal di­rec­tor) had jumped ship? No wor­ries, I told him for you.

Lis­ten Tommi, you have to be just a wee bit con­cerned about this. You need all the good men you can get. But it’s clearly very chal­leng­ing to set up a new team, run the team, de­sign the car, build the car and then test the car all by your­self.

Can I re­spect­fully sug­gest that maybe you’re stretch­ing your­self a touch too far?

You know there is prac­ti­cally no one else in the world with your un­der­stand­ing of how to en­gi­neer, test and set up a World Rally Car. It’s so good to see you putting so much time and ef­fort into that side of things.

But, a suc­cess­ful world rally team needs to be just that. A team. There is so much more you need to do to be ready for Monte Carlo in Jan­uary and at times it prob­a­bly feels like there just aren’t enough weeks in the year.

Here’s what I’d do Tommi: I’d take a look at how the old boys did it way back when. Mal­colm Wil­son has built M-sport into a pow­er­house of the mo­tor­sport world by lead­ing the com­pany from his of­fice. I can’t re­mem­ber MW do­ing much test­ing and devel­op­ment, he trusted his boys to do that. But my good­ness, he was al­ways, unar­guably, the boss of the oper­a­tion.

You can say the same for David Richards. He sur­rounded him­self with enor­mously tal­ented boys and girls and suc­cess rapidly fol­lowed.

You de­serve rapid suc­cess Tommi. I know you have a fiery tem­per at times. But when you’re as ded­i­cated, pas­sion­ate and driven as you are, that’s un­der­stand­able. Well, to me it is. Maybe not the folk that work for you though.

So here’s an­other sug­ges­tion. You carry on with the test­ing and devel­op­ment work, but get some­one in to help with the ev­ery­day run­ning of the busi­ness. Some­one who knows how you work, who knows how the Ja­panese work, who knows the WRC in­side and out, who has a hide as thick as a rhino, who can take the in­evitable tongue lash­ings that will come his way, and who at the end of the day will re­spect that you are and al­ways will be the boss.

If what I was told by an­other re­spected jour­nal­ist that “the ship is slowly sink­ing” is true, then you might need to make some ur­gent phone calls. You are, and will al­ways re­main, in my mind a God, Tommi. Some­times even the Gods call on mere mor­tals to help them out.

Good luck my friend.

Gus Green­smith grinned, looked down at the timesheets, and grinned some more.

He wasn’t lead­ing the Drive DMACK Fi­esta Trophy, but you couldn’t tell.

“It’s fan­tas­tic, isn’t it…” he said. “Look at that, three Bri­tish driv­ers at the top of the leader­board.”

It was im­pos­si­ble to ar­gue. The Brits cer­tainly gave an ex­cep­tional ac­count of them­selves in Poland.

“These stages are so fast,” Green­smith added, “but there are places where I’m com­ing into the cor­ner telling my­self: ‘Don’t lift! Jon [Arm­strong] and Osian [Pryce] won’t be lift­ing here!’ And we’ve kept it flat. It’s been an amaz­ing bat­tle with them.”

Un­for­tu­nately for Green­smith, he didn’t get the op­por­tu­nity to con­vert that pace into a win when a wheel bear­ing prob­lem slowed his progress through Satur­day.

“This is the sec­ond event in suc­ces­sion I’ve lost the win be­cause of a parts prob­lem,” he said. “I know the pace is some con­so­la­tion, but I’m here to win; no­body re­mem­bers sec­ond.”

Arm­strong’s rally looked to have gone south on day two with an elec­tri­cal prob­lem cost­ing him time – but his real loss came when he was baulked by a slower car late in the day.

Round one win­ner Pryce had strug­gled to find his feet on Fri­day, but get­ting up ear­lier than ever to watch the DVD of all Satur­day’s stages be­fore break­fast on day two paid div­i­dends. The Welsh­man blitzed the roads up close to the Rus­sian border, win­ning all but one of the day’s long stages.

Just like the main field, Sun­day brought the real drama, with many tyres knocked off rims in the fi­nal day opener. Pryce was the high­est pro­file ca­su­alty, for­feit­ing his lead to Arm­strong.

In the end it didn’t mat­ter. Arm­strong cel­e­brated a hard­earned and wor­thy win, while Pryce stayed sec­ond and scooped the big prize ( see Rally News).

The much-an­tic­i­pated WRC2 bat­tle de­liv­ered in Poland, with Es­apekka Lappi overcoming a stead­ier start than usual to ease his fac­tory Skoda past the sim­i­lar ma­chine of Teemu Suni­nen on Satur­day evening. A fi­nal-day punc­ture cost him the win, while Suni­nen’s co-driver Mikko Markkula suf­fered a heart­stop­ping mo­ment when a mis­take on the recce sent them the wrong way at a junc­tion. A quick U-turn sorted the job and al­lowed them a well-de­served sec­ond suc­ces­sive class win.

El­fyn Evans was sec­ond. The Welsh­man was un­beaten on Satur­day morn­ing, but strug­gled to match his ri­vals else­where. No­body had an an­swer to Pon­tus Tide­mand’s day one pace, but he ruled him­self out with a bro­ken steer­ing arm on Fri­day.

Si­mone Tem­pes­tini took his sec­ond suc­ces­sive Ju­nior WRC win in his DS 3 R3T.

DRIVER/ CO-DRIVER

An­dreas Mikkelsen (Nor)/an­ders Jaeger (NOR) Ott Tanak (Est)/raigo Molder (EST) Hay­den Pad­don (NZL)/JOHN Ken­nard (NZL) Thierry Neuville (BEL)/ Ni­co­las Gil­soul (BEL) Jari-matti Lat­vala (FIN)/ Mi­ikka Anttila (FIN) Se­bastien Ogier (Fra)/julien In­gras­sia (FRA) Craig Breen (Irl)/scott Martin (GBR) Mads Ost­berg (NOR)/OLA Floene (NOR) Eric Camilli (FRA)/ Ben­jamin Veil­las (FRA) Teemu Suni­nen (Fin)/mikko Markkula (FIN) Lorenzo Bertelli (Ita)/si­mone Scat­tolin (ITA) Stephane Le­feb­vre (Fra)/gabin Moreau (FRA) Hen­ning Sol­berg (NOR)/ILKA Mi­nor-pe­trasko (AUT) Yazeed Al-ra­jhi (Ksa)/michael Orr (GBR) Va­leriy Gor­ban (Ukr)/volodymyr Korsya (UKR) Dani Sordo (ESP)/MARC Marti (ESP)

Or­gan­iser: ALMC Mo­tor Club When: July 3 Where: Trim, Co. Meath Cham­pi­onships: Tri­ton Show­ers Na­tional Rally Cham­pi­onship, MSA As­phalt Rally Cham­pi­onship, Mid­lands East Rally Cham­pi­onship Stages: nine Starters: 84

In fine con­di­tions Done­gal Fi­esta WRC crew De­clan and Brian Boyle re­gained their win­ning form by tak­ing a strong tri­umph on the Smart­part ALMC Stages.

Tip­per­ary’s Roy White, with James O’brien co-driv­ing in his Fi­esta WRC, put in a very well-judged drive to take sec­ond and re­tain their com­mand­ing lead in the Tri­ton Show­ers Na­tional Rally Cham­pi­onship, while Steve Simp­son was the top MSA As­phalt se­ries fin­isher in sev­enth over­all. Damian Cole, 15th on the day, still leads the se­ries.

On the open­ing 8.15-mile Lions­den stage it was Peadar Hur­son in his Subaru who set fastest time, with Boyle 0.5s down. Niall Maguire was third and White was fourth. Desi Henry was a last-minute en­try with his Skoda Fabia R5 and he held fifth, de­spite clip­ping a chi­cane and da­m­ag­ing a mud­guard. Steve Wood was a fine sixth in his Subaru.

At ser­vice fol­low­ing stages two and three Boyle had moved into a 15s lead over Hur­son, with White a scant 0.8s fur­ther back. White seemed to be caught on the hop slightly at the start of stage two and didn’t have his Fi­esta WRC in gear. Weather con­di­tions were fine, although the driv­ers still re­ported slippy patches, caused by dust rather than damp for a change.

Hugh Hunter was driv­ing a new-to-him Im­preza WRC S12b and he reck­oned he was on the wrong tyres. He held sev­enth place but was soon to re­tire af­ter an ac­ci­dent.

An early re­tire­ment was Stephen Mccann in his Subaru fol­low­ing an off. There were a few other mishaps caus­ing some mi­nor block­ages for the later num­bers, but thank­fully there were no re­ports of any­thing too se­ri­ous. Damian Cole, a reg­u­lar frontrunner in the MSA As­phalt se­ries, was slowed by a mis­fire in his Fi­esta WRC’S en­gine, thought to be down to coil packs.

There was a ma­jor bat­tle at the back end of the top 10 for two-wheel-drive supremacy. Ash­ley Field in his Dar­rian was show­ing a clean pair of heels to the top Ford Es­cort driv­ers. Frank Kelly, Trevor Mul­li­gan, Jack New­man and Chris

Top seeds Carl Hawkins/ Paul Tay­lor emerged as clear win­ners of the Maple Garage Beaver Rally af­ter their clos­est ri­vals slipped up.

At the three-quar­ter mark Richard Hunter/gary Evans held a nar­row lead but a missed code board, and the sub­se­quent fiveminute penalty, dropped them to fourth at the Fin­ish.

Hawkins/tay­lor there­fore headed home Chris/trevor Faulkner by a fi­nal mar­gin of over two min­utes.

Phil Bur­ton/sam Col­lis ended up three min­utes down in third hav­ing taken fastest time on both of the tests at the com­pleted the route. How­ever, they had also missed a board in the first half and thus missed out on vic­tory.

John Leckie/sion Mathews com­pleted the top five, while Martin Betts/ Richard Hage, an­other crew chal­leng­ing for the lead, fin­ished sixth af­ter prob­lems on the last road sec­tion of the night.

The rally at­tracted a qual­ity en­try, but there was a sparse num­ber of starters in the Semi-ex­pert and Novice classes.

Or­gan­iser: When: Where: Cham­pi­onships:

It was a week­end to for­get for the Brits as For­mula E bid a sad farewell to its Lon­don round of the cal­en­dar.

With Bat­tersea not ap­pear­ing on the For­mula E cal­en­dar for 2016/17, the Brits may have said good­bye – at least for next sea­son – to Lon­don.

The sur­prise pack­age of the week­end was Oliver Tur­vey. The NEXTEV TCR driver was run­ning third in the first race, but he crashed out with three laps to go.

“I got hit by Vergne a cou­ple of times and he drove straight into the back of me in Turn 11,” Tur­vey told MN. “It’s done some dam­age on the rear wing and the rear dif­fuser is all dam­aged. The car didn’t be­have quite the same. I braked and locked the rears, didn’t make the cor­ner. The car didn’t feel the same af­ter I got hit. It’s a shame to have con­tact when you’re the car in front and you’ve de­fended the po­si­tion but they drive straight into you.”

On Sun­day Tur­vey found him­self mov­ing back­wards with a lack of race pace de­spite push­ing hard, af­ter set­ting what he called “one of my best laps ever” in qual­i­fy­ing. A late punc­ture af­ter hit­ting the wall rel­e­gated him to 10th over­all. He had a part­ing mes­sage for his ri­vals for next year: “If I can per­form at this level with the right pack­age I’m sure we can challenge for wins and cham­pi­onships.”

An­other driver who would have been on for a top five fin­ish over the week­end was Mike Con­way, but a bat­tery prob­lem on Sun­day meant his Ven­turi was off the pace.

“We had a faulty bat­tery, two shut­downs in a row,” ex­plained Con­way. “We were ahead of Stephane [Sar­razin, team-mate] at that point so it could have been an easy top five, maybe top three if things had gone a bit bet­ter.”

Suf­fer­ing the worst week­end of the Brits was ar­guably last year’s big­gest hero, Sam Bird. He had a stuck-open throt­tle on Satur­day in his first DS Vir­gin car and then ran out of en­ergy in the sec­ond. He then lost all power in Sun­day’s race and re­tired.

JULY 6 2016

Arm­strong led home the Bri­tish challenge

Tur­vey im­pressed in NEXTEV TCR

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