SHEL­S­LEY WALSH CLAS­SIC NOSTALGIA TAK­ING A TRIP UP MEM­ORY LANE T

Hans Stuck Jr will step back in time with an Auto Union. By Paul Lawrence

Motor Sport News - - Historics - Photos: Paul Lawrence, Shel­s­ley Walsh

he clock will go back 80 years at Shel­s­ley Walsh this week­end when Hans Stuck ju­nior thun­ders a 1936 Auto Union C-type up the fa­mous 1000-yard hill.

The re­cre­ation of the Sil­ver Ar­rows machine will tackle the Worces­ter­shire hill­climb to mark the 80th an­niver­sary of Stuck’s father com­pet­ing there in a sim­i­lar car in June 1936. The spec­ta­cle of this in­cred­i­ble rac­ing car at­tack­ing the steep climb up the side of the Teme Val­ley will be an ab­so­lute highlight of Shel­s­ley’s an­nual Clas­sic Nostalgia Week­end.

One hun­dred and twelve years after the first hill­climb at Shel­s­ley Walsh, the fa­mous venue will be packed with clas­sic cars, own­ers clubs and dis­plays to make the week­end a real highlight of the clas­sic mo­tor sport sea­son.

Get­ting dou­ble Le Mans win­ner Stuck and the Auto Union from Audi to rural Worces­ter­shire is a mas­sive coup for the Shel­s­ley Walsh team and it will cel­e­brate a re­mark­able day in the venue’s story. The C-type was a ground-break­ing car at the height of Ger­many’s en­gi­neer­ing supremacy in grand prix rac­ing and is the car that was sig­nif­i­cantly re­spon­si­ble for Mercedes de­sign­ing and build­ing the W125 for the 1937 sea­son as the two man­u­fac­tur­ers bat­tled for the glory of the Sil­ver Ar­rows.

In 1936, Stuck se­nior trav­elled to Shel­s­ley in his bid to win the Euro­pean Hill­climb Cham­pi­onship, but poor weather hin­dered his speed in front of a huge crowd. Stuck recorded times of around 40s in prac­tice on Fri­day, but could not chal­lenge the 39.6s hill record of venue ace Ray­mond Mays and his ERA as heavy rain hit the of­fi­cial com­pe­ti­tion. Stuck had com­peted at Shel­s­ley six years ear­lier in his Aus­tro Daim­ler sin­gle-seater when he slashed three sec­onds off the hill record to set a new mark of 42.8s.

De­spite the poor weather in June 1936, the sight and sound of Stuck fight­ing the Auto Union, with a 5.3litre en­gine and the better part of 500bhp, had a ma­jor im­pact on the Bri­tish crowds for this was the first time one of these mon­sters had run in the UK.

When in­ter­viewed on the day, Stuck se­nior com­mented that the car had ‘far too many horse-pow­ers’ for the venue and that it was re­ally too long. He also noted that he had to back off be­fore the fin­ish line in or­der to get the car stopped at the top of the hill.

This week­end’s ac­tion will in­clude two sep­a­rate days of com­pe­ti­tion for a wide range of clas­sic cars, al­though some com­peti­tors are in ac­tion both days. Each en­trant will get two prac­tice and two timed runs each day and with 165 en­tries on Sat­ur­day and 150 on Sun­day, the venue is go­ing to be maxed out in ev­ery sense. That’s a to­tal of over 1200 runs across the week­end.

The en­try is re­mark­ably di­verse and takes in pre-war cars as well as an ar­ray of post-war cars from up to the 1980s. Among the old­est cars is the splen­did aero-en­gined Pic­card-pictet from 1918, while more than a dozen 500cc F3 cars com­pete in a round of their cham­pi­onship and Rob Ne­wall will be as spec­tac­u­lar as ever in a Maserati 8CM Grand Prix car.

Sev­eral Shel­s­ley spe­cials pay homage to those who built cars just for this venue, in­clud­ing GN Spi­der II and the Freikaiser­wa­gen from the pre-war years. Si­mon Durl­ing, who lives at the top of the hill, will field his Elva MK7S and Rodger Fowler wheels out his rare one-litre For­mula 2 Lola T60.

Off-track dis­plays from car clubs and a ma­jor dis­play from Audi her­itage will en­sure this is the big­gest Clas­sic Nostalgia week­end to date and there will be ac­tion in the air both days, with a Lan­caster bomber due to fly over on Sat­ur­day.

Adding to the sense of oc­ca­sion will be live mu­sic, au­to­graph ses­sions and driver in­ter­views in the court­yard in­clud­ing stars like Hans Stuck and Jimmy Mcrae. ■

Tyres talks on 2017 pace hike

World Rally Cham­pi­onship tyre firms could be forced to re­duce the level of grip on of­fer to main­tain dura­bil­ity for next sea­son’s faster-than-ever World Rally Cars.

The two main tyre sup­pli­ers DMACK and Miche­lin are work­ing on de­vel­op­ment rub­ber for 2017 right now and both have ad­mit­ted the new spec­i­fi­ca­tion cars will use their cov­ers quicker than ever.

DMACK’S Dick Cor­mack said: “Miche­lin and us are aware there will be a sig­nif­i­cant in­crease in the level of wear, par­tic­u­larly on gravel. That means a com­pound and pos­si­bly even a pat­tern change to deal with that.

“If we in­crease the tread width, that will give the tyre more life, but at the same time you re­ally need to re­duce the gap be­tween the tread blocks and in­evitably that’s go­ing to re­duce the grip. On a clean line, the driv­ers will still get com­pound grip, but for the driver first on the road, it looks like there could be even less grip next year.”

Cor­mack added that the tyre firms had also dis­cussed the po­ten­tial for run­ning a sin­gle set of tyres on each day of a WRC round in an ef­fort to fur­ther cut costs in the se­ries.

He said: “There’s a dif­fer­ence be­tween the endurance side of this sport and world cham­pi­onship ral­ly­ing. The World Rally Cham­pi­onship is about go­ing as fast as you can on ev­ery stage and run­ning one set per day would re­ally com­pro­mise that.

“These cars cost £450,000 each and the topic of con­ver­sa­tions is about sav­ing £250 on a tyre – it doesn’t seem to make sense.”

Thierry Neuville’s ca­reer re­vival is com­plete. He will re­turn to Citroen next sea­son. And he’ll be joined there by Dani Sordo.

So, that’s Citroen sorted. Volk­swa­gen? Why change a win­ning team? If that whole diesel thing hadn’t kicked off, Esapekka Lappi might have been in a fourth car, in fact he might have been in a fourth car this year.

But is Lappi still the hottest prospect in town? While he was busy be­com­ing a dad for the first time ear­lier this sea­son, Pon­tus Tide­mand and Teemu Suni­nen were rack­ing up some se­ri­ous pace and cred­i­bil­ity in the race to a man­u­fac­turer seat for next sea­son. Both are bound for Ver­sailles and a C3 WRC. We shouldn’t for­get Craig Breen and Stephane Lefebvre, both du­ti­fully do­ing a solid job for the Abu Dhabi To­tal World Rally Team at Rally Poland ear­lier this month. They’re both eye­ing up a seat along­side Kris Meeke in 2017.

Citroen team prin­ci­pal Yves Mat­ton has also been known to have more than a pass­ing in­ter­est in El­fyn Evans. Is the Welsh­man head­ing across the Chan­nel in time for Jan­uary’s sea­son-opener in Monte Carlo?

What do we know about Hyundai? Hay­den Pad­don’s go­ing nowhere. Sordo is reck­oned to have a big-bucks deal, al­most cer­tainly keep­ing him in an i20 WRC next year and Neuville’s firmly back in favour with the Korean man­u­fac­turer. Looks like it’ll be a fourth con­sec­u­tive year in blue and orange for him.

Talk­ing of the Rally Italy win­ner, he’s signed for Toy­ota Ga­zoo Rac­ing and will spear­head the Ja­panese firm’s re­turn to the world cham­pi­onship.

He’ll be joined there by up-and-com­ers Suni­nen and/or Tide­mand.

Maki­nen has also talked about the po­ten­tial for Evans sign­ing on the line in Pu­up­pola. It’s that time of the year. Ev­ery­body is driv­ing for ev­ery­body. Tra­di­tion­ally, Fin­land’s a hot­bed of driver mar­ket spec­u­la­tion. This year it started early. “How big are you go­ing on Neuville?” asked a col­league ear­lier this month in Poland. Sens­ing my un­cer­tainty, said col­league added: “He was seen in Jy­vaskyla…”

So, it must be hap­pen­ing. It’s dif­fi­cult not to get car­ried away with these kind of sto­ries. Let’s put this into con­text: a man with­out a job next year went to see a man who had a job for some­body next year. That’s the story, the whole story, for now.

What we know as a cast-iron cer­tainty is that Volk­swa­gen’s not chang­ing, Pad­don, Meeke and Camilli re­main where they are. The rest is nothing but con­jec­ture, spec­u­la­tion and gos­sip.

Per­son­ally, I’d be sur­prised to see Neuville back at Citroen, Mat­ton’s still smart­ing at the Bel­gian’s de­ci­sion to turn his back on him for a full sea­son in a Fi­esta in 2013. Toy­ota for him then…

And Sordo will stay at Hyundai. And let’s not for­get the Kore­ans have Kevin Ab­bring sit­ting in the wings as a more-then-ca­pa­ble wing­man to both the Spa­niard and Pad­don.

You read it here first…

Dani Sordo’s Rally Fin­land en­try hangs in the bal­ance after he crashed Hyundai’s test car heav­ily on Fri­day.

Sordo and co-driver Marc Marti both spent the night in hos­pi­tal and both were dis­charged the fol­low­ing day. Marti was un­in­jured, but Sordo suf­fered frac­tured ver­te­brae after a sus­pen­sion arm broke on land­ing, send­ing the i20 into a rock at high speed.

A spokesper­son from the team told MN: “Dani is back home now to rest and try to re­cover for Fin­land. At the mo­ment we have no con­fir­ma­tion on whether Dani will be fit for Fin­land.”

Hyundai will re­build the test car and run it for Thierry Neuville and Hay­den Pad­don closer to the event, which starts in Jy­vaskyla on July 28. Pad­don’s en­try on this week­end’s Au­to­glym Rally in cen­tral Fin­land has also been pulled.

Kevin Ab­bring and his Bri­tish co-driver Seb Mar­shall would be the re­place­ments for Sordo. They played a sim­i­lar role when the Spa­niard broke his ribs fall­ing off a moun­tain bike just be­fore Swe­den last sea­son.

Sordo sits fifth in the WRC stand­ings with 68 points and three stage wins. He fin­ished fourth on four con­sec­u­tive WRC rounds from Mex­ico to Sar­dinia be­fore en­gine fail­ure ruled him out in Poland.

Pic­turesque venue in Worces­ter­shire Fans will flock to cel­e­bra­tion event Stuck Sr tack­led the fa­mous hill in 1936

Sordo is fifth in WRC stand­ings

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