R4 SET FOR RALLY DU VAR DEBUT
Sarrazin will drive new car in anger for the first time in competitive bow
ORECA’S new R4 rally car will run in public for the first time at the Rallye du Var in France at the end of the month with Stephane Sarrazin behind the wheel.
The R4 kit, which is fitted to a Toyota Etios – a car only sold in South America and India – has completed an initial test programme of close to 1500 miles on gravel in Italy and asphalt in the south of France.
The FIA confirmed ORECA as the sole supplier of the R4 kits last year and the French team has two orders already.
ORECA technical chief Matthieu Bassou told MN: “We want to take the car to the Rallye du Var to show people where we are with it and what the car can do.”
Bassou is also keen to disarm people of the opinion that the R4 is meant as a budget R5 car. “It’s not that at all,” he said. “The kit for R4 will cost €108,000 (£95,500) and if you work with a tuner who is building a number of R4 cars, we think it will be possible to have the complete car for around €160,000 (£141,500).
“We know that this will be the price of some second-hand R5 cars, this is not where the aim is for the R4. The R4 car is aimed at the FIA’S Regional Rally Championships and at national series around the world.
“If you want to make an R4 car and run it in Monte Carlo, you can’t – the car is only allowed on WRC rounds outside of Europe next season. I don’t think we will see it regularly in the WRC until 2020, but, like I said, the priority is for the regions like South America – we’ve already had strong interest from there.”
ORECA’S R4 kit includes an engine, gearbox, running gear, some suspension and a fuel tank.
“There’s a very wide variety of cars which will take the kit,” said Bassou, “the smallest we have imagined is the Fiat 500 and the biggest is the Subaru [Impreza]. We have the Etios as our car, but it really doesn’t matter what it is.”
Sarrazin has undertaken much of the development testing and will drive the R4 in Var.
“It’s a great car to drive,” said Sarrazin. “It’s very reactive and so efficient on gravel and asphalt. OK, the engine is a bit down, but it’s a standard Peugeot 308 GTI engine. Because of that, it will be slower than the R5, we know this, but this is a good compromise because this is cheaper to buy and to run for the guys making the step from R2. We’ll know more about where the car is after Var.”
Toyota-shelled machine has tested