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Previews of upcoming events, Race & Rally Reports, News, Reviews, Letters and Regulation Information from Historic Motor Racing News.

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 Contents September  issue:  Latest News - Bits & Pieces - Rally News - Classic Marathon - Rally Weiz - Lahti Historic Rally - Heroes of Historic Motor Sport - Insider’s Market Report - Zandvoort Classics - Seven Questions for Erik Comas -  Nogaro Classic - VSCC Prescott - NKHTGT - Classic Silverstone - Historic Tour Dijon - Alfa Revival Cup

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Rally News

 

Rally organiser Laurent Blomet, founder of Happy Few Racing - which specialises in family rallies, for father and daughter, father and son, mother and son, etc. - has launched a new app that allows anyone to participate in regularity rallies across Europe and even compete against one another. With numerous itineraries in a multitude of countries, anyone can call up a regularity route any time on their phone from anywhere. The app supplies the route and the timings, and tracks participants to create an overall classification amongst all competitors. 1500 routes are currently available, comprising some classic rally stages. First prize for the 2021 winner will be a Maserati MC 20 supercar! In the words of Blomet, “Open to everyone, you just need a car and a phone. Choose one of the thousands of routes available and get behind the wheel to join the biggest rally in the world.” See https://www.instagram.com/grantrofeo/ for details.

 

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Details of the route for the 24th edition of Rallye Monte-Carlo Historique have been unveiled and the event will feature the return of concentration legs, with three famous cities on the starting options: Bad Homburg, Milan and Reims.

There will be three different routes to Monte-Carlo. This move was directed by the Automobile Club de Monaco (ACM) in order to boost the economy of the Principality and to again welcome crews from all over Europe. The 2022 route will feature a record number of 17 regularity stages. The End of Concentration Leg is scheduled for Saturday January 29 between Monaco and Valence with a 6am start before four regularity stages. The start for the Final Leg is scheduled in the night of Tuesday 1 to Wednesday February 2 in Monaco from 9pm onwards, taking in the famous Col de Turini and the winning crew is expected at around 1.20am on Port Hercule in Monaco.

In order to respect tradition, the Prize Ceremony and Gala Night will be on the evening of Wednesday February 3 in the Salle des Etoiles at Monte-Carlo Sporting Club. Entries are now open and close on Monday November 8. The confirmation of selected cars will be made on Monday November 15.

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The other Costa Brava Rally, a regularity event run by the same organisation, will keep to its traditional late September date, this year 30 September-3 October. A qualifying event for the FIA Trophy for Historic Regularity Rallies, the route offers a total of 28 Regularity stages over approximately 1,000 kilometres starting and finishing in Palamós, 120kms north of Barcelona, divided into three legs. It too has been experiencing a good uptake in entries, and optimistic drivers from around Europe and even the US and Uruguay have already confirmed participation. Organisers offer special packages that include transportation for the cars, hotels, meals and support crew. See rallyclassics.club for info on both events in multiple languages.

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The 69th Rally Costa Brava will be held on 19-20 November 2021 in Girona. The oldest rally in Spain and one of the most important historic rally events in Europe, the Costa Brava is normally the opening event on the FIA historic rally calendar. However this year it was postponed from March and will exceptionally be the closing round of the FIA European Historic Rally Championship, the Spanish Championship for Historic Vehicles (Speed and Regularity) and the Catalan Regularity Cup. A treat for drivers this year will be a timed special stage on the Barcelona Catalunya circuit. Alex Romani, President of organiser, RallyClassics, said, “We want the 69th Rally Costa Brava to be a step in consolidating this rally as one of the most prestigious in Europe. To this end, we will integrate more timed kilometres and new stages allowing us to accommodate what is likely to be a large number of participants.” As things stand, the rally has already attracted a record number of entries.

Rallye Weiz

After making its debut on the calendar in 2019, the Rallye Weiz in Austria returned to host Round 4 of the 2021 FIA European Historic Rally Championship on 15-17 July. Taking place in the town of Weiz, 30km from Graz and 190km southwest of the Austrian capital, the rally route of over 500kms, featured 14 special stages covering more than 160kms over two days. Top of the 18-car FIA starting list, within a field of some 30 historic cars, was Championship leader ‘Zippo’ and Denis Piceno, keen to add to their points tally driving their Audi Quattro. However, despite scoring the fastest times on four of the first five stages and looking on course to finish the day with a commanding lead over their nearest rivals Karl Wagner and Gerda Zauner in the Porsche 911, fate intervened and both cars suffered technical issues on the sixth stage of the first leg of the rally, the Audi suffering from a fuel problem and the Porsche an electrical issue. This left the Category 4 Ford Sierra Cosworth of Daniel Alonso and Candido Carrera at the head of the day 1 leaderboard,

Daniel Alonso and Candido Carrera scored the overall and Category 4 victory after both leading cars, driven by ‘Zippo’ (below Left ) and Karl Wagner (below) dropped out on the first day.  Photos Harald Ilmer

The Audi was back in the race on the following day with a time penalty that put the crew in 17th place. However the Italians were fastest on all eight of the day’s stages to leapfrog up the standings and finish second overall and win Category 3, their 4th victory in four events.

Alonso and Carrera also had their problems, with the Ford suffering a broken turbo that the mechanics had to work hard to fix, but the hard work paid off and the Spanish pair finally finished 52.5 seconds to the good to take the overall win and first place in Category 4.

Lahti Historic Rally

In the absence of a number of this year’s front-runners in the FIA Championship, such as ‘Lucky’, who won round one in Italy, ‘Zippo’ who won round two, and two-time runners-up for overall honours Karl Wagner and Gerda Zauner, it was the turn of Audi Quattro drivers, Ville Silvasti and Risto Pietilainen to score an overall win and victory in Category 4 in round five of the FIA Historic Rally Championship on their home turf in Finland on 13-14 August. Based at the harbour in Lahti, Finland’s eighth most populous city, and European Green Capital city for 2021, it is the only gravel rally on this year’s EHRC calendar.

10 out of 12 stage victories for Finns Silvasti and Pietilainen.  Photo Merita Mäkinen / Meritapix

The pair completed day 1 of the two-day event, posting the fastest time on five of the day’s six stages to lead the similar Audi of compatriots Kari Kivenne and Hannu Kemppinen by 52.5 seconds as night fell.

With rain on scrutineering day, followed by sunshine and warm temperatures on day 1, the weather decided to add another dimension to the event on day 2, with heavy rain soaking the morning‘s gravel stages and adding to the challenge. By the afternoon dry weather returned but the rain had made conditions slippery. unperturbed, Silvasti and Pietilainen continued their dominance whatever the weather threw at them, taking another five out of six stages.

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Rallye Weiz

After making its debut on the calendar in 2019, the Rallye Weiz in Austria returned to host Round 4 of the 2021 FIA European Historic Rally Championship on 15-17 July. Taking place in the town of Weiz, 30km from Graz and 190km southwest of the Austrian capital, the rally route of over 500kms, featured 14 special stages covering more than 160kms over two days. Top of the 18-car FIA starting list, within a field of some 30 historic cars, was Championship leader ‘Zippo’ and Denis Piceno, keen to add to their points tally driving their Audi Quattro. However, despite scoring the fastest times on four of the first five stages and looking on course to finish the day with a commanding lead over their nearest rivals Karl Wagner and Gerda Zauner in the Porsche 911, fate intervened and both cars suffered technical issues on the sixth stage of the first leg of the rally, the Audi suffering from a fuel problem and the Porsche an electrical issue. This left the Category 4 Ford Sierra Cosworth of Daniel Alonso and Candido Carrera at the head of the day 1 leaderboard,

Daniel Alonso and Candido Carrera scored the overall and Category 4 victory after both leading cars, driven by ‘Zippo’ (below Left ) and Karl Wagner (below) dropped out on the first day.  Photos Harald Ilmer

The Audi was back in the race on the following day with a time penalty that put the crew in 17th place. However the Italians were fastest on all eight of the day’s stages to leapfrog up the standings and finish second overall and win Category 3, their 4th victory in four events.

Alonso and Carrera also had their problems, with the Ford suffering a broken turbo that the mechanics had to work hard to fix, but the hard work paid off and the Spanish pair finally finished 52.5 seconds to the good to take the overall win and first place in Category 4.

Lahti Historic Rally

In the absence of a number of this year’s front-runners in the FIA Championship, such as ‘Lucky’, who won round one in Italy, ‘Zippo’ who won round two, and two-time runners-up for overall honours Karl Wagner and Gerda Zauner, it was the turn of Audi Quattro drivers, Ville Silvasti and Risto Pietilainen to score an overall win and victory in Category 4 in round five of the FIA Historic Rally Championship on their home turf in Finland on 13-14 August. Based at the harbour in Lahti, Finland’s eighth most populous city, and European Green Capital city for 2021, it is the only gravel rally on this year’s EHRC calendar.

10 out of 12 stage victories for Finns Silvasti and Pietilainen.  Photo Merita Mäkinen / Meritapix

The pair completed day 1 of the two-day event, posting the fastest time on five of the day’s six stages to lead the similar Audi of compatriots Kari Kivenne and Hannu Kemppinen by 52.5 seconds as night fell.

With rain on scrutineering day, followed by sunshine and warm temperatures on day 1, the weather decided to add another dimension to the event on day 2, with heavy rain soaking the morning‘s gravel stages and adding to the challenge. By the afternoon dry weather returned but the rain had made conditions slippery. unperturbed, Silvasti and Pietilainen continued their dominance whatever the weather threw at them, taking another five out of six stages.

For full reports on all FIA Historic Rally Championship events, subscribe to Historic Motor Racing News

After a hiatus of more than a year, HERO staged its first international rally, the Classic Marathon, a six-day adventure that covered a 2200km route through north-west Spain and Portugal. With changing legislation in various countries right up to the eve of the event, it took no small effort for crews and organisers to get to the start line in La Caldas in the hills above Oviedo in Spain. Nonetheless, 29 crews took the start, many from the UK where restrictions were greatest. For cars up to 1985, there were a number of pre-war cars, and cars of the ‘50s on the entry list, with the latest cars being the VW Golf GTi of Paul Bloxidge and Ian Canavan, and even an MG Maestro!

The route led participants through stunning scenery and some WRC rally stages Photos Will Broadhead

The last Classic Marathon was in Greece in 2018, and its winner, and rally favourite, Paul Crosby, led the field away in his trademark green Porsche 911, with Andy Pullan in the map seat. Perhaps it was the fact that the cars have had little recent exercise, but mechanical problems began to plague the field right from the start. Bill Cleyndert suffered wheel bearing problems in his Model A Ford Special, as did Crosby in his Porsche, dropping him down the rankings. It was Marcus Anderson and Matthew Lymn Rose who took command in the Jaguar E-type and led until the half-way point, which was marked by a section across the infamous Portal do Inferno, or the Gateway to Hell. This road runs along a high ridge that splits the Aviero and Viseu Districts of Portugal and cuts a slender path at an altitude of some 900 metres, with abrupt drops either side - not a place for those with a fear of heights! Another highlight was the chance to tackle the Caramello Hill Climb under closed road conditions – twice.

Everyone is a winner: Just finishing the marathon event was a reason to celebrate - Alexander and Joanna Geigy at the finish line in their Triumph TR 3A

There was drama too on the final day. The rally fastidiously followed the sanitary procedures and protocols in vigour and as such all the competitors and personnel on the event had taken a PCR test within the time frame needed for return travel to home countries. Four tests returned positive results and those affected, as well as those sharing vehicles with them, were immediately asked to remove themselves from the rally, and isolate awaiting a second test.

With two regularities remaining on the last day, the fight was close at the top between Mark and Sue Godfrey in an MG B and the Crosby/Pullen Porsche, back up the order after their day 1 problems. In the end it was a mistake from the Godfreys that settled it, giving Godfrey and Pulled a mere 10-second advantage at the finish.

For a full report see our September 2021 issue

Such is the fame of the Historic Tour de Corse, the organisers took just a few weeks to fill the entry list in the three eligible categories:  VHC (historic racing cars), VHRS (sporting regularity) and Legend (on show no timing), for the 2021 event.

More than 300 cars and their crews, a new entry record, will be at the start in Porto Vecchio, on 3 October, among them drivers and co-drivers from 12 countries, including Belgium, Canada, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, Monaco, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland and the United States. 

The field comprises numerous gentlemen drivers and major historic race regulars, but also professionals starting with the reigning winner, Alain Oreille and his wife Sylvie who triumphed last year in a Porsche 911.  The former double world rally champion in Group N (1989 and 1990), winner of the 1989 WRC Tour de Corse in his works Renault 5 GT Turbo and a regular in the historic event, will be out to add a second consecutive victory to his laurels.

Other notable entries have come from 1993 Dakar winner and winner of the 1986 WRC Tour de Corse, Bruno Saby, who will be at the wheel of a Ford Capri identical to the one in which he took part in the 1970 Tour de Corse with his father; and double French Rallycross champion, the talented Christophe Vaison will drive a BMW M3.  They will be up against plenty of local drivers, beginning with Christophe Casanova and Olivier Capanaccia, second and third in the 2020 event, in their BMW M3s and Marc Valliccioni, Thomas Argenti, Jean-Baptiste Botti and several other Corsican drivers determined to shine on their home turf.

A new 900km route will be covered in five days, comprising 18 special stages including some used by the WRC, in all 350km on closed roads and 550km of liaisons on the most beautiful roads the Ile de Beauté has to offer.

The 36th Stella Alpina tribute rally was held on June 11-13 on a route crossing 10 spectacular mountain passes and driving past six picturesque Alpine lakes.  With the majestic beauty of the Dolomites providing the backdrop for 65 time trials and six average speed stages, 12 time checks, and a total of 457 kilometres of mountain roads, first prize overall went Michele Lafortezza and Ilaria Carturan, in their 1969 Innocenti Mini Cooper MK2.  Second place on the podium were Mauro Argenti and Roberta Amorosa, in a 1969 Porsche 911 T 2.2, and Giovanni Pedrali and Simona Bonomelli came third in a 1956 Austin Healey BN4L 100SIX.  A modern Ferrari class was won by Fabio Vergamini and Anna Maria Fabrizi, in a 2017 Ferrari 488 GTB.

Photo Courtesy Canossa Events

The 2021 British Historic Rally Championship will now run over just three events following the cancellation of what would have been the opening two rounds of a shortened five-round season.

The Harry Flatters Rally (25 July) and the Plains Rally (14 August) were both due to run in Wales but have now been cancelled as hard pressed organisers decided that running the event under strict COVID rules simply placed too great a burden on already stretched organising teams.

The BHRC will now open with the Three Shires Stages

The Harry Flatters, due to run on the Epynt military ranges, could have gone ahead but a requirement to completely prevent spectators due to military training exercises prompted its cancellation for the second year.  Meanwhile, the Plains Rally was due to run in the forests of North Wales but the extra control measures needed also led to its cancellation.  Both events are due to return in 2022.

The BHRC will now open with the closed-road Three Shires Stages on 4 September followed by the Trackrod Historic Rally on 24-25 September and the Carlisle Stages on 23 October.