WRX – Season Finale – South Africa

(c) 2017 – Junaid Samodien

Sweden’s Johan Kristoffersson entered the record books as the PSRX Volkswagen Sweden driver won the first ever World RX event staged in Africa.

Former World RX Champion Mattias Ekstrom finished third and consequently secured the runner-up spot in the 2017 championship after a season-long battle with Petter Solberg.  Team Peugeot-Hansen’s Timmy Hansen claimed second at this weekend’s Gumtree World RX of South Africa – the 12th and final round of this year’s FIA World Rallycross Championship presented by Monster Energy.

(c) 2017 – Junaid Samodien

In the final round of the RX2 International Series presented by Cooper Tires  Frenchman Cyril Raymond rounded off a near-perfect season by taking his sixth win in the highly competitive seven-event feeder series.  Great Britain’s Dan Rooke had a troubled final when he rolled his car on lap two, causing the race to be red-flagged.  Despite this mishap, Rooke secured second in the 2017 standings.  Sondre Evjen and Tanner Whitten finished second and third in Cape Town. Belgium’s Guillaume De-Ridder claimed third in the end of year leaderboard.

(c) 2017 – Junaid Samodien

“It’s fantastic to wrap up the teams’ and drivers’ championship and to also take the win at the final round of the season,” grinned 2017 World RX Champion Kristoffersson who won a staggering seven out of 12 events this season.  “The team has worked so hard this year and ten podium results is credit to how fantastic everyone has been. Obviously to break records in World RX is an amazing feeling but to have won the World Championship is so unbelievably special. It was a good weekend all round – I had a slow puncture in the semi-final but I got a really good launch in the final and when I got clear space I was able to manage the gap back from Timmy and Mattias, as well as manage the tyres well.  Thanks to everyone for such a memorable season – I’m really looking forward to being back with VW in 2018.”

(c) 2017 – Junaid Samodien

Runner-up Hansen added: “This has been one of the best weekends I’ve had this year and it’s great to finish on a high including my two qualifying wins. I really wanted to take the victory for Peugeot and this weekend we were so close – I gave it everything I had in the final but I lost a little bit too much in the first lap to be able to get ahead of Johan. The 208 has been fantastic all year and it worked especially well at this track.”

(c) 2017 – Junaid Samodien

Ekstrom’s reactions were fastest of today’s six finalists, rewarding him with the final Monster Energy Super Charge Award of 2017.  Despite losing his World RX crown to Kristoffersson, Ekstrom praised the new World Champion. “Sometimes you’re in front and sometime you’re behind – that’s just how it goes and Johan definitely deserves the win today and the World Championship too. Timmy was really fast this weekend too, but to be honest, everybody wants to win – World RX has now reached a level where everyone will battle for everything.”

(c) 2017 – Junaid Samodien

When asked about the new Cape Town RX event, Ekstrom praised the enthusiasm of the South African fans.  “The grandstands were full this weekend and the atmosphere and support from everyone here was amazing.”

(c) 2017 – Junaid Samodien

Solberg finished fourth in Cape Town and finished the season third in the driver standings – five points adrift of Ekstrom.   “Of course it’s a little bit disappointing not to take the silver,” admitted Solberg. “I am so proud of what we have done. Johan has broken so many records this year and the whole team, everybody in PSRX Volkswagen Sweden has worked and played so hard – this weekend and this year is because of them and I can’t thank them all enough.”

(c) 2017 – Junaid Samodien

MJP Racing Team Austria’s Timo Scheider’s rounded out the top five in Cape Town after an impressive rookie season at the wheel of his Ford Fiesta.  Kevin Hansen finished sixth, the Swede having retired shortly after the start with transmission problems.

(c) 2017 – Junaid Samodien

In what marked the final event for the Hoonigan Racing Division, America’s Ken Block showed fantastic pace. He led the event overnight and finished second in semi-final one but was later disqualified as his car was found to be underweight.

(c) 2017 – Junaid Samodien

Nine-time WRC Champion Sebastien Loeb retired on the final lap of the second semi-final but rounded off the season fourth in the overall standings – 13 points ahead of his team-mate Hansen who ends the year in fifth place.

Home favourites Mark Cronje and Ashley Haigh-Smith received tremendous support on their World RX debuts but neither driver made the semi-finals.

(c) 2017 – Junaid Samodien

Paul Bellamy, World RX Managing Director for IMG, concluded: “Our first ever event in Cape Town was a resounding success – we’ve had over 27,000 people at Killarney this weekend and they were all treated to World Championship motorsport at its best. I think we’ve won over a lot of new support during our time in South Africa and the crowd really helped make this weekend a memorable event. Tickets for 2018 are on sale from tomorrow which will give people plenty of time to plan next year’s rallycross weekend. I’d like to thank the organisers and volunteers for all their hard work in putting on a great event and also to the City of Cape Town for its support in making this happen. I’m also very thankful that our sponsors and other commercial partners shared our vision and were so supportive of the inaugural Gumtree World RX of South Africa. This weekend was just the start of what I hope is a long and fruitful relationship for World RX in South Africa.  We finish the season on a high and congratulations to Johan Kristoffersson and PSRX Volkswagen Sweden for their incredible season and to the rest of the teams for their continued support.”

 

RX2 – ROUND-UP

Cyril Raymond completed a sensational season in the RX2 International Series presented by Cooper Tires with a hard-fought victory at Killarney International Raceway this weekend (11/12 November), as South Africa played host to a pulsating finale that served up lap after lap of spectacular high-octane action.

He might have been unquestionably the man to beat this year in the official FIA World Rallycross Championship feeder series, but Raymond found himself with a real fight on his hands in Cape Town and had to dig deep to overcome the challenge posed by JC Raceteknik rival Guillaume De Ridder, who dominated Saturday’s Qualifying Races.

The Belgian looked to be on-course for a fourth straight runner-up finish, only for engine woes to dash his hopes in the final and elevate his team-mate Sondre Evjen into second place. Tanner Whitten joined the young Norwegian on the podium in third after surviving a wild spin when he was tagged on the opening lap of Q4.

Qualifying Races

Gumtree World RX of South Africa was very much a weekend of two halves as far as the Qualifying Races were concerned, with De Ridder proving to be peerless on Saturday as he impressively took a clean sweep of fastest times – meaning that for the first time since Mettet back in May, a different name topped the RX2 Intermediate Rankings at the close of day one.

After uncharacteristically jumping the start in Q1, Raymond was playing catch-up, but the Olsbergs MSE star really turned up the wick on Sunday and allied to a double dose of misfortune for De Ridder – with contact from behind in Q3 and minor wheel damage in Q4 – his results vaulted the Frenchman to his habitual position at the summit of the standings.

Behind the top two, Evjen produced a consistently strong run – including the second-fastest time in Q4 – to place third, ahead of the ever-improving Vasiliy Gryazin (Latvia), Britain’s Dan Rooke and American ace Whitten. Swedes Simon Olofsson and Andreas Bäckman, Norway’s Thomas Holmen, Swedish teenager William Nilsson, Anders Michalak (Sweden) and Norwegian Simon Syversen rounded out the semi-final line-up.

Semi-Finals

From pole position in Semi-Final 1, Raymond led into the first corner as a squabble behind gifted him a sizeable margin. It was Rooke that emerged from the mêlée in second, with Olofsson third and Evjen dropping to fourth. The Norwegian subsequently found himself having to fend off fast-starting compatriot Thomas Holmen over the opening lap before electing to take an early joker. It was a tactic that would pay off richly.

As Raymond raced clear to a runaway success, Evjen’s eye-catching pace enabled him to leapfrog both Rooke and Olofsson when they jokered, the latter paying the price for getting his car up on two wheels as he pushed hard in an effort to stay in front. The Swede ultimately missed out on the final by less than two seconds, while behind, Holmen and Syversen waged their own entertaining duel over fifth, exchanging places twice on the last lap before the older of the two Norwegians eventually prevailed.

In Semi-Final 2, De Ridder held his ground at the start as Gryazin got the better of Whitten and Michalak for second and Bäckman and Nilsson disputed fifth. Whitten jumped Gryazin after both had served their jokers, following which he unleashed a scintillating turn-of-speed as he endeavoured to hunt down De Ridder, closing to within three-quarters-of-a-second by the time the chequered flag fell. Michalak got the best of a tooth-and-nail scrap with countrymen Nilsson and Bäckman for fourth.

Final

Raymond led away at lights-out, with De Ridder doing well to save a slide through Turn One after receiving a tap. The Belgian had to fight hard to fend off the attacking Whitten, but it all became academic when the red flags flew on lap two after Rooke’s world turned upside-down – quite literally. The Briton clipped the tyres at the chicane, pitching him into a dramatic roll from which he thankfully emerged unscathed.

The recently-crowned champion got the jump again at the re-start, as De Ridder slotted in behind and Gryazin took advantage of Whitten and Evjen battling to sneak through to third. As dust clouds billowed all around the circuit, Raymond made good his escape and De Ridder similarly settled into second until he suddenly stopped on the penultimate lap with engine issues.

His loss was Evjen and Whitten’s gain. The pair both used early jokers to get some clear air, and that paid dividends as they overhauled Gryazin to snare the remaining rostrum positions. All three podium-finishers stopped after the chequered flag to perform celebratory donuts, to the palpable delight of the enthusiastic crowds thronging the circuit grandstands.

Quote, Unquote

Cyril Raymond (1st): “It’s been an amazing weekend to cap an amazing year – there’s no better way to end a season than with a victory. It was fantastic to see so many people at Killarney and so much passion and support in the grandstands. It was an absolute pleasure to be here and everybody gave us an incredible welcome. With the title already won, I really wanted to finish the season in style with one last victory – as a competitor, that’s always the goal – although things didn’t begin too well when I jumped the start in Q1, which was a first for me in this category! After that, I had to battle my way back, but it wasn’t easy because Guillaume [De Ridder] was driving perfectly; he has been a formidable rival all year, and if he returns in 2018, he will be a real threat. We were on the back foot at the end of the first day, but we remained confident because we knew we had the pace and we quickly rediscovered our rhythm in Q3. The boys at Olsbergs MSE worked really hard and provided me with the tools I needed to do the job like they have done all year, and my spotter ‘Scooter’ gave me perfect guidance throughout, so this result is for all of them – we win together. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my experience in RX2; there has been a lot of respect between all the drivers all season both on the track and in the paddock, and it’s been great to be a part of it. There seems to be a real buzz around the championship and even more interest for next year, so I can’t wait to see how it develops.”

Sondre Evjen (2nd): “It’s been a fantastic experience to come and race in South Africa – a real highlight for me – and it feels great to finally finish on the podium in RX2! It’s been a long time coming and it’s the kind of result we’ve been chasing all year, so this is the perfect way to end the season. We’ve been quick at most circuits and made the semi-final five times before now but only once converted that into a final appearance, so I’m really happy that we were at last able to prove what we are capable of, as we showed with the second-fastest time after getting a clear run in Q4. We really had to fight for this result, and I must admit, I wasn’t sorry to see the final red-flagged as I lost a lot of time when Dan [Rooke] rolled and thought any chance of the podium was gone. I’m also obviously very relieved he is ok. All credit to the team for giving me a great car all weekend – this podium is for them, my family and my sponsors, and it leaves us with a lot of motivation heading into 2018.”

Tanner Whitten (3rd): “The weekend started out pretty well, and from there, we worked our way consistently up the timesheets. We set the car up to come on later in the semi-final, and I think that showed as we were particularly strong in the latter stages. That put us in a good position going into the final and I actually thought we had an opportunity to take second until the red flags came out, but ultimately, to finish on the podium is always a great result. I take my hat off to the organisers in Cape Town – they did a fantastic job to build a track that played to the strengths of a variety of different driving styles – and the fans gave us a phenomenal welcome. It was incredible to see so many people in the grandstands and at the autograph sessions – there was a huge turnout for the first edition, and I’m looking forward to seeing how the event grows. Overall for me, it’s been a bit of a rollercoaster year, but to come away with four podiums is very positive and I’m looking forward now to taking this momentum into the off-season and hopefully 2018.”

Andreas Eriksson, RX2 International Series presented by Cooper Tires CEO: “We promised the South African people excitement and drama, and I think it’s safe to say our RX2 stars delivered every step of the way! Congratulations to Cyril, who produced a champion’s drive even when he no longer had anything to prove. He is a class act and wherever he competes next year – be it RX2 or elsewhere – we wish him the very best. I was delighted, too, to see Sondre up on the podium, which was thoroughly well-deserved after a superb performance. It was a shame that his team-mate Guillame was forced out through no fault of his own, but he clearly demonstrated on Saturday that his time will come. Likewise for Tanner – both are part of the new generation of young rallycross talents looking to follow in Cyril’s footsteps. Finally, what a wonderful place to conclude the season – South Africa has truly embraced our sport and gave us the very warmest of welcomes. We look forward to returning next year, as both the event and RX2 go from strength-to-strength.”

 

Final Result

  1. Cyril RAYMOND (FRA) Olsbergs MSE 6 laps
  2. Sondre EVJEN (NOR) JC Raceteknik +5.668s
  3. Tanner WHITTEN (USA) Olsbergs MSE +6.198s
  4. Vasiliy GRYAZIN (LVA) Sports Racing Technologies +7.374s
  5. Guillaume DE RIDDER (BEL) JC Raceteknik +2 laps
  6. Dan ROOKE (GBR) Team Färén +6 laps

Final Championship Standings – RX2

  1. Cyril Raymond (FRA) 198 points
  2. Dan Rooke (GBR) 154 points
  3. Guillaume De Ridder (BEL) 138 points
  4. Tanner Whitten (USA) 105 points
  5. William Nilsson (SWE) 98 points
  6. Simon Olofsson (SWE) 98 points
  7. Vasiliy Gryazin (LVA) 94 points
  8. Sondre Evjen (NOR) 93 points
  9. Glenn Haug (NOR) 76 points
  10. Andreas Bäckman (SWE) 69 points

Penalties

World RX

Niclas Gronholm #68, loss of 10 Championship points for use of a seventh turbocharger in the season.

Mattias Ekstrom #1, five-second penalty in Q2 for causing an incident with car #44, pushing and overtaking.

Janis Baumanis #6, reprimand in Q2 for pushing.

Ken Block #43, disqualified from semi-final two after car was found to be underweight.

Mattias Ekstrom #1, relegated from second to third place in semi-final one for not respecting the priority of the driver on the standard lap at the Joker merge.

Timo Schedier #44, reprimand in semi final two for pushing.

RX2

William Nilsson #6, five-second penalty in Q3 for causing an incident with car #96.

WRX – TOP 20 FINAL STANDINGS

 

Neil Simmons

Twitter: @world_racing

 

Quick 10 With…..Josh Files

He is an exciting young talent who began his career racing historics with his father. The father-son driver pairing achieved race wins in their first two years competing together, before he embarked on a title-winning rookie campaign in the 2010 Thoroughbred Sports Car Championship.

Having discovered a natural aptitude behind the wheel of a racing car, he stepped up to the Renault UK Clio Cup. In 2011, he landed a seat with the multiple championship-winning Team Pyro outfit. He achieved podium finishes and fastest laps to become ‘Rookie of the Year’ and continued building upon that success in 2012 with additional pole positions and top three results.

A supremely consistent and mature season followed in 2013 and, having notched up ten podium finishes he was crowned the 2013 Renault UK Clio Cup Champion. In addition, he had a sensational maiden season in the Renault Eurocup Clio Championship that culminated with him winning the 2013 title at the first time of asking.

Since joining the TCR concept in 2016, he has become the only Double TCR champion. In the inaugural season of the ADAC TCR Germany Touring Car Championship in 2016, he went on to take the drivers’ title with a succession of impressive wins, pole positions and podiums. To add to that he went on to win the 2017 TCR Middle East championship with Honda, making him the only double TCR Champion of two different championships.

These are his Quick 10 questions and he is…..Josh Files

What is your favourite racing circuit?

Red Bull Ring.

 

Who was your racing idol?

Rickard Rydell.

Who would you regard as your toughest opponent?

Gabriele Tarquini.

Considering racers of all time, you are a team principal and money is no object. Which two racers would you have in your team?

Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo.

ADAC TCR Germany, 3. – 4. Lauf Red Bull Ring 2017 – Foto: Gruppe C Photography

If you could invite four famous people to dinner (past and present), who would you invite?

Matt LeBlanc, Adele, Mila Kunis and Lionel Messi.

ADAC TCR Germany, 3. – 4. Lauf Red Bull Ring 2017 – Foto: Gruppe C Photography

Your personal racing number? What is it and the reason behind it?

99 – No reason apart from 9 is my lucky number.

What is the best race you have been involved in?

Nurburgring, Race 1, TCR Germany 2017.

Is there a race or series you have not competed in that you would like to or had wanted to?

Australian Supercars.

 

How did you get interested in motor racing? What ignited that spark?

My dad raced club level and wanted to race as father/son. The rest is history.

What is the best advice in racing you have been given?

Everything happens for a reason.

I would like to thank Josh for taking the time out to answer these Quick 10 questions, it has been an absolute joy watching his races and wins in the TCR Series and I would like to wish him the very best heading into the 2018 season. If you want to know more about Josh, visit his website at http://www.joshfiles.co.uk/

(c) Photographs – Fabian Werner – taken from http://www.joshfiles.co.uk/

Neil Simmons

Twitter: @world_racing

The Factory – Alfa Romeo

(c) Logo courtesy of and licensed to Alfa Romeo part of the Fiat Group

In my second The Factory feature I will take a look at Alfa Romeo. I can feel the confusion from you the reader now at the fact that this feature is supposed to concentrate on current constructors in the world of racing. Alfa Romeo aren’t racing next year! Some cry – I wouldn’t be so sure about that. Read on…..

It was in 1911 when Alfa Romeo first began to race competitively, the Targa Florio. Two years later they would finish second in the Parm-Paggio Berceto race with Nino Franchini.

During the 1920s and 1930s Alfa Romeo received success, Giuseppe Campari would win at Mugello in 1920 with Enzo Ferrari finishing second in the Targa Florio that year also. There was another Mugello win the following year with Campari at the wheel and in 1923 Ugo Sivocci won the Targa Florio.

Alfa Romeo wanted to press forward, they knew that they had to keep developing and improving to make their mark in the racing world and so in 1923 Vittorio Jano moved from Fiat to the factory to design their Grand Prix racing cars.

In 1925 they would win their first world title, the first AIACR World Manufacturers’ Championship with wins at the European Grand Prix at Spa and the Italian Grand Prix at Monza.

The factory continued to be competitive moving into the 1930’s, in 1932 Tazio Nuvolari and Rudolf Caracciola won five Grand Prix’s between them, but it was in 1933 that Alfa Romeo would recall all its racing cars, close the factory doors and transferred all their assets, with the insistence of the Italian government, to Enzo Ferrari who was now running a privatised factory team called Scuderia Ferrari.

With the cars moved to Ferrari Louis Chiron went on to win the French Grand Prix in 1934 and the Alfa car won 18 or 35 races in Europe. The Silver Arrows were beginning to outclass Alfa Romeo but Nuvolari did hit back by beating the Germans in the own backyard at the Nurburgring in 1935.

Alfa Romeo commanded the Targa Florio, winning six times in a row during the 1930s and also taking the Mille Miglia, with the exception of 1931, every year from 1928 to 1938.

With their 8C 2300 car, Alfa Romeo would also win the 24 Hours of Le Mans from 1931 to 1934, moving them swiftly onto the sportscar scene.

They developed their sportscar programme in 1963, taking class wins in races and developed a new 90 degree V8 engine, designed by Carlo Chiti and this was to compete with the dominant Porsche team. They raced in the World Sportscar Championship from 1967 to 1977 taking two world titles (1975 and 1977).

As a Formula One constructor and engine supplier Alfa Romeo took two Drivers’ Championships (1950 and 1951) and would compete in F1 from 1950 until 1988. As a constructor Alfa Romeo pulled out of Formula One at the end of 1951, after their second title, but would supply F1 teams during the 1960s, with their V8 engine run by McLaren and March during the 1970s. Brabham took Alfa Romeo engines from 1976 until 1979 and they also supplied Osella from 1983 until 1988.

They did re-enter Formula One as a constructor themselves from 1979 until 1985 and in 1987 had struck a deal to supply Ligier until Fiat took over Alfa Romeo and that contract fell through.

As a constructor, Alfa Romeo entered 110 races, winning 10. They attained 26 podiums, 12 pole positions and 14 fastest laps to go with their two world titles. Drivers to have raced for the team include, Nino Farina, Juan Manuel Fangio, Bruno Giacomelli, Mario Andretti, Andrea de Cesaris, Eddie Cheever and Riccardo Patrese.

The factory has had major success in Formula Three, Michele Alboreto for example won the European F3 title in a March-Alfa Romeo and from 1980 to 1984 they won four consecutive Italian F3 titles.

In 1989 Alfa Romeo entered IndyCar, the engine developed using the unraced Ferrari 637 indy car. They recorded no podiums, no poles and no race wins, eventually pulling out of IndyCar in 1991.

They skirted with rally, the Giulietta won the 1958 1000 Lakes Rally, they also went on to secure victories in the Elba and Costa Brava rallies in 1975 winning the Group 2 category in the WRC Tour de Corse. They produced the GTV6, one of the fastest Group A rally cars, but this was reclassified as a Group B by the FIA at the end of the 1986 and was less competitive.

It was in Touring Cars where Alfa Romeo found most of their success, taking numerous ETCC titles, Trans-Am Championships, BTCC, DTM and winning the Bathurst 12 Hour.

Now part of the Fiat group, there has been much talk over the last few years of an Alfa Romeo return to Formula One, but nothing concrete and no deal with the FIA was forged to see the marque return.

Alfa Romeo are now again competing in the new TCR Series where the Giulietta has taken race wins during the 2017 season.

It is, however, returning to touring cars for 2018, be it through a dealer team entry. An Alfa Romeo Giulietta will once again be on the British Touring Car grid next season with Handy Motorsport. The front-wheel drive Giulietta will be fitted with a BTCC TOCA engine in its first season, but a bespoke unit could be developed in the future. The last time Alfa Romeo appeared on the grid in BTCC was 2007. It is not a full factory entry but Alfa Romeo’s 62 strong dealership network in the UK have been encouraged to support the project.

So we have an Alfa Romeo, semi-factory, car back on the grid for next season. It is hoped that this is just the beginning of a return to racing for this historic marque. 

“La meccanica delle emozioni” 

Alfa Romeo has won the following major victories and championships:

5 – World Championships (1925, 1950, 1951, 1975, 1977)

11 –  Mille Miglia (1928,1929,1930,1932,1933,1934,1935,1936,1937,1938,1947)

10 – Targa Florio (1923,1930,1931,1932,1933,1934,1935,1950,1971,1975)

4 – 24 Hours of Le Mans (1931, 1932, 1933, 1934)

17 – European Touring Car Championships (1966, 1967, 1969, 1971, 1972, 1976 (Divisions 1 and 2), 1977 (Divisions 1 and 3), 1982, 1983, 1984, 1985, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004)

9 – Makes Championship

4 – Drivers’ Championships

10 – Italian F3 Championships

10 – European F3 Championships (1980, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1989, 1990)

5 – European F3 Cups

7 – French F3 Championships (1981, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1987, 1988, 1989)

2 – German F3 Championships (1984, 1989)

3 – Giro Automobilistico d’Italia (1954, 1988, 1989)

2 – Trans-Am Championship (1966, 1970)

1 – Deutsche Tourenwagen Meisterschaft (DTM) (1993)

2 – British Touring Car Championship (BTCC) (1983, 1994)

5 – Spanish Touring Car Championship (1988, 1991, 1994, 1995, 1997)

2 – French Touring Car Championship (1983, 1984)

6 – Italian Superturismo Championship (1988, 1992, 1998, 1999, 2003, 2004)

7 – European Historical Gran Turismo Championships

4 – European Classic Touring Car Championships

3 – Bathurst Unique Fuel Championships 

Neil Simmons

Twitter: @world_racing

 

 

 

 

The Factory – Renault

(c) Logo is copyrighted to Renault Sport

In my first feature of “The Factory” I will take a look at the manufacturers in motor racing and have a look at where they are potentially heading. In this first segment I take a look at Renault.

As an entity, Renault Sport Racing was officially established in 1976 after the merger between Alpine and Gordini.

They have a long history involved in different areas of motorsport, in WRC they won the Constructors title as Alpine-Renault in 1973 and had relative success with their R5 Turbo and the R17 Gordini, until they departed from international rallying in 1994 , though supplied cars in the European Rally Championship which won three times in 1999, 2004 and 2005.

They have competed in and run their own events in Hillclimbing, Off-Roading, Formula 2, Formula 3, Formula Renault, Touring Cars (who could forget the Laguna dominance of Alain Menu in 1997) and Sportscars where they won the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1978 with Didier Pironi and Jean-Pierre Jaussaud bringing home the Renault Alpine A442B, ahead of the dominant Porsche’s of the time.

Those competition entries aside it is Formula One and more recently Formula E where Renault have concentrated, be it they are now transitioning away from the latter for next season.

Renault have been associated with Formula One as both a constructor and engine supplier since 1977, having secured two constructors’ championships in 2005 and 2006. They entered F1 as Equipe Renault Elf from 1977 to 1985 as a constructor. As an engine supplier they worked with teams such as Lotus (in various guises and names), Ligier, Tyrrell, Williams, Benetton, Red Bull, Caterham and Toro Rosso. It has recently been announced that they will now supply McLaren for the first time.

This brings us nicely up to date with their involvement in Formula E, their return to Formula One and what does the future hold for the French manufacturer.

Renault have won all three team titles since the inception of Formula E, the first two drivers championships were won with Renault engines and the dominance of the team in this new era of motor racing seemed set to carry on for some time to come. Then came the announcement that as a ‘constructor’ Renault would be leaving Formula E to make way for Nissan, who are part of the same motorsport group with Renault owning around 45% of Nissan. It is e.dams who own the Formula E entry and so Renault would transition over to Nissan for 2018.

Why?

A very good question, when you are a front runner in your series. The very simple answer which stares back is – Formula One.

In this era of hybrid technology and electric cars the script was written and the stage was set for Renault to coin a Star Trek quote, ‘boldly go where…..’ and send motorsport into a new time with a new series. Formula One is to take a back seat now, said some, it won’t be at the forefront of their plans, said others. Renault is saying something completely different.

That is the thing with Renault, they take chances, they take risks and they don’t mind the competition. Renault does what Renault wants to do and I for one applaud that adventurous bravery.

It would be easy for Renault to come back into Formula One, as they did in 2016, bumble along and put their brand name out there. They have made some brave decisions which they are not afraid to stand by. What is brave about it? I here you ask.

Renault having supplied competitors Red Bull and Toro Rosso will now supply McLaren, yes not the force in recent years which it had been but a sleeping giant ready to wake up and claim back some pride and honour. For Renault to let a team like McLaren, who could potentially be better than them and also have Red Bull scampering off into the distance and challenging for titles, that is brave.

Would another engine supplier, for instance, Mercedes or Ferrari, be extremely happy with say Force India, Williams or Haas beating them or even challenging them during the course of the season? Of course they wouldn’t, the technology shared would be pulled back. Renault has intimated that with McLaren this won’t be the case.

McLaren have also said that they are interested in a return to sportscar racing, which seeing the length of deal they have signed with Renault and the potential that they could have a better power unit than recently used to could be a possibility that a McLaren with a Renault engine could once again roar at the big sportscar races.

The decision for Renault to move away from Formula E to concentrate and put its resources into Formula One shows in which direction this factory is heading. To supply engines to competitors, not afraid if they are beaten or challenged shows the bravery of this factory.

Will Renault be challenging for titles and race wins in Formula One? I personally can’t see it over the next couple of years. Will a team with a Renault engine be challenging for titles and race wins in Formula One?

Now that is a very good question.

Renault is truly back. Renault isn’t afraid. Renault could possibly, without realising it just yet, change the face of Formula One over the next few years.

Or maybe they do realise it and this is all just a cunning plan.

Just remember, Mercedes returned to Formula One in 2010 and it took them four years to win a Constructors’ Championship. Renault could be on the verge of something similar.

Neil Simmons

Twitter: @world_racing

 

Quick 10 With…..Dino Zamparelli

He began in karting, the usual route for racing drivers, before moving to the Ginetta Junior Championship in 2007. The following season he took 10 wins and 5 podiums to claim the Ginetta Junior title.

It was in 2009 that he moved to Formula Renault BARC and finished third with 2 wins. The following season he competed in two Formula Renault BARC races and also in the Italian Formula 3 Championship but it was in 2011 that he returned full time to Formula Renault and took the championship title with four wins on the way. That very same season he was a finalist in the 2011 McLaren Autosport BRDC Award.

He moved to the FIA Formula 2 Championship in 2012 and the following season signed for Marussia Manor Racing to compete in GP3 as part of their Young Driver Programme.

He made the switch to sportscar racing in 2015 and began competing in the Porsche Carrera Cup GB, he finished 6th in the championship in his first season and in 2016 and this season finished runner-up to Dan Cammish and Charlie Eastwood respectively.

His dream is to race Le Mans, these are his Quick 10 and he is…..Dino Zamparelli.

What is your favourite racing circuit?

My favourite circuit has to now be Le Mans. I’m not sure it’s the traditional answer as it’s very much a one-off race circuit. But I raced there this year at the Le Mans support race in Porsche Carrera  Cup and it blew me away. It was just amazing and very enjoyable. Over 4 minutes long and the corners were incredible. Other than that, under the normal circuits, Spa and Silverstone are my two favorites. Both for having so much history and some epic corners.

Who was your racing idol?

I suppose I used to love watching Michael Schumacher growing up. I loved his desire to win at all costs.

Who would you regard as your toughest opponent?

Well recently, over the last 3 seasons of Porsche racing, I’ve enjoyed a tough battle against Dan Cammish. Him and his team Redline have been a super consistent and fast package. We ran him close to the title for half a season in 2016, and had some great duels. I wasn’t happy with the performance of my team mid-year onwards, so changed to JTR for 2017 – we had a strong year and had some great battles against Dan and eventual champion Eastwood. Eastwood won it by taking one more win than I did but we scored exactly the same points. It was another good season in Porsche with a new team, and I thoroughly enjoyed racing against Cammish again in 2017.

Considering racers of all time, you are a team principal and money is no object. Which two racers would you have in your team?

I used to really enjoy watching Juan Pablo Montoya in his prime, when he first burst onto the F1 scene with Williams. He was fast and feisty. So I would probably have him as my driver. I’m also a huge fan and always have been of Fernando Alonso. Both drivers would be capable of winning the championship on pure speed and talent. And both drivers would provide an awful lot of entertainment over the radio comms I’m sure!

If you could invite four famous people to dinner (past and present), who would you invite?

I’d invite my favourite comedian to make me laugh, Ricky Gervais. I’d invite James Hunt, to sit and listen to his countless stories from the 70s. I can’t think of another two, so I’d get Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg along and subtly have every collision they ever had on TV in the background and sit them next to each other. Give them both a beer and see what happened over the night.

Your personal racing number? What was it and the reason behind it?

It’s number 8 because I like it and believe it’ll bring me luck, like the Chinese.

What is the best race you have been involved in?

I would say one of the best races recently was this year at Le Mans for the Porsche Carrera Cup support race. Four of us could have won the race going into the last lap. I climbed back up from 4th to finish 2nd in the end, and we were all nose to tail. I was gutted not to win it overall, out of 60 cars at the famous circuit, but it was an epic battle. It got put up on Facebook later on and received well over 1.5 million views!

Is there a race or series you have not competed in that you would like to or had wanted to?

I always admired the intensity and race craft of Formula Ford. The overtaking in that series was seemingly every lap/every corner. It always looked like a lot of fun. I’d quite liked to have also given GP2 a proper crack. I tested a GP2 car in Abu Dhabi and it was amazing, so I can only imagine racing them would have been a huge experience. F1 as well was the dream when I was younger. Although for pure racing, it would be more GP2/Formula Ford.

How did you get interested in motor racing? What ignited that spark?

It was a local karting track in France where I lived at the time. I went round a few times and got the bug. I never looked back ever since. My wallet certainly has, a number of times.

What is the best advice in racing you have been given?

The best advice I’ve been given is that ‘Motor Racing is primarily a business’. In other words, someone somewhere has to pay for it, be it sponsors, family or manufacturers. This bit of advice helped me to carve out my Porsche sponsorship programmes and continue to race in sports cars, and hopefully allow me to race for many years to come. It’s the advice I say to every young driver who asks me. If you’re quick, then 99% of the time it isn’t enough, you have to offer more than that.

Dino Zamparelli

I have to agree with Dino regarding the Porsche race at Le Mans, I was on the edge of my seat during that race. Epic battle!

I would like to thank Dino for taking the time to answer the Quick 10 and wish him the very best for 2018 and hopefully one day, the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

(c) All photos courtesy of Dino Zamparelli and for more photos visit his Facebook page here

You can also visit Dino at https://www.dinozamparelli.com/

Neil Simmons

Twitter: @world_racing

 

WEC Super Season – 2018/19

As the World Endurance Championship heads to the 6 Hours of Shanghai and then onto the 6 Hours of Bahrain, thoughts have turned to 2018/19, the ‘Super-Season’.

The big news coming from the provisional calendar is that Spa and Le Mans now feature twice, with the return of the Sebring 12 Hours to the calendar which last appeared in 2012. The prologue returns to Paul Ricard in April.

The Sebring 12 Hours will be on the same weekend as the IMSA race, but starting at midnight.

Silverstone remains, though this is partly due to negotiations falling through to bring the race to Mexico City, if that had materialised then the British circuit may not have appeared at all on the calendar. Gone are CoTA, Bahrain and the Nurburgring.

Le Mans and the Sebring 12 Hours will not feature double points, but enhance points the details of which are yet to be announced. It seems fitting that the season will end at Le Mans (second visit), in most fans eyes the greatest race in the world.

The season will now begin in April 2018 and run for 14 months until June 2019. The FIA state the calendar has been designed in conjunction with the regulations to keep costs under control and offer a viable business model for the future of the series.

BMW will join the GT ranks to compete against Aston Martin, Ferrari, Ford and Porsche.

TRS and Manor have confirmed they will compete in LMP1 using a Ginetta chassis, with another unconfirmed team due to enter using another Ginetta chassis.

From next season the WEC will see the incorporation of the LMP1 Non-Hybrid cars into a single classification with the hybrid cars, be it that Porsche have now left Toyota as the only hybrid competitor. It is also proposed to equalise the lap performance of the best LMP1 Non-Hybrid cars by adjusting the instantaneous fuel flow and fuel consumption per lap for the Non-Hybrids. A fuel range advantage for Hybrid cars (one extra lap at Le Mans) will also be enforced.

With two Le Mans races in one season to enjoy, there is a lot of entertainment on offer from the WEC for 2018/19.

Provisional calendar:

5 May 2018 – 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps

16/17 June 2018 – 24 Hours of Le Mans

19 August 2018 – 6 Hours of Silverstone

21 October 2018 – 6 Hours of Fuji

18 November 2018 – 6 Hours of Shanghai

16/17 March 2019 – 12 Hours of Sebring

4 May 2019 – 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps

15/16 June 2019 – 24 Hours of Le Mans

 

Neil Simmons

Twitter: @world_racing

Throwback Thursday – Targa Florio 1906

Cagno Wins The 1906 Targa Florio – (c) Pathe News

In my second Throwback Thursday feature article I look at the next race in the 1906 Grand Prix Season, the Targa Florio.

The Targa Florio was one of the very first and most challenging races. It was in 1906 when the inaugural race took place.

This race was the brainchild of a wealthy Italian businessman, Vincenzo Florio. He had made a vast fortune in Sicily and he was obsessed with cars. He initially approached a journalist in 1905 in a view to running the race but it wasn’t until 6th May, 1906 when the first ever Targa Florio would take place.

It would be a three laps of a 92.4 mile circuit in Sicily, near Palermo. Each lap would be treacherous as the roads were not designed for cars. Drivers would encounter wild animals during the race and were also at the risk of being held up by bandits in the Madonie Mountains. Most of the route was made up of mule tracks and paths.

One of the main rules was that the entries had to be production cars, of which at that time only ten had been made. One of the entrants, Vincenzo Lancia, organised the betting which in those days was very common at motorsport events. Thirty cars had initially entered the race but due to a dock strike in Genoa travel plans were hampered and only ten drivers made it to the start line.

There were ten minute intervals between cars, Lancia was the first away in his Fiat but he retired due to mechanical failure. The next driver away was Jacques Le Blon driving a Hotchkiss, accompanied by his wife and mechanic Madame Le Blon. They would be the last of the six finishers to cross the line due to a number of punctures suffered over the course.

Maurice Fournier and his brother Achille entered two cars, both Clement-Bayard’s but they would not see the end of the race due to failures, as too would the British entry George Pope driving an Itala.

The other five cars to finish ahead of Le Blon were made up of two Italians, two Frenchmen and a Belgian. Alessandro Cagno, an employee of Itala brought the car home in just over nine and half hours, averaging a speed of 29mph. He was followed by another Italian driving an Itala, Ettore Grazione. Paul Bablot driving a Berliet finished third and his fellow Frenchman Victor Rigal in an Itala was fourth. Finishing ahead of the Le Blon’s in fifth place was the Belgian driver Pierre de Caters.

So much of a success was the Targa Florio that it is still run today, though not in a competitive form.

The next race in the 1906 Grand Prix season would be the Circuit de Ardennes in Belgium and from this race only Paul Bablot would enter.

Neil Simmons

Twitter: @world_racing

 

 

Quick 10 With……James Whitham

His Twitter bio reads “Ex bike racer . . have been skilfully avoiding a proper job for 30 years .. stunt dad”

Prior to gracing our screens, he has won the 80cc British Championship, the 1300cc Production British Championship and the TT Superbike Challenge.

He is a British Superbike Champion having won the title in 1993, was BSB runner-up in 1996 and raced in World Superbikes from 1994 to 1998, a team mate of Carl Fogarty. He competed in World Supersport from 2000-2002 and held the track record at Donington Park until 2007.

He runs trackdays with Paul Drinkwater Sports Motorcycling and his famous “6T9” logo can be seen on the leathers of big names in bike racing and around the circuits all over the UK.

British and World Superbike viewers will recognise him from Eurosport as a TV commentator and pundit. His quick wit, humour and amazing technological insight into bikes is without doubt the best you will find on television. His commentary partnership with Jack Burnicle for British Superbikes is quite possibly the most entertaining TV motorsport duet on air.

He is a true legend, a fantastic bike rider, a respected man on and off the circuit and a genuinely top bloke. His biography ‘What A Good Do!’ is a brilliant read (I highly recommend it).

These are his Quick 10 questions and he is……James Whitham.

What is your favourite racing circuit?

You tend to favour the tracks you go well at, regardless of whether they’re interesting to ride . . my fave UK circuit is Cadwell Park and worldwide is Monza

Who was your racing idol?

Mike Hailwood

Who would you regard as your toughest opponent?

Carl Fogarty

Considering racers of all time, you are a team principal and money is no object. Which two racers would you have in your team?

Mike Hailwood and Jarno Saarinen

If you could invite four famous people to dinner (past and present), who would you invite?

Winston Churchill, Adolf Hitler, Nando Parrado and Muhammad Ali

Your personal racing number? What was it and the reason behind it?

69 – reads the same either way up !

What is the best race you have been involved in?

’01 World Supersport race Monza . . . 6 of us glued together for the whole race

Is there a race or series you have not competed in that you would like to or had wanted to?

I would’ve loved a season on a 250cc (2 stroke) GP bike

How did you get interested in motor racing? What ignited that spark?

My dad was a motorcyclist and took me to spectate at some race meetings as a kid . . . I was doomed from there really !

What is the best advice in racing you have been given?

Mick Grant always said that I should leave a team or sponsor on the best of terms . . . Don’t burn your bridges I suppose . . . good advice.

 

I have said this before, but when you get to interview somebody who you are a fan of and have great respect for then as a writer it is a dream come true.

In this instance I am truly thankful for James taking the time out from his busy schedule to answer the Quick 10 and can’t wait to see him and hear his funny, intelligent and interesting insight on BSB next season. I want to wish James all the best of health and thank him and Paul Drinkwater for this opportunity.

For more information on James and the track days on offer please visit http://www.jameswhitham.com/ and you can follow him on Twitter at  https://twitter.com/Jimwhit69

Neil Simmons

Twitter: @world_racing

Quick 10 With…..Jody Fannin

 

He started his career in karting from 2006 to 2009, becoming the Midlands Minimax champion  and Bayford Meadows Winter Champion in 2008. In 2010 he finished 4th in the Ginetta Junior Championship with 2 wins, 4 podiums, 2 fastest laps and a pole. 

The following season he finished third in the Ginetta G50 Championship and then moved onto become the GT4 champion in the British GT Championship for 2012. He was selected as BRDC Rising Start in 2013 and raced in the Blancpain Endurance Series and various European GT events.

In 2014 he had a wind and a second place in the International GT Open at Silverstone with Darren Turner in an Aston Martin which was followed up in 2015 by being selected for the Aston Martin Racing Evolution Academy. He took two podiums that season in the British GT Championship

For 2016 he competed in the GT Open at Barcelona where he obtained a podium place and again competed in the British GT Championship.

This season he competed in and won The European Le Mans GTE class with Rob Smith for JMW Motorsport in a Ferrari 488 GTE. He took a win and four podiums.

His helmet design is based on the South African flag, where his father originates from and the Union Jack, for his mother. He also has his name on the side of his helmet, exactly the same as Jody Scheckter, the 1979 Formula One World Champion who he was named after.

These are his Quick 10 questions, the newly crowned 2017 ELMS GTE Champion and he is….. Jody Fannin.

What is your favourite racing circuit?

Spa-Francorchamps because of its massive elevation change and speed. If you are walking along the Kemmel Straight, there is a bit where you can look across at the Bus Stop Chicane. You realise then just how much elevation change there is on the track; it looks so far down! Also, through the middle sector of the lap especially, each corner leads into the next, so if you make a mistake through one, it will affect your run through the next, amplifying the error. It’s a real challenge… and obviously Eau Rouge is a proper corner in a GT car!

Who was your racing idol?

Allan McNish because of his undoubted speed and killer instinct through traffic.

Who would you regard as your toughest opponent?

Difficult to single anyone out, but competing in the European Le Mans Series against multiple factory drivers is as tough as it gets in GT racing!

Considering racers of all time, you are a team principal and money is no object. Which two racers would you have in your team?

Mario Andretti because of his versatility, being successful in so many different sorts of cars, and Ayrton Senna because of his prodigious speed.

 

If you could invite four famous people to dinner (past and present), who would you invite?

It would be fascinating to have people, each from a different era of motor racing, so I could learn about eras that I haven’t lived through and get first hand accounts of what life was like back then. Stirling Moss, Derek Warwick, James Hunt would have some very interesting stories I’m sure..!! Then probably Murray Walker because of his inside knowledge of all aspects of motor racing over many decades.

Your personal racing number? What is it and the reason behind it?

27 because it was Gilles Villeneuve’s number and I admire the way he drove and raced!

What is the best race you have been involved in?

At Monza this year, it was the swansong race for the Ferrari 458 Italia GTE after 7 years of service. No one expected us to have a chance against the newer cars, but we had a fairytale race and managed to win. I had to hold off the Aston Martin of TF Sport for the final stint and gave it absolutely everything. It was an amazing feeling to get the job done! And that chassis actually won its very first and last race, so it was a perfect end to the chapter for the car.

Is there a race or series you have not competed in that you would like to or had wanted to?

Le Mans is the ultimate race for me; I have been to watch the race 15 times, and everything about it is just magic. Racing through the night is an amazing experience, and to race there would be a privilege. To compete in the World Endurance Championship as a factory driver would be very cool.  The Bathurst 12 Hour is a race that I would really like to do as well. The track looks awesome and the race is growing in stature year on year.

How did you get interested in motor racing? What ignited that spark?

My Grandad and Dad were both into motorpsport (didn’t have any direct involvement though), so I grew up watching F1, Sportscars, MotoGP, just about anything, so I was surrounded by it from a very young age. I didn’t start karting until I was 11, but I haven’t looked back since! I have always wanted to be a racing driver for as long as I can remember, and being named after Jody Scheckter, guess I was always destined to have something to do with Motor Racing!

What is the best advice in racing you have been given?

Always be ready for the next step up in category/car (both mentally and physically), because if you suddenly get asked to test/race, you need to be immediately ready to go and do the job.

I want to thank Jody for taking the time out of his busy schedule to take part in the Quick 10 feature. Always ready for a quick chat and a very friendly person Also want to congratulate him, Rob Smith and JMW Motorsport on their ELMS GTE title win. The Pit Crew Online wish Jody even more success for 2018.

(c) all photographs courtesy of Jody Fannin

Neil Simmons

Twitter: @world_racing

TCR Series One Off Event

(c) Photo Courtesy Of TCR Europe

Adria International Raceway, Italy – 28 / 29 October 2017

TCR drivers from all over Europe are bound for Adria

The 2017 TCR Europe Trophy will be awarded this weekend in a one-off event at the Adria International Raceway.

Drivers who have raced in the various TCR series and championships all over Europe are eligible to take part in the Italian race meeting and those who have entered have been allocated Pre-Qualifying points based on the number of TCR appearances they have made during the season.

The Adria International Raceway is located in the North-East of Italy, in the delta of the river Po, some 60 kilometres South of Venice. It was inaugurated in 2002 and has hosted a range of international races such as the FIA GT and ETCC and the DTM.

It was there that TCR Italy ran the opening event of the current season, when Eric Scalvini won both races at the wheel of a MM Motorsport Honda Civic.

The format of the TCR Europe Trophy will follow the same pattern as the TCR International Series, with two 30-minute Free Practice sessions on Saturday morning and the 30-minute Qualifying on Saturday afternoon that will be split into Q1 (20 minutes for all the competitors) and Q2 (10 minutes for the 12 fastest drivers in Q1). The two 60-kilometre races will be run on Sunday.

Drivers will also have the opportunity to take part in three test sessions on Friday.

TCR in Adria – The event at a glance

Lap distance: 2.70 km

Race distance: 23 laps

Start: Standing

Grids: Determined by the Qualifying results (Q1+Q2) with top 10 reversed for Race 2

Timetable

Saturday, 10:00/10:30 – Free Practice 1

Saturday, 12:00/12:30 – Free Practice 2

Saturday, 15:00/15:35 – Qualifying (Q1 + Q2)

Sunday, 12:35 – Race 1

Sunday, 14:35 – Race 2

all times: GMT +2 until Saturday; GMT +1 from Sunday

 

How Drivers’ and Team’s Trophies will be awarded

Two TCR Europe Trophies will be awarded at Adria; one for Drivers and one for Teams.

Drivers’ scoring system

– Pre-Qualifying: 1 point per event will be allocated to each Driver who took part in any   TCR event during the 2017 season, up to a maximum of 5 points

– Qualifying: points will be awarded to the first five drivers classified in the Qualifying session according to the following scale:

1st: 5 points; 2nd: 4 pts; 3rd: 3 pts; 4th: 2 pts; 5th: 1 pt

– Races: points will be awarded to the ten drivers classified in each Race according to the following scale:

1st: 25 points; 2nd: 18 pts; 3rd: 15 pts; 4th: 12 pts; 5th: 10 pts; 6th: 8 pts; 7th: 6 pts; 8th: 4 pts; 9th: 2 pts; 10th: 1 pt

Teams’ scoring system

– Races: points will be awarded to the best two cars of each team classified in each Race according to the following scale:

1st: 25 points; 2nd: 18 pts; 3rd: 15 pts; 4th: 12 pts; 5th: 10 pts; 6th: 8 pts; 7th: 6 pts; 8th: 4 pts; 9th: 2 pts; 10th: 1 pt

Eight brands to be represented at the TCR Europe Trophy

The Adria International Raceway will welcome drivers and teams coming from no less than nine different series.

Eight brands of car manufacturers will be represented: Alfa Romeo, Audi, Honda, Hyundai, Peugeot, SEAT, Subaru and Volkswagen.

Files and Altoè pair up at Target Competition

Target Competition fields the strong duo of Josh Files and Giacomo Altoè at the wheel of two Honda Civic cars.

Files is aiming for a third TCR title in the current season after winning both the Middle East and Germany crowns (the latter for the second consecutive year), while his 17-year old teammate Altoè has established himself as one of the most competitive young drivers with brilliant results in the International, Benelux and Italian series.

One Peugeot 308 for Aurélien Comte

Two weeks ago at Le Castellet, Peugeot Sport showed for the first time the new 308 TCR that will be racing from next year. However, even without the full TCR kit, the Peugeot 308 Racing Cup car has already won TCR races in the Benelux and 24H series.

The twisty circuit of Adria will suit the French cars that will be in the experienced hands of Aurélien Comte, who classified fifth in the TCR Benelux with three race victories.

Buri and Kangas come from the North

Fellow Finns Antti Buri (Audi RS3 LMS) and Olli Kangas (SEAT León) will race under the banner of LMS Racing.

Buri comes fresh from a successful campaign in TCR Germany that saw him claiming one race victory at the Nürburgring and finishing a brilliant eighth in the Drivers’ championship.

Far less experienced than his teammate, Kangas has competed in the maiden season of TCR Scandinavia.

Together, they have won the 12 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps, final round of the 24H Touring Car Endurance series a few weeks ago.

A Russian duo for Innocenti-AMG Motorsport

TCR Russia competitors Lev Tolkachev and Denis Grigoriev will race in two SEAT León DSG cars run by the Innocenti-AMG Motorsport team.

Grigoriev was classified tenth in the Russian series, claiming his maiden TCR victory in Race 1 at the Smolensk Ring; his teammate Tolkachev ranked 13th in the final standings.

Engstler Motorsport enters the youngest team

The age of the two drivers entered by the Liqui Moly Team Engstler adds up to just 38 years. Luca Engstler (17) and Florian Thoma (21) form the youngest team that will compete for the TCR Europe Trophy.

And yet, they have already shown their potential. After winning his maiden touring car race at Dubai in the TCR Middle East series, Engstler was crowned Junior champion of TCR Germany. Also a rookie in touring cars, his Swiss teammate Thoma made a sensational debut in TCR Germany, winning the second race in the season’s opener at Oschersleben. Engstler and Thoma will race two Volkswagen Golf GTI cars.

An Alfa Romeo Giulietta for Luigi Ferrara

Italy’s V-Action Racing Team will run a Romeo Ferraris-built Alfa Romeo Giulietta for Luigi Ferrara.

The 35-year old from Bari is an experienced driver who has already had different occasions of sitting at the wheel of TCR cars. Ferrara has driven the V-Action Giulietta twice this year, in the German and the Italian series (at Hockenheim and Monza respectively), showing the potential of the Italian car.

TCR Ibérico champion joins with a Volkswagen

During the last weekend, Francisco Abreu was crowned the first champion in the TCR Ibérico series.

Winning two of the four races of the final event at Portimão in the Team Novadriver Volkswagen Golf GTI cars, Abreu was able to close the gap from the previous leader Francisco Mora to clinch the title. He also finished second in TCR Portugal behind Mora.

Team WRT with Maxime Potty’s VW Golf

While Team WRT is in the best position to win a second consecutive TCR International Series title in conjunction with Leopard Racing, the Belgian outfit is also one of the top seeds in the TCR Europe Trophy.

The young Belgian Maxime Potty will be at the wheel of the team’s single Volkswagen Golf GTI at Adria. Last weekend at Assen, Potty won the final race of TCR Benelux, securing third place in the championship standings.

Endurance specialists come from Spain

It has been a very successful season for Monlau Competición as the Spanish team has clinched the TCR class title in the 24H Touring Car Endurance Series with a SEAT León DSG car.

At Adria, Monlau Competición wants to prove they are also capable of shining in sprint races and have entered the León for their best driver, José Manuel Pérez-Aicart. Experienced and quick, the 35-year old from Castellón boasts an impressive record, including titles in the Spanish GT Championship and the SEAT Supercópa.

Bulgaria’s Plamen Kralev to race his Audi

Bulgarian Touring Car specialist Plamen Kralev will compete in the TCR Europe Trophy with his Kraf Racing Audi RS3 LMS car.

Kralev, who switched to touring car racing three years ago after several season in GT and Formula 2, has successfully taken part in both TCR Italy and the FIA European Touring Car Cup with his Audi, ranking fifth and ninth in the two series respectively.

Hyundai and Subaru cars will be ‘transparent’

Two cars have been accepted to take part in the TCR Europe Trophy under temporary homologation forms: the Hyundai i30 N and the Subaru WRX STI.

Therefore they will be ‘transparent’ as far as the race results are concerned.

BRC Racing Team will run the Hyundai that will be driven by Touring Car legend Gabriele Tarquini; only a few weeks ago the Italian racer gave the Korean car its first victory on its maiden appearance, in the TCR International Series at Zehjiang.

The Subaru entered by Top Run Motorsport is the latest development of the WRX STI TCR that was successfully raced by Stefano Comini in the TCR Italy events at Imola and Monza. As Comini is not eligible to race at Adria (being amongst the top ten in the International Series) the team has still to name his replacement.

Full live coverage from Adria International Raceway

Fans will be able to follow live on the Internet the whole action of the TCR Europe Trophy at Adria on www.europe.tcr-series.com and www.tcr-series.tv according to the following timetable.

Saturday, 09:55 – Free Practice 1, timing and streaming

Saturday, 11:55 – Free Practice 2, timing and streaming

Saturday, 14:55 – Qualifying, timing and streaming

Sunday, 12:20 – Race 1, timing and streaming

Sunday, 14:20 – Race 2, timing and streaming

(all times local)

 

Neil Simmons

Twitter: @world_racing