David Bogie secures best ever WRC result at the Wales Rally GB
The Wales Rally GB (26-29 October) was the penultimate round of 2017 FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) and saw a number of ŠKODA FABIA R5 cars taking to the forest tracks of Wales. The newly crowned WRC2 champions Pontus Tidemand / Jonas Andersson took their fifth victory of the season by a comfortable margin of 1 minute 54 seconds for ŠKODA Motorsport.
The next best placed FABIA R5 was that of former British Rally Champion David Bogie. Driving a car prepared and run by CA1 Sport alongside regular co-driver Kevin Rae, Bogie put in one of his best performances at a WRC event to secure his highest ever finish.
In the early parts of the rally, Bogie found himself engaged in a close battle with Eyvind Brynildsen. It was a close battle and the gap was just 2.5 seconds before the Norwegian was forced to retire on special stage 19. That freed Bogie up to try and chase down a podium place in the final stages, but despite taking a victory on the penultimate stage, he was unable to make it onto the podium.
Polish driver Łukasz Pieniążek was making his debut in a FABIA R5 for the Printsport Oy team. Driving alongside co-driver Przemysław Mazur, he finished in ninth position in the WRC2 standings. The Estonian pairing of Raul Jeets / Kuldar Sikk finished in twelfth position for the Tehase Auto team.
The final round of the World Rally Championship will be the Rally Australia, which takes place from 17th to 19th November.
2017 Wales Rally GB
Adrián Díaz wins the Rallye San Froilán on his debut ŠKODA FABIA R5 drive
In Spain, the Rallye San Froilán (27-29 October) was the seventh round of the Galician Rally Series. It saw Adrián Díaz Pérez make his debut in an R5 class car for the Escudería Miño-Lugo team, driving alongside co-driver Andrea Lamas Barragan. And he had his work cut out in a strong field with more than 140 drivers taking part.
Despite making his first start in a ŠKODA FABIA R5, Díaz made no secret of his ambitions to chase the victory at this event beforehand. But despite challenging at the top end of the field, it looked of a long time as if he would fall just short of this goal. Rival Alberto Meira held the lead for the bulk of this rally and while Díaz was always nipping at his heels, it looked as if he wouldn’t make it past. But then, on the final stage, a perfect drive from Díaz and a mistake from Meira saw them switch places and in the end, Díaz took the win by a margin of 16.4 seconds.
It was only the second overall victory of his career and the first since 2014. He will be driving a different car at the Rally de La Nucía-Mediterráneo next weekend. But after this taste of what the FABIA R5 can do, no doubt Díaz will be chomping at the bit to get back the wheel again soon.
Three ŠKODA FABIA R5s in the top 4 at the Critérium des Cévennes
The Critérium des Cévennes (27-28 October) was the eighth and penultimate round of the French Tarmac Rally Championship and saw three ŠKODA FABIA R5s finish in the top 4.
The highest place finisher was Pierre Roché, who finished in second position for Team FJ. Alongside, co-driver Martine Roché, he drove a fast and consistent race, winning one stage, but never finishing lower than fifth throughout.
Roché was engaged in a close battle for second position with fellow Team FJ and FABIA R5 driver Ludovic Gal, who - alongside co-driver Olivier Belot - pushed hard throughout, but Roché defended the position brilliantly and despite victory on the final stage Gal had to content himself with third place by a margin of just 5.4 seconds.
Just behind them, in fourth position overall, were Charles Martin / Matthieu Duval. Driving for the RTTC – Yacco team, but in a car prepared and run by Team FJ too, they won two of the first four stages and led at that point, before an unlucky SS5 saw them drop back to sixth position. But they battled back into contention and then put in a fast final stage to pinch fourth place from William Wagner by just 1.8 seconds.
The final round of the French Tarmac Rally Championship will be the Rallye du Var, which takes place from 24th to 26th November.
2017 Critérium des Cévennes
NEWS IN BRIEF
Our round up begins at the Wales Rally GB National (28-29 October), which ran alongside the WRC event. Thomas Preston / Andrew Roughead took victory in their ŠKODA FABIA R5, which was prepared and run by Wevers Sport. They finished 23.2 seconds ahead of the pack, leading from start to finish and winning four of the event’s eight special stages.
To Italy and the Rally Val D'Orcia (28-29 October), which was both the final round of the Italian Gravel Rally Championship and part of the Italian regional series (National Zone 5). It saw an impressive One-Two-Three result for FABIA R5s with Alessandro Taddei / Andrea Gaspari taking the victory for Car Racing team. It was their sixth victory at this event, where they finished 14.9 seconds ahead of teammates Luca Hoelbling / Mauro Grasso who were runners-up, with the PA Racing FABIA R5 of Marco Bulacia Wilkinson / Fabian Cretu finishing third, another 18.4 seconds back. Luciano Cobbe / Fabio Turco finished in eighth position for the Meteco Corse SRL.
Anthony Puppo was back to winning ways in the French Cup after he secured victory at the Rallye National de la Noix de Grenoble (28 October). Puppo and co-driver Vincent Delaplanche were driving for the SARL SJ-3P team and finished just ahead of fellow FABIA R5 driver Fabrice Bect who - along with co-driver Geoffrey Combe - was driving a car prepared and run by Team FJ.
Teddy Stique / Laurent Piquet also impressed at another French Cup event, the Rallye National du Chablisien (28-29 October). They ended up in second place overall but missed out on victory by just 0.8 seconds. This was just Stique’s second ever rally in a FABIA R5 and is also his second podium finish.
The Rallye Régional Ville de la Plaine-des-Palmistes (28 October) is another French Cup event, but takes place on the island of Reunion, in the Indian Ocean. It was another event where a FABIA R5 just missed out on the victory as Christophe Vassor / Olivier Corre finished runners-up by just 1.9 seconds. Idris Gangate / Souka Zaneguy brought their FABIA R5 home in eighth position.
In Switzerland, at the famous Rallye International du Valais (26-28 October), two FABIA R5s finished inside the top 5. Jérémie Toedtli / Alexandre Chioso ended up in fourth position in their Ecurie des Trois Chevrons car which was prepared and run by Easy Rally team. It could have been even better for them but for two minutes of time penalties incurred for arriving early at time controls, without which they would have finished second. Meanwhile, Nicolas Althaus / Alain Ioset finished in fifth position for the Lugano Racing Team, in a car prepared and run by EB Technologies.
And finally, Hungarian Krisztián Hideg has been confirmed as the winner of the Mitropa Cup. At the 3-Städte-Rallye in Germany last weekend (20-21 October), where he was driving a FABIA R5 for the AK Sport team alongside co-driver István Kerék, Hideg finished seventh overall and first in the Mitropa Cup standings. Those points were enough to confirm his cup victory.
COMING UP THIS WEEKEND
|3-5 Nov||Eger Rally||Hungarian Rally Championship||7||Asphalt|
|3-4 Nov||Rally de La Nucía-Mediterráneo||Spanish Rally Championship||9||Asphalt|
|3-5 Nov||Rallye du Condroz-Huy||Belgian Rally Championship||9||Asphalt|
|2-4 Nov||International ADMV Lausitz Rallye||Central Rally Trophy||6||Gravel|