HONDA CIVIC TAKES CLASS WIN IN MADEIRA The Honda Civic Type R has showed a consistent speed on only its second international asphalt event: the Madeira Rally, round five of the Intercontinental Rally Challenge. After three days and 285 ...
HONDA CIVIC TAKES CLASS WIN IN MADEIRA
The Honda Civic Type R has showed a consistent speed on only its second international asphalt event: the Madeira Rally, round five of the Intercontinental Rally Challenge. After three days and 285 kilometres of competition, Spaniard Dani Sola has taken the A7 class victory, for two-wheel drive 2.0 litre cars.
Both Sola and his Italian team mate Luca Betti concentrated on developing the striking new Honda's pace on asphalt, in only its third month of top-flight competition with renowned preparation firm JAS Motorsport.
The Madeira Rally is one of Europe's classic events, taking in a wide variety of mountain roads at high altitude. The thin air at more than 1500 metres above sea level saps power from the cars engines, meaning that the best driving style is a neat and tidy approach, in order to make the rhythm flow from corner to corner. Mixed weather conditions which ranged from rain to fog to bright sunshine did not make life any easier for the full field of 81 competing crews.
Despite a transmission related problem at the end of the opening day that cost him several minutes, Dani drove an excellent rally to finish 16th overall and first in class A7.
The former Junior World Rally Champion commented: "It was a really tricky but also an enjoyable rally for many reasons. Making the right tyre choice was always complex, particularly on the opening day, as the amount of grip from the roads varied a lot. This was the first proper outing on asphalt for the car, as although we did the Ypres Rally in June, the conditions in Belgium were very specialised. It's clear that there is plenty still to come from this car, and we've got a good idea of which direction to work towards in the future."
Madeira was also a promising event for Luca Betti, although the Italian was forced to retire from the opening leg after slightly going off and breaking a water cooler. He re-started the second day under the super rally regulations, and got to the finish despite a puncture on the last stage.
"This is all part of the development process, which is the main reason why we are competing this year", he said. "The car felt very strong and very stable on the stages, giving the driver a lot of confidence. For only our fourth rally, we're making some good progress and I am sure this will continue."
JAS Motorsport team principal Alessandro Mariani concluded: "We're pleased to take the class win, but even more pleased to finish with both cars and to take some important steps forwards. Developing a new car from scratch is never easy but our progress so far is encouraging even if I was hoping for a result in the top ten. In any case we are happy with a great job from the team and also because we have a further clear direction of the way forward."
The next IRC event for the JAS Motorsport team is the Barum Rally, based at Zlin in the Czech Republic from August 24-26.