SIX HONDA CIVIC TYPE R ENTRIES AIM TO FINISH ON A HIGH IN SCOTLAND
A total of six Honda Civic Type Rs will be in action on the Rally of Scotland this weekend, the final round of this year's Intercontinental Rally Challenge from November 19-21.
Heading the Honda entry is Estonian driver Kaspar Koitla. He finished an astonishing eighth overall on the Rally Russia earlier this year, scoring overall driver points as well as winning the two-wheel drive classification. Accordingly, Koitla starts as car number 12 on the event, co-driven by Andres Ots.
Teenager Martin Kangur, a protege of World Rally Championship driver Urmo Aava, is another Estonian expected to do well in a Honda Civic Type R R3 on the quick gravel roads of Scotland.
Hungarian driver Laszlo Vizin is currently third overall in the IRC 2WD Cup, thanks to a second-place finish on the Barum Rally Zlin in the Czech Republic earlier this year and another points-scoring finish in Sanremo, Italy. While Vizin has proved his pace on asphalt, Scottish gravel will be a new challenge.
His compatriots Janos Puskadi and Levai Ferenc will also be taking the start of the Scottish event in their Honda Civic Type Rs, having mostly contested the Hungarian Championship this year.
Finally, local interest comes from Scotland's Colin Smith, making his debut at the wheel of a Group N Honda Civic Type R. The 22-year-old is stepping up to international competition for the first time and is looking forward to discovering the capabilities of his new car on familiar roads. "We're convinced the Honda Civic is the right tool for the job," he said. "Having seen the results other people have scored in Hondas, it seemed like the best option."
William De Braekeleer, Honda Motor Europe's Motorsport Manager, commented: "We are absolutely delighted to see such a healthy turn-out of customers in the Honda Civic Type R. With so many Civic Type R entries, Honda stands a good chance of securing the runner-up spot in the IRC 2WD Cup. That would be a great achievement, but most importantly we're looking forward to putting on a show for the many fans we have in Scotland. I'm sure that all the Honda crews will be eager to demonstrate their very best driving skills!"
The Rally of Scotland, which takes place on flowing gravel roads north of Edinburgh, gets underway with an evening spectator superspecial through the grounds of Scone Palace in Perth on Thursday 19 November. The event is due to finish in the afternoon of Saturday 21 November outside Stirling Castle, after 13 tough stages and 210 competitive kilometres. Adding to the challenge of this notoriously difficult event will be some long night stages and unpredictable weather.
Alessandro Mariani, the team principal of JAS Motorsport, which builds the Honda Civic Type R R3 in Italy and will provide full technical support for Honda customers at the event, said: "We're really looking forward to this event. The Civic Type R has always been very strong in the IRC and it should be extremely well suited to the fast roads of Scotland. I'd like to thank all our customers for their loyal support throughout the year and wish them the very best of luck on this challenging rally."
The Rally of Scotland will be broadcast live on Eurosport with commentary from 2001 World Champion co-driver Robert Reid, and live stage times can be followed on www.rallyscotland.tv or www.rally-irc.com