HONDA CIVIC TYPE R WINS CLASS ON RALLY OF SCOTLAND
Honda driver Siim Plangi from Estonia, aged only 18, has equalled the Honda Civic Type R R3's best-ever finish on an Intercontinental Rally Challenge event by claiming fifth overall on the Rally of Scotland: the penultimate round of the Eurosport-backed series.
In doing so, the Estonian finished first in both the two-wheel drive category and Group R, underlining the performance and reliability of the Honda Civic Type R R3.
The talented youngster defeated several more powerful four-wheel drive cars on the all-gravel event, which requires supreme bravery and absolute commitment. By the end of the rally, Plangi was a full seven minutes ahead of his nearest rival in the two-wheel drive category.
Plangi's top performance is no coincidence: last year a Honda Civic Type R R3 also finished fifth in Scotland, this time in the hands of another Estonian, Kaspar Koitla. It's not just on gravel that the Civic excels: it has also recorded a fifth-place IRC finish on asphalt previously, thanks to Italian driver Luca Betti on the Rallye du Valais. Honda has now moved into third place in the prestigious IRC 2WD Cup manufacturers' standings, despite not contesting all the events.
Siim Plangi, co-driven by Marek Saarapuu, commented: "The rally was very enjoyable but the stages were really challenging just as I expected and there were some very strong drivers for us to fight against. On the final day I suffered a lot with tyre wear so the car was sliding all over the place. But we managed to get to the end with a great result that I am really proud of, particularly considering our lack of experience and the difficulty of this rally. The Honda was a real pleasure to drive, and the back-up that we had from the team was extremely valuable."
The Honda Civic Type R R3 is built by JAS Motorsport in Italy, Honda's long-time motorsport partner, while the car's VTEC engine is tuned by renowned Japanese preparation firm Mugen - which was once a winning force in Formula One. All these elements have come together to produce a proven class winner.
JAS Motorsport team principal Alessandro Mariani commented: "This is our second consecutive class win on the Intercontinental Rally Challenge, following Sandro Sottile's well-deserved victory in Sanremo last month. Along with our numerous successes on national championships all over the world, I think this highlights the strength and performance of our Honda, which we build to the highest standards with no expense spared. On behalf of everybody in the Honda family, I'd like to congratulate Siim on a fantastic performance. He has shown that he is a real talent for the future, while the Civic has demonstrated once more that it is the car to beat."