HONDA SHOWS GIANT-KILLING PACE IN RUSSIA The Honda Civic Type R driven by Dani Sola climbed to an astonishing sixth overall on the all-gravel Rally Russia last weekend, round four of the Intercontinental Rally Challenge, before losing time...
HONDA SHOWS GIANT-KILLING PACE IN RUSSIA
The Honda Civic Type R driven by Dani Sola climbed to an astonishing sixth overall on the all-gravel Rally Russia last weekend, round four of the Intercontinental Rally Challenge, before losing time with a driveshaft tripod failure at the end of the opening day.
Beforehand Sola had made remarkable progress up the leaderboard in his two-wheel drive Honda Civic, which is developed and run by Italian team JAS Motorsport, beating many more powerful cars that additionally benefitted from four-wheel drive.
The Rally Russia, the first international motor sport event to be held in the country for over 90 years, was a brand new event for everybody, giving the best talent and machinery a real chance to shine.
The rally took in a wide variety of speeds and corners, with some deceptively soft road surfaces that contained a number of sharp rocks. Unfortunately, one of those accounted for the Civic of Luca Betti, which retired on the afternoon of leg one with a broken sump as the result of a heavy landing.
In the meantime, Sola was showing what the all-new car could do on only its second gravel event, by setting some giant-killing stage times that enabled the former Junior World Rally Champion to reach a brilliant sixth place overall. His remarkable run was delayed by an unusual driveshaft tripod failure on the final stage of the opening day, which sadly cost him several minutes. The Spaniard was fighting his way back up the overall classification when he was forced to retire on the road section to the last stage of the rally, after hitting a hole that drained the V-tec engine of its oil.
Sola said: "We were very unlucky, but I am not too disappointed as we have made some fantastic steps forward that have really made a difference. The performance of the car is getting good now, as I hope we were able to show in Russia this weekend. There is still plenty of work left to do, but that is all part of the development programme. These stages were not at all easy, particularly in the mixed damp and dry conditions, but the Civic gave me a lot of confidence."
JAS Motorsport team principal Alessandro Mariani concluded: "We're very happy with the performance of the car. What happened to the driveshaft was a freak failure that we have never seen before and it was a real pity as otherwise Dani would have finished fifth overall, which would have been an astonishing achievement. Now we need to work carefully to find solutions to the problems we encountered, and aim for both a fast and reliable run at our next event."
The Honda Civic Type R will be back in action for the fifth round of the IRC, the asphalt Rally of Madeira, from August 2-4.