WRC

R3: Honda JAS Motorsport Monte Carlo preview

HONDA CIVIC TYPE R R3 STARTS 2008 SEASON IN STYLE The all-new Honda Civic Type R R3 will get its 2008 season underway next weekend with the Monte Carlo Rally, the opening round of this year's FIA World Rally Championship from January ...

HONDA CIVIC TYPE R R3 STARTS 2008 SEASON IN STYLE

The all-new Honda Civic Type R R3 will get its 2008 season underway next weekend with the Monte Carlo Rally, the opening round of this year's FIA World Rally Championship from January 24-27.

Well-known Italian Luca Betti, navigated by Giovanni Agnese, will drive the single JAS Motorsport entry, having successfully campaigned the Honda Civic Type R on the Intercontinental Rally Challenge last year.

The new R3 rules have been set out by world motor sport's governing body, the FIA, as a template for the future of rallying. The class is for two-litre, two-wheel drive cars that have been built to a strict set of cost-effective criteria. Performance is similar to that of a Super 1600 car, but at a much lower price. The powerful engine of the Honda Civic Type R R3 has been further developed by Mugen, also conforming to the Group R regulations.

Betti will be taking part on the Monte Carlo Rally, the oldest and most prestigious event on the World Rally Championship, for the fourth time, following a best result of second in class last year. The event gets underway from the French city of Valence on Thursday night, with two stages in darkness, before 12 more stages in the Ardeche region on Friday and Saturday. The event concludes on Sunday in Monte Carlo after four stages over the legendary Col de Turini followed by a run around the spectator superspecial that uses parts of Monaco's famous Grand Prix circuit.

For JAS Motorsport and the Honda Civic Type R, Monte Carlo will be an entirely new experience. The car proved its credentials on icy and slippery asphalt, in conditions similar to those found near Monte Carlo, at the Rallye du Valais in Switzerland last year thanks to a giant-killing fifth place overall for Betti. Most recently, the Civic Type R took part in the season-closing Rally Great Britain last month, where the Spaniard Dani Sola demonstrated similar pace on gravel to some of the top Group N four-wheel drive cars.

Betti commented: "I'm really looking forward to the Monte Carlo Rally and I'm hoping to confirm the pace that we showed in Switzerland on these cold asphalt roads. Having competed on the Monte Carlo Rally last year I'm familiar with the stages in the Ardeche region, but the weather will certainly be an unpredictable factor. There is sure to have been some snow in recent days, but how much of it will be left on the rally route when we get there remains to be seen. I'm sure the team will do another fantastic job, so it's up to us to try our best!"

Alessandro Mariani, the team principal of Italian firm JAS Motorsport that has built and developed the Gr R version of the new Civic, added: "We're obviously very honoured to be taking part in an event as prestigious as the Monte Carlo Rally, and hopefully we will find a bit of snow there, which will be another new experience for our car. Along with Luca, we'll all be trying our very best to secure another good result."

-credit: jasmotorsport.com

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Series WRC
Drivers Giovanni Agnese , Luca Betti