OMV CNG wins historic first race

OMV CNG Team makes rally history The OMV CNG (compressed natural gas) Team has made rally history. Beppo Harrach and Andreas Schindlbacher won for the first time worldwide in a natural gas driven car at a run to an international Championship.

OMV CNG Team makes rally history

The OMV CNG (compressed natural gas) Team has made rally history. Beppo Harrach and Andreas Schindlbacher won for the first time worldwide in a natural gas driven car at a run to an international Championship. That this happened at the "Ostarrichi-Rallye" makes it a seminal victory since one and a half years ago it was at this very event where a natural gas Mitsubishi had been first employed. It is also remarkable that this win wasn't achieved with the new CNG Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX but with its precurser, the Evo VI.

Sensation at record speed

When 18 months ago a CNG Mitsubishi Lancer first entered the international rally stage top-10 results had been the professed goal. After all, there had been no experience with natural gas driven 4x4 vehicles. But Gunther Aschacher and the Stohl-Racing Team did their homework with enormous commitment. And at the Ostarrichi-Rallye 2007 they finally could reap the fruits of their labour. A world premiere that naturally also overjoys OMV driver Beppo Harrach: "It is incredible. One, of course, dreams at times of a sensation. But one almost can't believe it when it actually happens. This victory has a lot of fathers and was made possible by the cooperation of a whole team that has never stopped believing in this project."

Lead from special stage four on

After day one Beppo Harrach had still been in second place. But following the retirement of Franz Wittmann jun he took the lead from the first special stage of the second day on and constantly extended it. At the finish line he was 47,7 seconds ahead of Mario Saibel in the petrol-driven group A Mitsubishi. When the latter came closer during the rally the OMV CNG Team marked, with an average of 104,8 km/h, the fastest time of the whole rally on the next-to-last special stage. Result: a superior overall best-time. Harrach: "This championship run is far from being an easy one since one can inspect each special stage only three times. And the bad weather conditions added their own. In such a situation one has to be able to completely rely on one's co-driver. And Andreas Schindlbacher did a sensational job." Following 2004 (Castrol-Rallye) it was the second overall victory for Beppo Harrach at a run to the Austrian Rally Championship.

Due to the retirement of Martin Ertl the OMV CNG Team has also prematurely decided the OSK Cup for alternative-fuel-driven vehicles (Division IV) in their favour. Prior to the OMV Rally Waldviertel the 28-year-old man from Bruck leads by 48 points and cannot be overtaken anymore.

Final standings after eight special stages

01. Beppo Harrach/Andreas Schindlbacher, Mitsubishi Evo VI CNG 58:24,9 min.
02. Mario Saibel/Daniela Weissengruber, Mitsubishi Evo VIII +47,7 sec.
03. Willi Stengg/Jurgen Klinger, Mitsubishi Evo IX +1:06,1 min.
04. Andreas Waldherr/Richard Jeitler, VW Polo S2000 +1:10,5 min.
05. Hans Weijs/Hans Van Goor, Mitsubishi Evo IX +2:37,9 min.

Background information: Natural gas-driven vehicles

European transport policy has set itself the goal to reach a quota of 10 percent of natural gas-cars in the fuel market by 2020. In Austria alone the quota of natural gas-driven cars should increase to 50.000 by 2010. The specific advantage of natural gas is its clean combustion. It burns up residue-free and causes considerably less CO2 than other fuels. Natural gas furthermore reduces pollutant emissions and generates practically no fine particulate matter. Natural- and biogas as fuel can therefore contribute considerably to reducing greenhouse gas-, nitric oxide- and fine particulate matter-emissions and thereby serve air pollution control in Austria.

OMV Future Energy Fund

In June 2006, OMV has established the OMV Future Energy Fund, a wholly owned subsidiary to support projects in renewable energy with more than EUR 100 million to initiate the change from a pure oil and gas group to an energy group with renewable energy in its portfolio.

OMV Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)

OMV is actively committed to the values enshrined in its Code of Conduct. These include a strong sense of responsibility towards the social and natural environment in economically weak regions. OMV works hard to address economic, environmental and social issues related to its operations. Its CSR activities are fully documented in biannual performance reports compiled according to Global Reporting Initiative guidelines.


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About this article
Series Other rally , WRC
Drivers Hans Weijs , Andreas Waldherr