WRC

Rally Catalunya: Honda JAS Motorsport preview

BIG TEST FOR HONDA CIVIC TYPE R R3 ON THE CATALUNYA RALLY The Catalunya Rally this weekend in Spain marks a big test for the JAS Motorsport team, as for the first time its Honda Civic Type R R3 will take on equivalent cars in the highly ...

BIG TEST FOR HONDA CIVIC TYPE R R3 ON THE CATALUNYA RALLY

The Catalunya Rally this weekend in Spain marks a big test for the JAS Motorsport team, as for the first time its Honda Civic Type R R3 will take on equivalent cars in the highly competitive Junior Championship.

The all-new Civic made it world debut with a class win on the Sanremo Rally last weekend (part of the Intercontinental Rally Challenge) but it will face the World Championship for the first time this weekend with a single car for Dani Sola.

Dani Sola back in Spain to launch the Civic Type R R3

The Civic is built to the new R3 rules, which 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 roughly equivalent to a Super 1600 car, but at a much lower price. The Honda Civic Type R R3 is powered by a new Mugen engine, also conforming to the Group R regulations.

There will be a car launch for World Championship media on Thursday October 4 at 15h00 in the Junior Championship hospitality tent, and then the Honda will head off to the ceremonial start on the seafront in Salou. Once the proper action gets going on Friday morning, Sola will face 18 fast and flowing asphalt stages in front of his home crowd. While the Spaniard will not officially compete in the Junior Championship on the Catalunya Rally, he will run to exactly the same regulations as the junior drivers in order to have a valid comparison.

Catalunya is one of the quickest asphalt rallies on the calendar, where it is vital to take a clean racing line and cut the many corners correctly. However, it's equally important not too cut them too deeply, in order to minimise the risk of punctures. Sola has some experience of these stages from his time in the Spanish Rally Championship, and he also finished sixth overall on the Catalunya Rally in 2004 when it was based in Lloret de Mar, to the north of Barcelona.

Sola, who was Junior World Rally Champion in 2002, commented: "I'm really looking forward to competing at home in front of a strong field from the Junior Championship. The debut of the Honda Civic Type R R3 in Sanremo showed us that there was a lot of potential, and I want to underline that with a good result in Catalunya. The car is still of course extremely new, so this rally will be a big test and there are many questions. But hopefully our experience in Catalunya should go some way towards answering them. It's actually not a rally that I know particularly well since it moved to the south of Barcelona, but from what I can see it should suit our new Civic.

The new Honda Civic Type R R3, built by JAS Motorsport in Italy, will be eligible to compete full-time on the Junior Championship next year, as well as on a variety of national and international series.

-credit: jasmotorsport.com

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