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GP Week : Issue 148
WRC >>> news More turbos coming Mads Ostberg’s victory on the Rally of Portugal has raised the debate about the greatest result of a truly private entrant on a world championship rally. Leading candidate is of course Walter Boyce who drove his privately owned Toyota Corolla on the 1973 Press on Regardless Rally, the WRC event run in Michigan state, USA. On this event the only truly professional competitors were the official Polski Fiat team, whose cars failed to finish. In 1978, at the Monte Carlo rally, there was a very popular win by the sometimes professional driver Jean-Pierre Nicolas, who on this occasion privately rented a Porsche from the Almeras company and beat the best drivers from Fiat and Renault. It is difficult to categorise the victory for Bernard Darniche on the Tour de Corse in 1981, the final victory for the famous Lancia Stratos cars, as a private success, because it was run by the French Lancia importer’s Chardonnet team, In 1987 Austrian driver Franz Wittmann drove his ex-works Lancia to victory in the Rally of New Zealand because the event that year which had been demoted to Driver- only status in the championship, on which the only works opposition came from the two-wheel-drive VW team. And then in 1993 Gianfranco Cunico drove the national importer’s Ford to victory in Sanremo Rally. Which brings us neatly round to 2012 and the win in Portugal. So is young Ostberg the most deserving ‘privateer’ winner of all time? IS OSTBERG'S WRC WIN THE GREATEST BY A PRIVATEER? The performance of Yazeed Al Rajhi’s 1.6 litre turbo S2000 car during the Rally of Portugal was the latest manifestation of the FIA’s objective at rationalising engine development across the sport. This trend is aimed at helping to control costs of motorsport in an ecological way while respecting the trends on the automotive market place. Yazeed’s comments regarding the comparative capability with the normally aspirated 2-litre S2000s showed that turbocharging does not imply superior power. WRC Academy driver Elfyn Evans meanwhile explained the trends in the British rally championship, now restricted to two-wheel-drive cars, where the two dominant models are the 2.0 litre normally- aspirated Renault Clio R3 and the 1.6 litre turbo Citroen DS3 R3T: “The Clio has a lot more power and that means on the faster roads it is faster but the DS3 is clearly better on more twisty roads.” Recently announced in Japan is the Toyota 1.6 turbo engine project. At this time the end destination of this engine, which is based on a Global engine concept (purpose designed) block is unknown. And in view of the general wish of Japanese manufacturers to push for hybrid engines concepts in rallying this engine may have no immediate rally future, however attractive it might be for a World Rally Car engine, but the thought is there. Strange to think that it was only two years ago, with the arrival of the Peugeot 207RC rally car, that this 1.6 turbo movement really got off the ground. Franz Wittmann drove his ex-works Lancia to victory in the Rally of New Zealand in 1987 (above), while Jean- Pierre Nicholas' Monte Carlo win in 1978 (right) is also a contender ... 16 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: