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Archive for the ‘rally cars’ Category

PostHeaderIcon Travis Pastrana Goes Full Throttle at Wild New NRX Track

Subaru WRX STI- $36,095

Travis Pastrana didn’t mince his words describing the NRX track, calling it a “hell track for cars.” Pastrana knows a thing or two about hell track for racers. He’s competed — and won — in supercross, motocross, freestyle motocross, and rally racing. But even with his accomplishments, Pastrana still paid reverence to the track that will be used in the Nitro World Games by taking us on a flying lap around the circuit.

PostHeaderIcon Volkswagen Polo R WRC

Introduced for the 2013 racing season as Volkswagen’s first WRC-spec factory car since the 1990 Golf Rally G60, the Polo R WRC went on to dominate the sport by winning three back-to-back World Rally Championships through 2015. Having dominated each and every season since it returned to WRC, Volkswagen is gunning for more success starting 2017 with a new Polo-based racer.

Under development since summer 2015, when the FIA released the new regulations for the World Rally Car class, the 2017 Polo R WRC is previewed as a significant improvement over its predecessor. Just like any evolution out there, the new rally-spec compact is set to be lighter, more powerful and more aerodynamic. In other words, Ford and Hyundai have plenty of things to worry about for 2017 if they don’t shape up over the next 12 months.

Details about the next-gen Polo R WRC are still very limited, and the actual car was only shown as a rendering, but Volkswagen provided just enough information for us to have a closer look at Wolfsburg’s upcoming rally weapon. An unveiling is planned toward the end of 2016 with the official debut to take place at the Rally Monte Carlo in January 2017. Stay tuned for updates!

Continue reading to learn more about the 2017 Volkswagen Polo R WRC.


PostHeaderIcon Mini Gears Up For The Dakar Rally: Video

For those of us residing in the northern hemisphere, January kicks off the gradual countdown to spring – that long thaw to lengthier days and warmer temperatures. But that means summer is already in full swing south of the equator, which provides the right sort of climate for one of the most ruthless long-distance races on the planet – the Dakar Rally. Spanning well over 5,500 miles of brutal, car-killing, spine-shattering terrain, the Dakar is a challenge unlike any other, but for four years running, Mini has walked away with top honors. This year, the marque looks to add a fifth notch to its belt, as evidenced by this desert shakedown video.

Hit play, and one thing will become abundantly obvious – this is no ordinary Mini. The composite body panels are fashioned after the showroom model, but that’s where the similarities end. Underneath, the beastly machine you see here is actually a tube-frame chassis stuffed with a torque-monster diesel engine, ultra-heavy-duty suspension components, and copious underbody skid protection.

Of course, that’s to be expected, considering what the Mini is up against. Sharp gravel, high heat, treacherous mountain passes, hidden boulders – it’s all in a day’s work when racing the Dakar.


PostHeaderIcon WRC 2015 Season Highlights: Video

If you wanna talk about the World Rally Championship, you could sum up 2015 by saying Sebastien Ogier took home his third championship title, but you’d be skipping out on most of the excitement of an action-packed season. Alongside the Frenchman’s nearly flawless performance was drama of every sort, including the rise of young talent (Elfyn Evans), the brief return of a legend (Sebastien Loeb), and a truly epic three-way battle in Sweden. Of course, it’s difficult to fit all the thrills and spills of WRC 2015 into a single introductory paragraph, but if brevity is what you’re after, hit play for two and a half minutes of rally-style goodness.

You know the drill – spectacular natural scenery, sky-scraping high-speed jumps, expertly executed power slides, and jaw-dropping crashes. These are the things you can count on when it comes to professional rally racing, and WRC 2015 delivered as expected. Add some angles from the helicopter up top, and footage of AWD systems churning for traction down low, and you’ve got icing for that cake.

This is the kind of thing that gets me stoked for the upcoming season. WRC 2016 kicks off in Monte Carlo on January 22nd. Look for coverage right here on TopSpeed.


PostHeaderIcon WRC 2015 – Rally Portugal

Volkswagen enjoyed another dominating run in the latest round of the 2015 WRC season, taking every position on the podium in Portugal. Standing at top honors was Jari-Matti Latvala, who managed to stave off a hard charge from defending world champion Sebastien Ogier, ending the weekend only 8.2 seconds ahead of his teammate. At third was Andreas Mikkelsen, who finished 20.4 seconds behind the rally leader.

Latvala managed to capitalize on his back marker starting position by shooting to the top position Friday afternoon, taking full advantage of the cleaner road conditions offered by the swept gravel stages. It was the 13th career victory for the 30-year-old driver, who had not seen a win since October of 2014.

“After the last three rallies some people were doubting if I would come back,” Latvala told WRC.com. “It was one of the worst situations in my rally career so to come and win here is unique. I really appreciate this victory feeling.”

With a fresh infusion of points, Latvala climbs from ninth to fifth in the driver’s championship. Meanwhile, Ogier increased his championship lead to a 42-point margin.

Northern Irishman Kris Meeke, who clinched victory in the previous round at Argentina, was the only challenger to VW’s dominance, becoming embroiled in a fight with Mikkelsen for third. Unfortunately for Meeke, a broken anti-roll bar on his Citroen DS3 allowed Mikkelsen to slip by, knocking him back to fourth place.

Meanwhile, Ott Tanak came in fifth in his Ford Fiesta RS, besting Dani Sordo in his Hyundai i20.

Next, the WRC heads to Italy for more gravel at the Rally Italia Sardegna June 11th through 14th.

Continue reading for the full story.

WRC 2015 – Rally Portugal originally appeared on topspeed.com on Monday, 1 June 2015 07:00 EST.

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PostHeaderIcon Inside Rally Racing

So there you are, deep in the woods of some European country, huddled around a crackling fire, cradling a warm beverage to stave off the frostbite in your fingertips. Spots of ice keep you from wandering too far, as does the cheery atmosphere of the locals. Murmurs of several different dialects mix with the floating wood smoke, while a collection of colorful flags flit among the branches.

Then you hear it – the rising crescendo of an un-muffled turbo four-cylinder at full song, popping through the gears with shocking alacrity, each upshift accompanied by a heady tailpipe explosion. The crowd around you is hushed, and all attention turns to a narrow dirt road slithering its way through the trees.

The sound builds, until finally, it bursts over the crest – a brightly stickered race car takes flight, giving you a clear view of the battered skid plate underneath. The suspension droops like landing gear as the winged hatchback sails past you, and for a brief moment, you see two helmets brace for impact in the cockpit. Momentum carries the car well over a hundred feet until it reconnects with the ground, and you watch as the rear squirms under braking before disappearing around the following bend in a sideways spray of frozen mud, covering nearby trees and spectators alike. The exhaust note fades, replaced by the cheers of all around you.

This is rally racing. It’s a contest characterized by ruthless conditions, unyielding machinery, outrageous talent, and gut-wrenching crashes. In this article, we’ll delve into some of the finer points of what makes this one of the most exciting sports in the world.

Click Continue Reading to learn more about rally.

Inside Rally Racing originally appeared on topspeed.com on Thursday, 12 March 2015 16:00 EST.

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PostHeaderIcon WRC 2015 – Rally Guanajuato México

With the frozen drama of last month’s ice and snow-covered Rally Sweden in the history books, the WRC headed to the high, dusty trails of Mexico for the first gravel rally of 2015.

Featuring sharp rocks, loose dirt and obstacle-lined roads, Mexico would present significant challenges to this year’s competitors, with more than a few learning first-hand just how punishing it can be.

Rally Guanajuato Mexico is the most elevated round of the year, never dipping below 5,910 feet above sea level, with a maximum altitude of 8,860 feet. This put a huge strain on the turbocharged engines, with power outputs dropping by as much as 30 percent in the thin air.

Going into this third round of the season, Volkswagen’s Sebastien Ogier led the driver’s championship with 53 points, followed by Hyundai’s Thierry Neuville in second with 30 points. Two additional VWs followed, with Andreas Mikkelsen also carrying 30 points and Jari-Matti Latvala in fourth with 19 points. Citroen’s Mads Ostberg held fifth with 14 points.

Click Continue Reading for more from 2015 Rally Guanajuato Mexico.

WRC 2015 – Rally Guanajuato México originally appeared on topspeed.com on Monday, 9 March 2015 16:00 EST.

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PostHeaderIcon Ford Fiesta R2

Ford launched its Fiesta R2 program back in 2010 to help young and inexperienced drivers learn the ropes of rally racing and move their way up the ladder in the sport. From the R2, the ladder moves drivers up to the Fiesta R5 and later up to the RS WRC, but they must first master this lower-powered rig, and dominate all the other drivers that Ford is testing. For the 2015 racing season, Ford has launched a new Fiesta R2, and it debuted the model at the Geneva Auto Show.

This new subcompact rally rig features Ford’s award-winning 1.0-liter EcoBoost engine, but its wick is turned up beyond its standard 123-horsepower mark. This small-displacement, “relatively” low-powered engine is a great jumping-off point for up-and-coming rally drivers, as it helps them focus on controlling the car rather than reining in a super-powerful engine.

Continue reading to learn more about the 2015 Ford Fiesta R2.

Ford Fiesta R2 originally appeared on topspeed.com on Thursday, 5 March 2015 12:00 EST.

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PostHeaderIcon WRC 2015 – Rallye Monte Carlo

A brand-new season of the World Rally Championship was launched last week in the frigid mountain passes of southern France. Steeped in history and glamour, the “Monte” is undoubtedly one of the most prestigious racing events in the world, with a reputation for drama and stunning natural beauty stretching all the way back to 1911. Speaking to press Thursday, former WRC champion Ari Vatanen described the rally as “like a princess, like the only girl of a rich family, somewhat spoiled, difficult. You can’t tame this event.”

Roughly 75 percent of the route was new for 2015, offering a fresh batch of challenges to the teams and drivers that dared to traverse the treacherous tarmac stages. Chief amongst them was Sébastien Loeb, past winner of an unprecedented nine consecutive WRC championship titles, who would make a guest appearance in a Citroen DS 3 at this year’s event for “fun”.

Stepping up to challenge this former titan of the sport was another Frenchman, current champion Sébastien Ogier, who arrived with every intention of beginning his run at a third world title.

Stage 1 kicked off Thursday night in the freezing, inky darkness, as each car fired up its headlight pods to help illuminate the highly variable road conditions. Tire choice was particularly tricky, with half of the stage on exposed tarmac, half covered in snow, and plenty of slippery ice patches dotted in between.

As current champion, it was Ogier who would set the pace with a blast into 2015. Given the particularly hazardous road conditions presented by these first two stages of the season, the Volkswagen driver wisely exercised a good deal of discretion, but still managed to net the second fastest time of the day.

Unfortunately, there was no such luck for Hyundai driver Dani Sordo, who was the first to fall victim to unpredictable grip levels. Misjudging the braking into a left-hander early in his run, Sordo accidently parked the frontend of his i20 into a ditch. Co-driver Marc Martí exited the vehicle to physically encourage it back onto the road, resulting in a 40 second loss for the Spanish driver.

But it was Loeb who handily took the rally lead, cutting ahead of Ogier’s time by more than 13 seconds. While the former champion may have touted his WRC return as simply an excursion for enjoyment, it was clear from the off that Loeb’s tour of Monte Carlo would be anything but a pleasure cruise.

Click past the jump to read more about the 2015 Rallye Monte Carlo.

WRC 2015 – Rallye Monte Carlo originally appeared on topspeed.com on Tuesday, 27 January 2015 10:00 EST.

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