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Previews of upcoming events, Race & Rally Reports, News, Reviews, Letters and Regulation Information from Historic Motor Racing News.

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Contents October Issue:  Latest News - Bits & Pieces - Rally News Tour Auto, Rally Asturias, Scottish Malts, VSCC Mallory Park, Seven Questions with Jean Ragnotti, Monterey Motorsport Reunion, Oulton Park Gold Cup, French Championships, Historic Tour Val de Vienne, Hockenheim Historic, Vallelunga Classic, Goodwood Revival (four pages form Marcus Pye) and the Limonest Hillclimb

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Rally News

Like their track racing counterparts, historic rally drivers are obviously very keen to get back on the road. The organisers of the 2021 Roger Albert Clark Rally, scheduled for 25-29 November, were completely overwhelmed by the demand for places when the entry list opened. All 150 places were snapped up in less than two hours and the event now has a reserve list of nearly 50 cars.

Rally Manager Colin Heppenstall said: “The level of interest is overwhelming. This is the culmination of 14 years of organising and building the event and it is very clear that there is a big demand for forest rallying. This is a massive boost for the whole of UK forest rallying and the economies in the regions that we visit.”

There has not been a major UK forest rally since February 2020, and this event is generating business for car preparers, suppliers, engineers, tyre companies, fuel suppliers and more. A number of fresh car builds are now in hand, specifically for the rally. Meanwhile, the regions visited by the event are already reaping the benefit of hundreds of hotel rooms being booked in what is a very quiet time of the season.

The classic Mid-Wales forest special stages of Dyfnant, Gartheiniog and Dyfi will be used on the event for the first time this year in the event’s most ambitious Welsh leg to date. The Welsh leg follows three days of rallying in the north of England and southern Scotland, as the 2021 Roger Albert Clark Rally becomes the longest and toughest special stage rally in Great Britain since the 1991 Lombard RAC Rally. Thirty years ago Juha Kankkunen and Juha Piironen won the final round of the World Rally Championship in a Lancia Delta Integrale. The 351-stage mile route used that year included a number of stages that will be used this November.

From this year the Rally de Portugal Historico will expand its eligibility criteria to welcome cars built up to 1986. However, in order not to discourage the earlier cars, always a feature of this event, the Classic Category, for period E and F cars (1946 to 1965) and under 1600cc cars up to 1967, will have its own podium and the winner will receive “an exceptional prize.” Another novelty this year will be the running of some regularity sections on closed roads. The 15th edition of this popular event will be on 4-10 October, starting and ending in the resort town of Estoril as part of the ‘Speed Week’ celebrations there. Entries are now open. See rallyportugalhistoric.eu for details.

In a recent interview, incoming Historic Motor Sport Commission President John Naylor was asked how the FIA will promote the European Historic Rally Championship to enable it to grow in the next few years?

“2021 is not the year to think about growth, although I am all for growth.” said Naylor.  “At the moment we have to make sure the existing events are supported and run within the COVID-19 protocols.  We need to get to the end of the pandemic, with everyone getting vaccinations, then we can start to think how we are going to grow the championship.  Having said that, even under these difficult circumstances, we received entries from new competitors ahead of the first rally in Italy, which is another good sign that we are going in the right direction.”

“The FIA is also being proactive, providing the organisers and competitors with new tools for registering, we are looking at attracting more media coverage and more video features on each of the rallies across the website and social media channels, making the championship more visible.  All these things go towards making the EHRC more popular, which in turn brings more competitors.”

“One of the other things we are looking to include is another gravel rally on the calendar, not for this year or, maybe not even for 2022, but for the mid-term.  This would help grow the status of the championship.”

France is suffering badly from the effects of the pandemic, and with it the 100 teams that signed up for this year’s Rallye des Princesses.  Having had to cancel their event in 2020, for the second year running, Viviane Zaniroli and her team are amongst the many French organisers that have had to once again put off their activities until next year.  The Rallye des Princesses, scheduled for June 2021, will next run in 2022.

After the cancellation of the event in 2020 due to travel restrictions, the Automobile Club de Portugal confirmed that the Rallye de Portugal Histórico, considered the best European regularity rally, will take place on 4-10 0ctober 2021 as part of the Estoril Classics Week.

With its traditional start in the holiday resort of Estoril, the overnight towns have not yet been confirmed.  However it has been confirmed that the rally will return to Estoril on Friday October 8 for the famous “Sintra Night”.  On Saturday 9, the rally will join the Estoril circuit for the festivities of the Estoril Classics Week and the Peter Auto race meeting on the Estoril circuit.

Sadly organisers of the Eifel Rally Festival, scheduled this year for 22-24 July have decided to postpone the tenth running of the event until 2022.  “The Eifel Rallye Festival exists principally for its participants and the thousands of fans.  Demonstration drives of historic rally cars, the enthusiastic fans out on the stages, autograph requests, petrol-head chatter, worldwide meeting of rally drivers all sharing the pleasure of reminiscing about the sport and its cars – this is what makes our Festival so very special,” explained organisation manager Otmar Anschütz.  “Unfortunately, in 2021 we cannot ensure that this can all happen as we would like to see it.  For example, there is currently no certainty that there will be freedom of travel in July, at least in Europe, so it is with a heavy heart that we have decided to extend the period of patience for another twelve months.”

Moving the Festival into the autumn is not an option, as the event’s home city of Daun can only provide the required infrastructure during the school holidays.  “We have planned a lot for the tenth anniversary.  Now we will extend the preparations for another year and then celebrate a great tenth edition together with EVERYONE in July 2022!” Anschütz added.

Due to run for the second time last year, but like so many other events, cancelled at the last minute, the Gravel Romania Historic Rally promises to be challenging with a five-day route and 24 ES, for a total of 391kms of timed special stages, all on 100% gravel.  Open to cars up to the end of 1990, with or without HTP, the rally offers a pure speed section and a regularity category, as well as a LEGENDE class.

Planted in the heart of Transylvania, this event features a changing landscape each day, between forest, plains and mountains, with a single location, the village of Cheia, 30kms from the city of Brasov, for night stops in the Cheile Gradisteï Moeciu Resort & Spa hotel.

The event is scheduled for 22-26 June and entries are now open at romania-historic-rally.com.

The 36th Historic Sanremo Rally opened both the Italian and FIA Historic Rally Championship seasons on 7-8 April.  Back on the FIA calendar after a five-year absence, some 75 crews, of which over 20 were contesting the FIA Championship, were at the start line, including three past winners and six of 2019’s top ten finishers.  These included defending FIA Champions and 2019 Sanremo winners ‘Lucky’ and Fabrizia Pons, in their Lancia HF Integrale, and arch-rival Lucio Da Zanche co-driven by Daniele De Luis in a Porsche 911 SC RS with the number 2 on its doors.  This crew has won three Sanremo Storicos (2011, 2012 and 2018) and put in a further six podium appearances in 17 participations.  Another FIA Championship regular, ‘Zippo’ Zivian, driving an Audi Quattro co-driven by Denis Piceno was on the hunt for some early-season points.  In all, the entry list included teams from 13 different nations.

2019 winners, and FIA Championship title holders ‘Lucky’ and Fabrizia Pons were sidelined by “a small accident” on day 2.  Photos ©Fotomagnano

In the end, the event was dominated by Lucio Da Zanche, winning 10 of the 14 special stages for the overall and the FIA victory. Some pressure was off when the Lancia of ‘Lucky’ and Pons retired on the opening stage of day 2, after what was described as a ‘small accident’, in a field that saw over 20 retirements.

For a full report, see our May 2021 issue

Two Corsican rally greats, Jean-Pierre Manzagol and Ange-Marie Venturini are working on their plans for the recently-announced, Aléria Historic Rally, which will take place in on 9-12 June on the eastern coast and in the centre of the island (see our March issue). Venturini will be driving his ex- Andruet, Darniche, Thérier and Nicolas Alpine Berlinetta that he has owned since 1975 under the number 0, while Manzagol is preparing a Renault R5 Group 2 (also from the ‘70s), with which he intends to compete for the Terre-Asphalte trophy. “The idea of a historic rally here in Corsica combining the two playing fields is excellent.” said Manzagol of the mixed surface rally organised by Yves Loubet and Dume Savignoni. “A very good rally like this was lacking. Especially since on gravel, in Corsica, we didn’t have much until now. You had to dare to invent it,” he added. “Corsica is made for rallying,” commented Venturini. “On top of that, looking at the route, it’s clear that the Aléria Historic was mapped out by true rallymen.” Competitors can tackle either the Asphalt or gravel rally, or both. There is also a regularity class for the Asphalt rally. See aleriahistoricrally.fr for entries.

While the Ypres Rally Belgium has moved to August to become a round of the World Rally Championship, the Ypres Historic Rally plans to run on the event’s traditional date of June 27. The 28th edition of the Historic Rally, which is a round of the Historic Belgian Championship, will have a route covering three different special stages, organised separately from the WRC event. “We have chosen to organise the Historic Rally on our traditional date,” said Jan Huyghe of Club Superstage. “We are creating an additional event to support the local hospitality industry, and it will be an ideal warm-up for the WRC round.”