Rally Sweden: Support classes preview

Rally Sweden: Support classes preview

PWRC preview: Rally Sweden

The Production Car World Rally Championship is set for another bumper season in 2011 with an entry list brimming in quality and quantity.

Drivers must nominate six events from a list of seven on which to score points and 14 have selected Rally Sweden, which is based in Karlstad from 10-13 February, as their first scoring event of the year in the class for two-litre, turbocharged, four-wheel-drive production cars.

Patrik Flodin begins the season among the favourites having finished a close second to Armindo Araujo in the 2010 title race. With the Portuguese looking to progress his career by stepping up to a World Rally Car, Flodin is one driver who will be capable of capitalising on Araujo's absence starting on his home round in Sweden.

Flodin won the PWRC division on this event last season and will be hoping to make the most of the continuity factor provided by a second term with the Russian Uspenskiy Rally Tecnica squad in a Subaru Impreza WRX STi.

After finishing third in the final PWRC standings last season New Zealander Hayden Paddon also has title-winning credentials in his Symtech Racing Impreza. Paddon begins his campaign on the gravel roads of Portugal in late March having elected not to count Rally Sweden as one of his six scoring events, leaving Flodin with added incentive to achieve a maximum score in Scandinavia.

Norwegian Anders Grondal starts Rally Sweden on the back of winning the opening two rounds of his national championship recently and is highly adept at competing on snow and ice. He finished second in the PWRC section of the event in 2010 and will be out to go one better this year. His co-driver, Veronica Engan, is the girlfriend of Fiesta RS WRC driver Mads Ostberg.

Martin Semerad has shown plenty of promise during his two seasons spent in the PWRC so far and will be a contender for a podium finish in Sweden in his family-run Mitsubishi Lancer. The university student has made a full recovery from the leg injuries he suffered in an accident on a round of the Czech championship last season.

Finnish veteran Jukka Ketomaki has prior knowledge of the Rally Sweden stages, as does Italian gentleman driver Gianluca Linari. Ex-Fiesta SportTrophy International frontrunners Majed Al Shamsi and Bader Al Jabri will make their PWRC debuts in a brace of Team Abu Dhabi Subaru Imprezas.

Four drivers from Ukraine will compete in the PWRC this season including Oleksandr Saliuk, a four-time national champion, and Valeriy Gorban, who has taken his domestic crown on two occasions in the past. Yuriy Protasov, Ukrainian champion in 2008, will also be in action, as well countryman Oleksiyi Kikireshko.

Peruvian champion Nicolas Fuchs is an unknown quantity at world level and has never driven on snow before. The same cannot be said for Mexican Ricardo Trivinho who has competed in Sweden two times in the past and has contested more than 25 WRC events.

Russian Dmitry Tagirov completes the list of PWRC runners in a Subaru Impreza, the bulk of who were finalising their final preparations during a test in Sweden today (Monday).

WRC Academy interest grows with fresh intake

The latest intake of drivers for the WRC Academy has been revealed, which brings the total number of registrations for the all-new category to 12.

Miguel Baldoni (Argentina), Alastair Fisher (United Kingdom), Egon Kaur (Estonia), Yeray Lemes (Spain), Miko-Ove Niinemae (Estonia), and Jose Suarez (Spain) have all signed up for the young driver training series, which gets underway on Vodafone Rally de Portugal at the end of March.

They will join the six Pirelli Star Drivers for 2011, Fredrik Ahlin (Sweden), Craig Breen (Ireland), Jan Cerny (Czech Republic), Andrea Crugnola (Italy), Brendan Reeves (Australia) and Molly Taylor (Australia), whose participation in the WRC Academy was confirmed towards the end of last year.

It means there are now only 12 places remaining for six-event WRC support class, which uses M-Sport-prepared Ford Fiesta R2s as standard. Although registrations do not formerly close until 31 March, they are subject to availability and drivers must register prior to the end of January to ensure their Fiesta is prepared in time for Portugal's WRC counter.

The latest intake demonstrates the international appeal of the WRC Academy, which boasts representatives from nine different countries and three different continents.

Alastair Fisher, who graduates from the British Rally Championship, explained why he chose the WRC Academy for his next career move.

"It's a chance to learn six world championship rallies in a level playing field because all the cars are identical," said Fisher, a 22-year-old from construction engineering and management university student from Northern Ireland.

Crews will pay approximately 135,000 Euros for a season in the WRC Academy, which WRC Commission president Jarmo Mahonen believes will help to make the world championship accessible for young drivers: "We want to make the WRC accessible and with the FIA WRC Academy we have a first step on the ladder for new drivers and a scheme with all the ingredients for success. It will be an excellent learning ground for all taking part and it will be available at a realistic budget."

-source: wrc

shares
comments
Rally Sweden: FERM M-Sport preview
Previous article

Rally Sweden: FERM M-Sport preview

Next article

Rally Sweden: Series preview

Rally Sweden: Series preview
Load comments
The WRC heirs scrapping to assume Ogier's throne in 2022 Prime

The WRC heirs scrapping to assume Ogier's throne in 2022

Eight-time World Rally Championship king Sebastien Ogier has abdicated (well, gone part-time) in 2022, meaning for just the second time in the past decade we will have a different champion this year. We pick out the drivers gunning to take his place and take over the mantle as the WRC's new ruler

WRC
16 h
The WRC star that's earned the right to lead M-Sport's revival Prime

The WRC star that's earned the right to lead M-Sport's revival

Part-time opportunities with Citroen and Hyundai have offered brief glimpses of what Craig Breen can do in a World Rally Championship car. Now signed up by M-Sport to lead it into the WRC's new hybrid era, Breen has been given the chance he's pursued for so long and is determined to make the most of it

WRC
Jan 18, 2022
Why the WRC's 'modern Group B' era was rallying at its bonkers best Prime

Why the WRC's 'modern Group B' era was rallying at its bonkers best

The World Rally Championship has brought down the curtain on the aggressive, aero-laden generation of cars first introduced in 2017 that have been likened to the 1980s Group B icons. As the championship prepares to begin a new era of Rally1 hybrid cars, its stars explain just why the outgoing machines were so special

WRC
Dec 24, 2021
Ranking the top 10 WRC drivers of 2021 Prime

Ranking the top 10 WRC drivers of 2021

On the eve of a new hybrid era for the World Rally Championship, the 2021 season was a blockbuster fought out between Toyota's two top dogs, with a familiar figure eventually emerging on top after a final showdown at Monza. We pick out the 10 best performers from the top class and its supporting cast

WRC
Dec 21, 2021
Why Ogier's WRC swansong was a season to savour Prime

Why Ogier's WRC swansong was a season to savour

He’s shuffling into semi-rally-retirement, but Toyota star Sebastien Ogier was at the peak of his powers in the final season for the high downforce era-World Rally Championship cars. Despite Toyota's domination, there was still much to enjoy as the old master emerged atop a fierce title fight against teammate Elfyn Evans.

WRC
Dec 19, 2021
How WRC legend Ogier will be remembered by his peers Prime

How WRC legend Ogier will be remembered by his peers

After winning his eighth WRC title, Sebastien Ogier has drawn the curtain on his full-time rallying career. To understand Ogier's legacy, many of his former rivals, team-mates and colleagues have shared their thoughts on a vastly successful career

WRC
Nov 26, 2021
Ranking lost WRC legend Richard Burns' 10 best rallies Prime

Ranking lost WRC legend Richard Burns' 10 best rallies

Richard Burns was a determined driver who took on the best rally drivers in the world during a boom period in the early 2000s, and beat them. On the 20th anniversary of his crowning glory in winning the 2001 WRC title, and 16 years on from his death on the same date, we pick out his 10 greatest drives

WRC
Nov 25, 2021
The internal focus that made Burns a legendary world rally champion Prime

The internal focus that made Burns a legendary world rally champion

At the turn of the millennium, WRC was full to the brim with rallying's great and good - and 20 years ago on this day, Richard Burns became England's first world rally champion. Although Burns' natural talent drove him to the top, his steely determination and mental strength was the key attribute behind his title-winning form

WRC
Nov 25, 2021