October 1, 2019

AH svezhiy


A new rotation system must be created in WRC. One of the first events to pay off next year is the Tour de Corse, while Kenya, Japan and New Zealand are, as expected, their return, loïc Rocci

Contrary to Yves Matton's assertion in Turkey (see Ah n ° 2234), it will not have been necessary to wait until October 4th to know the calendar 2020. Waited in June, it is in conformity with the information gathered these last months . Between Monte Carlo and Sardinia, the beginning of the year will be "classic", even if Chile and Argentina will swap their order. The second part is more upset, but not surprisingly. The FFSA has not applied, it was long since the Tour de Corse would not be there. If the promoter of the WRC has never hidden his dislike for the tricolor race organized on the island of beauty, this absence is still criticized with a French world champion and the involvement of Citroën. The FIA ​​wishing to try again a rotation system that has yet shown its limits, Nicolas Deschaux, the president of the FFSA, has already announced that France would return to the program in 2021 and 2022. This news is accompanied by unknowns since nothing does not say that the rally will be established in Corsica, where the financial aspect is problematic. These location and funding issues also explain the absence of Australia. Having lost some of its support, the Aussie round was under pressure from the promoter, who wanted a location more rewarding than Coffs Harbor. It remains to be seen if it will reappear in 2021, which will be the case of Spain. By deciding to agree to miss 2020 despite a contract, the RACC organizers have guaranteed their presence in 2021 and 2022. Events in the 2020 calendar will therefore have to give way. Long on the hot seat, the German stage - traditionally summer but postponed in October, which will make it more selective - should pass his turn. To replace France, Australia and Spain, the FIA ​​has chosen three countries that have already hosted the WRC, but which are coming back in new forms.


The integration of Japan and Kenya had been taking place for several months. After Obihiro and Sapporo, the Japanese rally will be Nagoya nerve center, which will be held for the first time on the tar and will close the season. Hello weather ... The return of "Safari", after 17 years of absence, will be accompanied by many questions about the hardness of the ground and safety. Not knowing how to prepare for this challenge without testing on site and with a number of days trial down, the teams have rather disapproved of this move. FIA side, the message is reassuring,

Jean Todt explains that "/ a round of 2020 will have nothing comparable with what the champbnnat has known in the past. In this period of cost reduction, a third overseas trip is scheduled to take place in New Zealand, a race that has been absent from the championship since 2012. If it is not the most popular with the public, it will delight competitors with its special stages as well. wonderful than his landscapes. Auckland should serve as a basis, but nothing has been announced about a possible rotation with Australia as it was attempted in 2009-2010. Among the shady areas, there is the Rally of Turkey whose hardness and anonymity in which it unfolded do not satisfy the teams. The presence, for the second consecutive year, of Jean Todt in Marmaris had brought part of the answer and the decried appointment retains its place as well as the Wales. Under pressure, the Welsh organizers have introduced several changes (leaving Liverpool, park in the center of Llandudno ...) to avoid a move to Ireland. Even before its 75th edition this weekend, Wales is confirmed for 2020, but postponed by one month. It will not forget his boots! ■


The return of Kenya, after 17 years of absence, is feared by the teams.




Seen in World RX, the EKS team of Mattias Ekstrôm should evolve into a rally next year. If the Swedish boss-driver has not yet unveiled how, it will be with a Skoda Fabia R5.



General repetition in Morocco

Last round of the FIA ​​World Cup Cross-Country Rally, the Rally of Morocco (5-9 October) will serve as a great rally before the Dakar. Especially since the field will be very close to the one that competitors will face in Saudi Arabia in January.

The number one attraction will be Fernando Alonso, who will again be supported by Marc Coma. After a first appearance at the wheel of the Toyota Hilux, at the beginning of September, during a small rally-raid in Namibia, the Spaniard will rub this time with the gratin of the discipline. And in the first place to his teammates at Overdrive, team that aligns seven other Hilux. Nasser Al-Attiyah, Bernhard Ten Brinke and Giniel de Villiers will be grouped under the Toyota Gazoo Racing South Africa banner, which is in a way the official team. The other four will be driven by Saudi Yazeed Al-Rahji, Frenchman Ronan Chabot, Dutchman Erik Van Loon and Russian Viktor Khoroshatsev. In addition to a general training for the crews, the challenge for Toyota-Overdrive is to allow Al-Attiyah, leader of the World Cup with 9 points ahead of Stéphane Peterhansel, to win a fifth title in the discipline. Co-piloted by his wife Andrea, the Frenchman will be there, who will find for the occasion the driving of a Mini JCW buggy, the second being entrusted to Carlos Sainz and Lucas Cruz. Victim of the decline in the budget allocated by Red Bull, the X-Raid team was forced to separate from Cyril Despres. The latter will also line up in Morocco two Mini JCW 4x4 for the Polish Jakub Przygonski and the Chilean gentleman-driver Boris Garafulic. Also at the start will be the "Borgward" (built on a chassis ex-Mitsubishi) of Nani Roma, as well as two new Toyota Land Cruiser T2 registered in "Open" and entrusted to Christian Lavieille and Philippe Gache, which ensured the development. Starting from Fes on October 5, before moving into the desert and returning to Fez, the rally of Morocco is divided into five stages, with 1655 km of selective sectors.


Include (in the WRC 2020 calendar) Japan in "emblematic events"? Yves Matton has successfully passed his optional entrance exam "language of wood". And what does Turkey and its stony roads for wheelbarrow drivers still do in this increasingly selective calendar?

Jefferson lannelli


Happy to see New Zealand and the Safari (on the WRC 2020 calendar). But what a shame to turn Corsica and Australia! It is Turkey, Chile and Mexico that had to be cleared, these rallies are useless. And Japan, we did very well too.

François Martin


with Alexey Popov

"I'm doing the best job in the world"

With his silver mane, porcelain face and perfect French, it's impossible not to notice. For 27 years, Alexey Popov is the voice of F1 in Russia. For AUlOhebdo, the Muscovite has put the dishes in large by inviting us to a walk around the Olympic Park in Sochi aboard a Lamborghini LM002.

Find me on the parking lot behind the accreditation center, I went to hide myself a little there, because when I arrived on the spot, the fans fell on me ". Welcome to the life of Alexey Popov, commentator of the Formula 1 Grand Prix on Russian television. It must be said that the impressive vehicle he drives on Thursday morning in Sochi, does not help the journalist to go unnoticed. This Lamborghini LM002 which exalts a power all Slavic, it has left the museum of the autodrome neighbor by the intermediary of a friend as passionate as him. Engine, action.


I tried to do something interesting for you, because I saw that the guys were coming out of beautiful cars for this section (laughs). I already piloted it once, a few years ago. It looks like an all-terrain vehicle, but it's a propulsion. It is the first luxury SUV (produced from 1986 to 1993. Editor's note), a kind of precursor. Today, all the builders of the world make it, including Lamborghini with Urus.

It is a beautiful model that I have already driven too, but it is all alone, while this one is more sport. Now that I think about it, I think it might not be a good idea. I'm going to look tense on all the pictures (laughs). And then I thought we were in Russia, the country of 4x4 and bad roads. Well, here in Sochi, it's good because it's modern. But in the deep countryside, some roads are not paved. So it's the fashion for military-inspired SUVs. Now it's the same in big cities. You take Moscow, where I live, the road is nickel, but people have big SUVs as soon as they can buy one.


Did you see the pit lane just now? It's not on every race that we see so many people at the circuit on a Thursday. Sochi is a city with only 400,000 inhabitants and there are probably FI fans in the mix, but the rest came from all over Russia for the race. They chose to take their holidays and spend their money around this event.

We stop for a first series of photos and a small crowd of fans is created quickly around the commentator, who chained the photos and selfies with a smile.


When I see all these people who come to see me and show me gratitude, it bothers me. I feel that I do not deserve it. What do I do in the end? I tell stories that I love anyway. I do not even force myself.

I prepare a lot, I cut newspapers, I highlight everything with pens of different colors. I read from morning to night. I work a lot, but I live my passion, I live my passion. What more ?


My mom told me that when I was in the stroller, I was already watching all the cars and I was imitating the noise of the engines. It must have been something in the blood. My grandfather worked at the Soviet Embassy in Brussels. I spent the summer holidays 1988, 1989 and 1990 at his home in Belgium.

Three times three months. The first year, I fall on TV on an F1 race. When I saw that, I went crazy. Prost-Senna, put ***, you imagine! With French comments. I already understood because I was learning the language at school. The problem is that the IF was not broadcast back home. And every September 1st, I went to school in Moscow. I asked my grandfather to record races on VHS. When he came to Moscow to celebrate New Year's Day, he brought me the tapes and I watched the races retrospectively. I knew the results, but in our sports diary there were only three lines to talk about the winner and the podium. The points were awarded to Top 6 members at the time, and I did not even know who were 4th, 5th and 6th. I bought foreign newspapers, but we only sold daily newspapers from the communist parties. So for France, it was Humanity. They still had Sport pages so I could see the results. We are obviously talking about a time when there was no Internet.


In the summer of 1991, I finished school and passed the exams to enter university.

I am 17 years old and I am waiting for the school year. In August, I see a new sports newspaper coming out in the newsstands. We had an old newspaper called Sovietskiy Sport, and that's something alternative, a competitor. We have just passed into a sort of capitalist model if you will. The newspaper is called Sport-Express. I buy the first issue, it's very well done.

The model is nice with beautiful pictures. And there is an article on Formula 1. I'm going crazy. I'm reading this paper about the Hungarian Grand Prix, and I realize it's anything. So, I look at the address of the writing and I go there. I ask who wrote this. The editorial staff was like three pieces (he begins to mimic himself, everyone running, the typing machines, the cigarettes, the excitement, as we can see in the movies. first issue and they were all very enthusiastic, and without knowing it, I came across the deputy director and said, "Your diary is great in general, thank you for launching it, thank you for writing on Formula 1." the problem is that you wrote anything. "The guy, who must have been my age now, laughed and said," Listen, you think you can write on Formula 1? I answer him that I like this sport and I know it, I'm glad we write about it, but we have to treat it well He goes on: "You see the machine to tap, you see the paper: And I, at 17, did not have to say "no cap", so I said, "Ok, I'm going to do it." With a finger, I typed an article. Don I'm leaving, and I'm forgetting.

The next day, I go to the booth where I always go. I buy the second issue of the newspaper and there I see my article with my signature. I'm starting to shake. I pick up the phone and call the assistant director. I said, "Hey, I wrote the article on Formula 1." And there the guy answers me directly: "Why are not you at work? ". That's how the story started.


The first race I cover for Sport-Express from the office is Belgium 1991. In parallel, the TV production company Samipa, based in Monaco, had the rights of the IF for the Eastern countries and was in talk with Russian TV to sell him. Negotiations dragged on at the beginning of 1992, because there was the Olympic Winter Games in Albertville.

Jo de Raco, the boss of the Samipa, came to Moscow and that's when I was contacted, initially to bring my lighting, because I had found my signature in Sport-Express. The thing is, nobody knew that I was 17 years old and a heavy metal fan with long hair and lots of finger rings (he's laughing.) On the phone, they did not go I took a big voice, so when I went to the office, all shy, they did not take me seriously right away.


Because of the negotiations, we missed the opening races of the 1992 season. The first Grand Prix broadcast live on Russian television is Spain and I was at the microphone in the studio in Moscow, at 17 years and a half. All without piston. Generally, when you arrive as high as young, it is that there was a phone call. When I think about it, I have a lot of luck that everything is well pinned. It's like I'm destined for that.

I realize today that fate has helped me a lot, so I decided not to betray fate. Many times in my life, I had the opportunity to do something else and make a lot of money. I hesitated several times, especially since I have children, but I never turned my back on F1.


Already, it was the truckers' strike in France. They blocked all the roads. It took eight hours to get there from Charles-de-Gaulle airport.

The next day, I arrive at the circuit, I go in the pit lane, and there is Nigel Mansell coming out in front of me with the Williams, Jean Alesi with the Ferrari, Ayrton Senna with the McLaren. I remember that the asphalt vibrated when we turned on the engines in the boxes.

I almost cried. It's moments like that that count. Everything else, especially money, does not matter. We came naked in this world, we will leave naked. There is no pocket in the casket.


Oh yes! More than before. There is no weariness. I love today's Grands Prix. When I hear guys complaining, I want to send them off. We just had a sequence of six exciting races in a row, which we had not seen in a very long time. The middle of the pack is awesome, very lively.

It's a shame that we do not show it often enough. Poor Carlos Sainz says you never see him on TV, he's right! And hop, comes the end of the race, the guy finishes 6th and everyone wonders how he did it? When I comment, I watch especially live timing. There is one thing that annoys me is the lack of noise. I do not understand. The sound is partly why we love the Fl. Today, these are very fast cars certainly, but who really interests the lap time? The fan in the stands, he does not care that the cars go 5 seconds faster. It is necessary that the engines scream in 19000-20000 t./mn. I remember the Media parking at Monza, near the straight line that controls the Parabolica. There is a small embankment on which you can climb. The first day I went, there was traffic jams and I missed the start of free practice. I park, I get out of the car and I hear the sound of a car approaching. I run on the slope and see Alesi pass in the Ferrari. Put *** the sound of this V12 engine! It made me put the hairs on the forearms! This is where you say, "I'm doing the best job in the world! ". I hope the kids are as impressed by the current turbo / hybrid V6s, but I doubt it.


Everything is spiraling in life.

Whenever we say it was better before, it's only because we are aging ourselves. It was never better before. It's always the same. The guys who tell me, "Oh it was great before," they often saw only short clips on the internet of 3 minutes with the best moments of the whole season. So, yes, there were more stables so it was easier to start when you were young. And there was a lot more mechanical breakage. On arrival, there were sometimes only 8 cars out of 26, so necessarily small could score points. But it was not by speed I


It's growing, but it has not exploded yet. Maybe someone like Robert Shwartzman (F3 Champion, see pages 48-49) is missing. We can clearly see the impact that one person can have on a country. Look at Schumacher in Germany, Alonso in Spain or Verstappen in the Netherlands.

It takes this guy who will tear everything and Robert has the capabilities. It's not just a question of piloting, it's also the way he speaks, his education, his charisma. We must not rush things, but it is already supported on one side by Ferrari, on the other by SMP. He really has the talent.


Solberg as father, like son

In the Welsh forests, the Solberg family will be one of the attractions of the Wales Rally. While Petter will bow 21 years after his first World appearance, Oliver will begin a career that looks promising, Loïc Rocci

At the next Wales Rally (3-7 October), one of the highlights will be the participation of Petter Solberg (45) and his son Oliver. It is not so common in sports that members of the same family, but of different generations, can find themselves in the same event ... and compete! When his WRC career ended at the end of the 2012 season,

Solberg "father" returned to the discipline of his debut, becoming not only the first Rallycross world champion in 2014, but also the first driver to be crowned in WRC and WRX. Its association with Volkswagen, from 2017, has been successful. However, when the sport - which was then in fashion and headed for the electric - began to lose interest with the departure of the manufacturers, Volkswagen and the Norwegian have also chosen to stop their engagement in December 2018. If the German brand has faced other projects,

Petter decided to stop the competition. "I'm not saying I will not race anymore," he warns. I still like it and I hope I can still give some fun to the public, so why not participate in some events? On the other hand, I will not have full championships anymore. What is important now is to do everything for Oliver's career and allow him to flourish in the best conditions. Not wanting to stop at once, the Scandinavian from Askim (55 km south-east of Oslo) ticked several dates on his schedule titled his program "Farewell Tour".


For this farewell tour, Petter has gathered a few meetings that resemble him and that summarize his career. At the Goodwood Festival of Speed ​​in England, he was able to measure his popularity, finding for the occasion his Polo Rallycross. It was also with the Volkswagen that he made it a point of honor to take back to Oliver the record of a coastal race organized in the north of Norway. Having started very early in competition with radio controlled cars, the Norwegian ended up being nicknamed "Hollywood" for his talents for the show. It is essentially this taste of the show that pushed him to move to Warsaw (Poland) to perform during a gymkhana, facing for the occasion Ken Block, another
specialist in the field.

The rally having occupied a very large place in his life of pilot, Petter Solberg could not draw the curtain without programming a last one.

At the time of the choice, the Wales naturally prevailed "I always appreciated this appointment, explains to us the one who disputed his first race in 1996. It is in 1998, in England, that I carried out my debut in the elite. At 24, I was probably too young, very inexperienced. His trip to the Welsh Forest did not make him hate that round, and four years later he won his first WRC Trophy at the wheel of a Subaru. It is also in England that Petter Solberg became world champion in 2003, still under the colors of the Japanese manufacturer. "It's obviously a special rally in Wales, the 2019 Latvian champion had to be in possession of his license!

"I usually handle the pressure pretty well," he says, but during the test, I was more stressed than when I started my first rally! If I had not had it ... dad ran alone. Despite having missed his code for the first time, the young man with dual nationality - Swedish and Norwegian - validated the practical test two weeks before Wales, allowing the project to materialize. If a very strong link unites them, obviously, no non-aggression pact was signed before the departure so far.

"A few months ago," explains the elder, "the effects of sarcoidosis (or Besnier-Boeck-Schaumann's disease, is a systemic inflammation that affects the lungs, Ed.) And kaitement, weakened me enormously. Even in Spain last year, I was not fully recovered and my face was all round. (Petter Solberg flew a Polo R5 that made his debut in competition and was 14th overall, 3rd in the WRC2). Today, I found precision in my driving. However, I miss rhythm and I'm not 20 anymore! "You will have the experience," interrupts his son. I will evolve for the first time in this event, after only two passes in recognition. I think you will have the advantage. "

THE GOOD CARDS Whatever the winner of this duel, it will have no impact on the future. "We do not know what we're going to do next year," says Petter. As Sébastien Ogier told us today, the pilots learned the stages by heart. It is therefore necessary to align the kilometers to acquire this knowledge. This season, Oliver started making his own notes and
for me, ignite my first success, the title ... I won four victories. This is a field that I have often very well suited. "If there is a real attachment of the driver to this meeting he will face for the 17th time, and where he will find his co-driver Phil Mills, the other reason that pushed the Solberg clan to choose Wales is due to Oliver's driver's license review date ... "It has always been a dream to be able to compete in a world championship rally at the same time as my father," said the 18-year-old on September 23. . At the same time, I will make my debut in WRC! I'm sure it will be very special and that there will be a lot of emotion, but we will also have a lot of fun. "

When they embarked on this challenge, a stranger remained. To be allowed to line up I was surprised at the result. We discussed this with Denis Giraudet, who has a lot of experience in this area and his comments were very positive. "My dream is to play in the WRC," says Oliver, "I do not know how we're going yet, but that's the goal. The path of the young pilot confirms that he has the resource. While speaking in the Nordic Rallycross Championship, the son of the 2003 World Champion debuted in rally in 2017 in Latvia, regularly demonstrating his talent. "It was Harri Rovanpera who advised us on this championship," says Petter. We tried to reproduce what worked for Kalle.

I think it's important that Oliver take a holistic approach to the discipline by doing a lot of testing to develop his technical background. Outside the car, he must also master the sponsorship aspect. I could see his progress when he negotiated his participation in the North American Championship alone with Subaru. I was just copying emails. "

"I know that I am in a privileged position, complete the aspirant. I still have a lot to learn. For that, we must study what will be the best way, ERC? WRC2? Before hoping to interest a team, I will have to prove myself. "

What he has achieved so far demonstrates both his ambition, but also this thoughtful and professional way of approaching his passion. Wales will mark an important milestone, as it will evolve into a WRC2 category (28 competitors) where it will be confronted by experienced drivers (Ostberg, Paddon ...) and other hopefuls (Greensmith, Veiby, Gryazin .. .) who, like him, will eventually apply to a higher level official seat. Oliver knows he can count on his father's commitment at his side. If he goes off the wheel, he does not intend to remain inactive. "Since I found health, I almost regret having announced my retirement, he laughs. Maybe I should think of a comeback! If he does not want to dwell too much on the subject, what is certain is that with Oliver behind the wheel and Petter as team manager, we have not finished hearing about the Solberg family . ■



Dominated - very little - by Rossel in the first leg, the two-time defending champion beautifully reversed the situation on Sunday, when the rain came. Philippe Caries, special envoy

That one, I will not win it. " This is the cry of the heart, lucid and spontaneous, that Yohan Rossel pushed when Yoann Bonato stole first place by achieving a superb scratch time in the height of the rain, after the SS 11. "C was a crazy thing, exclaimed the pilot of Deux-Alpes, who had benefited from an excellent choice of tires, four Michelin P01 well resized to evacuate the water. At times, there was no adhesion, we did not know if we would get by so much the car was moving in all directions ... " During the two days of this rally, which deserves more than ever its place in the championship of France by its excellent organization and its interesting stages, Yohan and Yoann gave themselves a superb fight, to which it is advisable to associate Quentin Gilbert and William Wagner. In classical music, it looks like it was a well-tuned quartet. Never released, these last two have signed very respectable scratch times and have made the most of their respective frames, namely a Skoda Fabia of the Italian team HK and a VW Polo Gti entered by Sébastien Loeb Racing. Nicolas Ciamin, whose exit from the road to the previous Mont Blanc rally was the only one missing the hopes of a title of champion of France ... and thus the stop of the financial windfall of his sponsors .

At the championship level, there is now a good chance that the 2019 laureate will be Yohan Rossel. The driver from Saint-Jean-du-Gard did not come to Vendôme with the idea of ​​winning at all costs: "All weekend, I had very specific instructions from my team : First of all it was necessary to finish on the podium, in order to score big points and keep the gap with my pursuers. That's why I decided to make a safe choice of tires on Sunday mornings when the rain was threatening. Certainly, I did not want to give the
victory in Bonato, but taking risks was useless. I still have a little frustration in my head, maybe I have a little lack of commitment, there are still Cevennes and Var to dispute, so no panic: I will have other opportunities to win rallies. "

For his part, Yoann Bonato was not disappointed at all on Saturday night when he finished the stage about ten seconds behind Rossel. The weather having announced rain for the next day, he knew there was a gamble to play. Admittedly, leaving Vendôme on Sunday morning, the sky was still clear, but several depressions from Brittany were on the radar. And the first reached the villages of Sargé and Savigny-sur-Braye, about thirty kilometers west of Vendome, at the moment when the competitors were attacking the first loop of two stages. Well equipped in tires, the CHL Sport Auto team driver did not miss his chance ... "This is my third consecutive victory in this event, the second of your season, and it feels good for the whole team. was able to raise the bar during the recovery after the summer, noted the champion 2017-2018. After Mont-Blanc, we still worked on the car. The balance of the weekend is very positive, with a good choice of tires that was the key to victory. Well, this year we will probably not be champions, but it is not here that we lost the title, it is much earlier in the season. "Mathematically everything is still possible, but the other Yohan could settle for a few points in the Cevennes, even if Bonato wins the last two rounds, to win the title.


Third at Mont-Blanc, again at this same place here, Quentin Gilbert has found a certain serenity, even if his race was not a long calm river. " I made
some mistakes. There was a wrong choice of tires on Saturday morning, an all-right that took me down about fifteen seconds, and finally this Sunday morning, my wipers get tangled when the windshield strip took off in the rain! I finished the rally with only one wiper blade, luckily on my side. But in the end, I gave everything because William Wagner was threatening for the third step of the podium, "said the Vosgien. Always at ease at night, Quentin scored two scratch times in the Saturday night loop, as well as a third
Sunday in the rain, what to start from the Loire Valley with a zenith morale. Finally, also from Lorraine, William Wagner appreciated his trip: "We really enjoyed ourselves, both in terms of driving and attack. Admittedly, there were some problems, such as a bad choice of pads on Saturday morning with a very uncomfortable brake pedal. But once that is resolved, I came back to the contact of others. Quentin and William now have the assurance of being in the last two rounds of the season, and we're looking forward, like them, to be there ... ■


3 Since 2017, when the Heart of France reached the French Championship, there was only one winning team: Yoann Bonato-Benjamin Boulloud. But with three victories, they are far from the record of Pierre Roché who has won seven times, including five consecutive.


Contradictory feelings expressed on arrival by Rossel, both satisfied and disappointed.


Another third place for Quentin Gilbert. But the Vosgien would like to win a victory this season ...



The Alpine A110 Rally goes up in the fire

Presented at the Mont-Blanc rally, the new Alpine A110 Rally concocted by the Signatech team drove in a "0" car at the heart of France, driven by Manu Guigou. "It is a great satisfaction to finally meet our competitors after solo practice sessions," said Philippe Sinault. The goal is to accumulate the kilometers, and we ride in the same conditions as in the race. Of course, we take some reference times, but a car moving in opening of mute must keep a margin of safety, which does not forget to make Manu. The deadline for probate is getting closer, but we only deposit our file when we are really sure of ourselves. We are now talking about the 1st of March 2020, rather than the end of December ... As for the pilot of Apt, he was very satisfied to finally discover the rally version of the A110 on real specials: "Here, we drive from more on a new type of terrain, with a lot of bump, braking gms, etc. If the car seems very balanced, I was a little disturbed by the ABS. It is certain, the car is not really in its final configuration and there are still many things to test and validate including the brakes. "On Sunday, as the Alpine discovered new conditions with the onset of rain, an engine problem followed by a start of fire - fortunately quickly mastered - stopped in the ES12. P.C.


Al-Attiyah it's six good

Perfectly seconded by the French Mathieu Baumel, the Qatari wins for the 6th time on this island event. Second, Chris Ingram takes advantage of Alexey Lukyanuk's retirement to further his lead. LoïcRocci

from one race to another, the ERC Championship offers significant contrasts. After the opulence experienced in the Ba-rum, the plateau was rather poor in Cyprus for the first meeting. Luckily, the three main protagonists had made the trip to Nicosia and the presence of Nasser Al-Attiyah gave a little relief to this round which proved to be still difficult. Disputing the rally for the 15th time, the Qatari driver displayed his knowledge of the field. "It's always a pleasure to come back here," he explained, quickly making a 26-inch lead after only 51 km (3 SS) in qualifying. On specials where portions of tar were sometimes present, the Olympic medalist in London 2012 (clay pigeon shooting) left no chance to his opponents. At the wheel of a powerful and reliable Polo R5, Nasser has further improved the records he holds on the island. Since his first participation in 2003, he has, indeed, the one who has won the most stages and led the longest. Never really worried, the triple winner of the Dakar relied on his knowledge of very degraded terrain to spare his car when it was necessary. Winner of 10 of the 12 ES programmed, the driver of 49 years is therefore the sixth time in Cyprus. With this 73rd success in the Middle East Championship, he won his 15th title in this competition. "I'm happy to have won," he concluded. Cyprus is one of the toughest races in the world. I wish to thank the organizers who brought us back to the Troodos mountains, which are still demanding. "


While AI-Attiyah led their own race in the lead, the three crews engaged in the battle for European consecration tried to avoid traps. Winner in 2016, Alexey Lukyanuk was the only one able to snatch two special victories from the Polo. While the 2nd place seemed acquired, a mechanical problem (ES10) caused its abandonment. Now 3® of the championship with 28 points behind, the Russian, decidedly unlucky in 2019, still has chances to retain his title if he takes part in the last meeting in Hungary (November 8-11).

Having managed to start with a call for fan donations, Chris Ingram made the perfect run. Very cautious, the 25-year-old Englishman benefited from Lukyanuk's retirement and the exclusion of the winning Cypriot in 2018, Simos Galatariotis (parc fermé infraction) to claim the silver medal. "Probably the most difficult rally of my life," enthused the Manchester driver. Many thanks to all the fans and all those who supported me and helped me to participate. If he manages to meet the budget for the last meeting, he will start with 19 points ahead of the Polish Lu-kasz Habaj, 4th at the end of a very complicated weekend. Finally, having fun, Mikko Hirvonen fully achieved his goal and looked forward to a 3® unexpected place. Among the titles that were not yet awarded, Juan Carlos Alonso is crowned in ERC 2, while the Spaniard Efren Llarena, who ran under the colors of Sainteloc, gets the laurels in ERC 3 as he discovered the slow turnstile Cypriot (65.5 km / h average for Al-Attiyah!). Continuing his learning of the land, Florian Bernardi ranks 21®. Scheduled in November, the last meeting of the ERC would be decisive for the championship and promises to be intense. ■


7 Nasser Al-Attiyah is the 7th different ERC winner this season in as many races


Historical Corsican tour

As part of the major triptych of the road races contested in France, with the Rallye Monte-Carlo Historique and Tour Auto, the Tour de Corse will again attract nearly 230 competitors. Philippe Caries

How beautiful is the arrival of autumn in Corsica! The air, during the day, is still often hot, the sea is clear, the trees scorch softly. Tourist activity is gradually slowing down, and in small mountain villages, the shutters are ready to be closed twice. But suddenly, engine noises echo in the valleys. This is the Tour de Corse Historique, an event that has acquired its own letters of nobility, different from the WRC event. Conviviality, authenticity, proximity to the natives, these are its assets.

The main novelty this year will be the return of a five-step format. The first, drawn around Porto-Vecchio with two short special stages, makes it possible to establish the starting order of the following day. Because with a plethoric roster of 127 cars in the Competition category (plus 96 in Regularity and 8 in Legend), some high-performance drivers are sometimes far enough on the initial list of departure. This prologue therefore makes it possible to establish a coherent hierarchy during the following stages, which include sometimes very long specials. Record this year, the race of Notre-Dame de la Serra saw its mileage increased to 53 km! The program includes a total of 16 ES, or 348 km timed (higher than some rounds of the championship WRC!) With barely 500 km of link. Stadion-side Saint-Florent replaces Bastia at the end of the second day, while Calvi and Ajaccio host the other halts at night, the final finish taking place of course in Porto-Vecchio. As for the great historical sites of the rally, such as the Col de Bavella, the small villages of Castigniccia, the famous Baroque church of La Porta where a famous time control is held, they are of course on display. Last high point,
the reunion of Quenza, where you can taste a famous veal on a spit.

MORGAN OF YOUR ROUTES Oddly enough, the controversial category of J2, which welcomes the most recent cars admitted in HCV, that is to say the Group A years 1987-1990 as BMW M3, Ford Sierra Cosworth and other Lancia Integral, did not attract this army of big names. It is rather on the side of the Porsche Group 4 or the Ford Escort Group 4, or even Group 2, that one should find the "best performer", in other words the winner at scratch. We think in particular of the former French champion VHC François Foulon, who has a new high-performance Escort built at Phil Mills, or Christian Kelders (Porsche Joffroy). We also note the nice return of beautiful cars of the 1960s, like a Jaguar Mk2, two very beautiful Morgan Plus 4 SS, not to mention the Lotus Elan of the very fast Swiss Raphael Favaro and some authentic Dauphine 1093. And what would be a Tour of Corsica History without Lancia Stratos? In the little old people talking on their benches, the three copies at the beginning awake many memories. ■


Last year, Christian Kelders' Porsche Joffroy sported this historic pink livery ...


Desert crossing

As curious as it may seem, while I covered in the race all Dakar without exception, I had never participated in reconnaissance of the course carried out by the organizer.

Also, when David Castera (the new director of the Dakar, editor's note) asked me to follow him to Saudi Arabia in early September, I jumped at the chance. For them, after the roughing phases that made it possible to establish the route, it was the ultimate identification, the one that allows the establishment of the official road-book. It really pleased me to discover their working method, their way of thinking to choose the best tracks, with heavy decisions to take when going off-piste, etc. There is a huge job, very professional, which is really amazing. But the biggest shock was the discovery of this new territory. Obviously it was getting very complicated to keep running in South America, and I do not know how they did to "get there" in this country. But what is certain is that this third continent visited also constitutes a third wind for the Dakar.

The stars are again well aligned to hope for a great test. In terms of terrain, in Saudi Arabia, there is everything. In the car of recognitions, I was constantly subjugated, I did not stop to exclaim: "It is fantastic, it is magnificent". And again, I have not seen everything, the next mystery is the famous empty desert, the mythical "Empty Quarter" where the final stages of the rally will take place. During the few days that I lived with the team, it often reminded me of Mauritania, southern Morocco, sometimes the south of Libya, with grandiose and immense landscapes. There are many mountains, incredible cliffs that extend for hundreds of kilometers, really sublime corners. We are in another world, still largely unknown. I do not even know if the Saudis are aware of the beauty of their country. Next January, along with the other photographers from my agency, I believe we will live great moments. As for me, more than ever, my motivation was increased tenfold by these few days spent in the Saudi kingdom.