1000 lakes, and a podium for Kris Meeke

  • Kris Meeke and Paul Nagle produced a series of remarkable performances throughout Rally Finland to secure third place in their DS 3 WRC
  • The Citroën Total Abu Dhabi World Rally Team consolidated its second position in the World Rally Championship standings
  • The next event on the calendar, the ADAC Rallye Deutschland, will be contested on tarmac during 21-24 August

The short but tricky final leg of Rally Finland saw Kris Meeke and Paul Nagle confirm their third place. Never out of the top three from the very first stage, Kris held firm on Ruuhimäki and Myhinpää – driving at an average speed of close to 132km/h – to rack up his third podium in 2014, after Monte-Carlo and Argentina.

In addition to the fifteen points earned at the end of the rally, the Brit also picked up an extra point by finishing third in the Power Stage.

Citroen 1000 Lakes

Leading from start to finish in his DS 3 R3, the Slovakian Martin Koci secured his first win in the FIA Junior WRC. He finished ahead of the Frenchman Quentin Giordano and the Australian Molly Taylor, the first woman to claim a podium finish in this category.

A change of scenery awaits the crews in less than three weeks’ time. They return to tarmac roads at the ADAC Rallye Deutschland, from 21 to 24 August, for the season’s eighth round.

Kris Meeke: “This podium is even more special than the others. We kept in touch with the leaders throughout the two days. We then protected our position, but we ended the rally less than a minute behind the winner. I know we’ve still got some work to do before we can really challenge for the win. But for the time being I’m happy with third place and the experience acquired for the future. Next year, I hope I can fight to do even better.”

Marek Nawarecki (Citroën Racing Deputy Team Principal): “This podium rounds off a fine Finnish campaign for Citroën after Mads Østberg won the Helsinki Rally Battle. It was a very important event for the team and Kris produced a superb performance, combining consistency and speed. He managed to make the most of the experience acquired in 2013 and the pre-rally testing. The rest of the season should be more favourable for Citroën. It’s down to us to make use of all the work that has been done to date.”

Speedy Gonza-López

  • José-María López achieved a clean sweep at his home meeting in Argentina, with two race wins and one pole position
  • Yvan Muller, Pechito’s fiercest rival for the World Championship, secured two podium spots, while Sébastien Loeb finished 4th and 6th
  • López’s maximum points haul puts him 60 points clear of Muller in the overall standings

The sun was blazing at the Autodromo Termas de Río Hondo, with the atmosphere further heating up when young Matias Rossi and his Citroën emerged victorious in the Turismo Nacional race, held as a curtain raiser to the FIA WTCC.

Shortly afterwards, José-María López lined up in pole position on the grid for race one. When the red lights went out, he made the perfect start and hit the first corner in the lead, closely followed by Norbert Michelisz, who had got the better of Yvan Muller and Sébastien Loeb in the opening tussle. As the laps went by, the gaps widened, although Muller was constantly under threat from Loeb.

Citroen Lopez

After completing thirteen laps at a pace worthy of a qualifying session, Pechito López delighted the 40,000 spectators by crossing the finish line as the winner. The two other Citroën C-Elysée WTCCs finished third and fourth, behind Michelisz.

A few minutes later, the cars lined up for race two. With the top ten from qualifying starting in reverse order on the grid, this second race promised to be livelier than the first.

There was turbulence in the pack from the off. Sébastien Loeb dropped back three places, having failed to execute his starting strategy properly, while Yvan Muller opted for a cautious approach amid the traffic. All this proved to be to the benefit of Pechito López, who fought his way through the field to end lap one in seventh place.

The three Citroën drivers then enthralled the crowd with an exhibition of overtaking manoeuvres. The prize for assertiveness must surely go to Yvan Muller, who spent nearly three whole laps locked in a shoulder-to-shoulder battle with Tom Chilton. Sébastien Loeb impressed too, moving past Norbert Michelisz, but the crowd’s favourite was, of course, José-María López, who passed Rob Huff to climb into the lead with five laps to go.

Pechito held that lead to the end, exhausted and emotional, he was given a triumphant reception by his fans for his twin victories. He was joined on the podium by Yvan Muller, who once again finished third. Sébastien Loeb finished race two in sixth place.

Yves Matton, Team Principal, Citroën Racing: “This weekend has been one of the most emotional in the history of Citroën Racing. He might not have shown it much, but Pechito was under enormous pressure; he was desperate to do well in front of his home crowd. He dug deep and became the first driver this year to record a perfect score. Yvan did everything he could to stay with him, but the gap in the World Championship standings is widening. That is not to say the rest of the season won’t be interesting, as there are new circuits for us to discover. This has been a great day to round off a week spent with Citroën Argentina, engaging in various marketing operations that used motorsport to further the brand’s commercial aims.”

José-María López:“Some people may find it a bit too corporate to start by thanking everyone, but that’s just what I feel like doing right now. Without my family and without Citroën, I wouldn’t be here. I am proud to be part of Citroën Racing, and to have Yvan and Seb as teammates. My wealth of experience on this circuit helped me a lot, but I was worried about the starts, which remain a weakness for me. Thankfully, this time, everything went OK. Race two was really exciting. The car just got quicker and quicker and I managed to work my way up the field into first place. It’s been a perfect weekend, and there’s no place I’d rather have produced a performance like that.”

Yvan Muller:“You should never give up, but I have to acknowledge that José was quicker than me this weekend. Once I realised that, I had to limit the damage and try not to fall too far behind in the World Championship. The team did a brilliant job and I did my best to exploit the car’s full potential. I found race two quite fun, particularly my battle with Chilton.”

Sébastien Loeb:“Fourth and sixth isn’t a dream result, but I can take plenty of positives out of this weekend. I managed to work my way through the pack with a more combative approach and some nice overtaking manoeuvres. All this is great experience for me, as I’m now focusing first and foremost on 2015. I’m nearly 100 points adrift of Pechito, so I consider myself out of the running for the title.”

Jaguar Land Rover to debut three high performance models at Pebble Beach

  • Global debut of the new 550HP high-performance Range Rover Sport SVR
  • U.S. production version of F-Type Project 7 to debut
  • Global debut of first prototype of new Lightweight E-type vehicles – the “missing” six Lightweights that were never built from the intended 18-car series.
  • Jaguar Land Rover to reveal all three exclusive new high performance vehicles at Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance Kick-Off Party, Thursday, August 14
  • All three vehicles are from Jaguar Land Rover’s newly created Special Operations division, which will focus on designing and engineering high specification vehicles, bespoke commissions, heritage products and branded goods

August 4, 2014 – Today, Jaguar Land Rover announces three product debuts will take place at this year’s Pebble Beach Automotive weekend: the new 550HP Range Rover Sport SVR (global debut), the U.S. production version of the Jaguar F-Type Project 7 and the prototype of the new Jaguar Lightweight E-type – of which six customer cars will be built.

The Pebble Beach weekend gathers the world’s top automotive aficionados, collectors and vintage racers together for a celebration of great performance, heritage and luxury automobiles.

All three vehicles will make their public debut at the Jaguar Land Rover Thursday night Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance Kick-Off party at the Pebble Beach and Tennis Club and be shown throughout the weekend at various events.

All three vehicles are from Jaguar Land Rover’s newly created Special Operations division which, under the leadership of Managing Director, John Edwards, will focus on designing and engineering high specification vehicles, bespoke commissions, heritage products and branded goods.

The Jaguar F-Type Project 7 and Range Rover Sport SVR are both from Special Vehicle Operations – the engineering and vehicle division of Special Operations – while the new Lightweight E-type is the first recreation from Special Operation’s Jaguar Heritage team.

Jaguar lightweight E-type

Jaguar will feature its full product line up at the Pebble Beach Automotive Weekend, including the all-new F-Type Coupé. A highlight of the weekend will be the US production debut of the F-Type Project 7, an all-aluminium, fully road-legal two-seater roadster with bespoke carbon-fibre aerodynamic aids. F-Type Project 7 is based on the 2014 Jaguar F-Type and features a Jaguar D-type inspired fairing, as this year marks the 60th anniversary of the iconic Jaguar D-type. The all-new Jaguar F-Type Coupe will also be on display at the Monterey Jet Center as part of the Petersen Automotive Museum’s World’s Greatest Sports Coupés Exhibit.

Land Rover will also feature its full product lineup, including the global debut of the Range Rover Sport SVR, the first model to wear the new SVR designation, which will be worn by all future high performance models. Throughout the weekend, Land Rover will also display the Range Rover Long-wheelbase, the Range Rover Evoque Autobiography and the “Great Divide” past and present 1990 and 2014 edition vehicles.

A summary of highlights for Pebble Beach Automotive Weekend include:

Jaguar Land Rover Pebble Beach d’Elegance Kick-Off Party

Thursday, August 14

On display at the kick-off party will be the F-Type Project 7 in US production form, featuring new Glacier White colour, the high-performance 550HP Range Rover SVR, Jaguar’s prototype of six Lightweight E-type vehicles and other vehicles from both brands, including the Jaguar XFR-S and XKR-S GT, the ultra-luxurious Range Rover Autobiography Black and the Range Rover Evoque Autobiography.

The Quail, A Motorsports Gathering
Friday, August 15 and Saturday, August 16
On display from Land Rover will be its full model line-up highlighted by the high-performance Range Rover Sport SVR, The Range Rover Long-wheelbase and the Range Rover Evoque Autobiography Black. Jaguar’s display will also feature its full model line-up highlighted by the US production version of the F-Type Project 7.

Land Rover will also be inviting guests to test drive (on and off-road) their current model year lineups, including the Range Rover Supercharged, Range Rover Sport Supercharged, Range Rover Evoque and Land Rover LR4.

Mazda Raceway at Laguna Seca
Friday, August 15, Saturday, August 16 and Sunday, August 17
For the first time, Jaguar and Land Rover will both feature project displays among several garages along the pit lane.

Jaguar highlights include the Lightweight E-type, the 2015 F-TYPE Coupe and the F-Type Coupé cut-away, showcasing the lightweight and strong aluminium structure of Jaguar’s latest sports coupé.

Land Rover highlights include the Range Rover Sport SVR, the Range Rover Long-wheelbase and the Range Rover Sport split-away.  The “Great Divide” past and present 1989 and 2014 edition vehicles will also be on display celebrating the 25th Anniversary of the famous expedition.

Guests will have the opportunity to test-drive Land Rover’s latest model line up on a specially-made off-road course.

For updated news from Jaguar and Land Rover during the Pebble Beach automotive weekend, log onto www.interactivejaguar.com or www.interactivelandrover.com.

About Jaguar Land Rover

  • The United States is one of the leading global markets for both Jaguar and Land Rover
  • Jaguar Land Rover employs 25,000 people and sells vehicles in 170 countries around the world
  • Jaguar Land Rover has two state of the art engineering and design facilities and three advanced manufacturing plants in the UK
  • Headquartered in Mahwah, New Jersey in the United States, Jaguar Land Rover North America, LLC has offices across the USA
  • Jaguar Land Rover is represented by more than 330 independently operated retail outlets in the USA

Audi drivers score with recoveries

  • Four Audi RS 5 DTM cars in the points at the Red Bull Ring
  • Scheider, Tambay, Ekström and Green capture places 5 to 8
  • Green loses podium chance due to communications problem

As expected: The Red Bull Ring at Spielberg (Austria) guarantees particularly spectacular DTM races. 47,500 spectators (throughout the weekend) saw gripping duels, strange incidents and, in spite of a difficult starting base, four Audi RS 5 DTM cars in the top eight.

Following the first half of a season that was less than perfect for him, Timo Scheider had a reason to cheer for the first time this year. The two-time DTM Champion had started on the softer option tires and within just a few laps worked his way forward from grid position 14 to join the pack at the front. In the AUTO TEST Audi RS 5 DTM of Audi Sport Team Phoenix, after 47 laps, he crossed the finish line as the best Audi in fifth place – trailing the winner by only 6.666 seconds.

“Advancing from 14th place to fifth in the race is a great feeling for me and the squad,” said the two-time DTM Champion. “We had enough trouble and problems in the first five races. I hope that we’ll be able to turn this around now and to have fortune on our side in the second half of the season.”

Audi at Spielberg

Adrien Tambay (Playboy Audi RS 5 DTM) and Mattias Ekström (Red Bull Audi RS 5 DTM, both Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline) treated the Austrian crowd to impressive recoveries as well. Tambay, like Scheider, had started on option tires and from position 20 on the grid advanced to sixth place. Ekström had started the race on harder standard tires and was ultimately the best driver using this strategy. The Swede made up ground from grid position 15 to seventh place and thus maintained his second place in the overall DTM standings.

Jamie Green in the Hoffmann Group Audi RS 5 DTM of Audi Sport Team Rosberg was the tragic hero of the day. The Briton had been the only driver to make it into the top ten in qualifying and was in contention in the group of front runners from the outset. Up to the race’s midpoint, he was running in front of the subsequent winner Marco Wittmann. However, due to a communications problem with his pit crew Green switched from option to standard tires one lap too late. As a result, the Audi driver, while leading the race, was forced to pit for a drive-through penalty and in the end had to settle for eighth place.

In eleventh place, Miguel Molina in the Audi Sport Audi RS 5 DTM missed scoring a point by only 0.410 seconds. Title defender Mike Rockenfeller in the Schaeffler Audi RS 5 DTM dropped to the back of the field in the early stage. After switching to option tires, he was the quickest man in the field, advanced to 13th place and with 1m 25.266s (182.647 km/h) set a new DTM track record.

Edoardo Mortara (Audi Sport Audi RS 5 DTM) and Nico Müller (Audi Financial Services Audi RS 5 DTM) received drive-through penalties for failing to sufficiently reduce speed under yellow flags. They finished in positions 16 and 19.

“Following yesterday’s qualifying, we couldn’t necessarily expect to bring four cars into the points,” said Dieter Gass, Head of DTM at Audi Sport, summing up the race. “Today, the performance was right. Mike Rockenfeller drove the fastest race lap, Jamie Green battled for the podium, and Timo Scheider, Adrien Tambay and Mattias Ekström advanced from positions at the far rear of the field to finish in the top seven. It’s a shame that Jamie lost the chance of a possible podium due to a communications error with his pit crew. As a result, it was easy for BMW to bring Marco Wittmann to the front and to provide him with a major advantage in the championship. In two weeks from now, at the Nürburgring, we’ve got to regain our old strength in qualifying.”

Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich (Head of Audi Motorsport): “It’s great that this year even more spectators traveled to the Red Bull Ring than last year. That speaks for the popularity of the DTM in Austria. I think that no-one regretted having attended this event because the fans got to see a turbulent DTM race. Our drivers, too, contributed their fair share to this and, in view of yesterday’s qualifying session, four Audi cars in the top eight are a decent result.”

Dieter Gass (Leiter DTM): “At first glance, the result looks like damage containment. If, following the qualifying result, anybody had told us yesterday that we’d have four Audi cars in the points today we’d have been relatively pleased. But in Jamie Green’s case, a lot more would definitely have been possible. There was a communications problem between him and his team and he drove one lap too many on option tires. As a result, Jamie deprived himself of the chance to battle for the podium. He definitely had the potential to do so.”

Timo Scheider (AUTO TEST Audi RS 5 DTM), 5th place
Tires: option/standard
“Following a difficult Saturday, I at least had a positive effect – that I managed to advance with the same time as Gary Paffett: I took that as a stroke of luck. Advancing from 14th place to fifth in the race is a great feeling for me and the squad. We had enough trouble and problems in the first five races. I hope that we’ll be able to turn this around now and to have fortune on our side in the second half of the season.”

Adrien Tambay (Playboy Audi RS 5 DTM), 6th place
Tires: option/standard
“This was one of my best races. I hadn’t expected much from grid position 20, not even by starting on option tires. It was a tough race; my car was very good and really fast. We made no mistakes and overtook a few cars. Our pit stop was superb too. Many thanks from me to the whole team because we extracted a good result from a difficult situation.”

Mattias Ekström (Red Bull Audi RS 5 DTM), 7th place
Tires: standard/option
“A few points are always good. But I’m definitely a bit disappointed. Our pace in the race today was insufficient – that’s the only thing that matters.”

Jamie Green (Hoffmann Group Audi RS 5 DTM), 8th place
Tires: option/standard
“It was very disappointing to have received a drive-through penalty, which costs about 16 seconds here. That threw me out of the battle for a top position. I still finished in eighth place in the end; it’s good to have still scored points. I battled for victory, ran on option tires one lap too many – I paid the price for it.”

Miguel Molina (Audi Sport Audi RS 5 DTM), 11th place
Tires: standard/option
“I think we drove a good race. But starting the race on option tires would definitely have been the better choice. I was able to overtake a few cars in the beginning – that was the most important thing. Now we have to continue to work hard and understand what happened yesterday in qualifying. If we do, then things will be going better again in the next race at the Nürburgring. In eleventh place, we just barely missed scoring points here. But as I said, we need to continue to work hard.”

Mike Rockenfeller (Schaeffler Audi RS 5 DTM), 13th place
Tires: standard/option
“A very frustrating weekend. It already started in qualifying, where I could have squeezed out more. Then you try to gamble a little with the strategy. We started on standard tires, hoping that the safety car would be deployed, but it wasn’t. In the race, I lost a lot of time with Félix da Costa, who slowed everybody and pushed me onto the grass. I didn’t think that was very clever on his part. In the end, I had a good pace but that doesn’t help after having lost a lot in the beginning. We’ve got to make sure that we’ll manage a good qualifying session again at the Nürburgring.”

Edoardo Mortara (Audi Sport Audi RS 5 DTM), 16th place
Tires: standard/option
“It was a difficult race. I’m disappointed because I’d been confident especially before this race weekend. We were too slow during the whole weekend. Plus, there were some special decisions by the stewards of the meeting …”

Nico Müller (Audi Financial Services RS 5 DTM), 19th place
Tires: option/standard
“Actually, the strategy was really good. The pace was there on both types of tires. The only problem was the start. I wasn’t so optimistic in that respect because we had a problem with the clutch – that immediately caused me to lose a few places. But afterwards, I advanced really well. Until I received a drive-through penalty for allegedly having driven too fast under yellow. Although I can see absolutely no reason for this: I completely lifted. But because a lap before I’d overtaken two cars in this sector, I apparently wasn’t half a second slower under yellow. Following the penalty, my race was practically over. Whether or not the penalty makes any sense like this is anyone’s guess. Today, points would have been possible. In the end, I finished where I started: I’m disappointed!”

Hans-Jürgen Abt (Team Director Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline): “It was a difficult race. The starting base was bad. We weren’t able to make up ground on our option tires anymore and are still pleased to have finished in the top ten with two cars. We need to do some analysis now and work on having a better pace in qualifying in order to improve again in the next races.”

Ernst Moser (Team Director Audi Sport Team Phoenix): “Bringing both cars into fifth and 13th place from grid positions 14 and 17 wasn’t so bad. We tried both strategies: starting on option tires and on standard tires. In the end, starting on option tires proved the right choice when looking at where Timo (Scheider) finished. In ‘Rocky’s’ (Mike Rockenfeller) case, things went wrong in the beginning, we lost so many places and time. It was impossible to recover that at the end, although he still drove the fastest race lap. I’m happy for Timo that he broke his duck here and was the best Audi driver.”

Arno Zensen (Team Director Audi Sport Team Rosberg): “It was a shame. We actually had a good starting base with sixth place in qualifying. Nico (Müller) had a problem with the clutch, which didn’t exactly strengthen his self-confidence. He was running far at the rear of the field after the start. Then he received a drive-through penalty. It was difficult for him to drive so slow on option tires under yellow. We’ve got to take another close look again to see if this was justified. Jamie (Green) drove a good race. Shortly before the pit stop, there were some communications problems; that’s why we pitted a lap too late. That’s what he received a drive-through penalty for – that was a real shame.”

Finnish Celebrations: Volkswagen driver Latvala triumphs in WRC home event

  • Emotional third season win for Latvala/Anttila in dramatic rally
  • Beaten by just 3.6 seconds: Ogier/Ingrassia take second place
  • Volkswagen poised for victory in all three championship categories ahead of Rally Germany

A great day for Jari-Matti Latvala and Miikka Anttila, a great day for Volkswagen, and a great day for Finland: for the first time in four years, a Finnish duo triumphed in their home event in the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC), giving their compatriots reason to celebrate with abandon. Latvala/Anttila won ‘their’ rally in the Polo R WRC in what proved to be a veritable thriller all the way to the finishing line, clinching victory over their teammates Sébastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia (F/F) by just 3.6 seconds. Volkswagen’s excellent team success in the toughest rally of the year was rounded off by Andreas Mikkelsen/Ola Fløene (N/N) finishing in fourth place overall. Volkswagen has therefore equalled its best team result to date in the WRC, which it set at Rally Argentina in May. The rally known as ‘Formula 1 in the forest’ marks the twelfth consecutive rally win for the Wolfsburg-based team, and is also its eighth win in the current season. Ahead of Rally Germany, Volkswagen therefore is poised to clinch all three WRC championship titles – for the manufacturer, the driver and the co-driver.

Volkswagen Polo R WRC

“It’s been a fantastic weekend at Rally Finland,” said Dr Heinz-Jakob Neußer, Volkswagen Board Member for Technical Development, who was in Finland to support the Volkswagen team. “Both Jari-Matti Latvala and Sébastien Ogier dominated 25 of the 26 special stages and the final day of the rally couldn’t have been more exciting. There was no knowing who would actually win the rally until they finally crossed the line. The Power Stage once again demonstrated what the team and the Polo R WRC are capable of. We are very happy with the result in Finland and congratulate Jari-Matti Latvala and Miikka Anttila on this huge success in front of a home crowd.”

Recipe for success: good self-confidence and a healthy dose of ‘sisu’
The Finnish word ‘sisu’ is the most accurate way to describe the key to Jari-Matti Latvala’s success in his home event. ‘Sisu’ is said to be untranslatable, but can be loosely translated as power, stamina or tenacity, and also intransigence or fighting spirit. And Jari-Matti Latvala demonstrated all of these during Rally Finland. On the second day of the rally, Latvala, who is second in the championship, dominated the proceedings in the morning, but had something of a setback in the afternoon. Having hit a large pothole during the 20th special stage, a damaged brake line left him with no braking power on the front right-hand wheel, which caused him to lose around 27 seconds of his lead. Latvala therefore tackled the final three special stages on Sunday with a very slim lead of just 3.4 seconds, and demonstrated not only his driving skills, but also his mental strength.

Since the start of the 2014 season, Jari-Matti Latvala has also been drawing on the support of mental trainer Christoph Treier. Latvala was therefore relaxed during the special stages in his home event, in spite of the huge public expectations and his extremely high motivation. And this resulted in success, with Latvala/Anttila securing 14 of the 26 possible fastest times in the rally.

Prestige duel to the very last metre: Latvala vs. Ogier
Rally Finland, which is considered to be the mother of all WRC rallies, was very much all about Jari-Matti Latvala/Miikka Anttila and their Volkswagen teammates Sébastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia this year, with 25 of the 26 possible best times being scored by one or the other of the two Volkswagen duos. The only rivals who were able to keep pace were Kris Meeke/Paul Nagle (GB/IRL, Citroën), who picked up one fastest time and finished in third place overall. The Latvala vs. Ogier duel narrowed to a difference of 3.7 seconds ahead of the final Power Stage, and was then reduced further to 3.6 seconds at the finishing line.

On multiple occasions during their high-octane duel, Latvala and Ogier hit a top speed of 200 kilometres per hour, at which point their speed was kept in check by the speed limiters. With countless jumps, some as far as 60 metres, and also plenty of blind hill crests and corners, the WRC drivers had to deliver maximum precision. And for the 38th time in the history of the WRC, a rally was won with a margin of less than ten seconds.

Great success, part two: match point for Volkswagen ahead of home event in Germany
Thanks to its one-two victory in Finland, Volkswagen has extended its lead in the manufacturers’ standings in the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) to 175 points over their closest rival Citroën. This therefore gives Volkswagen its first match point ahead of the brand’s own home event, Rally Germany: if it succeeds in defending a 172-point lead, the manufacturers’ championship title will go to Wolfsburg for the second year in a row. The German rally could also be a decider in favour of Volkswagen in the drivers’ standings too: following Rally Finland, Sébastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia have a lead of 121 points over the best non-Volkswagen duo, Mads Østberg/Jonas Andersson (N/S, Citroën). If they still have a lead of 112 points after Rally Germany, it will definitely be a Volkswagen duo who will celebrate victory in the drivers’ and co-drivers’ standings. Ogier/Ingrassia are currently in the lead on 187 points, followed by their teammates Latvala/Anttila (143 points) and Mikkelsen (95 points).

Facts, facts, facts: actual and potential records
With Rally Finland now over, Volkswagen has racked up a total of 19,996.66 kilometres during 391 special stages since it joined the WRC with the Polo R WRC in January 2013. This is equivalent to driving half way round the globe – at a rally pace, of course. During this period, Volkswagen has scored 269 fastest times and a total of 618 top-three times. Volkswagen has celebrated victory 18 times out of 21 WRC rallies, twelve of which it has scored in succession across two seasons. And by winning in Finland, Volkswagen has matched the previous best of eight wins in the same season, which Citroën achieved in 2011. For Volkswagen, the eighth rally of the season gave it its fifth one-two win of the year, and the seventh such win overall. Jari-Matti Latvala celebrated his 44th podium finish in the WRC, twelve of which he has achieved with Volkswagen. It was also his eleventh outright win, and his fourth such win in the Polo R WRC.

The icing on the cake: bonus points for Volkswagen drivers in the Power Stage
To date, Volkswagen has picked up Power Stage bonus points on 37 occasions – in the 20 Power Stages held so far. In addition, Ogier/Ingrassia gave Volkswagen its 15th consecutive Power Stage win in Finland. Latvala, the winner of the 2014 Rally Finland, has won five Power Stages in his WRC career, two of which with Volkswagen. Ogier meanwhile has a tally of 15 Power Stage wins, eleven of which with Volkswagen. And Mikkelsen also has one Power Stage win to his name, a victory he scored in the Polo R WRC.

Sébastien Ogier, Volkswagen Polo R WRC #1
“I think the fans and also we will remember this Rally Finland for a long time to come. I may not have won, but it was still a fantastic final with a great battle all the way to the very last second. Congratulations to Jari-Matti and Miikka, who really deserved this win in their home country. They were simply unbeatable this time. I already knew this morning that reducing their lead would be difficult. When you drive almost an entire stage at full speed, you can’t even make good a 3.4-second deficit if the driver in front doesn’t make any mistakes. Julien and I took all the risks we could in the penultimate stage, but Jari-Matti matched our pace. Overall, it’s been a fantastic weekend and I’m perfectly happy with the points we scored for coming second in Finland.”

Jari-Matti Latvala, Volkswagen Polo R WRC #2
“This win in Finland is a very special moment for Miikka and me. We last managed to do this in 2010, and this win feels twice as good considering our disappointing result last year. I had a good feeling in the Polo R WRC right from the start of the rally, and the car was set up perfectly once again. So a big thank-you to my team for their excellent work. And I would, of course, also like to thank all the fans who supported Miikka and me throughout the rally here in Finland. This win was a tough cookie, though. We were in a bit of a predicament on Saturday evening when we were no longer able to use one of our brakes. Nevertheless, we didn’t give up and we kept on fighting. I’m really very happy about this result.”

Andreas Mikkelsen, Volkswagen Polo R WRC #9
“Once again, Rally Finland was a very special rally, and is considered to be one of the most demanding rallies in the WRC calendar due to its particular traits. Ola and I are therefore very happy with fourth place. From Saturday, we were in a comfortable position overall, with a good time buffer to hold off our closest rival. We were therefore able to tackle the final day in a controlled manner, but we still wanted to attack during the Power Stage in order to be in with a chance of scoring a few bonus points for the championship. In the end, we finished in fourth place, but are happy with our performance overall. Congratulations to Jari-Matti and Miikka on winning Rally Finland. They very much deserved to win.”

Jost Capito, Volkswagen Motorsport Director
“To my knowledge, there’s no one in the service park who doesn’t think Jari-Matti Latvala and Miikka Anttila deserved this emotional home victory. I’m especially delighted for them today because they worked hard for this success and achieved it on the basis of immense willpower – in spite of some minor setbacks. We experienced the best Jari-Matti Latvala of all time, with an entirely new attitude towards rallying – highly focused, but relaxed at the same time. He was in his own world while he was driving and only his teammate Sébastien Ogier was able to keep up with him to the end. Andreas Mikkelsen likewise drove brilliantly and clinched fourth place in this highly demanding rally – fantastic. This one-two victory gives us the opportunity to secure the manufacturers’ championship title before the end of the season during Rally Germany. And we would obviously like to do that in style, preferably with a rally win. We have to make up for last year’s result at home. And Jari-Matti Latvala has shown us here in Finland how to win in front of a home crowd in spite of pressure and huge expectations.”

And then there was …
… a very loud wake-up call. All the teams’ drivers were awoken by a fire alarm at the central hotel for Rally Finland on Sunday morning. The high-pitched alarm was set off by Luis Moya, two-time world champion alongside Carlos Sainz, who now works in the Volkswagen team. Moya put a slice of bread in the toaster, then forgot about it, and the toaster was soon churning out smoke and turning his toast into charcoal. It cannot, however, be confirmed as to whether Moya really did say “For Heaven’s sake, Carlos, please turn the toaster off”.

FIA Rally World Championship (WRC),
Rally Finland – Final Results

1.   Jari-Matti Latvala/Miikka Anttila (FIN/FIN), Volkswagen 2h 57m 23.2s
2.   Sébastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia (F/F), Volkswagen + 3.6s
3.   Kris Meeke/Paul Nagle (GB/IRL), Citroën + 50.6s
4.   Andreas Mikkelsen/Ola Fløene (N/N), Volkswagen + 1m 52.5s
5.   Mikko Hirvonen/Jarmo Lehtinen (FIN/FIN), Ford + 2m 49.7s
6.   Juho Hänninen/Tomi Tuominen (FIN/FIN), Hyundai + 4m 29.0s
7.   Elfyn Evans/Daniel Barritt (GB/GB), Ford + 5m 25.8s
8.   Hayden Paddon/John Kennard (NZ/NZ), Hyundai + 6m 17.8s
9.   Henning Solberg/Ilka Minor (N/A), Ford + 12m 07.0s
10. Karl Kruuda/Martin Jarveoja (EST/EST), Ford + 14m 44.7s

FIA Rally World Championship (WRC),
Rally Finland – Power Stage Results

1.   Sébastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia (F/F), Volkswagen 3m 16.0s
2.   Jari-Matti Latvala/Miikka Anttila (FIN/FIN), Volkswagen + 0.1s
3.   Kris Meeke/Paul Nagle (GB/IRL), Citroën + 2.1s

FIA World Rally Championship (WRC), Overall Standings
Drivers’ Championship

points
1.   Sébastien Ogier 187
2.   Jari-Matti Latvala 143
3.   Andreas Mikkelsen 95
4.   Mads Østberg 66
5.   Mikko Hirvonen 62
6.   Kris Meeke 54
7.   Thierry Neuville 46
8.   Elfyn Evans 42
9.   Martin Prokop 31
10. Henning Solberg 26
11. Juho Hänninen 20
12. Bryan Bouffier 18
13. Robert Kubica 12
14. Ott Tänak 10
15. Benito Guerra 8
16. Hayden Paddon 8
17. Chris Atkinson 6
18. Pontus Tidemand 4
19. Jaroslav Melichárek 4
20. Nasser Al-Attiyah 3
21. Lorenzo Bertelli 2
22. Matteo Gamba 2
23. Craig Breen 2
24. Yuriy Protasov 2
25. Jari Ketomaa 1
26. Khalid Al-Qassimi 1
27. Karl Kruuda 1
28. Dani Sordo 0

Manufacturers’ Championship

points
1.   Volkswagen Motorsport 305
2.   Citroën Total Abu Dhabi WRT 130
3.   M-Sport 106
4.   Volkswagen Motorsport II 94
5.   Hyundai Motorsport 88
6.   Jipocar Czech National Team 34
7.   RK M-Sport WRT 21
8.   Hyundai Motorsport N 12

* provisional

BMW claims top four positions for the first time in the DTM since 1992

Spielberg (AT), 3rd August 2014: After last year’s one-two-three, the BMW DTM teams moved up another gear at the sixth round of the season at the Red Bull Ring (AT) to claim the top four positions for the first time since the manufacturer returned to the DTM in 2012. Marco Wittmann (DE), at the wheel of the Ice-Watch BMW M4 DTM, clinched his third win of the season at the 4.326-kilometre circuit in Spielberg (AT). In doing so, he also extended his lead in the Drivers’ Championship.

Now with 95 points to his name, Wittmann has pulled 39 points clear of Mattias Ekström (SE, Audi) in second place. Augusto Farfus (BR, Castrol EDGE BMW M4 DTM) and Timo Glock (DE, DEUTSCHE POST BMW M4 DTM) came home second and third after 47 laps of racing to join Wittmann on the podium. Martin Tomczyk (DE) finished fourth in the BMW M Performance Parts M4 DTM to complete the quadruple success for BMW. This was Tomczyk’s best result since the race at the Nürburgring (DE) in 2012.

BMW top 4 Spielberg

The last time BMW occupied all four top positions at the end of a DTM race was at the finale of the 1992 season at the Hockenheimring (DE). Back then BMW actually had drivers in the top places, in the form of Roberto Ravaglia (IT), Johnny Cecotto (VE), Joachim Winkelhock (DE), Franz Engstler (DE) and Emanuele Pirro (IT). BMW scored a total 71 points in Spielberg – more than at any other race since making its comeback in the touring car series in 2012.

Bruno Spengler (CA) started tenth on the slower standard tyres in the BMW Bank M4 DTM, and crossed the line in exactly the same position. Joey Hand (US, Crowne Plaza Hotels BMW M4 DTM) and Maxime Martin (BE, SAMSUNG BMW M4 DTM) were both given a drive-through penalty and went on to finish 12th and 14th. António Félix da Costa (PT) had to retire 11 laps into the race due to a technical problem on the Red Bull BMW M4 DTM. In total, 47,500 spectators followed the action at the iconic racetrack in the Styria region of Austria.

Jens Marquardt (BMW Motorsport Director):
“This is a historic success for us today – the first time we have occupied all of the top four positions since Hockenheim in 1992, and the best result since our return to the series. It was a sensational race from Marco Wittmann, Augusto Farfus, Timo Glock and Martin Tomczyk – one driver from each of the four teams in the BMW M4 DTM. Today we can quite literally talk about ‘Four in a Row’. A huge compliment goes to the entire team, who produced an absolutely top-class performance. The race was very intense and close at the front, particularly just after the start. After Marco fell back through the field a bit at the start, he did a great job of working his way back into the race. It then all calmed down at the front of the field towards the end of the race. Today is a fantastic day for us – and we are particularly delighted to have achieved this result against such a great backdrop and in front of so many spectators. We will celebrate today, and tomorrow we will start to focus on the next race at the Nürburgring, where the situation with the performance weight means we are bound to face a real challenge.”

DTM standings after 6 of 10 races:

Drivers’ Championship.

1. Marco Wittmann (95 points), 2. Mattias Ekström (56), 3. Bruno Spengler (42), 4. Edoardo Mortara (41), 5. Adrien Tambay (36), 6. Mike Rockenfeller (35), 7. Maxime Martin (33), 8. Christian Vietoris (33), 9. Augusto Farfus (33), 10. Timo Glock (33), 11. Jamie Green (28), 12. Miguel Molina (26), 13. Robert Wickens (25), 14. Martin Tomczyk (20), 15. Timo Scheider (19), 16. Pascal Wehrlein (14), 17. Paul di Resta (12), 18. Nico Müller (10), 19. Joey Hand (7), 20. António Félix da Costa (4), 21. Gary Paffett (4). 

Team Championship.

1. BMW Team RMG (128 points), 2. Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline (82), 3. Audi Sport Team Abt (77), 4. BMW Team Schnitzer (62), 5. Audi Sport Team Phoenix (54), 6. Original-Teile Mercedes AMG (45), 7. BMW Team RBM (40), 8. Audi Sport Team Rosberg (38), 9. BMW Team MTEK (37), 10. EURONICS / FREE MAN’S WORLD Mercedes AMG (29) , 11. gooix Mercedes AMG (14). 

Manufacturers’ Championship.

1. BMW (267 points), 2. Audi (251), Mercedes-Benz (88).

2014 calendar.

4th May – Hockenheim (DE), 18th May – Oschersleben (DE), 1st June – Budapest (HU), 29th June – Norisring (DE), 13th July – Moscow (RU), 3rd August – Spielberg (AT), 17th August – Nürburgring (DE), 14th September – Lausitzring (DE), 28th September – Zandvoort (NL), 19th October – Hockenheim (DE). 

About the DTM.
The German Touring Car Masters – DTM for short – is the most popular touring car series in the world. Last season, over 700,000 spectators flocked to renowned racetracks in Germany and around Europe to watch the ten races live. The series pits the three premium automobile manufacturers BMW, Audi and Mercedes-Benz against each other in a sporting contest. BMW fielded its first works teams from 1984 to 1992, during which time it claimed 49 race victories and won the Drivers’ Championship on three occasions (1984, 1987 and 1989). In 2012, the manufacturer returned to the DTM with the BMW M3 DTM, three teams and six drivers. BMW promptly won five races and topped the driver, team and manufacturer standings at the end of the season. In 2013, BMW Motorsport managed to defend the Manufacturer’s title with four teams and eight drivers. The 2014 DTM calendar once again consists of ten races. The schedule includes four trips abroad, to Budapest (HU), Spielberg (AT), Moscow (RU) and Zandvoort (NL). The season traditionally ends in Hockenheim (DE) on 19th October. TV station ARD is broadcasting each qualifying and every race live. Tickets for all the DTM races are available here:

http://www.bmw-motorsport.com/en/fan-area/dtm-tickets.html

Superb Snetterton double for championship leader Cook

Courier Connections Renault UK Clio Cup championship leader Josh Cook (Bath) dominated round 12 of the season at Snetterton 300 Circuit this morning, Sunday, 3rd August, to secure a superb weekend double and increase his already significant advantage in the title race to 34 points.

Marking his fifth win of the season, the SV Racing with KX driver led from lights-to-flag after pole position qualifier Mike Bushell (Tunbridge Wells) unfortunately stalled on the line. Although under some pressure from team-mate Ant Whorton-Eales (Lichfield) and WDE Motorsport’s Paul Rivett (Banstead) over the first lap and a half, Cook was then able to pull clear to win by four seconds.

Renault Clio Cup round 12

“Everything can quickly change can’t it, one DNF and it puts me right back into the mix so we’ve just got to try and keep it clean – this is obviously a good confidence boost though”, said the cautious points leader, “It’s not great to see a driver stall on the line, and it’s so easy to do. Luckily I managed to get away, I almost stalled myself, and it was a very busy first lap. It’s great to get two wins here.”

With Bushell’s startline stall, the beginning of the race was certainly dramatic but everyone luckily managed to avoid collecting the VitalRacing with Team Pyro Clio – which did fire back into life after the field had streamed past. Craig Milner (Matlock), though, was the unfortunate victim of contact as several cars moved over to avoid Bushell and the 20Ten Racing driver retired to the pits.

While Cook led away from second on the grid, Whorton-Eales managed to edge ahead of third placed starter Rivett and the lead trio ran in very close company until midway through lap two when Cook was able to start pulling away.

Into lap three, Cook had built an advantage of 1.7 seconds and – although having some small issues with braking – he was able to storm into the distance to take the win by 4.2 seconds. Whorton-Eales and Rivett were nose-to-tail for the entire duration with the SV Racing driver managing to keep his more experienced rival at bay for the first half of the encounter.

On lap six, though, Rivett produced a terrific cutback at the exit of Agostini to grab second place. On the outside line into the hairpin, the three-time former Clio Cup champion cut back to the inside as the cars rounded the left-hander and edged past on the run into Hamilton. Whorton-Eales refused to be dropped though and they were separated by only 0.8 seconds at the chequered flag.

“We had a great race today, I’m really pleased to come home in second place and win the Masters again”, said Rivett, “The first lap was amazing, all three of us were dicing and the lead could have gone any way. I settled back into third place and it was a great battle with Ant [Whorton-Eales], he drove really well and I had to work very hard to get past him.

“It’s nice to be back at the front, we just haven’t had luck on our side this year. We’ve always been there in the races but we just needed a bit more luck. We’ve had a few second places but now we need a first – I’ve never got this far through a season without winning a race!”

Whorton-Eales commented: “All we need at the minute is these podium finishes. We got up to second behind Josh [Cook], it would have been nice if it was plain sailing with us two pulling away from the pack but [Paul] Rivett’s always fast, he knows how to drive a Clio. Once he got in the tow, there was no keeping him behind. He read the corners well, knew where I was putting the car.”

Behind the podium finishers, Pyro’s Lee Pattison (Scholes) was a relatively lonely fourth after rising through the order impressively. Making a good start from fifth on the grid, Pattison was firmly in the lead battle but at Agostini on the first lap he was elbowed back to seventh.

Quickly making his way back into the top five, he took fourth from Westbourne Motorsport’s James Colburn (Worthing) at Montreal on lap three and then pulled away from the squabbling pack to post his best finish since round seven at Oulton Park in early June.

Colburn was under immense pressure for fifth during the second half of the contest but somehow managed to keep his rivals behind with some impressive defensive driving. Initially having to fend off the attentions of 20Ten Racing’s Jordan Stilp (Potterspury), who started the race in eighth rather than his qualification slot of fifth due to a penalty from round 11, Colburn didn’t put a wheel wrong.

As the recovering Bushell began to carve his way through the order, posting the fastest lap of the race on the sixth tour, Stilp himself became a target and Bushell usurped him for sixth with a great move at the Bomb Hole.

Into lap eight, Colburn, Bushell, Stilp and WDE’s Charlie Ladell (Felixstowe) were glued together in the battle for fifth but despite Bushell’s clear pace advantage, Colburn impressively held onto the place to the flag on lap 10 with the order just behind unchanged – less than a second covering fifth to eighth places.

Following Saturday’s race, round 11, Jordan Stilp was given an eight second time penalty in relation to his part in an on-track incident as well as three points applied to his racing licence, triggering a three point deduction from his championship total.

This means Stilp drops from fourth to eighth in the amended race one results, elevating Ladell into fourth, Modell into fifth and Pattison into seventh. Whorton-Eales, who was given a one second time penalty after round 11, remains sixth in the race one classification due to Stilp’s penalty.

Next on the Courier Connections Renault UK Clio Cup calendar is a return to Knockhill Circuit in Fife, over the weekend 23rd/24th August, for rounds 13 and 14 of the season. As well as being the local venue for the Clio Cup’s headline sponsor, Courier Connections, the race meeting will also mark the championship’s first visit to Scotland since 2010.

The Courier Connections Renault UK Clio Cup is additionally supported by ELF, Performance Friction, WP Racing and official tyre supplier Dunlop.

Provisional 2014 Courier Connections Renault UK Clio Cup standings (after Rd12):
1st Josh Cook, 301pts; 2nd James Colburn, 267pts; 3rd Mike Bushell, 253pts

Provisional 2014 Courier Connections Renault UK Clio Cup ‘Graduate Cup’ standings (after Rd12):
1st Josh Cook, 317pts; 2nd James Colburn, 311pts; 3rd Ant Whorton-Eales, 288pts

Provisional 2014 Courier Connections Renault UK Clio Cup ‘Masters Cup’ standings (after Rd12):
1st Lee Pattison, 360pts; 2nd Paul Rivett, 293pts; 3rd Mark Howard, 253pts

Provisional 2014 Courier Connections Renault UK Clio Cup Team standings (after Rd12):
1st SV Racing with KX, 631pts; 2nd Team Pyro, 465pts; 3rd Westbourne Motorsport, 427pts

Torotrak confirms progress in manufacturing capability

Torotrak PLC, a leading UK innovator of mechanical solutions for vehicle fuel efficiency and emissions reduction, has significantly advanced its product manufacturing capabilities with extensive investment in new facilities across its two sites. Along with the appointment of Ian Bryson as interim operations director for the group, the new facilities support strategies to move towards in-house manufacture for low volume, high value technology applications. Building on the acquisition of Flybrid earlier in the year, the group is also preparing to manufacture units for fleet trials of the Flybrid KERS for buses in early 2015, ahead of full commercial production later in that year.

Torotrak KERS hub

The hub of a KERS flywheel used for capturing kinetic energy

Bryson is an experienced manufacturing engineering specialist who began his career at BAE Systems before being trained in lean manufacturing and continuous improvement at Kawasaki Heavy Industries in Japan. He is, we are informed, certified as a black belt in Six-Sigma, the world’s leading data-driven process improvement methodology.

“This appointment is another important stage in delivering our strategy and taking greater control of getting our products into the market,” said Jeremy Deering, Torotrak CEO. “We are investing in low-volume manufacturing capability and increasing our test and prototyping capacities to speed the transition from a pure licensing business to an innovations supplier.”

To improve the company’s product testing capabilities, four new test rigs in three new cells (with one being a twin-motor assembly) have been launched for performance and durability testing of its Flybrid Kinetic Energy Recovery System (KERS). These have been installed at the Leyland site over recent months and are now reaching the final stages of assembly and commissioning. The specialised durability testing facilities are crucial in the final stages of the planned test programme as the technology reaches production-readiness in a number of applications. The ability to conduct extensive functional safety and durability testing in-house will help in getting the technologies to market faster, and providing more holistic customer support and reassurance.

The list of upgrades to Torotrak’s manufacturing capacity is extensive. In the past six months the company has installed two new Mazak precision machining centres for a range of applications. One machine is installed at Leyland for the manufacture of flywheel hubs and core components, including parts for the impending start of production of the Flybrid bus KERS, currently in road testing with WrightBus. A further unit at Silverstone is already manufacturing development parts and Leyland has received a new carbon fibre filament winding machine, which is installed and already manufacturing the tough carbon fibre rims for Flybrid’s high-speed flywheels. Finally a new curing oven has been commissioned and is also in operation, with complete flywheels ready for testing on the Group’s new test rigs.

“This is a really exciting time to be joining Torotrak,” said Bryson. “There is already a huge amount of momentum in the organisation to deliver this crucial manufacturing capacity and I’m looking forward to helping achieve this with world class levels of operational excellence and process efficiency.”

Over the coming months the company expects to undertake a more extensive refit of the Silverstone site that will include a new hydraulic test cell, further machine shop space for development parts and a dedicated electronics and wiring loom area.

This appointment and the upgrades in facilities and equipment are an important step in closing the gap between development and production for Torotrak. “It’s important for us to be able to support our customers with low volume production so that they can effectively validate our products prior to production decisions,” said Deering. “Having the capability to also manufacture for lower volume applications, across our product portfolio is yet another advantage for the company.”

The result of this investment is already visible in a number of key milestones shared at the company’s AGM in Silverstone at the end of July. Amongst these were a funded research programme now underway with Lotus Cars to  integrate KERS into the manual transmission of a performance passenger car, and the successful delivery of the first KERS installation in a Wright StreetLite bus. This bus application has demonstrated good driveability and energy capture during on-road testing in Ballymena and Leyland during July and is on track to commence KERS trials on a public route with Arriva in the autumn. In addition, shareholders learned that the next stage engineering programme for main drive transmissions with Allison is underway and on track to receive a success related £1m deferred license fee in the fourth quarter of 2014. Collaboration with Tier 1 and global passenger car OEMs to optimise V-Charge for new engine platforms is also progressing well.

 

Fourth win of season for Cook at action-packed Snetterton

Snetterton 300 Circuit provided one of the most action-packed Courier Connections Renault UK Clio Cup races of the season this afternoon, Saturday, 2nd August, with championship leader Josh Cook (Bath) emerging on top in round 11 to seal his fourth victory of the year for SV Racing with KX.

Out-dragging the VitalRacing with Team Pyro car of pole position qualifier Mike Bushell (Tunbridge Wells) off the line, Cook remained at the front – albeit under significant pressure – until lap six when 20Ten Racing’s Jordan Stilp (Potterspury) managed to edge ahead through the infield. Hitting back into Palmer on lap seven, Cook eventually pulled away to win by 1.8 seconds.

“I just had to get off the line cleanly”, said Cook, who has increased his lead to 22 points, “Obviously, [Mike] Bushell has been quick all weekend but I managed to get away, get in front of him and keep out of the carnage behind me. It was great fun, a really great race and fantastic to come out on top for the SV Racing with KX guys. We’ll have to see what we can do tomorrow – hopefully the same!”

Round 11 was certainly one of the most spectacular races of the campaign so far with action aplenty from the turbo-charged, fourth generation racing Clios. While Cook managed to get ahead of Bushell on the run to Riches, Ant Whorton-Eales (Lichfield) made the best start of anyone from fourth on the grid to surge into the top three and he then displaced Bushell for second.

Into lap two, Cook held a lead of just 0.4 seconds over team-mate Whorton-Eales with Bushell glued to the back of the second SV Racing with KX car and Stilp, Westbourne Motorsport’s James Colburn (Worthing) and Pyro’s Lee Pattison (Scholes) all queuing up behind.

The first of many dramatic moments among the leaders came on the second tour at the exit of Agostini when Bushell was edged out wide while locked in battle with Stilp, the loss of momentum for the pole qualifier seeing him tumble down to seventh position.

Stilp, therefore, moved into third but Bushell quickly set about trying to recover and on lap three he was already into the top five. After getting ahead of Whorton-Eales, Stilp set about pressuring Cook for the lead and as the race hit mid-distance there was still nothing to separate the lead group.

Particularly fast through the infield section, Stilp swarmed all over the back of Cook’s car but the series leader didn’t crack. Then, on lap six at Hamilton, Stilp and Cook went into the turn side-by-side with the former bouncing across the grass on the outside. Incredibly, Stilp rejoined without losing pace and, with the inside line for Oggies, he managed to grab the lead as Cook gave him room.

The next time around at Palmer, though, Cook managed to move back to the front and the delay for Stilp on the outside line dropped him to fifth. Adding even more spice to an already red-hot contest, light rain drops then began to fall although the precipitation didn’t become anything significant.

Having spent most of the race under huge pressure, Cook was able to relax on lap eight when the battle over the remaining podium places enabled the leader to pull well clear. With a cushion of over three seconds into lap nine, Cook’s fourth win of 2014 and fifth Graduate Cup success were secure.

Bushell, having recovered superbly, took second place from Whorton-Eales at the end of lap eight when the KX driver got his Clio seriously out of shape at the chicane. Falling to fifth, Whorton-Eales dropped back further to sixth before the finish.

Over the last couple of laps Bushell pushed hard and set the fastest lap on the final tour to close the gap to Cook down from 3.3 seconds to just 1.8 seconds. Colburn took his fifth podium of the year after a fantastic drive to third, from eighth on the grid, with Stilp fourth and WDE Motorsport’s Charlie Ladell (Felixstowe) a superb season-best fifth.

“I got mugged”, reflected Bushell on the start, “I pulled the clutch up too quick, got a load of wheelspin, it was one of those things. It was an entertaining race, I tried to get second hard the way, but I’m pleased with the result and with another lap I think I could have been on the tail of Cook.”

Third placed Colburn said: “I got fuel surge in qualifying on my fastest lap when I was half a second up, so that was quite unfortunate. We battled through, made a few places on the first lap, made up some more and then got punted so fell back to eighth. After getting third again, I’m really pleased.”

Behind Whorton-Eales, Westbourne’s Devon Modell (Maidstone) was seventh, Pattison was eighth – winning the Masters Cup – and Alex Morgan (Reading) finished ninth after sustaining damage to his Clio on the opening lap during an incident in the pack which also eliminated Paul Rivett (Banstead).

Mark Howard (Westborough) rounded out the top 10 top take second in the Masters Cup, over eight seconds clear of 20Ten Racing team-mate Craig Milner (Matlock) and championship newcomer Paul Knapp (Farningham). Tied together throughout the 10-lapper, Knapp was less than 0.2 seconds shy at the finish.

Ash Hand (Nuneaton) produced a storming opening to the race and after scything his way through into seventh place from 12th on the grid on lap one, he was into the top four just a couple of laps later. Contact, though, on the sixth tour led to a pit visit and retirement with damage.

The second race of the weekend, round 12 of the Courier Connections Renault UK Clio Cup season, will start at 11.10 tomorrow, Sunday, 3rd August, with ‘as-live’ television coverage expected during the afternoon on the ITV4 and ITV4 HD broadcast from Snetterton.

The Courier Connections Renault UK Clio Cup is additionally supported by ELF, Performance Friction, WP Racing and official tyre supplier Dunlop.

Clio Cup Rd11 Podium (l-r) James Colburn, Josh Cook, Mike Bushell

Provisional 2014 Courier Connections Renault UK Clio Cup standings (after Rd11):
1st Josh Cook, 269pts; 2nd James Colburn, 247pts; 3rd Mike Bushell, 233pts

Provisional 2014 Courier Connections Renault UK Clio Cup ‘Graduate Cup’ standings (after Rd11):
1st James Colburn, 286pts; 2nd Josh Cook, 285pts; 3rd Jordan Stilp, 269pts

Provisional 2014 Courier Connections Renault UK Clio Cup ‘Masters Cup’ standings (after Rd11):
1st Lee Pattison, 332pts; 2nd Paul Rivett, 261pts; 3rd Mark Howard, 228pts

Provisional 2014 Courier Connections Renault UK Clio Cup Team standings (after Rd11):
1st SV Racing with KX, 574pts; 2nd Team Pyro, 423pts; 3rd Westbourne Motorsport, 391pts

Aston Martin recruiting clay sculpting apprentices

Aston Martin is searching for the very best of tomorrow’s automotive design talent with news that the luxury sports car brand is recruiting clay sculpting apprentices.

The two apprenticeships on offer present the right candidates with the opportunity to enter the highly acclaimed Aston Martin Design Department and, quite literally, help shape the future of the great British brand.

Would-be clay sculptors are invited to apply for a four-year apprenticeship programme that begins in January 2015. This unique scheme will offer individuals the chance to develop the practical skills required to mould forthcoming generations of the world’s most beautiful sports cars, with the opportunity to progress to a Higher Apprenticeship.

Aston Martin clay modelling

The successful candidates will be helping to sculpt cars that will be assured of a truly global presence, supporting the growth of the world-class sports car maker.

The ideal applicants should have creative flare, a good eye for proportion, be enthusiastic and passionate about the Aston Martin brand, whilst having the ability to tackle problems and challenges in an innovative manner.

The specialist role will provide the chosen candidates with the necessary training and support to become successful clay sculptors. Those fortunate enough to be selected will be learning from some of the industry’s most talented and skilled craftspeople and, by the end of this programme, will be able to take a design from initial concept to an accurate full-size model of the final car for both the exterior and interior.

The company, based at Gaydon in Warwickshire, is aiming to add two new apprentices to the 12 already recruited across the business and due to start work in September this year.

Qualification requirements for applicants include five GCSEs at grade ‘C’ and above. These must include Maths, English, Science and a related subject such as Art.

The expansion to include Clay Sculpting within the apprenticeship programme is a new direction for Aston Martin and demonstrates the importance that the company places on developing the next generation of top-class automotive talent.

Design Director Marek Reichman explained: “A skilled clay sculptor has the ability to turn a 2D sketch into 3D life-size reality. Clay sculpting remains an integral part of the design process at Aston Martin and is vital in helping the Design Team visualise future models.

“We’re looking for creative young people with a keen interest in the motor industry and a passion for all things Aston Martin.

“This is an incredible opportunity for talented and ambitious individuals to join one of the world’s most respected automotive design teams and work on new cars that, I’m sure, will be admired around the world.”

The apprenticeship programme will be delivered in-house in partnership with Walsall College through formal learning at the company’s Technical Academy at Gaydon and knowledge and skills within the workplace.

For details of how to apply for an apprenticeship, please visit www.astonmartin.com/careers/apprenticeships