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Category Archives: Motorsport

Continental Milligan Vintage Trial and Tour

MilliganOn the road again…

One of the Eastern Cape’s premier motoring events, the Continental Milligan Vintage Trial and Tour, is set to begin on Sunday 9 June in Port Elizabeth, and has a dazzling line-up of 30 entries representing 18 marques and 11 clubs.
This is the 44th running of the legendary Milligan, and the 14th consecutive year with Continental Tyre South Africa (CTSA) as the title sponsor. The event is hosted and organised each year by the Eastern Province Veteran Car Club (EPVCC).
“The Continental Milligan Vintage Trial is regarded as one of the best events on the motoring calendar, and is always a popular attraction for the Eastern Cape,” says Gishma Johnson, corporate communications manager for CTSA.
“It embodies a fantastic spirit and exceptional enthusiasm for our motoring history, and it’s great to see so many of these beautiful veteran and vintage cars out in action.”
The event kicks off on Sunday 9 June with registration and scrutineering from 9 am at the Protea Marine Hotel in Summerstrand, Port Elizabeth, where the vehicles will be on display throughout most of the day.
As usual, the official send-off  will be a grand affair, and the first vehicle will depart the hotel at 8 am on Monday 10 June. Thereafter the competitors head to Jeffreys Bay, Humansdorp and Kareedouw for tea, before making their way via Storms River and Plettenberg Bay through to the overnight stop in Knysna.
The following two days will be spent traversing the scenic mountain routes around George, using the King George Hotel as the overnight venue. The final leg, on Thursday 13 June, ends at Brenton-on-Sea near Knysna. The proceedings will be wrapped up that night with a gala dinner and awards ceremony at the Protea Hotel Knysna Quays. Spectators are welcome and encouraged to view the cars along the route, at the tea stops and at the various hotels.
According to EPVCC chairman Hannes Geyer, last year’s winners, Colin and Anne Meyer from Border Vintage Car Club will be defending their title in a 1963 Mercedes-Benz 220 CE Coupe’. The oldest competitor is 78-year-old Ernest Littleford, who will be competing with his son-in-law Peter Bolze, driving a 1956 Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud.
Two of the oldest vehicles will be Arthur and Bernice Galway’s 1927 Austin Clifton, as well as Danie and Gwen Gerber’s 1930 Ford Model A Phaeton. Kathy and Angelo Zenios will be competing in their beautiful 1964 Jaguar E-type, and a wide range of other marques will be represented, including Alfa, Austin, Fargo, Ferrari, MG, Peugeot, Rolls-Royce and Valiant.
There is also one overseas entrant from Germany – none other than former CTSA managing director Dr Thorsten Reece, who is competing in his fourth Milligan.
The event featured a great additional attraction last year – the Continental Milligan Vintage Tour, which affords participants the opportunity to follow the Milligan route and festivities, but without competing in the main trial.
Stalwarts Piet “Prok” Coetzee and his wife Poppie from Cradock will continue their remarkable legacy of participating in every Milligan held to date, and will follow the Tour as they did last year.
The Milligan Vintage Trial was originally a one-day event held between Port Elizabeth and East London. The first running took place on 22 August 1970 in memory of the late Bill Milligan, founding member of the EPVCC.
In line with its status as a regularity rally, the car’s odometer and speedometer are sealed. Competitors have to complete each section within the organisers’ stipulated time, which is determined according to various classes that accommodate the wide range and age of vehicles. Penalty points are allocated for arriving at a check point early or late, right down to the second – and the winning team is the one with the fewest penalties.
The route summary is:
Day 1 (Monday 10 June): First car departs Protea Marine Hotel Summerstrand at 08:00, travels via Jeffreys Bay and Humansdorp to the tea stop at Assegaai Bosch Country Lodge (11:00 to 12:00). Then on to Kareedouw, Storms River, Plettenberg Bay and overnight at Protea Hotel Knysna Quays
Day 2 (Tuesday 11 June): The Milligan sets off from Knysna at 09:30, travelling through Sedgefield, Wilderness, Great Brak River and ending at the King George Hotel in George
Day 3 (Wednesday 12 June): From George the group drives through Oudtshoorn toward the Cango Caves and back to the King George Hotel via Oudtshoorn
Day 4 (Thursday 13 June): On the final day the Milligan leaves George and travels to Knysna via Wilderness and Sedgefield, visiting Karatara and ending in Brenton-on-Sea. The last night is once again spent at the Protea Hotel Knysna Quays.

Mercedes and Pirelli to appear before tribunal

F1 testingUp before the ‘beak’

Mercedes and Pirelli are to appear before an international tribunal constituted by the FIA to answer questions relating to allegations of illegal tyre testing in Barcelona after the Spanish Grand Prix. Repports say that the test was performed with the current Mercedes F1 car and drivers, in contravention of the rules.

Initially Ferrari were also called upon to explain tests carried out by the Scuderia and the tyre supplier in Barcelona after the Bahrain Grand Prix, but the FIA has now conceded those tests were within the rules as they were conducted with a two-year-okd car, not the current model, and using only reserve driver pedro de la Rosa.

The question is, why would Pirelli, Ross Brawn, Toto Wolf and Mercedes have conducted tests on a recognised track, open to public scrutiny, knowing they were breaking the rules? Among the rumours circulating is one that suggests Mercedes was actually given permission to test the 2013 car by FIA technical delegate Charlie Whiting. If that is true, what will the tribunal do?

The FIA Statement, issued on Wednesday night, said, “The FIA requested clarifications from Pirelli and Team Mercedes AMG Petronas F1… The FIA also asked questions to Scuderia Ferrari Team, which took part in a tyre-testing with Pirelli in Barcelona on 23-24 April 2013.

“The FIA requested all the other F1 teams to provide the FIA with information they may have regarding any tests carried out by Pirelli during the 2013 season.

“In the light of all the replies received and in view of the information gathered the president of the FIA, acting as the FIA prosecuting body, has decided: “To close the case as regard to Scuderia Ferrari team considering that its participation in a tyre testing organised by Pirelli in Barcelona on 23-24 April 2013 using for this purpose a 2011 car is not deemed to contravene the applicable FIA rules.

“To bring the case concerning the tyre-testing session carried out by Pirelli and Team Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 in Barcelona on 15-17 May 2013 before the FIA international tribunal because it results from the inquiry that the conditions of this testing may constitute a breach of the applicable FIA rules.

“The FIA international tribunal is called upon to make a decision in compliance with the FIA judicial and disciplinary rules.”

 

International Engine of the Year 2013

Ford EcoBoost

Ford EcoBoost

Engine excellence

Ford, Fiat… as well as Ferrari and Porsche! The results of this year’s International Engine of the Year Award are an interesting mix of frugality and performance.

First-off, the overall winner, for the second year in a row, is Ford’s 1,0-litre turbocharged three-cylinder EcoBoost engine, the unit powering the Fiesta in Accelerate magazine’s June ‘Triple threat’ face-off. Turn to page 32 of this month’s issue to see how we found it in real-world conditions.

Among the other repeat winners in their segments are VW Group’s 1,4-litre TSI petrol (1,0- to 1,4-litre category); BMW and PSA Group’s 1,6-litre turbo petrol (1,4-litre to 1,8-litre category); BMW’s 2,0-litre turbo petrol (1,8-litre to 2,0-litre division) and Audi’s 2,5-litre turbo inline five-cylinder (2,0-litre to 2,5-litre section).

A new contender that went all the way this year is Fiat’s 0,8-litre two-cylinder turbocharged CNG engine, which got the Green Engine of the Year Award. GM’s 1,4-litre range extender, which won the category last year, had a dramatic fall from grace, dropping to 6th for 2013.

Best Performance Engine this year is Ferrari’s 6,3-litre V12, as used in the F12. The same unit displaced another Ferrari unit, the 458 V8, to take the honours for best engine over 4,0 litres.

Another winner this year was the Porsche Cayman/Boxster 2,7-litre flat-six, which displaced BMW to take the 2,5 to 3,0-litre class. McLaren’s 3,8-litre V8 won the 3,0 to 4,0-litre category, again displacing a BMW unit.

Ferrari V12

Ferrari V12

Porsche Boxster flat-6

Porsche Boxster flat-6

Scirocco-R Cup – SA’s got talent!

SciroccoSA youngsters shine at Spielberg

Kelvin van der Linde claimed a double-victory at the RedBull Ring, near Spielberg in Austria this weekend. Fellow South African, Jordan Pepper, claimed third place in race one and fifth overall (second in the Junior category) in the second race of the weekend.

Van der Linde started race one on Saturday from pole thanks to posting the fastest qualifying time of one minute and 46.686 seconds on the 4.3 km long circuit. The chequered flag here saw him claim his first of two victories on the weekend. The second victory was achieved from an eighth place start on Sunday.

“My start in race one was not good and I was put under immense pressure right from the start,” says Van der Linde. “I tried to save my push-to-pass for the second half of the race and that worked well. I’m extremely happy with my first victory.”

“Overall it was a good race weekend, we faced tough conditions but made the most of them to win both races,” says Van der Linde. “We’re off to a new track next (Norisring) and our focus shifts to secure points in an effort to win the championship. I have to thank Volkswagen and everyone in South Africa for the great support.”

These two young South Africans, both from the local single-make Engen Volkswagen Cup championship, are attracting a great deal of attention with their European motorsport efforts. At round one at Hockenheim, Van der Linde was fourth and Pepper claimed seventh.

After the first two rounds, Van der Linde leads the championship while Pepper holds fourth overall and is also leading the Junior Championship in this series. Their performance is made all the more noteworthy as they get virtually no practise time before each race – and every event takes place on a circuit they have not raced before.

“The performance of these two young South African motorsport talents shows our racers can compete successfully on an international level,” says Mike Rowe, head of Volkswagen Motorsport. “Both competed in the extremely challenging Engen Volkswagen Cup series last year, a series known as being one of the toughest in the country. The series builds both character and racecraft, the performance both are giving in Germany this year is definite proof of this.”

The next round of the Scirocco R-Cup takes place at the Norisring on 12 and 13 July.

WRC Acropolis and SA Championship Gauteng Toyota Dealer Rally

Latvala-Acropolis-Rally-2013-1024x681Same cars, new winners

The weekend’s rallying, in both the WRC and South Africa’s national series, saw the usual winners so far this season wrong-footed by mechanical niggles, while rival drivers in similar cars made the move to the top step of the podium.

In the WRC evet, the Acropolis, Jari-Matti Latvala claimed his first World Rally Championship win since joining Volkswagen after a fuel-feed problem put log-leader and multiple winner Sebastién Ogier out of the running on the first stage.

Then Latvala spent a few nail-biting hours waiting on a decision by the stewards after Citroën, for whom Dani Sordo had managed second place, protested the presence of extra batteries in the VW entries. The decision went in VW’s favour and Latvala was confirmed the victor in the early hours of the next morning.

HabigThings were completely cut and dried for six-times SA champion Jan Habig, who took his Basil Read-backed Ford Fiesta to a dominant win in the Gauteng Toyota Dealer rally, the third round of the local series, after habitual winner Mark Cronje suffered a gearboc problem early on, then hit a rock into the bargain. Habig came home ahead of the consistent Johnny Gemmel (Toyota Yaris) and Enzo Kuun in the first of the VW Polos.

Formula One – Monaco Grand Prix

Like father like son

NicowinsKeke winsJohn Bentley

I was at Monaco 30 years ago when Nico Rosberg’s Dad took his Williams-Cosworth to victory in the Principality. So for me there was an element of déja vu in this year’s race. But, though those wins by father and son were both brilliantly skilful performances, there’s where the similarity ends. For, whereas Keke’s victory came after a feisty drive in the nimble, underpowered Williams, which outclassed its comparatively clumsy turbo opposition on the twisty track, Nico’s was a controlled one by a consummate professional eking out his tyres while positioning his car perfectly on every corner of every lap of a circuit where the car in front, if driven ‘perfectly’ will always have the advantage.

Monaco, more than any race this year, played right into the hands of the ant-Pirelli camp, the faction of the grand prix fraternity that decries the fact that Formula One is no longer a flat-out blind, but a tyre-conservation game.

But one needs to remember that Monaco is a rather special circuit on which overtaking is difficult, but it treats tyres kindly. So a fast car, as the Mercedes undoubtedly is, just has to take pole position and, provided its driver keeps his nose clean, has to be a shoe-in for victory. Once in front, Rosberg, with Hamilton riding shotgun behind, was able to keep the pace slow in the early laps, conserving his tyres, something he has been unable to do in earlier races, where more easy overtaking has resulted in him losing the lead within a lap or two, despite having the single-lap pace to score poles in Spain and Bahrain. But the chances of a return to the status quo in Montreal are pretty strong… unless Mercedes has been advantaged by attempts by the tyre supplier to mollify the Silver Arrows after much complaining, particularly in the German media.

I’ve been a strong supporter of Pirelli all along, but I must say that reports that they ran a secret three-day test with Mercedes after the Spanish GP have left a bad taste. Such a test, using the current car, is patently illegal under the regulations, as were earlier suggestions that, after complaints from Red Bull and Mercedes, the rubber compounds were to be changed as from the Canadian race. The FIA pointed out that the 2013 tyres had all been approved by the teams at a test in September last year, and the rules forbid such a change, unless on safety grounds. So all Pirelli is allowed to do is take steps to prevent a recurrence of a few delaminations that have happened so far this season, though many suggest that these have simply been the result of cars picking up accident debris.

Anyway, full marks to Nico Rosberg for a brilliant drive. Although the manner in which he won was different from that of has ol’ man all those years ago, the achievement was on the same level. Now all he has to do is go on to win a world championship!

Toyota 86 goes racing

0602 Toyota 86 GT4 1

Pictured here is the Toyota 86 GT4 racecar, which will begin its testing programme soon ahead of its entry into the European GT4 champiuonship, which starts in May. The car has been built by specialists GPRM and features a specially developed version of the standard car’s 2,0-litre boxer-four motor.

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Hamilton wins Hungary, but beware the Iceman

Formula One went into its mid-season break with Fernando Alonso way out in front of the standings on 164 points. But, after a strong drive at the Hungarian Grand Prix, the final race before the recess, observers are tipping Lotus-Renault and Kimi Raikkonen as potential contenders for the title, despite the Finnish former world champion’s 48-point deficit to the Spanish points-leader.

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Ecclestone to buy the ‘Ring?

We recently brought you news on the Nürburgring filing for bankruptcy, and now it seems one of the richest and most influential men in motorsport may be the track’s saving grace. A recent report suggests that the motorsport mogul is looking into buying the embattled circuit.

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De Villota accident “not Marussia’s fault”

The Marussia Formula One team has indicated that Maria de Villota’s crash during testing, which led to her losing her right eye, was not owed to a failure of the car in any way, but instead to a “chain of unfortunate circumstances and mistakes”. The Spaniard is still in hospital recovering from her serious head and facial injuries.

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