Solberg Crash is a Smash YouTube Hit
Ford World Rally Team’s Jari-Matti Latvala/Miikka Anttila equalled their best-ever result on asphalt in Rallye de France, round 11 of the FIA World Rally Championship, with a strong run to second in a Ford Fiesta RS WRC, just 15.5 seconds adrift of victory. The Finnish pairing won six speed tests as they secured their fourth consecutive rostrum, lifting Latvala to third in the drivers’ standings with two rounds remaining. Driving a similar car, team-mates Petter Solberg/Chris Patterson were challenging for a podium position when they fell victim to a spectacular accident at the start of the penultimate day. Solberg went off the road and ploughed through a vineyard before bringing down a telegraph pole in an incident that became a YouTube hit.
Fifth for Østberg in France
Adapta World Rally Team’s Mads Østberg/Jonas Andersson finished fifth in Rallye de France in their Ford Fiesta WRC, following a consistent performance on their least-favoured surface. M-Sport Ford World Rally Team’s Ott Tänak/Kuldar Sikk defeated team-mates Evgeny Novikov/Ilka Minor to take sixth, with Tänak also snatching three bonus points for winning the Power Stage. Novikov lost almost three minutes with a roll on the final day. Martin Prokop/Zdeněk Hrůza finished ninth in the Czech Ford National Team’s Fiesta RS WRC.
Breen Takes Slender SWRC Lead
Driving a Ford Fiesta S2000, Craig Breen/Paul Nagle won the SWRC class in Rallye de France to move into the championship lead. The pair will take a slender two-point advantage in the standings into the final round in Spain. Yazeed Al Rajhi/Michael Orr finished second in a Ford Fiesta RRC, and similarly remain in title contention at 20 points adrift of Breen with 25 still to play for.
Evans Clinches FIA WRC Academy Title
Elfyn Evans was crowned FIA WRC Academy champion after winning the penultimate round of the Ford Racing-supported series in Rallye de France. Evans and co-driver Phil Pugh’s victory at the wheel of their M-Sport prepared Fiesta R2 was the pair’s fourth consecutive triumph, although Pugh is not eligible for the co-drivers’ crown having not registered at the start of the season. Asphalt specialists Jose Suárez/Candido Carrera finished second in France, with John MacCrone/Stuart Loudon rounding out the rostrum in third. Seven of the eight crews tallied at least one stage win. Five drivers are still in contention for the runner-up laurels with one round remaining.
Cronje Dominates Polokwane Rally
Mark Cronje/Robin Houghton dominated the Polokwane Rally in their Sasolracing Ford Fiesta S2000 to reclaim the lead of the South African Rally Championship by 20 points with one round to run. The result marked the duo’s fourth triumph from seven rallies, and was the most commanding victory achieved by any crew this season. Ashley Haigh-Smith/Craig Parry won the S2000 Challenge class in a Fiesta S1600.
Godfrey Extends Rallycross Lead
Julian Godfrey kept his British Rallycross Championship title defence on-track by winning the penultimate round at Pembrey in Wales in his Ford Fiesta VI. Godfrey defeated arch-rival Pat Doran to extend his lead to eight points. Driving a Ford Focus, Andy Grant finished third to close to within a single point of the same position in the standings.
Reynolds is New Historic Rally Champ
Julian Reynolds/Patrick Walsh were crowned MSA British Historic Rally Champions following the curtain-closing Colin McRae Forest Stages. Piloting a Ford Escort Mk1, Reynolds/Walsh withstood constant pressure from title rivals Nick Elliott/Dave Price in an Escort Mk2 to take their sixth straight Category 2 victory and clinch the crown by five points. Elliott/Price prevailed in Category 3.
Focus Shines at Silverstone
Redstone Racing’s Mat Jackson produced a spectacular performance in the British Touring Car Championship at Silverstone to record the maiden victory in the series for Motorbase Performance’s new NGTC-specification Ford Focus ST from 17th on the grid. He also set a new lap record. The triumph was the 19th of Jackson’s touring car career, but would almost certainly have been his 20th had he not retired from a comfortable lead in the first race with electronic issues almost within sight of the chequered flag. Despite maximum success ballast of 45kg, the former championship runner-up stormed through from 10th on the grid to finish second in race three.
Gold for Silva in Italy
Marco Giuseppe Silva/Giovanni Pina led a Ford one-two on the Ronde Valsassina in Italy in their Focus RS WRC, ahead of the similar car of Marco Paccagnella / Beniamino Bianco. Paolo Aldeghi/Andrea Bonetti finished second in class in a Fiesta S2000.
Double Podium for Focus RS WRC in Sweden
Eddie Hörbing/Jon Magnusson finished runners-up in Rally Kolsvarundan in Sweden in a Ford Focus RS WRC, ahead of Jari Saarinen/Jörgen Fornander in third in a similar car and Hasse Gustafsson/Mikael Johansson in fourth in a Fiesta RS WRC. Ford Fiesta ST crews Marius Aasen/Marlene Engan, David Pettersson/Kalle Nattsson and Jonas Olsson/Mikael Jönsson finished first, second and third in class.
Sulzinger Impresses in Germany
Coping with fast roads and changeable grip levels, Raffael Sulzinger/Jenny Gäbler won their class in a Ford Fiesta R2 in the ADAC Rallye Baden-Württemberg in Germany, the penultimate round of the ADAC Rallye Masters and ADAC Rallye Junior Cup. The pair overcame a gearbox issue and two minor ‘offs’ to claim 11 of the 12 stage wins and finish comfortably ahead of their nearest challenger, in addition to placing fifth overall and highest front wheel-drive entry. Sulzinger / Gäbler lead the ADAC Rallye Junior Cup and have advanced to third overall in the ADAC Rallye Masters standings.
Radzivil Triumphs in Ukraine
Dmitriy Radzivil/Liubomir Shumakov won their class in Rally Chumatskiy Shlyah in the Ukraine in a Ford Fiesta ST.
Scottish Podium for Bogie
Recently-crowned champions David Bogie/Kevin Rae finished third in a Ford Escort Mk2 in the Colin McRae Forest Stages, the final round of the MSA Scottish Rally Championship. The event marked Bogie’s debut in the car.
Ford Fights Back Down Under
Dean Canto/David Reynolds finished second in their Bottle-O Racing Team Ford Falcon FG in the legendary Bathurst 1000, round 11 of the V8 Supercars Championship in Australia. After Reynolds had qualified 10th in the 29-entry field and subsequently lapped eighth-quickest in the top 10 shoot-out, he and Canto fought through to claim the runner-up trophy in the 1000km race, a mere three tenths of a second behind the winners.
Kenseth Seals Dramatic NASCAR Win
Matt Kenseth survived a last lap multi-car pile-up to win the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Good Sam Roadside Assistance 500 race at Talladega Superspeedway in the United States in his Roush Fenway Racing EcoBoost Ford Fusion. After qualifying just 15th, the former champion safely navigated his way through the final lap chaos to notch up his second victory of the campaign and the 23rd of his NASCAR Sprint Cup career.