FIA NACAM RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP – RALLY MEXICO (ROUND 1/5)
The 16th Rally Guanajuato México hosted the opening round of the 2019 FIA NACAM Rally Championship last weekend, alongside Round 3 of the FIA World Rally Championship. The Northern American series consists of five events in Mexico and Canada.
Mexico’s Ricardo Triviño, navigated by his Spanish co-driver Marc Marti, drove his Škoda Fabia R5 to victory on the stages around Léon and Guanajuato. Not only did the pair achieve the top spot of the NACAM event’s leaderboard but their also scored a Top ten finish in the overall WRC classification.
Crew #82 Ricardo Cordero and Marco Hernández had a spectacular accident in SS13, their Citroën DS3 R5 landing on the roof on the side of the road, but the Mexicans managed to make it back to Parc Fermé, to scoop the FIA NACAM event’s second place. Javier Ortuño and Lorenzo Goicoechea completed the podium in third with a Mitsubishi Lancer EVO X.
Nine crews in total from Mexico, Ireland, Colombia, Canada and Lithuania were on the entry list of the season’s opener but Colombia’s Julián Jaramillo and his Mexican co-driver Gabriel Marín Mulas could not take the start. The next FIA NACAM championship’s round, Rally Montanas, will take place in Mexico on April 12-14, 2019.
FIA ASIA-PACIFIC RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP
The Asia Pacific Rally Championship consists of two series of four events each this year: the Asia Cup, which includes Indonesia, Japan and China, and the Pacific Cup with New Zealand and Australia. The championship’s final will take place in China on 26-27 October.
And there are already plenty of good news to announce for the Pacific Cup, which gets underway with Rally of Otago in New Zealand on April 12-14!
Hayden Paddon to compete in the FIA Pacific Cup
New Zealand’s Hayden Paddon is back in the championship, targeting the Pacific Cup title and with an eye to contesting the Grand Finale at the China Rally in Longyou. The 2018 winner of the International Rally of Whangarei will be contesting three rounds of the NZ Rally championship – Otago, Whangarei and Timaru – the two first events being official rounds of the FIA Asia Pacific Championship. Paddon, who until recently was part of the Hyundai WRC team, will continue his relationship with Hyundai New Zealand, his long-time partner since 2014.
MotorSport New Zealand offers support to its national entrants
With these two New Zealand events – Otago and Whangarei – out of four on the FIA Asia Pacific Rally Championship, both featuring on the calendar for the first time, the series as a strong Kiwi focus this year. And national entrants will have the chance to get a welcome support from the country’s sport governing body: MotorSport New Zealand is putting up a NZD$5,000 grant for one competitor who has qualified for the season’s final in China. Selection of the recipient to receive the grant will be done via a random draw from all the competitors who meet the qualifying requirements
MotorSport New Zealand’s President Wayne Christie referred to the fantastic heritage of the FIA Asia Pacific Rally Championship, which has been in existence for more than 30 years. Past winners include New Zealand greats Possum Bourne and Rod Millen, along with multiple FIA World Rally Champion Carlos Sainz, and more recently, current WRC competitor Pontus Tidemand from Sweden.
WÜRTH powers the FIA Asia Pacific Rally Championship
And there’s also great news for the championship: the global tool company WÜRTH, which has been a partner of the series since 2013, has committed to continue its support in 2019 as the series moves into an exciting new format this year with the split Pacific Cup and Asia Cup model.
WÜRTH will be attending all eight events that comprise this year’s championship and will be presenting the winners with a cheque for USD$1,000 at each round as well as supplying cups and product prizes.
In the past there have only been four or five rallies per season. With the new structure, there will be multiple championships up for grabs through the FIA APRC Pacific Cup powered by WÜRTH and FIA APRC Asia Cup powered by WÜRTH as well as the final at Longyou, China in October.
FIA EUROPEAN RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP – RALLY AZORES, PORTUGAL (ROUND 1/8)
Now let’s move the lens to Europe! Rally Azores will kick off the 2019 FIA European Rally Championship on 21-23 March and has announced its official entry list yesterday.
On the plate for the 54th edition of the Portuguese event, reigning ERC champions Alexey Lukyanuk and Alexey Arnautov will begin their title defence as top seeds. Twenty-one R5 cars – including examples from Citroën, Ford, Hyundai, Škoda Volkswagen – will battle it out, while 18 ERC Juniors will join the spectacular gravel event.
UPCOMING: FIA MIDDLE EAST RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP – RALLY QATAR (ROUND 1/5) & FIA EUROPEAN RALLY TROPHY BENELUX & CELTIC
It will be a busy weekend for the regional rally championships…
The Middle East Rally Championship gets underway today with Qatar Rally International at Souk Al-Wakhra. Defending regional rally champion Nasser Al-Attiyah is a 13-winner of the event but he and his French navigator Matthieu Baumel will not be able to rest on their laurels in their new Volkswagen Polo GTI R5 as they will face competition from four R5 on this occasion. Last year, Al Attiyah missed out on the win to Czech driver Vojtĕch Štajf.
After the Iberian opener of the FIA European Rally Trophy, the Benelux and Celtic competitions will kick off this weekend with Sijperda Zuiderzeerally in the Netherlands and West Cork International Rally in the South of Ireland.