Posts Tagged ‘academy’
Australia’s brother-sister rally team, Brendan Reeves and Rhianon Smyth, have added valuable Championship points to their World Rally Championship (WRC) Academy title chase after finishing fifth at the challenging Rally Deutschland (Germany) at the weekend. With two rounds still to run, the pair are sitting second overall in the Championship point score. After a solid preparation heading into the event, Reeves and Smyth were confident of a good showing, having taken advantage of a couple of tarmac testing opportunities prior to the rally. The stages used on the event are nothing like the pair normally experience – extremely different from the rally stages of Australia – with tight, twisty roads through vineyards and a huge 46 kilometre stage (“Arena Planzerplatte”) through the Baumholder military training area. The military base is renowned for the huge concrete boulders (known as hinklesteins) that line the course and these can create havoc if they come into contact with a rally car travelling at speed. Not only are the roads tight and twisty, the Panzerplatte stage has 118 junctions in its 46 kilometres, meaning that the driver and co-driver must write a particularly descriptive set of pace-notes to guide them through the stage unscathed. Reeves and Smyth’s event didn’t get off to the start they were hoping for when an overshoot on the first stage of the rally cost them around 25 seconds. They then landed hard, bending the rear suspension beam, but made it to the end of the stage in fifth place. As day one continued, the pair increased their speed and started to gain more confidence on the tricky roads and as other crews struck trouble, Reeves pounced and finished the opening day in third place. Day two consisted of six stages – three stages each run twice – including the Panzerplatte stage. The day started well with Reeves reducing the gap to second place and with a comfortable lead over fourth, and a stage win. Going into the final stage of the day (Panzerplatte), Reeves was heading for his fourth podium finish from four events but it wasn’t to be. Approaching a sharp left hand corner a little too fast, he went off the road in his efforts to avoid a ‘hinklestein’ and into some shrubs. The pairs Ford Fiesta R2 was stuck firm and it took some spectators to help get the car back on the road, albeit after 15 minutes. Back on the pace, the Fiesta then suffered a puncture just 4.5 kilometres from the stage finish. Reeves continued on, but the puncture had caused damage to the front guard and he was forced to limp his way to the finish. To still finish the rally in fifth place was a remarkable effort. With 10 points earned for his fifth place finish and one bonus point for the stage win, Reeves maintains his second place in the WRC Academy with two events to go. Reeves was happy with his weekend after a steep learning curve. Getting used to the faster WRC tyres used on gravel, and reading the corners better, were just two of the positives he took out of the rally. The WRC competitors who drive the stage ahead of the Academy cars tend to cut the corners, dragging a lot of loose gravel onto the roads, and driving to suit the slippery surface whilst negotiating the many corners and junctions takes some getting used to. After recording numerous second-fastest stage times, the young Australian was delighted to take a stage win and earn an important bonus point to add to his Championship tally. The next event on the WRC Academy calendar is Rally France, another tarmac event, which will be held from October 4 to 6. Reeves will remain in Europe this week for the FIA Young Driver Excellence Academy workshop, a program for which he was selected at the end of 2011. WRC RALLYE DEUTSCHLAND RESULTS 1. Elfyn Evans 2. Jose Suarez 3. John Macrone 4. Timo Van Der Marel 5. Brendan Reeves FIA WRC ACADEMY CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS AFTER ROUND 4, RALLYE DEUTSCHLAND 1. Elfyn Evans, GBR, 98 points 2. Brendan Reeves, AUS, 63 points 3. Alistair Fisher, GBR, 53 points 4. Jose Suarez, ESP, 52 points 5. Pontus Tidemand, SWE, 49 points
Australian brother and sister rally duo, Brendan Reeves and Rhianon Smyth, will resume their campaign to be crowned the world’s best junior rally team when they tackle Rally Finland this weekend. The pair are competing in the World Rally Championship (WRC) Academy for the second year, and after two rounds in 2012, and with two podium finishes, are sitting in third outright in the championship. The WRC Academy consists of six events in Europe run on both gravel and tarmac surfaces, with all competitors driving Ford Fiesta R2s prepared by M-Sport, the team that prepare the cars for the Ford World Rally Team. The third round, Rally Finland, a super-fast gravel event with lots of high speed crests, is often referred to as the Finnish Grand Prix. Having competed at Finland last year, Reeves is excited at the prospect of driving the iconic Finnish roads again and is taking the lessons learnt from last year, and a beneficial test session, into the event, where he aims to again finish on the podium. “Learning how to set the car up for the big crests and picking the right driving line was something I worked on a lot with our pace notes last year,” Reeves said. “Having some of the pace notes already from last year is a huge help and gives us a boost of confidence, as we have already driven those stages competitively.” Reeves and Smyth’s Academy commitments started on Monday, the first of two and a half days of reconnaissance where they drive the rally route in a road car and write the pace notes that will guide them around the course when they are driving at competition speed. They will then have a short test in their WRC Academy car, a Ford Fiesta R2. The Aussie pair have already taken the opportunity for further testing, though. Through a fund-raising campaign which was run through the Brendan Reeves Supporters Club, enough funds were secured to lease a car similar to their competition vehicle and organise a test session with the head instructor from Tommi Makinen’s rally driving school in Finland. “The test on Sunday was really beneficial,” Reeves commented. “We used a 2km piece of road in both directions. We found a lot of improvement in the driving for the fast stages and were very happy with what we learnt on the day. “Trying to keep the car as straight as possible and benefit from as much grip as you can get adds to extra speed out of the corners, so this is just one thing that will help us in the event. “We’ve also prepared a bit differently for the rally this year. The test we did on Sunday was a big help as last year we only did a short test the day prior to the event in our Academy car. “We have also planned our days prior to the rally much better. Last year, the days before the event were so full-on with reconnaissance, Academy and media commitments that we didn’t have a spare minute, so this year we arrived in Finland earlier so that our schedule wasn’t quite so hectic.” Rally Finland starts in Jyvaskyla, about three hours north of Helsinki, on Thursday afternoon. The event is comprised of 300 kilometres of competitive driving over 18 stages. Academy competitors will complete all but the final (Power) stage of the rally, before the winner is crowned on Saturday evening. Reeves and Smyth, the only all-Australian crew in the World Rally Championship, are aiming to take the ‘gold’.
Brendan Reeves and Rhianon Smyth have finished the second round of the World Rally Championship Academy in a stunning third. The Acropolis Rally is tough on any rally car and it crew but Reeves pushed on to make it two podiums from two events in this year’s Championship. Starting the second day in fourth place, Reeves again took a steady approach knowing that Saturday’s stages would be extremely rough and rocky. When Pontus Tidemand was forced to retire with a broken driveshaft, the Australian brother and sister moved up to third place. The remaining stages of the day weren’t without drama, though. A broken rear arm was a cause for concern and they nursed the car home for a well-deserved podium finish. After taking second at Rally Portugal and third in Greece, Reeves sits in third place in the WRC Academy Championship standings. The next WRC Academy event on the calendar is Rally Finland, and with the experience gained from last year’s event, Reeves is confident of another top three finish.
Brendan Reeves and Rhianon Smyth were having an excellent battle for outright honours before suffering a heartbreaking end to Targa Tasmania. On the final day of the event the pair suffered a mechanical problem forcing their retirement. Reeves and Smyth had driven a smart rally in their Mazda RX8 SP and were sitting in third outright position, leading 2WD car, in the gruelling event. After withstanding the pressure from fellow competitors in 4WD cars on the rally’s many wet stages, Reeves clawed back valuable time on the dry stages of Day 4 to hold a comfortable third place with just one day of competition to go. Reeves’ driving talents shone through with two fastest and two second-fastest stage times on the day which was impressive as the competition included a Lamborghini Gallardo and a Nissan GT-R. Setting off from Strahan on Sunday morning, Reeves was quick out of the blocks on the opening stage, but at the beginning of the second stage boost problems struck and he was forced to retire from the event mid way through the stage. It was a devastating blow to the 23 year old Victorian and his co-driving sister who had once again impressed all with their speed and talent in what were very difficult conditions for 2WD vehicles. “It’s a really disappointing way to end the event,” Reeves said. “The team have done a great job all week and we were in a great position to finish on the podium, but these things happen – that’s motorsport!” Targa Tasmania was won by Jason and John White in a Lamborghini Gallardo. Reeves and Smyth’s next event is the Acropolis Rally in Greece which starts on May 25. The event is round two of the World Rally Championship (WRC) Academy. Reeves and Smyth finished second in the opening round in March and are looking to improve on that result in Greece.
Australian rally team, Brendan Reeves and Rhianon Smyth, will start their 2012 World Rally Championship (WRC) campaign this weekend with the running of the opening round of the WRC Academy, Rally Portugal. Reeves and Smyth are contesting the six-round one-make series for drivers under the age of 25, and have been in Europe for a couple of weeks, acclimatising and getting in some practice. After a successful day of testing in Spain last week, the brother and sister pair are now in Portugal doing their reconnaissance for the event. Having competed in Rally Portugal last year, where they finished fourth, Reeves is quietly confident of a good showing this weekend, but is not being complacent. “We have done everything possible to prepare ourselves for the opening round,” Reeves said. “We arrived in Europe early and have put ourselves through a fairly rigorous training regime to be at our peak fitness during the rally. We’re expecting it to be fairly warm, so we need to be at our best physically for the rally. “On top of that, we also managed to get in some testing. I haven’t driven a Fiesta since the last round of the 2011 Academy in November, so it was good to get back into the car and re-acquaint myself with it,” he added. “Once again, the competition in the Academy will be strong so we’re expecting a tough battle. If we can set some good stage times and make improvements on last year, we’ll be really happy.” Reeves and Smyth’s R2 is sure to be one of the most recognised cars in the WRC Academy field this year. With a bright Aussie-theme, the car’s livery will really stand out. Rally Portugal gets underway on Thursday evening (Portugal time) in Faro with a ceremonial start, followed by three night stages. Academy competitors will then contest six stages on Friday, and a further 3 on Saturday, totalling 245 competitive kilometres, before the winner of the opening round is decided.