Posts Tagged ‘rally’

Keith Cronin enters privately-run Grande Punto Abarth S2000 in IRC Rally Scotland

Wednesday, November 18th, 2009

Keith Cronin will be entering a privately-run Grande Punto Abarth S2000 in this weekend’s IRC Rally Scotland.

Keith Cronin's Grande Punto Abarth S2000 during prep

Keith Cronin's Grande Punto Abarth S2000 during prep

The British Rally Champion arrived in Perthshire earlier in the week to conduct testing and reconnaissance of the stages.

Since early in the year, plans were being made to contest Rally Scotland so that the team could test their pace against the regular IRC competitors. The original intention was to contest the event in their regular Mitsubishi. However, as the Cronin Motorsport team intend to contest a number of rounds of the IRC next season, it was decided that having won the British Rally Championship, they should get a taste of S2000 action prior to next year.

It took 10 days to get an acceptable deal put together for the hire of the PROCAR run Abarth Punto. A short testing session in Italy at the end of October was curtailed due to very heavy rainfall, so the crew will welcome another test before having to press into action against the current IRC champion Kris Meeke in his Peugeot, who is the number one seed. Seeded at number two is Guy Wilks, who was British Rally Champion in 2007 & 2008. He will drive a Skoda. Both of these will be very much the pacesetters as they have been competing in S2000 cars all season. Cronin and Shinnors are seeded at number 3 in the Punto, just ahead of Adam Gould who was awarded the BF Goodrich drive in a sister car to Meekes Peugeot.

Cronin welcomes the opportunity to compete at this level but knows that it will be a steep learning curve as the pace in these cars is much faster than the regular Group N cars.

Last weekend he commented “The most important thing for me in Scotland is to get mileage in the car to get used to the different driving style and then build my speed and hopefully set some competitive times.”

See: www.keithcroninrallying.com


Abarth unveils Abarth 500 R3T rally car

Thursday, October 1st, 2009

Abarth is continuing its tradition of building accessible competition machinery with the unveiling of its new Abarth 500 R3T rally car.

Revealed for the first time at this month’s 51st San Remo Rally, the Abarth 500 R3T will feature in a one-make rallying trophy in 2010. The European and Italian Trophies for the Abarth 500 Assetto Corse circuit racer will continue.

Abarth 500 R3T rally car

Abarth 500 R3T rally car

For Abarth, the new car marks a return to a discipline in which it has been present for more than 30 years. Starting in 1977 with the first edition of the Autobianchi A112 Abarth Championship, Abarth continued with the Fiat Uno, Uno Turbo, Cinquecento, Seicento, Punto Kit and Super 1600, Stilo and Panda Kit Trophies.

The Abarth 500 rally car will be homologated in group R3T, a category reserved for supercharged cars with a maximum cylinder capacity of 1600cc. This class represents good value through its cost/performance ratio and is ideal for privateers and young drivers wishing to showcase their talent at the wheel of a high-performance car.

The Abarth 500 R3T’s 1368cc engine is fitted with a Garrett GT 1446 fixed geometry turbocharger, delivering 180bhp (132kW) at 5500rpm. It is equipped with a 6-speed sequential gearbox, a self-locking blade differential, twin disc clutch and special half-shafts.

Attention has been paid to the possibility of adjusting the suspension to adapt the set-up to suit different surfaces and drivers’ styles. Four Brembo disc brakes – ventilated at the front, solid at the rear – with an adjustable split system, provide the stopping power. The car also features a hydraulic hand brake.

Abarth 500 R3T rally car

Abarth 500 R3T rally car

The 1080kg Abarth 500 is fitted with a specific welded-in roll-cage integrated to the body shell, FIA homologated seats with 6-point harnesses and other necessary safety devices.

“Abarth’s ability to produce high quality racing and rallying machinery has never been in question,” says Ivan Gibson, manager, Abarth brand UK. “We have already seen how good the Abarth 500 race car is, and I am looking forward to watching this new rally car perform.”

The calendar for the Abarth rally trophy will be published later this year.

Meanwhile, the Abarth UK Hill Climb programme has ended for this season with the team’s two Abarth Grande Punto esseesse cars once again posting impressive times in the hands of UK journalists.

At last weekend’s Prescott Autumn Classic Hill Climb, Cheltenham – the seventh event this year for the Abarth UK team – writer and columnist John Simister managed a time of 54.81 seconds followed by fellow journalists Tim Dickson (55.20 secs) and John Swift (55.23 secs).

The Abarth UK team in action at Prescott

The Abarth UK team in action at Prescott

The times proved that the 180bhp Abarth Grande Puntos are not only high performing road cars, but are more than capable of delivering results in competition. Neither vehicle has used any spare parts throughout the season, and both have run with 100 per cent reliability while being driven to and from all the events contested.

“These are remarkable times considering we have been using standard road cars, without modification for hill climbs,” says Howard Paterson, Abarth team manager. “The cars have been so quick and so good this year, and we have hardly had to do any work on them. They haven’t even had new brakes.”