Rally / 18 March 2008



The Honda Civic Type R made some important steps forward on the tricky asphalt of the Belgium Ypres Rally last weekend, although neither Dani Sol? nor Luca Betti could finish their rally.

Both J.A.S. drivers were at their first participation in Ypres, where the experience of local drivers plays a major role.

Despite his unfamiliarity with the Belgian stages, Sol? set some promising times in the overall top 10, fighting in every special stage with the top front wheel drive cars, but was caught out by a slippery corner on day two. With most of the roads around Ypres flanked by deep ditches, even the smallest mistake can have serious consequences.

?It was just a very unlucky thing,? said Sol? ?It was right at the start of the stage so I did not really have a chance to get some heat into the tyres, and we locked up going into a very greasy left-hand corner. The car went straight on and that was that. It was a real pity as we were gradually adapting the Honda to suit the conditions and getting quicker all the time.?

Betti, after setting an amazing time in the shakedown, drove consistently amongst the top two-wheel drive cars on his first visit to Ypres, fighting with former European Champion Simon Jean-Joseph, before finishing his rally four kilometers before the end of the last special stage due to a driveshaft failure.
Before his retirement, Luca was first between the A7 group and 12th overall.

?We carried out all the development work that we needed to do, which was very encouraging,? said Betti. ?Unfortunately I felt the driveshaft break just four kilometres from the end of the last stage, but the important thing here was to get plenty of time in the car and work on the ideal set-up.?

The J.A.S. team had also to face the uncertain weather, wich has charaterized all the event, that?s why the tyres choice has played an important role.
The new Civic was competitive with all the weather conditions, proving another time the good feeling with the Pirelli tyres which have been very competitive in all the situations.

?Useless to say that we are quite disappointed of the final result? says JAS Technical Director Stefano Fini ?however the car has shown in some stages its true potential, when Dani outperformed all FWD cars. This is really encouraging, also in consideration that we will have soon new development parts which will further improve the performances?.

?We all are very frustrated? said Alessandro Mariani ?because an important result was just in front of us and because the decisive failure was caused by a drive shaft just fitted on the car before the last leg. Anyway we have to be satisfied for the progresses which allowowed to compete with high level competitors?.

William De Braekeleer, Honda?s head of motorsport concluded: ?Our objective before the start of the event was to fight to be the top two-wheel drive car, and our stage times have shown that we have the capability to do that even on the very specific asphalt of Belgium. Now we have a very good base on which to continue our asphalt development programme over the rest of the year.?

While the JAS team was engaged in Belgium for the Westhoek Rally, the Civic Type R rally car also appeared at the Goodwood Festival of Speed in England, driven by Honda Formula 1 test driver Christian Klien.

?It has been great to see our Civic Type- R participating in so important event in UK and we thank a lot Honda for such opportunity? said Mariani.

The next IRC event for JAS Motorsport and the new Civic will be the Rally of Russia, based near St. Petersburg, from July 13-15, wich will be on gravel.

For more infos or technical support please contact +39.02.9037541 or mail us at info@jasmotorsport.com.