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Graeme Gallaoway's Anglia
Report by John Stuart

FIA in date helmets for a regularity? These were required for the Rally Cost Brava on 24/25 March. As well as having 60 and 70 kph regularity classes it was also a full stage event including the first round of the European Historic Stage Rally Championship.

Additionally this year, there was a ‘Legends’ class.These cars did the full route but were not timed and they ran after the other cars.

The main stage event included 3 Lancia Stratos, 1 Lancia 037, 3 Lancia Delta Integrales, 11 RS Escorts and 15 Porsche 911s. The regularity classes included some pretty exotic cars too. In the Legend class there were 3 Integrales, 3 Lancia 037s, 2 Audi Quattros and several Porsche 911s among the 37 entrants in that class which also include a Hillman Imp from the UK.

I had hired the same Autobianchi A112 Abarth that I entered in the 2015 event but it has had a colour change to a rather drab grey. Peter Collier, who now lives in France, navigated once again. We were in the 60 kph regularity class - the owner of the car
would not allow entry in a faster class!

The rally is based in Girona and uses much the same stages each year in the surrounding hills. These are generally very twisty with few open sections. Three stages were run on Friday night and eight on Saturday finishing in the dark.Repeat usage meant only 4 sections of road were used with ‘central’ servicing back in Girona. These are public tarmac roads but are obviously closed to the public.

The rally started in heavy rain. There was also thick fog on the first stage and on the second. The latter was not run competitively as the 00 car crashed heavily. The fog also reappeared briefly on the third. The rain was not as heavy for the Saturday re-start and things dried up later with the sun appearing briefly. Light rain later made things slippery as did a few kilometres of lying snow at the highest point of one stage.

Once again the spectators were out in force, no doubt attracted to the variety of exotic cars on show. They also had the opportunity to stay in one location to watch the 167 cars pass several times on the repeated stages.

The main event was a hard fight between well known drivers of the past - Erik Comas in a Lancia Stratos, Francois Delacour in an Integrale and the Italian ‘Lucky’ in another Integrale. The latter won and was codriven by Fabrizia Pons who used to navigate for Michelle Mouton.

Our only real problem was the gear lever knob which came off in my hand on each of the two competitive stages on Friday. It happened again on the Saturday morning before a permanent fix was made by our service crew. This may have had something to do with my lack of delicate touch in a left hand drive car. We were reasonably happy with our position on Friday night but were disappointed to finish well down the class at the end. Penalties for being early are exactly the same as for being late. 85% of our penalties were for being early.

The car was fitted with a Blunik II rally tripmeter which is the business. The garage had programmed in all the stage information and averages so that the navigator only had to press a button to select the stage and then another on starting the stage. A readout and warning lights monitor progress. There are also lights - red for slow, green for too fast and blue for just right. Additionally the red or green would come on as well as the blue as a warning at the margins. The driver also has this display.

In a closed road event you are straight lining the bends but the road book distances are based on a car on the correct side of the road at all times. The Blunik can be programmed to take account of this ‘cutting'. We did not realise this and hence, when the tripmeter was telling us to go faster we were actually further down the stage than it
thought. Hence the early penalties.

The stages, including the exact start and finish points have been published for several weeks before the event. There were videos of the stages and even pace notes available on the rally website if you cared to use them. They are allowed in any class. If really serious you could calibrate your tripmeter very accurately in advance. Also this could be done after the first pass of the repeated stages. We will know next time!

Still going faster was fantastic fun. If you have a well prepared regularity car and want to feel like you are doing a stage event this is the event for you. Even better if you have a stage car but baulk at the entry fees on UK events. Save up and do it next year. Transport might be arranged to and from Spain if there are sufficient cars.

There is of course the upcoming 3 day 50kph regularity event (RALLY COSTA BRAVA HISTORIC) taking place between April 20th - 23rd. See the rally website:-

There are still places available on the transporter to and from Spain for this event.

John Stuart

Updated 3 April 2017