ITS’ A REGULARITY JIM, BUT NOT AS WE KNOW IT
Report by John Stuart
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.
year, there was a ‘Legends’ class.These cars did the full
route but were not timed and they ran after the other cars.
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
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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
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
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.