WA physicist develops rallying theories
- 28th October 2011, 10:39am
Razvan Vlad, 33 from Perth, who is partnered by young co-driver, Daymon Nicoli in the diminutive MAXYrally.com Ford Fiesta ST, has shown speed and consistency throughout the Bosch ARC and now leads the two wheel drive championship with a 33 point buffer on the works Honda Civic Type R of Eli Evans.
The Fiesta driver has shown that despite giving away engine capacity, traction and horsepower to the outright 'Unlimited' cars in the Bosch ARC, the performance of the front drive Ford is strong in relative terms and has allowed him to grab the lead in the two-wheel-drive title.
Vlad was one of only six local drivers to enter the full three-day WRC section at the recent WRC Rally Australia and competed amongst the WRC competitors fulfilling a long held dream for the Russian born driver.
Vlad actually led the international two-wheel drive class in Rally Australia during the first day of competition in extreme weather bettering UK driver Harry Hunt's Citroen DS3 R3.
Heavy rain made for incredibly slippery conditions for the entire field but Vlad and his navigator, Daymon Nicoli, who was the youngest competitor in the Rally Australia field, managed to keep the Fiesta on the road and show many more experienced crews how it should be done.
At just 16 years of age Daymon Nicoli, son of well know WA driver and former Daihatsu works pilot, Bob Nicoli, is a first year apprentice motor mechanic and won the 2010 WA two-wheel-drive Rally co-drivers championship proving his enormous ability and maturity.
"Rally Australia was definitely the most difficult day of my rallying career," said Vlad. "My main goal was to regain the lead in the two wheel drive Bosch ARC, so I had to balance outright speed with caution," he added.
"For the first time this year there was another Ford Fiesta ST in our class, so we had a good fight with them too," he added, referring to the similar car of Canberra's Adrian Coppin.
"Everything worked for us at Coffs, I proved that we have both the speed and the reliability to win our class and hopefully win the Two Wheel Drive Bosch Championship," he said.
"We now have a lead of more than 30 points, which I am confident that we can defend in Victoria," he added.
With the first two days of Rally Australia counting towards the Bosch ARC, Vlad and Nicoli had to ensure a good position at the end of day two to score maximum Aussie Championship points with the need for outright speed to finish well in a long and tough WRC event, which they did with great aplomb.
"It was very important to finish the first two days to score maximum Bosch ARC points, but we had a nerve wracking first day with wheel bearing problems," he said.
"When the rear bearings failed I slowed down a lot to make sure that we got the car back to service with all four wheels still on the car, once that problem was solved we had a trouble free run.
"I really enjoyed Rally Australia, it has been my long held dream to compete in the WRC and I am glad I didn't let myself or the team down," said Vlad.
The Vlad Fiesta finished the Bosch ARC section in second place in the two wheel drive class behind the potent works Honda of Evans, earning enough points to regain the lead in the two-wheel drive Bosch ARC.
According to Scott Pedder, CEO of the Bosch ARC, Vlad's giant killing performance is a vindication of the decision to move the Championship to a two-wheel drive format and shows that even teams on a small budget can achieve great things in rallying.
"Both Razvan and Daymon have demonstrated great application in the Bosch ARC this year and have demonstrated that with a light and nimble front drive car driven with some verve you can really prove yourselves," said Scott Pedder.
"I can see Razvan stepping up to the next level in the next few seasons and potentially he could be a challenger for the outright title in years to come," he added.
The Bosch ARC will come to a conclusion on November 11-12 in Gippsland, to the east of Melbourne with the rally to be based at the Lardner Park exhibition grounds near Warragul with two days of challenging stages through the Great Dividing Range around Poweltown and Noojee to the North of Warragul.
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