News arrived during the Goodwood Revival Meeting of the very sad loss of the 79 year old popular rally and racing legend, Barrie Williams. 

Williams shot into prominence when as an unknown driver he won the 1964 Welsh International Rally, the first major rally won outright by a Mini Cooper S.  His now-famous car was used successfully in hill climbs, sprints and races as well as major rallies in Europe and he rallied professionally for Vauxhall. 

Racing was to become Barrie’s motor sporting life for the next fifty years or so, initially in Touring Cars before he drifted out in to historic car racing. 

Barrie became one of Britain’s most experienced and talented drivers of these cars in ERAs, Maserati 250Fs, Coopers, Jaguars and saloon cars, which made the timing of his passing all the more poignant.

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Notwithstanding an eight year gap without a WRC event in Turkey, seven of the twelve WRC team drivers have competed in that event before. 

They include at last one from each team and including the top three drivers in the current WRC standings. 

The only Citroen driver returning to the event, Sheikh Khalid Al Qassimi, last did the event in 2005.   

It is remarkable how long the current top drivers have competed at the top level of the sport.

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Reigning French champion Yoann Bonato won the Rallye Mont Blanc-Morzine for the third time. He headed a  line of six Skoda Fabia R5s and then the eighth place Fiesta R5 of William Wagner and then Max Vatanen's Hyundai i20 R5.

Yoann Bonato in action at the Rallye Mont Blanc

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Volkswagen Motorsport has announced they will make the first competitive appearance with the Polo GTI R5 at WRC Rally Catalunya with two drivers, not yet specified, apparently making an unexpected head-to-head confrontation with the R5 cars of their associated brand Skoda.  

The team state they have made around 9000km of testing, half asphalt and half gravel, and that 15 cars have already been sold to privateer teams in Europe and South America.

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Romanian resident Italian Simone Tempestini became Romanian national champion when he won the Cotnari Iasi Rally in a Citroen C3 R5. In 2016 he was FIA WRC3 champion.   

Martin Berglund won the Swedish championship East Sweden Rally in Skoda Fabia R5 after Pontus Tidemand hit a tree stump and went off on the first morning stage after leading over night. 

Simone Tempestini

Berglund is the new champion of the top class. He has an earlier title from 2011 in a 2WD Golf. 

A close fight on the German championship Rallye Niedersachsen between Marijan Griebel (Citroen) and Dominik Dinkel (Skoda) went to Griebel when Dinkel was delayed by transmission trouble. 

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Congratulations to Ulster co-driver Chris Patterson on his 50th birthday last week before Rally Turkey where he co-drives for Sheikh Khalid Al Qassimi’s Citroen C3 WRC.

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