Honda Civic Type R to Face New Asphalt Challenge

By: Evander Klum

The Honda Civic Type R that is equipped with quality and run by JAS Motorsport will move onto asphalt for round three of the Intercontinental Rally Challenge, which is the Ypres Rally Belgium.

On the all-gravel Rally of Turkey in May, divers Dani Sola and Luca Betti made a promising launch with the car. But as the Honda drivers will be up against a wide array of well-known domestic experts, the specialist asphalt roads of Belgium will start another chapter in the development of the new car.

Pirelli, provider of factory support and custom developed tires that suit one of the most competitive front wheel drive rally cars, will officially support JAS aims.

The GIANFA will still be cooperating on the engine development with a continued long and uncompromising partnership with Carlo and Giuliano Facetti which are the key factors in the success of JAS-tuned Honda engines in the last 6 years.

JAS team Principal Alessandro Mariani said that their primary aim is to advertise the car in many countries to show their customers the competitiveness of the Type R in the new Gr.R configuration. He explained that this was the reason for their decision to race in the IRC which will help to advertise their car in seven different countries with the titanic visibility on the media. He further said that official support of a renowned tire manufacturer like Pirelli makes them proud and it further adds to their commitment to the rally program.

He continued explaining that both drivers have a broad international experience, having winning races in the JWRC. And because of this, they believe that an international scheme would suit more their targets.

Last week, Dani SolÃ? (Spanish, 32 years old, J-WRC Champion in 2002) and Luca Betti (Italian, 28 years old, 2nd in the last Montecarlo rally between the J-WRC cars) got their first approach with the new car. They both are satisfied with the Civic which has proved to be ready to battle with the most competitive rally cars.

Luca Betti explained that the car has really improved and they are at the point where they have eliminated all little problems of youth and can therefore focus on set-up enhancement. Betti added that they need to be comfortable with the car to achieve the necessary confidence with it.

Meanwhile, Dani SolÃ?, who will be supported in this program by Honda Spain, was also impressed by the car and said that the base has improved. However, the Spanish diver added that it is still young and there are still other aspects to be improved.

Within the new Group R rules, the Civic Type R has been evolved but completed the existing Group A class. Coming in 2008, the Group R is targeted at production-based two-wheel drive cars with a 2.0 liter engine. This inexpensive but competitive class has been designed as a prototype for future rallying by the sport's governing body, the FIA.
The demands of Belgium, however, are limited. With several long straights and tight corners, the asphalt roads are frequently slippery due to the weather. Majority of the roads are flanked by deep throw outs, making even the smallest mistakes result to an accident.

Honda Motor Europe's Motorsport Manager William De Braekeleer said that at the best possible way, they hope to showcase the Civic Type R in Belgium. And so far, according to him, the potential has been extremely intimidating that their aim now is to pursue their continuously increasing learning in order to provide their customers with the best possible package to live out their passion with a high level of pleasure.

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