13 November 2014
WRC Wales Rally GB: Tuthill Porsche R-GT ruled out of Rally GB
Tuthill Porsche R-GT ruled out of Wales Rally GB: “I cannot hide my frustration at the way this decision has been made, given that we started this enquiry in May...” says Richard Tuthill
The Tuthill Porsche R-GT has been ruled out of Wales Rally GB, after the FIA declined to sanction the car in gravel specification.
Richard Tuthill attended a special meeting in Geneva last week with representatives from the FIA technical department and WRC managers.
However, despite some positive outcomes for the future of R-GT, continued discussion could not pave the way for the use of the Tuthill Porsche 997 this weekend on the 2014 WRC season finale, a decision only communicated this week.
“Within the existing R-GT regulations, there is the scope to allow modification to the suspension uprights fitted to the chosen model,” Tuthill explained. “However, this only allows the fitment of gravel brakes.
“In the case of the 997 R-GT, the upright is too big to fit within a 15-inch gravel wheel, regardless of the size of caliper and disc fitted. The FIA needs to review how this issue can be resolved. Unsurprisingly, it is not willing to allow complete freedom for unrestricted modification, on grounds of safety.
“We found a production-based solution, which we tested to great effect. Despite detailed development by our chief engineer - one of the most experienced motorsport engineers in the world with experience of Le Mans, WRC and Dakar over 30 years – this was still not enough to convince the FIA technical department.
“The FIA has been exceptionally bold to push forward with the exciting R-GT project, and has also been most open-minded in many ways: Michele Mouton and Jarmo Mahonen in particular. R-GT is a new class and we will all face challenges that need open discussion and thinking to get around.
“That said, I cannot hide my frustration at the way this decision has been made, given that we started this enquiry in May.”
Tuthill had tested the car this week in Walters Arena in Wales and completed 120 kilometres of trouble-free gravel running.
“The car was born to be driven on gravel,” Tuthill remarked after the test. “It is well balanced, amazingly easy to drive and exceptionally fast with the wonderful 3.8-litre engine and sequential six-speed gearbox.
“We experimented with the setup throughout the day and will continue to develop certain areas, but I could not have imagined it could be so good from the very first turn of the wheel. It's more than ready to hit the stages, be they gravel or snow.
"The car's performance on asphalt is already well established, so this successful test confirms to us all that our Porsche R-GT is an accomplished all-rounder.”
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