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Spanish paddock , part 1/2

28th June 2017 — by Ruben Langa

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A short walk along the spanish drift paddock. Cars, drivers and battle for the first podium spot.

The Spanish paddock grows at a speed that is impossible to follow. This year I have attended two rounds of Open Slalom Drift, our national competition, one in Miranda de Ebro and another in Valencia. In parallel with the second round, the infamous King of Europe. The progression is very clear in the improvement of the cars and drivers.

The first improvement are the categories AM and Semipro. Here, these categories comprise of stock cars which has created a rivalry between atmospheric and turbo that has been forged with time. In the first round, the podium was for naturally aspirated BMW’s, Aitor Galan , followed by Diego Sáez and in third, Aitor Sánchez.

The PRO category is booked on cars with swap, wide direction angle, bodywork of fibre, etc. All types of projects where we found the guys from Drifting Barcelona, a BMW orda with V8 engines. These included Oscar Ruiz’s Subaru Viper, a pilot who has greatly improved in the past two years and Jonathan Hernandez, champion of the OSD last year riding on the spectacular e46 LS (white). 

If we go by the paddock, our attention is immediately drawn to the brothers Caballer, Joan drives a s13 RB25 (white/blue), second last year in OSD, in his Palm can be proud of his second place in the Spanish round of the KOE 3 years ago. Xavier leads a s13 ca18 in Semipro and his driving skills grows day by the day.

If we look for brothers, we find the Angels Team Drift , Ivan Bolaños in SEMIPRO with an e36 M3 and Ruben Bolaños in PRO with an e46 2JZ(white/orange). Ruben came up to the second spot on the podium in Miranda de Ebro after some of the tightest battles that I have seen in a while. 

One of the most established of veterans is Alberto Canedo, facing monsters like the previous ones with an e30 M3 Enekos since my first time on a circuit, below the average of horses but compensating with spectacular driving.

 No more than two steps in and we can find the winner of the first Round, David Infantes. He is a veteran of the Championship, driving an s13 by a small circuit school close to Igualada. One day he surprised me with a PS13 LS (black/green/white). Personally this is one of the best car/pilot combos in that paddock, I couldn’t take as many photos as I would’ve liked because he lives away of my town but he is my favorite for this season. 

Check back very soon for the second part of my coverage with more pilots and photos of the last two Rounds including the King Of Europe.

Bonus pics:

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Topic

Welcome to a Rally Stage

26th January 2017 — by Ruben Langa

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"A rally is beyond a competition, it is an opportunity to spend a weekend with our loved ones."

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Welcome to a rally stage, this is beyond a competition, it is an opportunity to spend a weekend with your loved ones. Whether with friends or your family, it is the perfect opportunity to kick back & relax together. It all kicks off with finding the perfect camping spot on the mountain ready for the upcoming action. On arrival you are able to take in the stage at night, looking for the best bend & the closest place to it to camp. The night before the rally action, dinner discussions are always full of stories from other rallies, the fear of what could happen in the runnings & even upcoming events, the topic of the conversations build up the excitement on what is to come.

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The following morning will see the army of fans that have chosen to camp being awoken by the mountain’s peculiar surroundings. Many will be greeted by the sounds of cows and sheep, and eventually the familiar sound of horns and engines… each rally is a world of its own!

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After a good breakfast & finding a safe place to put your chair ready to watch, the chants start. This is followed with a continuous flow of stories of other rallies, with all fans & lovers of the same thing all chatting away & sharing a few beers. It is an awesome thing to be a part of and is only interrupted by the sound of an engine approaching at full chat.

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This is followed by a cacophony of horns and screams from bend to bend, encouraging the drivers to push the limits even further! No matter if you drive a Porsche 911 or a Saxo VTS, if it goes fast, the people go crazy.

As each participants tears past, it is an amazing opportunity to see and photograph incredible cars, and at times some truly epic classics.

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After the drivers have had their first run on the stage, feeding time approaches, the camping gas fires and the smell of cooking meat all becomes part of the landscape. But this is a brief break from the action & there is not much time to lose, the second run for each driver begins and nobody wants to miss the action. Within minutes, the action resumes & all eyes are on the course for another session. The crowds give equal cheers of encouragement for the cars passing by, regardless of who is first or last.

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There are however always accidents that remind us that it is not a game and the importance of choosing a good site to watch from. As fun as it is, you have to be safe.

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Do not be put off or discouraged by the potential dangers, a rally is an incredible experience and one I highly encourage you to be a part of. You can enjoy this sport if you stay safe.

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With this post I am hoping to persuade as many of you as possible to attend a rally, not only a WRC stage, but also your local rallies which are perfect opportunities to see great professionals running with incredible cars, spectacular classics and you will be surprised by some awesome landscapes. Not to mention its also a great opportunity to spend a weekend with friends without shelling out a fortune.

 

News

This is what we lose

7th November 2016 — by Ruben Langa

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Near my home town there are  a series of perfect roads. A place to disconnect when you want to plant the good foot and escape. In fact they’re so good it might not surprise you to learn that they’re also WRC stages. For the local hoons there weekend fun, but nothing can compare taking on its challenges than being behind the wheel of a VW Polo WRC 2017.

In 2016 a keen rally fan will notice that the VW Polo has gained in it’s width, stance and over all look and feel. The car has been overhauled by the engineers from DTM, but while they’re not over the top, the centimetres here and there will add all the difference when shooting for podiums.

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It doesn’t stop with the body, the electronic central diff, suspension, tyres, brakes have been finely fettled with that the car now has a more dynamic handling package – it’s that train on rails effect when it carves the asphalt curves of the Spanish countryside

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While some will say visually it doesn’t deliver that look of speed, the bigger turbocharger that sucks power to over 380hp and 500n/m would massively disagree. Ok it’s doesn’t visually look as fast, but this thing is literally helping the earth spin on its axis its producing so much grip.

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In my mind, i’ve seen one of the fastest cars of the WRC and with Ogier, Latvala & Mikkelsen behind the wheel, I think it’s undoubtedly a car that will not become an icon within the WRC’s history books. Make sure you take in the sights and sounds of what i’d consider to be as exciting a car as the old Group B era.

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