Monday, May 31, 2010

Nissans Dominate Red Line Time Attack Event...

in Fontana, CA. Though the full event report has not been posted yet, the results have.

Nissans claimed six class wins out of the 12 divisions with the Cobb Tuning GT-R continuing to be the dominant machine in the series. The Fontana Nissan 350Z also had a solid weekend at its home track bringing home a class win for its local dealership. Reportedly they had a record entry of 120 cars which is fantastic in this still down economy. People still want to go fast and I don't know if that will ever go away--I hope not at least...

Thursday, May 27, 2010

First Nissan Juke Commercial...

OK, so its in Spanish and primarily a Qashqai commercial but the Juke does play the younger brother in the commercial lobbing huge paintballs at his elder sibling. And I think you get just a hint of the turbo exhaust note at the end if you listen carefully. I have to say, the Juke grows on me more and more...

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

FIA World Cup: OiLibya Rallye de Tunisie

 After the first round of FIA World Cup in Abu Dhabi, where Nissan cars were extremely successful, there was a second round at the beginning of May. Traditional Rally of Tunisia started on May, 1st and was held entirely in Tunisia. Current World Cup leader Leonid Novitskiy (BMW X3 CC) crashed here last year. Old “desert fox” Jean-Louis Schlesser (Schlesser Original) has won here five times before. Christian Lavieille (Dessoude Proto 05) has finished on the third and twice on the second position. Eric Vigouroux (Chevrolet Silverado Trophy Truck) also has a podium place in his records. Add a whole bunch of various buggies, nine Wildcats and some others and you will get more than forty cars.

If Christian Lavieille’s Proto looks like Nissan to you it’s because it is Nissan. Properly modified and adjusted by Team Dessoude but still powered by VQ 40 V6 engine. From the very beginning of a rally Lavieille was on a winning string fighting side by side with Novitskiy. But in the third stage Russian lost his way and with 50 minutes loss his chance to win seemed faint. In the half time of the race J-L Schlesser grabbed the second place only some tens of seconds behind Lavieille and with fine advantage on third Eric Vigouroux.

Steadily driving Italian Maurizio Traglio with Nissan Pathfinder had to withdraw during the fourth stage while he was sixth in general ranking. Schlesser’s teammate Francois Lethier crashed heavily in the same stage and the car caught fire. His co-pilot Jean Marie Lurquin was badly burnt and transported to hospital in Benarous. More unexpected problems surprised two of the leading three on the penultimate stage. Eric Vigouroux experienced transmission failure which dragged him down to tenth. Lavieille was caught speeding and with 30 minute penalty he lost the first place which was in possession of J-L Schlesser. Thanks to Vigouroux’ problems Novitskiy was back on podium.

The last special stage with 133 kilometers against the clock was way too short for Lavieille to fight the victory back. He lost to Schlesser by ten minutes. And with the same time difference he defeated third- placed Novitskiy. Ronan Chabot, former T2 class ace, switched to T1 SMG Buggy and finished fourth. Pascal Thomasse (MD Buggy) on the fifth was one position worse than last year. Eric Vigouroux used the last stage the best he could and improved his position to sixth overall. Ludovic Leluop (Toyota HZJ 80) as the fastest Tunisian pilot finished eight.

Nissan has a very strong position in T2 class (production cars) and just like in Abu Dhabi these cars dominated the race. Two Russians Artem Varentsov and Andrey Ivanov driving Toyota faced the family duo of Laurent and Joseph Rosso representing Team Dessoude backup-ed Nissans. Except the first stage Laurent Rosso was undisputed ruler of Tunisian dunes. He won five out of six stages and finished tenth overall with huge advantage on the second Varentsov. And as history repeats third has been Joseph Rosso.

A short list of other categories and trophies winners:

Chilean Francisco “Chaleco” Lopez won the motorbike category beating all the big machines with his Aprilia 450 RXV.
Romain Souvignet from Team Casteu team won Enduro Cup on his Sherco 450 Rally.
Polish Rafal Sonik won the quad category riding Yamaha 700 Raptor.
Yves Fromont won Wildcat Trophy and Elisabete Jacinto the truck category on her big blue MAN.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Podium #2: LOORRS in Las Vegas...

I wish I could do the result justice with a great picture of Jimmy Stephensen in action from this past weekend but none appear to be found at the moment.

Regardless, Jimmy had an excellent weekend for someone with no teammates, minimal funding and the barest of factory support. On Saturday Jimmy grabbed a podium spot behind Marty Hart and Adam Wik. On Sunday Jimmy didn't have quite as good a run but still finished on the lead lap in 6th place.

Two other small Nissan teams also ran well for their size and support. Javier Sacio who hasn't run his Nissan in some time also finished on the lead lap both days in 7th and 8th while Stephan Papadakis, a rookie more familiar with drifting events, likewise ran every possible lap on the weekend finishing in 8th and 9th.

There are a number of other Nissan Pro-Light vehicles still out there (Cuffaro's, Currie's, etc.) as they have moved on to other manufacturers and if only someone with a little bit of driving talent and some deep pockets could pick one up, they could be running at the front again...

Monday, May 24, 2010

Podium #1: GT1 in Brno, Czech Republic...

Not bad...Not bad at all...

In only their third race of the GT1 Season, the factory Nissan team hailing from Great Britain followed up their win in the previous race with a third place finish this past weekend in Eastern Europe. The two GT-R effort both finished in the points as the other Sumo Power race team finished 10th on the day. So in the team's first three races they have a win and a third. This bodes well not only for the season going forward but also for Nissan to continue funding major motorsports efforts as winning always brings positive attention to a brand....Recap below...

"The Matech Ford GT No.5 of Romain Grosjean and Thomas Mutsch won an eventful Championship Race in Brno.

Second was Czech driver Tomas Enge and Darren Turner in the Young Driver Aston Martin No.7.

Peter Dumbreck and Peter Krumm claimed the final podium position in their Sumo Power Nissan GT-R.

The Hexis Aston Martin No.10 of Jonathan Hirschi and Clivio Piccione was fourth ahead of the Vitaphone Maseratis of pole-sitter Andrea Bertolini/Michael Bartels and Enrique Bernoldi/Miguel Ramos.

Nicky Pastorelli/Dominik Schwager rounded out a successful weekend for the Lamborghini No.38 with seventh place.

The No.13 of Stefan Rosina and Marc Hennerici flew the flag for Corvette in eighth place followed by the Hexis Aston Martin No.9 of Frederic Makowiecki/Stephane Sarrazin with the Swiss Racing Nissan GT-R of Karl Wendlinger/Henri Moser claiming the final point for 10th place.

It was the second race win and 25 points for the Ford GT pair after taking the spoils in the opening race in Abu Dhabi."

Friday, May 21, 2010

Nissan D22 Frontiers head to Haiti...

Brand new ones even!

Still made in Mexico, the Nissan D22 pickup, better known as the previous generation Frontier here in the U.S., is being donated in a lot of 30 to Haiti to assist with the recovery efforts there. Given the truck's durability they should be around for years--if they don't fall into criminal hands and become a technical with a .50 cal mounted in the rear. Still, its a nice gesture on Nissan's part and likely better than just giving cash...

"Nissan Motor Company has just announced that a shipment of 30 D22 pickups have arrived in Haiti, as part of an initiative instigated with the United Nations World Food Program and William J. Clinton Foundation, formed by the 42nd President of United States. The D22s, assembled at Nissan's facility in Cuernavaca, Mexico, are related to the 1998-04 Frontier sold in the U.S. and Canada. The trucks will be used to haul food, aid and supplies in the burgeoning effort to rebuild the shattered country. The donation of the trucks, in response to a request from former President Bill Clinton, is a further expansion of existing Nissan relief efforts in Haiti.
“I’m pleased Nissan has answered our call for trucks to aid our recovery efforts in Haiti,” said President Clinton. “This generous donation will be critical in ongoing efforts to mobilize food and other needed supplies, and I’m thankful for Nissan’s leadership in demonstrating how the private sector can help the people of Haiti ‘build back better.”
Carlos Ghosn, President and Chief Executive Officer of Nissan Motor Company Limited, added. ” When the Clinton Foundation contacted us, there was no question we’d help. Everyone at Nissan was eager to take action, and I know that our employees at Cuernavaca, Mexico, are especially proud that the trucks they have built in the Americas region are directly involved in helping the people of Haiti to rebuild their lives and their country.”
The trucks are each marked on each door with a special message of hope from Nissan Mexicana employees, “Nissan: Dans les rues d’Haiti pour vous aider!” Translated from the Haitian French dialect, it says, “Nissan: On the roads of Haiti to help you!”

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Another Step Forward...

For the NISMO Stuff race vehicle. Red Line Rally finished up some more of the graphics package adding the General Tire logo to the rear Fiberwerx bedsides, the lower blue sections on said bedsides and the requisite name and flag under the driver side window. The remaining blue on the rocker panels will go on next Tuesday and cover up that white showing there now...As a reminder of the truck(s) that this is being modeled after I have included a pic of the old factory Nissan Hardbody below as well...

Dacia Duster to be New Xterra/Rogue?

Though I'm not sure I agree with all of the article below I do agree with enough of it to say that this plan sounds plausible.

A number of auto media outlets are reporting that Renault insiders are talking about the above vehicle coming to the U.S. as a Nissan. Currently the Dacia Duster is made and marketed under the Dacia name (Dacia is a subsidiary of Renault) throughout Europe and is made in Romania of all places, with a Nissan built 4WD system.

The Xterra is long in the tooth...Six model years long and looking squarely in the face at a many vehicles remain virtually unchanged (sorry, Mickey Mouse ear rooflights don't count) for nearly a decade nowadays? Yes, the Xterra is platform partners with the Frontier, Titan, Pathy, etc. but Nissan must be just dieing to update these models at this point and bringing in some new blood must be tempting.

The Duster is just offroad worthy enough to still attract some of that market and yet is even softer than the current Xterra in its rounded looks and smoother lines to fit in with the Rogue and Murano quite well thank you.

Where I disagree with the analysis below is in regards to the engine it would bring with it...#1) a diesel with 103 hp, no matter what the torque, is not going to cut it here (best 0-60 performance for the vehicle is 11.5 seconds!!!) and unless production is moved out of Romania or VQs are shipped to Romania, some major hurdles remain here. The Duster is scheduled to begin production by Renault in Brazil in 2011 and will be distributed as far north as Mexico as a Renault, so seeing a Nissan badge go on it and coming over the border wouldn't be that surprising. Additionally the Duster will go on sale in the UK in 2012 and relaunch Dacia there. Given that the vehicle will be available around the world and in nearly every other market, would it really be a surprise if it came here in some form?? #2) Slotting the Duster in below the Xterra and above the Rogue/Juke makes little sense. The Duster prices out at nearly $18,000 in Europe, this puts it squarely in the low end of the Rogue's price range and the higher end of the Juke's range and lets not kid ourselves, this is no Jeep killer...

Best guess on this one is that it REPLACES the Rogue entirely. There were talks about one year ago that the Rogue was only going to be a one trick pony in its current iteration and that the next version would be new from the ground up. The Duster certainly would be that and would fit in the Rogue's price range as well...If a decent powerplant could be found for it you could be looking at the next Rogue...

From Autocar...

Rumors that the Dacia Duster could be sold as a Renault have been floating around ever since the vehicle’s launch at the Geneva Auto Show last year, but now comes word that it may also be sold as a Nissan – in markets where Renault doesn’t have a significant presence. “In a market where Nissan had a presence and Renault didn’t, it would be a possibility,” said a company insider to AutoCar. And the most notable of those markets is North America.
For those not familiar with the model, or the brand, the Duster is the first SUV build by Dacia – a sub-brand of Renault (which owns Nissan). It is built in Dacia’s home-market of Romania.
Nissan already has a rather significant crossover and SUV presence in North America and has just added the Juke to that list. The Duster, however, is a true SUV with an optional 4×4 system and real off-road capability. In Europe it is offered with a diesel powerplant only making 105-hp and 266 ft-lbs of torque. And while the Nissan SUV lineup is quite full already, the Duster could fit in under the current Xterra model and really take the fight to Jeep.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Ugandan Nissan Rally Vehicles!!

How's this for obscure?

One of the advantages of English being the most widely spoken (geographically, not numerically) language in the world is that you will find all sorts of little articles written in English about things you are interested in, in all sorts of nooks and crannies across the globe.

Example: Here is an article on the top 10 most influential rally vehicles in Ugandan history!! Now that's obscure! Great news is that the list is topped by a Nissan and includes other Nissan/Datsun models as well. I will have to dig deeper and try and find some more pictures of these vehicles raging through the forests and dirt roads in the home of the mountain gorillas...

Friday, May 14, 2010

Spanish CCR season: A muddy start (does this surprise anyone?)

First race: Rally TT Serón (13. - 14. March)
Economical recession which hit Spain, affected also national cross country rally championship. Some companies such as Fedima (tires) and Öhlins (suspension) provided reasonable technical support in order to allure some more competitors and they succeeded. In the middle of March forty six crews lined up at the start line including two buggies.

The prologue was surprisingly won by Salvador Segura Asensio with Nissan Patrol. Last year winner Jose Francisco Gonzalez de Haro (Mitsubishi Pajero) was eleventh. Plenty of water and mud affected the race sometimes in a curious way. Francesc Selga’s prototype had no windscreen and very soon the cockpit was flooded. In a low temperature the crew was not able to finish the stage.

Almost half of a starting field failed to finish the rally. From twenty four of classified crews Manuel Plaza Perez (Isuzu D-Max) was the fastest. Jose Antonio Hinojo Lopez with production class Toyota Land Cruiser took the second place. Manuel Angel Garcia Gimenez (Bowler Wildcat) has always been among the top five and finished third.

Three out of five Nissans managed to cross the finish line and all of them were Patrol GR model. The prologue winner Segura Asensio occupied fifth, Jose Augusto Gonzalez Abellan fifteenth and Miguel Angel Manzanal Lopez twentieth place.

gallery on

Second race: Baja Almanzora (17. - 18. April)
Almost fifty vehicles gathered in the city of Huercal Overa for the second race of a national championship. Leader of a current ranking Manuel Plaza Perez (Isuzu D-Max) was there as well as 2009 winner Jose Francisco Gonzalez de Haro (Mitsubishi Pajero). Reigning production class champion Francesc Termens had replaced his Mitsubishi with a brand new T1 prototype based on Merecedes ML.

Jorge Gaig (Mitsubishi Pajero) quickly occupied the first place and held it for the whole first day of the race. The fastest man of the prologue Joan Rodriguez (Nissan Navara) lost a little but still managed to stay in top five. Muddy terrain became an inevitable obstacle for many and eighteen crews left the race before Sunday.

On Sunday Francesc Selga (Herrator Tomka) and Francesc Termens (Mercedes ML Proto) were the main challengers for Jorge Gaig. But their effort didn’t bring the wished result. On Termens’ proto throttle cable broke and the beast stood still. Selga lost his position after a series of punctures had chased him. That was the right time for Rodriguez to take back the second place. The third Enrique Reyes (Mitsubishi Pajero) leapt on a podium from the seventh place and was the fastest of production class vehicles.

gallery on

Thursday, May 13, 2010

To Be a New Rally America Champion...

So there will be a new season champion in Rally America for the first time since '05 when Patrick Richard took the overall win. '06-'09 saw Travis Pastrana take the championship in sometimes close, sometimes not-so-close fashion and he is currently running 2nd in the overall standings coming into this weekend's Oregon Trail Rally...

But he won't be there...

I said last year after the New England Forest Rally that Pastrana would be getting bored of the lack of competition in Rally America and whether that is true or not, the fact remains that Pastrana is choosing to leave the series at perhaps the critical point of the season to head to Australia in order to participate in the Nitro Circus, motorcycle stunt shows there.

His absence will make it realistically impossible for him to win the season championship and puts Antoine L'Estage and his '09 Mitsu Evo X in command and if he can follow through, would result in the first non-Subaru to win the Rally America series (Richard in '05 drove an Impreza STi as did Pastrana in his championship years). Furthermore it makes the small team of Bill Bacon and his '06 Mitsu Evo IX poised to move into 2nd place on the season.

Ken Block, with one win and two DNFs in his new Ford under his belt sits back in fifth overall and ready to leapfrog the highest ranked remaining Subaru of Dave Mirra should he bobble just a bit. One year ago the Impreza's of Pastrana, Block and Mirra were filling the top five results of each event...a year later?? Not so much.

Subaru Rally Team USA driver Dave Mirra will be the lone team entry in this weekend's 2010 Oregon Trail Rally based in and around Portland, Oregon. A previously scheduled engagement with the Nitro Circus Live tour in Australia precludes Subaru driver Travis Pastrana, the 4-time defending Rally America National Champion, from competing at the Oregon Trail Rally. Mirra currently holds 4th Overall in the 2010 Rally America National Championship standings while teammate Pastrana sits in 2nd having won the last round of the series, the Olympus Rally, late last month. Pastrana will headline Nitro Circus Live in Australia this month, a series of stadium based events that will feature action sports stars performing never before seen tricks and stunts in a spectacular live action format.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Nissan Takes Two Out of Three Podium Spots...

In Formula Drift's second round at Road Atlanta...

Far from my favorite form of motorsport (anytime you put style points and judges into a motorsport event it smacks of women's gymnastics to me) I would be remiss if I didn't mention Nissan's solid showing at this weekend's event.

Chris Forsberg (the series defending champion) took third place in the event in his 350Z convertible while Daijiro Yoshihara grabbed the win in his Nissan S13 (240SX). With the win Daijiro moves into 2nd place in the overall standings while Forsberg sits in 5th. Also of note, Nissans/Infinitis make up five of the top 16 places in Formula Drift with no other manufacturer having more than two. Well done.

LOORRS 5/8/10 CBS Ratings Are In!

So the first network broadcast of offroad short course racing in 2010 is in the bag.

Though some previous LOORRS rounds have been shown on Speed, this past Saturday marked the return of LOORRS racing to network TV and the first time for short course (in recent memory) on CBS with previous CORR racing on NBC and TORC on ABC in '09.

Viewers have been relatively positive in their opinions of the broadcast and the late afternoon (on the East Coast) time slot would seem to have been properly positioned for the sport's more mid-western/western roots.

That being said, ratings for this broadcast have not improved over those seen in '09. The 0.5 rating generated on CBS this past weekend again translates (for those of you who haven't read my older posts on this) 1/2 of one percent of all the TV "households" in the U.S., which, given that there are approximately 115 million TV "households", equates to 575,000 households viewing the LOORRS broadcast.

As always using my conservative estimate of 1.1 actual individual viewers per "household" this should equate to roughly 633,000 actual viewers of the LOORRS broadcast. While nothing to sneeze at, these figures are pretty static right now as the last five short course broadcasts, whether on ABC, NBC or CBS or whether TORC or LOORRS have all generated either a 0.4 or 0.5 rating. You have to go back to the very first TORC broadcast of '09 (June or July I believe) to find a 0.7 rating that bucks this trend.

On the positive side of things you can see that the LOORRS event did out draw the AMA Supercross broadcast and ESPN Sports Saturday. As a point of reference the two IRL events broadcast on ABC so far this year have generated a 0.6 and a 0.7 rating, well within reach if SOMEONE would promote the sport!

Ratings below:

ESPN Sports Saturday 5/8 ABC 4:00-6:00pm 0.4

NBA Lakers-Jazz: Game Three 5/8 ABC 8:15-11:00pm 4.4

NCAA Women's Gymnastics (taped) 5/8 CBS 3:00-5:00pm 0.7

LOORRS: Speedworld Off Road Park (taped) 5/8 CBS 5:00-6:00pm 0.5

MLB: (Yankees-Red Sox, 82%) 5/8 Fox 3:00-7:00pm 2.4

NASCAR Showtime Southern 500 5/8 Fox 7:00-11:00pm 3.9

Global Golf Adventure: Bermuda (taped) 5/8 NBC 1:30-2:00pm 0.6

The Players Championship: Third Round 5/8 NBC 2:00-6:00pm 2.5

"NBA Countdown" 5/9 ABC 3:00-3:30pm 1.6

NBA Celtics-Cavaliers: Game Four 5/9 ABC 3:30-6:00pm 5.1

Monster Energy AMA SX: Year In Review 5/9 CBS 5:00-6:00pm 0.3

Heads Up Poker Championship (taped) 5/9 NBC 12:00-2:00pm 1.1

The Players Championship: Final Round 5/9 NBC 2:00-7:00pm 3.3

Friday, May 7, 2010

Infiniti's First Diesel Now Available...

in the U.K. at least...the FX30d is a 3 liter 6 cyl. turbo diesel getting 31 mpg and costing 52,000 pounds ($76,000) before you add in all the British VAT taxes and such (coming soon to a United States near you!!). While the price seems high, its only marginally higher than the petrol burnign version and well worth the upgrade. I am not sure exactly what diesel engine Infiniti chose to put in this FX but it bodes well for putting a nice Mercedes diesel in its next generation given the recent tie-up between the two companies.


The first diesel model in the two-decade history of Nissan's luxuryu brand, Infiniti, is on sale now. The FX30d uses a 235bhp three-litre V6 turbo diesel engine which gives combined fuel economy and CO2 emissions of 31.4mpg and 238g/km, figures which are considerably better than those of the petrol models in the FX range.

The FX30d fits in with Infiniti's new trim level structure of (reading from the bottom up) GT, S, GT Premium and S Premium. It's priced from £45,150 to £51,730, making it only a few hundred pounds more expensive than the FX37 petrol, while also being substantially cheaper to run.

As well as being the only diesel in the range, the FX30d is also the first Infiniti of any kind to be sold in Europe with Lane Departure Prevention. This system not only warns the driver of nearby vehicles but takes active steps to prevent him or her steering into them regardless. It can be over-ridden by using the indicators, or switched off completely.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Ervideira Rali TT: Let’s get dirty

A heavy storm hit the winery region of Reguengos de Monsaraz shortly before the start of the third race of the Portuguese CCR championship. Muddy terrain and many breakdowns forced many crews to retire from race. This year’s strongest starting field so far saw more than fifty competitors ready to fight in a sea of mud. The number of favorites increased with arrival of Nicolas Misslin (Mitsubishi Racing Lancer Turbo) and Leonid Novitskiy (BMW X3 CC) the recent winner of Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge.

The first loser of the race was till then undefeated Campos. An electronic problem had been switching his engine into the safe mode and didn’t allow him to finish. On a short prologue some locals were faster than top drivers but most of them lost their positions in progress. Barbosa (Mitsubishi Racing Lancer Turbo) felt a chance to retrieve a win lost in a previous race. Surprisingly it was Rui Sousa (Isuzu D-Max Proto) who managed to set the fastest time in the half time of the race. Moniz da Maia (BMW X3 CC) improved his position notably but was still far from a leading position. Lino Carapeta (QT Wildcat 200) was on the twelfth position but his time was about to come.

Rui Sousa lost a turbo and dropped out not only from the fight for the first place but even from the race generally. Barbosa had been leading for more than 100 kilometers when whole pack of difficulties befell his car. Thirty kilometers to finish his originally 15-minute advantage was reduced to just three minutes on the second Nuno Mutos. Portuguese driver had been performing flawlessly with his production group Isuzu D-Max until the left rear tire decided to go on its own. Lino Carapeta fully utilized misfortunes of his rivals and surprisingly won the race. Barbosa thus lost second win in a row at the very end of the race. The third place went to Paulo Sousa (Mitsubishi Pajero) best placed Nissan was that of Ricardo Porém of the fourth place.

Photo: Manuel Cordeiro for

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Real Old School Datsun Truck Runs Well in NORRA 1000...

In what was truly an epic, first of its kind event the inaugural NORRA Mexican 1000 just wrapped up in La Paz.

Over three days some classic racing vehicles and drivers ran, Rally style, down the Baja penninsula from Mexicali to La Paz. As the race's tagline of "Honoring the Past, Forging the Future" indicates, most of the vehicles participating were well over 20 years old, some dating back 40 year or more.

The Datsun truck below is owned and built by Rod Frantelli and finished the "race" in a time of 1126 minutes, 54 seconds in 26th out of 57 entries. I put "race" in quotations as while there were definately some competitive juices flowing the event was more about showcasing the amazing history of desert racing over the past 40 years in Baja and the vehicles/people who made it possible.

That being said, this Datsun truck just goes to show that you don't need a $50K budget nor a brand new vehicle to make a really cool, capable, durable vehicle to race/play with. Check out some of the older vehicles in the event below as well...

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Nissan GT-R Takes Silverstone GT1 Win...

Ahhh...that's better...

A Nissan win in the second event of the year in the recently rejuvenated FIA GT1 series. Finishing in the middle of the pack (at best) in the series' first event in Abu Dhabi a few weeks ago, the GT-Rs had been saddled with the most weight penalty of any model entered for that event with over 100 pounds of extra ballast added to slow the GT-R down to the speeds of the Ford GT (the only model given no weight penalty for that event, which it won).

In this event the FIA decided to not penalize the Nissan ANY weight and a GT-R finished 3rd on the day--that is, until the 1st and 2nd place finishers were severely penalized for some infractions found post race. Though this is a fantastic result for Nissan, one has to question the seems kind of moronic to me that in one race you hand a team the most weight penalty in the field and then the second race, the least...I understand the desire to even the playing field to create more competitive racing but this seems the wrong way to do it.

A win is a win though and I and I'm sure Nissan will take it. Well done Sumo Racing!! Story from the GT1 website below and a link to the FIA GT1 website here--FIA GT1 Website

The Nissan GT-R of Jamie Campbell-Walter and Warren Hughes, which originally placed third, was awarded the victory in the Championship Race at Silverstone after penalties were handed out to the first two cars over the line.

The British duo had finished behind the Aston Martins of Young Driver pair Darren Turner and Tomas Enge and Hexis Racing's Thomas Accary and Frederic Makowiecki in an eventful second round of the championship.

But in an astounding turn of events, the Turner-Enge No.7 Aston Martin DB9 was excluded from the results by the race stewards because the underfloor skid plank on the flat bottom of the car was worn beyond the permitted minimum thickness.

The second-placed car of Accary-Makowiecki was given a 15-second time penalty for not serving a drive through within the required three laps during the race.

The decisions mean that the Hexis AMR No.9 is still classified second, behind the Sumo Power Nissan GT-R. The Reiter Lamborghini of Jos Menten and Frank Kechele moves up to third.

It means that Campbell-Walter and Hughes now find themselves the proud owners of the RAC Tourist Trophy.

For how long remains to be seen as the revised result is provisional and subject to an appeal by the Young Driver AMR team.

On hearing the news of the stewards' decision, Hughes said: "We were happy with third and then we were told it might be second so to get the call to say we won is incredible.

"I was actually giving the trophy envious glances during the press conference, thinking it would be nice to have my name on there, so this is a great result for us. I’m genuinely delighted to have the win as this is a great result for the championship.”

Campbell-Walter added: “For a British driver it’s a massive honour to win the Tourist Trophy and to be the guys who take the first FIA GT1 win for Nissan is incredible.

“I have to express my condolences to Darren and Tomas though as they did a great job today and it can’t be nice to have this taken away from you as a driver.

"When I won the FIA GT race in 2000 here at Silverstone I was presented with the Tourist Trophy but my name was never engraved on it as it wasn’t an official Tourist Trophy meeting.

"I feel like I’ve won it for a second time now but this time my name will go on there so that’s great. This is a fantastic result for Nissan and for the Sumo Power team.”

Portuguese CCR national championship: The beginning

Last year’s champion Filipe Campos was the main favorite in a bit weak starting field of the first race, Rali TT Serras do Norte (19. - 20. February). The only real threat to him was his team mate Bernardo Moniz da Maia (BMW X3 CC) and Rui Sousa with Prolama prepared Isuzu D-Max Proto. As expected the win went to Campos in front of José Dinis Lucas (Mitsubishi Pajero). Miguel Veloso driving Nissan Navara in national group T8 grabbed the third place. The best amongst production cars (group T2) was seventh placed José Camilo Martins (Mitsubishi Pajero). A very popular racing machine in Portugal is Mazda BT-50. These cars have their own Trophy within the championship and Joao Pedro Pais has mastered the first race.

The competition of the second round was stronger thanks to three-time national champion Miguel Barbosa. A newly developed Mitsubishi Racing Lancer powered by a 2-litre turbo petrol engine is supposed to be ideal for this kind of races. Then there were two YSER Racing Team crews of Filipe Campos and Bernard Moniz da Maia. Rui Sousa’s intention was to test new set-up of his Proto. Baja TT Terras d’el Rei (20. - 21. March) was different to other races. It consisted of just one special stage.

But this one was 320 kilometers long and raced non-stop which was demanding for machines as well as for men. Barbosa was leading the field when health problems occurred and he lost his position. This was a chance for Campos to maintain his overall lead and he used it well. Also da Maia leaped over Barbosa and took the second place. Decent performance was provided by two prototypes of DePieres Team. Unfortunately, Miguel Farrajota didn’t finish because of malfunction of his Proto RAV4 (derived of Toyota, of course). Henrique Silva has adopted French BMW Trio which you may know from Dakar. Even though he crashed close to the finish line he was able complete the rally on twelfth place.

Photo: Luís Marques and Manuel Cordeiro for