A Peak performance

Posted by Jamie Hibbard at 11:12 am on Wednesday July 29, 2009

This is worth nine minutes of your life: rally champ Marcus Gronholm charging up the Pikes Peak hillclimb in his 800bhp Ford Fiesta RallyCross:

It blows its turbo right at the top, but sadly doesn’t cross the line quite as on fire as we’d hoped.

Anyway, it’s a good film, but it still can’t touch this classic of Ari Vatanen in his Peugeot 405 T16.

This man wants to be president of the FIA. We want him there:

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  1. Ian_S said...
    Wednesday July 29, 2009 at 1:04 pm Link to comment Report comment

    Great film, that looks an amzing event. Whats that squeaking? is it the turbo?

  2. Sonia said...
    Wednesday July 29, 2009 at 3:23 pm Link to comment Report comment

    Here wahts that all abowt! Our Kev’s Fiesta is way faster than that you should see him in Aldi’s car park on a tuesday night! (not wednesday that when we go dogging in his uncles beemer)

    And you call that a body kit, he dunt even have neons. And whuts with that name Marcus he some kind of toff?

  3. Claiborne said...
    Wednesday July 29, 2009 at 3:25 pm Link to comment Report comment

    @Ian_S

    Thats the dump valve from the turbo me thinks!

    +Ari Vatanen for FIA President, Todt would just bring back the Ferrari International Assistance!

  4. tmtn said...
    Wednesday July 29, 2009 at 4:06 pm Link to comment Report comment

    Vatanen’s time in that video was 10.47.77 which was a course record at the time – 21 years ago. With the sun in his eyes.

    Grönholm did it in 12.42 I think?

  5. AussieDaz said...
    Thursday July 30, 2009 at 1:28 am Link to comment Report comment

    Nothing will beat the original movie!

    I’ve seen it a million times and it still gives me goosebumps!

  6. Bobnine said...
    Thursday July 30, 2009 at 5:06 am Link to comment Report comment

    Makes me feel like playing DiRT.

  7. danthevan said...
    Thursday July 30, 2009 at 9:14 am Link to comment Report comment

    Thats a amazing car its so fast, looks like a really good event!

  8. Af said...
    Thursday July 30, 2009 at 11:11 am Link to comment Report comment

    That was sweeet!!
    I’ve gotta drive up pikes peak someday!!!

    Also love that screaming turbo sound of the Fiesta. Too bad the turbo broke towards the end…

  9. PetrolHead247 said...
    Thursday July 30, 2009 at 8:26 pm Link to comment Report comment

    You’ve got to love the monsterous Fiesta, it’s so incredible! No one would’ve thought in 1990 an 800bhp Fiesta would be fighting for a new Pikes Peak record time! If only Ford would make a mad yet road-legal Fiesta, like a Fiesta ST or even an RS!

    I heard the Gronholm was trying to break the ten minute mark, but that means he needed to average around 75mph! On roads like that, that’s a tall order, even in a 800bhp Fiesta with Gronholm behind the wheel!

  10. PetrolHead247 said...
    Thursday July 30, 2009 at 8:31 pm Link to comment Report comment

    *Off subject, slightly*

    I’ve just found Clarkson’s ex Mitsubishi Starion for sale on ebay! Ebay item number is 250472942129.

  11. Some1 said...
    Thursday July 30, 2009 at 9:23 pm Link to comment Report comment

    Average film, 7 min bus drift is better:

  12. Steve said...
    Friday July 31, 2009 at 11:54 am Link to comment Report comment

    Ian_S (comment 1) and Claiborne (3): I could be mistaken, but in rallycross form the Fiesta runs without dump valve, so I’d assume its the same for the hillclimb car. The noise you’re hearing is caused by a reverse airflow running through the compressor section of the turbo.

    This noise is often referred to as “wastegate chatter” though “turbo stall” (or “compressor stall” in turbine engine terms) would be more accurate.

    You can hear the same noise (different car, but same engine set up) in this video:

  13. Steve said...
    Friday July 31, 2009 at 11:56 am Link to comment Report comment

    Oh, and sorry to double post, but will someone at Top Gear PLEASE get the BBC to cover the Pikes Peak Hillclimb?

    All the money the BBC spends on crap sports, yet they won’t send a single TV camera to one of the greatest motorsport events on the planet.

  14. LeeSouthend said...
    Friday July 31, 2009 at 3:37 pm Link to comment Report comment

    I gotta agree with you Steve the BBC throws my money around like water to cover the diorea end of sport then they provide crap to no coverage of rallycross hillclimbs etc.
    Remember BBC for a sport to be exciting it requires an engine or danger preferably both ;)

  15. MrBurton said...
    Friday July 31, 2009 at 3:39 pm Link to comment Report comment

    I was there!! That was an awesome run! It’s hard to see in the video, but as he’s coming into the second turn where the big crowd is (6:02 – Devils Playground) his rear right tire was on fire.

    I’m with all of you – PPIHC is an epic race that TG should definitely cover.

  16. claiborne said...
    Friday July 31, 2009 at 5:18 pm Link to comment Report comment

    @12, you are probably right you seem to know more about that fiesta than me.

    @15, the tire isn’t on fire you idiot how would he keep driving. I think that you’ll find that that is unburnt fuel being ignited by the heat from the exhaust as he slows down!

  17. MrBurton said...
    Friday July 31, 2009 at 7:17 pm Link to comment Report comment

    @16 – No need to get so angry, my friend. Three things. One, I was watching the race on that turn. Two, you are right about the exhaust – that’s what caused his tire to catch fire. Three, they announced on the radio broadcast that his crew told him that tire was indeed, on fire. And at the end of the race, during the “parade” I saw his tire from about 2 feet away.

    No need to call people names. Seriously.

  18. MrBurton said...
    Friday July 31, 2009 at 7:29 pm Link to comment Report comment

    @16 – I could definitely be wrong. But that tire sure was destroyed at the end of the race.

  19. MrBurton said...
    Friday July 31, 2009 at 7:37 pm Link to comment Report comment

    @16 – Ok. Upon looking at photos of the car in that turn, I retract my statement of the tire being “on fire.” However, the tire was significantly damaged and engulfed in flames in that turn.

    Do you feel better now? HA!

  20. PH001c said...
    Friday July 31, 2009 at 8:57 pm Link to comment Report comment

    Interesting, I’ll have to look into wastegate chatter or turbo stall.

    Another technical question: in the video he’s clearly using a clutch pedal but it appears that gear selector is a paddle on the wheel. Is this indeed, how this car is set-up?

    Is it typical of rally cars? You’ll have to forgive my naivete but I’m an American and there is 0 WRC coverage here. (Next year we will have it though!)

  21. Andrew03 said...
    Saturday August 1, 2009 at 5:02 pm Link to comment Report comment

    @20. Will we really have WRC coverage in the US? What channel? I have been following as much as possible on the internet.

  22. Capt. Walter Mitty said...
    Sunday August 2, 2009 at 10:02 pm Link to comment Report comment

    As Andrew03 asked, which channel? I must make sure I have it…I would LOVE to watch WRC over here.

  23. ph001c said...
    Sunday August 2, 2009 at 10:29 pm Link to comment Report comment

    It will be on Discovery’s HD channel, HD theater.

    http://www.autosport.com/ news/report.php/id/76979

    I don’t think it is going to be real-time, live coverage but a after the event review.

  24. Steve said...
    Wednesday August 5, 2009 at 9:22 am Link to comment Report comment

    To PH001c (comment 20): Thats a great observation. WRC and rallycross supercars are normally fitted with sequential gearboxes, though a clutch is fitted which is used when the car is driving between stages or to launch the car off the line (as part of a launch control system).

    I wondered if Gronholm was using the clutch to initiate a drift in the same way you can with a rear wheel drive car (“clutch kicking”), using it to maintain the power on the climb (a technique I’ve seen used by several Japanese drivers) or whether the gearboz on the car actually requires the use of the clutch.

    Its a pity that you’re getting WRC as it draws to the end of an era. I’ve actually got more enjoyment out of the Rally America series over the last couple of years then I have out of WRC.

    Hopefully WRC will pick up again when the S2000 rules are implemented though!

  25. Mikeado said...
    Wednesday August 5, 2009 at 11:37 am Link to comment Report comment

    Brilliant. I must say though that the sound of scuffing a squirrel (which, thanks to Steve, I now know to be wastegate chatter) did get a little annoying as the run progressed.

    I have lost track of the WRC unfortunately, in fact I still remember it as Impreza v Evo, neither of which compete these days. They should bring back Group B with adjusted versions of these hillclimb cars (that hopefully won’t catch fire). That would be entertaining, plus it would give us more chances to see an 800bhp Fiesta narrowly avoiding trees and rocks at severalMPH.

  26. Steve said...
    Wednesday August 5, 2009 at 3:53 pm Link to comment Report comment

    No worries Mikeado, glad to have helped! As I said, “Wastegate Chatter” is a commonly used term, though its technically incorrect. I personally love the noise and have toyed with altering my own car to get it but, like a dump valve, I think it would get very annoying very quickly!

    I say the same thing to you that I say to everyone else who mourns Group B: for goodness sake check out some rallycross! Particularly British Rallycross, where Group B cars still regularly compete alongside other 500 BHP+ cars including Evos, Scoobs and mental Fiestas like the car in the video!

  27. Mikeado said...
    Wednesday August 5, 2009 at 7:21 pm Link to comment Report comment

    ^Thanks. Didn’t expect to see a 550bhp Peugeot 306 today!

  28. Steve said...
    Friday August 7, 2009 at 3:36 pm Link to comment Report comment

    ^ I take it you watched some then? Theres a few really random cars used in the Division 1/Supercar class: that 306 is one of them!

  29. said... said...
    Saturday December 3, 2011 at 12:07 pm Link to comment Report comment

    800bhp!!!! in a fiesta!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  !!

  30. Mercedes SLS AMG said...
    Saturday December 3, 2011 at 12:08 pm Link to comment Report comment

    Very quick

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