ICELANDIC HILL RALLY Tata Elxsi International Baja Series Round 4
Posted on 22 August 2023
The Bowler Defender Rally team flew out for their first competitive attendance at the Can-Am Iceland Hill Rally from 11th-13th August. This desirable bucket-list destination hosted Round 4 of the Tata Elxsi International Baja Series. Our rally teams enjoyed the thrill of racing over Iceland’s formidable terrain, with awe-inspiring views of glaciers and volcanoes.
Carefully designed rally stages over the infamous land of fire and ice pushed the limits of the drivers and cars increasingly each day of the event, climaxing on the final day with an endurance race in the shadow of Iceland’s Volcano Hekla, featuring high-speed sections, steep hill climbs and unforgiving lava fields.
Our customers revelled in putting their rally training and development into practice. The Can-Am Iceland Hill Rally requires teams to strategise how to play the long game in this endurance event. Teamwork, perseverance, grit and indomitable spirit were as essential as the driving capability to tackle and complete each stage. Iceland tested everything our drivers and co-drivers had been learning in our rally training program, forcing them to adapt quickly to an ever-changing terrain.
Our Works team operated at the best level, and the upbeat team spirit and camaraderie were clear for all to see. They worked tirelessly, from early starts to late nights, over multiple service locations covering vast distances to ensure the cars delivered optimal performance, enabling our customers to focus on the incredible landscape and their driving challenge.
The Defenders continue to surprise spectators and the other race competitors with their speed, dynamic agility and durability. These production road cars, expertly enhanced for rally racing, can change between ‘road mode’ and competition’ Bowler mode’ at a flick of a switch, enabling drivers to easily travel safely between stages and be rapidly ready to race again.
FRIDAY – DAY 1
The event started with three short stages around the Reykjavik area, with an enthusiastic welcome from spectators. The stages were a prelude to what was to come during the event. It involved fast tarmac, technical off-road sections, and a carved road through a lava field with sharp volcanic rock lining the track, waiting to severely punish the car if the drivers had even the slightest deviation.
All cars finished strongly and had a thorough check over in the service area, ready for day two. Minor punctures were the only repairs needed, and the Bowler teams were in high spirits, looking forward to tackling the following stages.
SATURDAY – DAY 2
Day 2 featured the first endurance racing, over 174 km. Drivers contended with steep, loose ground climbs, sharp descents through lava fields and a quarry section to keep the drivers and navigators on their toes. They drove past stunning glaciers, crossed through beautiful, clear-water rivers, and arrived at the outstanding Gullfoss Waterfall on the river Hvita for a service break.
By the afternoon, three of our drivers received unrelated personal news, meaning they had to leave the event early and return home. Filling the void, our other Bowler drivers competed hard and continued to push on the competition, chasing after the best times.
SUNDAY – DAY 3
The final day was the pinnacle driving experience of the weekend event. The last two stages were blisteringly fast as the crews climbed the dizzying heights of the volcano Hekla, traversing a large plateau area and descending into the valley behind. The fall-out and lava fields from the 2010 eruption covered the terrain, demanding quick, immediate changes in speed and expert car control.
“THE BEST DRIVING EXPERIENCE”
By the end of day three, the driver teams had covered over 300 km. At the finish line, the exhilarated drivers described the final as “the best driving experience” they’d had, and “the event had saved the best stage ’till last!”
CAN-AM ICELAND HILL RALLY RESULTS:
After 12 rally stages over 300km and 3 days, the finish times were close – with just over a 1-minute difference between 2nd place and our Bowler Defender driver Williams, in 3rd place. Only 12 minutes separated our drivers Wyne-Williams in 5th place and White in 6th place.
Driver / Co-Driver
|Penalty Time||Iceland Hill Rally Position||Defender Series by Bowler Position|
|Williams / Dennis||05:25:32||00:00:00||3||1|
|Wyne-Williams / Lowe||05:47:04||00:00:00||5||2|
|White / Wilson||05:59:05||00:00:00||6||3|
|Seddon / Tomley||06:20:35||00:02:00||7||4|
|Harlow / Mansfield||06:51:20||00:00:00||8||5|
Link to view the full results: RallyResault – Rallytimes – motorsport.is
Dave Marsh, Head of Motorsport, commented: “It’s a proud moment for us all to be here. While developing the Defender Series two years ago, we visited Iceland to test a prototype car over a long distance. The visit enabled us to dip our toe in the water, and we identified the area as a potential rally round, making this a significant event that we’re delighted to attend. The Bowlers continue surpassing the expectations of drivers and spectators and proving they can handle any terrain or distance quickly. Through our driver training program, we’ve been building the team’s other skills and felt they were well prepared for the challenges of Iceland. It’s the ideal location to enhance their skills further and prepare them for future competitions due to the unique contrasting terrain, which demands immediate reactions and sharp changes in speed over longer distances than they’re used to. The team impressed us with how well they handled each stage, demonstrating superb car control, commitment and speed.”
Calum McKechnie, General Manager of Bowler, commented: “We’re here to create remarkable driver progression at exceptional events for unforgettable memories. This has been an outstanding destination rally, delivering spectacular views and the most challenging endurance racing yet for our Bowler rally team. It’s a pleasure to have made this dream event a reality for our customers, and deeply rewarding to hear their exhilaration and praise. The racing has been competitive, with a spirited atmosphere and camaraderie. We thank the Jaguar Land Rover dealership in Reykjavik for the warm welcome and for looking after our vehicles on our arrival in Iceland. We also thank the Can-Am Iceland Hill Rally team for putting on a memorable event, and we’re proud of the Bowler team and our customers for putting on a fantastic, highly competitive show. We’re looking forward to returning to Iceland in future, and the anticipation is building for the upcoming challenges in the Defender Series.”
Keep up with the 2023 Defender Series by Bowler on our website and social media. Expressions of interest for the 2024 rallying series are underway – contact the Bowler team to discuss securing your place.
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