Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Female Rally Drivers Around the World: Turkey


Simin Bıçakcıoĝlu in Bulgaria in 2012

Burcu Çetinkaya now has her own post. 

Ayşegül Bacak – rallied a Fiat Palio in some Turkish events in 2010. She managed one finish in a major rally: a 31st place in the second round of the Istanbul Rally Championship. The first round ended in an off. That year, she was also active in hillclimbing, and won at least one Ladies’ Trophy. In 2012, she did some circuit racing in the Volkicar V1 Challenge, a one-make series. She was the fastest of three female drivers taking part that year.

Nisa Bozkurt -  began her career as a navigator. She has rallied a variety of cars around Turkey, including a Ford Ka in 2001, Citroen Saxo in 2002 and a Fiat Palio in 2004. She drove a Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 6 in the 2005 Rally of Turkey. The same year, she appears to have achieved her best result, eleventh in the Fiat Rally.

Burcu Burkut Erenkul - has been rallying in Turkey since 2008, when she was 19. Previously, she had done some karting, and done some circuit racing - the VW Polo Ladies’ Cup in 2006, and some junior racing in a Fiat Palio in 2007. Her first rally was the Istanbul Rally, and she was 30th in a Fiat Palio, seventh in class. In 2009, she did not have the funding for much rallying, so she did some powerboat racing, and entered the Istanbul championship at the end of the season. She won the Ladies’ and Junior category. For 2010, Ford of Turkey stepped in, and she entered three rounds of the Turkish championship in a Fiesta, finishing two. Her best result was 19th, second in class, in the Bosphorus Rally. The following year, she entered the full Turkish championship, in the Fiesta. She got her best result in the Yeşil Bursa Rallisi - eleventh, and third in class, and followed it with 17th in the Hittit Rallisi. She was third in her class at the end of the season. In 2012, she was more consistent, with three 19th places, and a best of fifteenth, in the Hittite Rally. She won Class 8, and was second in the ladies’ standings, behind her rival Simin Bıçakcıoĝlu. In 2013, she gained a new regular navigator, Seyma Yagiz, and continued to improve. She was in the top twenty in four of her seven rallies, with a best finish of thirteenth, in the Bosphorus Rally. She also won her class in the Kocaeli Rally. Only a retirement and an exclusion in the last two rallies of the season kept her from winning Class 8. She was 16th in the Turkish championship, and second lady, again behind Bıçakcıoĝlu. She continued to rally in 2014, in the Turkish championship. Despite her season being affected by a string of retirements, she was still quite competitive. Her best finish was a fifteenth place, in the Istanbul Rally. She was also 17th in the Bosphorus Rally, a European Trophy event. After missing the 2015 season, she drove a Ford Fiesta in the 2016 Saygili Rulman Ege Rally, but did not finish. 

Yasemin Culfaz – rallied in Turkey in 2010 and 2011. She started off in a Fiat Palio, and contested the Istanbul Rally Championship. Her best finish was 34th. For her 2011 season, she used a Ford Fiesta, and entered the Turkish championship. It was not an overly successful season, with three out of four rallies ending in retirement. She was 24th in the Bosphorus Rally, third in class.  

Ayşe Kar – competes in both rallying and rallycross in Turkey. In 2010, she rallied a Fiat Palio in Turkish National and other events. Her best finish was sixteenth, in the Yeşil Bursa Rally. She was also third in class. The same year, she was active in rallycross in Antalya, in a similar car. Further details are not forthcoming. Photos seem to suggest she did some more racing in 2011, but the specifics of this are also proving hard to find.

Serpil Pak - one of Turkey’s first female rally drivers. She began her career in 2005, driving a Fiat Palio in the Turkish championship. This was replaced by a Mitsubishi Lancer Evo VII in 2006. After a quiet couple of seasons, she drove a Ford Fiesta in the Turkish championship in 2010, with some good class finishes. A change to a Subaru Impreza gave her her first top-twenty finishes in 2011, including thirteenth place in the Yeşil Bursa Rally, with a class win. In 2012, in an Impreza, she was 20th in the Istanbul Rally. In 2013, she returned to driving a Fiesta, although it was not the most reliable. Her best finish was fourteenth, in the Bosphorus Rally. In 2014, still in the Fiesta, she achieved her first top-ten finish: tenth in the Rally 34 event. 2014 was a good year for her; she was a consistent top-twenty finisher in the Turkish championship, although she did non-finish twice, at the end of the season. She was also twelfth in the Istanbul Rally. In 2015, she managed another top ten finish, a tenth place in the Istanbul Rally. She was still in the Fiesta, and was seventeenth in the Turkish championship. 2016 was a less busy season for her, although she did fit in some travel, to the ACI Como National Rally, in Italy. Her car was a Peugeot 208, and she did not finish. Back at home, she drove the Fiesta in the Marmaris Rally Turkey, but also retired. 


Melissa Tahincioglu – did a season in the Turkish Rally Championship in 2008. Her car was a Fiat Palio. Her best finish was 18th, in the Ford Otosan Kocaeli Rally, and she was fourth in class. Her biggest event was the Istanbul Rally, a round of the IRC, and she was 34th. In 2010, she did one rally, the Kocaeli event, in a Ford Fiesta. She was 25th overall, third in class. She has also taken part in circuit racing, and was fourteenth in the 2006 Volkswagen Polo Ladies’ Cup, held in Turkey. In 2011, she was one of the leading drivers in the V1 Challenge, held at Istanbul Autodrome. Previously, she had done some one-off rallies in the Turkish championship, in 2002 and 2003, in the Fiat.

Burcu Ürkmez – rallied a Fiat Palio in Turkey between 2008 and 2010. Her first season was her best one, with three top-twenty finishes in Istanbul Castrol rallies. Her next two years were plagued with non-finishes, although she did manage twelfth place in the 2009 Ford Otosan Kocaeli Rally. After that, she seems to have switched to circuit racing, and is listed as a driver in the Turkish Toyota Yaris Cup.

Nehir Yilmaz- erstwhile co-driver who started driving in Turkish rallies in 2016. She was 26th in that year’s Otosan Kocaeli Rally, driving a Fiat Palio. She has been competing as a co-driver since 2002, when she was 23. Among the drivers she has sat beside are Burcu Cetinkaya, Burcu Burkut Erenkul and Serpil Pak.

(Image from www.siminbicakcioglu.com)

Saturday, 22 February 2014

Female Single-Seater Drivers Around the World: Finland



Emma Kimilainen

Sanna Pinola now has her own post. 

Pinja Forsman – raced in Formula Ford in 2010. She was driving for the Söderman team. Her best overall finish was sixth, at Alastaro. She was eleventh in the final championship standings, and fifth in the Zetec-engined class. Her race programme also included two North European Zone Formula Ford Cup races, which gave her 19th in that championship. After 2010, she does not seem to have raced again.

Emma Kimilainen (Liuski) - single-seater driver from Finland. She first raced cars in 2005, in Finnish Formula Ford, coming second overall and winning a string of rookie awards. As well as the Finnish title, she was also runner-up in the Northern Europe Formula Ford Championship, having narrowly missed that title in 2006. In 2007, she switched to sportscars and was consistently in the top three in Swedish Formula Radical. Her three wins were enough to cement her third place in the championship She competed in German Formula ADAC in 2008, after undertaking a DTM test during the off-season. Her overall result was tenth, with a single podium finish, after coming up against good opposition. In 2009, she travelled to the UK to race in Formula Palmer Audi, after a successful test. She was the series' most successful female driver, with two seconds and two thirds, and a fifth place overall. She was set to return in 2010, but does not appear to have raced, although she did test for the Charouz AutoGP team, and possibly for the DTM. She was not involved with motorsport for a long time, but made a comeback in 2014, driving a Saab 9-3 in the Scandinavian Touring Car Championship. She had an eventful season, crashing into Prince Carl Philip of Sweden in her first race, at Knutstorp, then crashing again, at Göteborg. One high point was a second place at Falkenberg, and she did manage some other top tens. She was eleventh overall, admitting herself that she was out of practice. A second season in Scandinavian Touring Cars ran more smoothly, with a more consistent Emma finishing seventh overall. Her best finish was third, achieved at Mantorp Park and Anderstorp. She raced a SEAT Leon in the 2016 STCC, but unreliability problems struck. Her best finish was a sixth place at Anderstorp. After the tenth race, she left the championship abruptly due to issues out of her control, leaving her in eleventh place. For 2017, she has announced that she will be taking part in a new electric racing initiative. 

Laura Koivoluoma - former karter in Europe, who also did some single-seater racing. In 2007, she drove for the Pekka Saarinen team for two rounds of the Asian Formula Renault Challenge. After a few more years of karting, she entered the Finnish  Formula Ford Junior Championship in 2011. She was seventh overall. In summer 2012, she announced her retirement from motorsport, at the age of 24, for reasons never fully explained.

Milla Mäkelä - active in Formula Ford since 2009, when she was 16. She always races for her family’s Mäkelä Racing team. Her first races were in the Finnish Formula Ford Zetec championship, although right away, she took  part in two Northern European Formula Ford races as well, in neighbouring Sweden. In 2010, her calendar was similar, but she was on the pace in the Finnish Junior Championship, and finished the season in tenth. Again, she guested in the NEZ championship, for two races. In 2011, she concentrated solely on the Finnish championship, and was one better in ninth. The following year, she scored her first podium finish, a third at Alastro, and was fifth overall, one behind her brother, Miikka, who is her constant team-mate. Milla achieved another two top-five positions, at Alastro and Ahvenisto. Mid-season, she raced at the NEZ meeting at Karlskoga, and finished two out of three races, in twelfth and fourteenth. In 2013, she was ninth in the Finnish championship. However, her three Swedish races in the NEZ series were enough to give her ninth in that championship, her best yet. She raced again in the Finnish series in 2014, and was normally a midfield finisher. She scored another podium finish, a third at Alastaro, and was fourth in the championship. In 2015, she had a good season in Finnish Formula Ford, despite missing some of the races. She scored three second places, and one third, and was fifth in the championship. For part of the year, she also raced in Danish Formula Ford, and earned one sixth place, at Spa. Another Finnish FF season was rather patchy, although she did earn herself two third places at Kemora. 

Netta Pekkala – former karter who raced in the 2014 Formula Ford championship. Despite being only fifteen years old, she already had ten years of karting experience, plus some Formula Ford testing, undertaken in 2013. Her best finishes in 2014 were two fifth places, at Ahvenisto and Alastaro, and she was seventh in the championship, winning the Zetec class from three other drivers. This class win was her objective for the year, and she hoped to make an attempt at the outright championship in 2015. Unfortunately, she does not seem to have raced in 2015.


(Image from http://pwrracingteam.com/)

Thursday, 20 February 2014

Female Drivers in Touring Cars: the United Kingdom


Anita Taylor in the Broadspeed Anglia

This is another post mostly made up of previous content, created in order to make the blog easier to get around. There are a couple of new names, and more will appear in future. Elizabeth Jones, Barbara Cowell, Jacquie Bond-Smith and Joanna Clarke now have their own posts.

Jean Aley - drove touring cars in the 1960s, and also competed in rallies. Her best year for saloons was 1962, when she drove a Mini in the Nürburgring 6 Hours and 500km races. She and Daphne Freeman did not finish the 500km, but she was fifth in class in the 6 Hours, driving with her husband John. In rallies, she normally navigated. She sat alongside Shelagh Aldersmith for the 1963 Monte Carlo Rally.

Michelle Burns-Greig - raced in the British Saloon Car Championship in the 1960s, usually in a Mini. After starting her career in club events and hillclimbs, she had her first BSCC experience in 1963, at the Silverstone International Trophy meeting. Her best finish was eleventh, in the Small Car Trophy at Crystal Palace. In 1964, she entered one BSCC race, but it does not look as if she actually raced. She did another part-season in 1965, with a best finish of fifteenth, at Snetterton. After that, she disappears from the entry lists. Michelle was noted for carrying a numberplate reading “SEX1” on her car as she raced.

Joey Cook (Beale) - sister of Jacquie Bond-Smith. Like her sister, her early motorsport experiences were in her father’s “Wavendon Wombat” special, and they sometimes competed as a pairing. The sisters raced together in the FLIRT team in the 1960s, in a Mini Marcos. As a team, they entered the Nürburgring 1000km, Gran Premio del Mugello and Nürburgring 500 KM in 1967. Joey’s best result was 37th, in the Mugello race. She and Jacquie raced in separate FLIRT Marcoses for the Nürburgring 500km. She is still involved in motorsport through historic racing; she and her husband Stephen own and drive a 1962 Lotus Elite, and are members of the HSCC.

Ilsa Cox - winner of multiple British club championships in saloon car racing. She began in 1987. In 1997, she was the Castle Combe Saloon Car champion, driving a Peugeot 205 GTi. Even in her first year in that championship, 1995, she won eight times, and was narrowly beaten to the trophy. In 2008, she won Class A of the 750MC Hot Hatch Championship. More recently, she has been racing a SEAT Cupra in the Eurosaloons championship, and won a race outright at Oulton Park, in 2009. She was second in the “B” class of the series, with three wins. She has 26 career wins. She continued to race the SEAT in the CNC Heads Saloon/Sports championship in 2014. She won one race, and was second in Class D. As well as racing in the CNC Heads series in 2015, she took part in the Classic Thunder Touring Car Championship, still in the SEAT. She was fifth and seventh in these championships, respectively. She raced the SEAT again in 2016, in the CNC Heads series, but only did some of the rounds, and was 26th overall. As well as this, she works as a performance driving instructor, and promotes women’s track days.

Geunda Eadie - took part in the 1980 BTCC in a Ford Fiesta after winning the Fabergé Ladies' Fiesta Challenge in 1979. Although she fared well in her class at times, the car was unreliable and she endured several DNFs. She also ran in the RAC Rally as part of her prize drive, but did not finish, using a similar Fiesta. Previously, she had raced saloons at club level, and had one race in the 1976 Shellsport Escort Ladies’ Championship.

Gillian Fortescue-Thomas (Goldsmith) - active in sports and touring car races in the UK and Europe between the late 1960s and 1975, then later in historic motorsport. She rose to prominence in 1971, when she drove in the Ford Escort Mexico series, almost winning a race from Jody Scheckter. Drives for Ford and Triumph in the BTCC followed, with mixed results. Gillian also travelled to Spa in 1972, to drive in the 24-Hour race in an Escort. Her team-mate was Yvette Fontaine, and they had to retire after a head gasket blew. Later, Gillian drove a Triumph Dolomite in BTCC races in the UK.
After one retirement and a remarriage, she returned to the circuits in 1989 in an Aston Martin DB4. Other historic vehicles she has raced and hillclimbed include a HWM-Jaguar. 

Joanne Kraemer - began her career in 2002 in UK Clio Cup. She did not compete for a full season due to injuries sustained in a crash, but managed to return. After a break, she drove in Britcar with her father, Rick Kraemer, in 2004. Their car was a Ford Focus. They managed some top-ten finishes, including one at Brands Hatch.

Clare Newbold - raced in the mid-1960s, always in Ford cars. In 1965, she raced a Ford Anglia in the 1000cc class, in British events. These were mostly at club level, so the results have proved hard to find. In 1966, she raced a “Fraud” Cortina, a heavily-modified Ford Special Saloon belonging to her future husband, “Doc” Merfield. They competed together at least once, in a handicap race at Brands Hatch. In 1965, Clare drove this car in the Brighton Speed Trials, and seems to have won something - a video of the time describes her as the winner, but the official records do not support this. She was an early member of the BWRDC and also raced at Goodwood. After her marriage, she seems to have retired.

Rona Pearson (Galliford) - raced in the UK between 1962 and 1964. She began her career in club events, using a Mini. Later in he first year, she entered her first international race, the Nürburgring 500km. She and Phil Cadman did not finish after their Mini suffered a gearbox problem. The following month, Rona had more luck in the Brands Hatch 6 Hours, finishing 19th in a BMW 700 with Marie-Rose Tibesar. She later married Peter Galliford and went back to club racing in the UK, before retiring in 1964 to have children.

Jacqui Smith – member of the FLIRT (First Ladies’ International Racing Team) team in the 1960s, with sisters Jacquie Bond-Smith and Joey Cook.  They campaigned two Mini Marcoses together in the 1960s, and raced at the 1967 Nürburgring 500km. Jacqui Smith does not seem to have finished. Earlier in the season, she had been included in the official Marcos team for the Nürburgring 1000km, but did not get to drive on the day. The year before, she was second in the BWRDC’s women’s racing championship, behind Jean Denton. She spent that season racing a Hillman Imp, competing in British club events and winning a Ladies’ race at Brands Hatch. She had been racing since at least 1964.

Mary Taylor - mostly raced saloons in the mid-1960s, and is most associated with Minis. She was racing a Mini by 1963, at least. In 1964, she took part in the Britax Saloon championship, and the following year, she won one of the BWRDC’s Embassy Trophies for the highest placed member at an eligible meeting. Frustratingly, it is not clear what cars she used for the 1964 season, although the award win was for a second place in a Mini. In At some point, she raced an MGB, and is named as an entrant for a Ladies’ race at Oulton Park. She also raced a Frazer Imp and a Lotus Elite. Her career was ended by a serious accident at Silverstone in 1966, where she suffered head injuries, although she later recovered. She was married to fellow racer, Sid Taylor, and was a hairdresser by trade.

Micki Vandervell (Chittenden) - raced at national level in the UK in the 1970s. She was an enthusiastic member of the BWRDC, and competed in their women-only events, although she was not usually among the front-runners. In 1970, she was part of "The Carmen Curls", an all-female racing team who competed in Formula 100. She shared a Royale sportscar with Gabriel Konig. The team was sponsored by Carmen hair products, and managed by Tina Lanfranchi. Early in the decade, Micki drove a Ford Escort Mexico and a Mini Clubman in British Saloon Championship races. She also raced a Ginetta G4, after her marriage to Mike Chittenden. Tiffany Chittenden and karter Tamsin Germain are her daughters.

(Image from Autosport)

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Campeonato Brasileiro Ford Fiesta Feminino (Brazilian Women’s Ford Fiesta Championship)


One-make spec Fiesta

The championship ran for one season, in 2001. It was promoted by Maria Helena Fittipaldi, former wife of Emerson Fittipaldi, in her role as head of the Brazilian women racing drivers’ club, AMPACOM. It was one of her most visible achievements, and the second championship she organised, after a similar series for the Vauxhall/Opel/GM Corsa in 1996. This time, tighter controls on preparation and tuning were exercised, in order to promote a level playing field.

The series consisted of nine races, spread across seven meetings, as a support to the Brazilian Pick-Up Championship. The cars were identically-prepared Ford Fiestas, with 1600cc, 16-valve Zetec engines, similar to those in use in Ford one-make series elsewhere.


Maria Helena Fittipaldi

There were initially 16 entrants, but problems with sponsorship meant that not all of them completed the season, and others were brought in to keep numbers up. A mix of experienced and novice drivers took part, and it appears that experience won the day - Maria Cristina Rosito, who had been competing in stock cars and endurance racing since the late ‘80s, seems to have been the champion. Danuza Moura, who would go on to race trucks, and Suzane Carvalho, who also raced extensively in Brazil, were race winners. Many of the drivers had also participated in the earlier Corsa championship, which Danuza Moura won. Several went on to race in mixed championships, with many ending up in stock cars and truck racing.

Entry List
Maria Cristina Rosito
Juliana Carreira
Patricia de Souza
Mara Feltre
Suzane Carvalho
Alexandra Silva
Andrea Borghesi
Patricia Vega
Maria Cristina Moreira
Peggy Ann Bauer
Laurimele Pagy
Luciana Sarkis
Renata Rabelo
Andrea Klotz
Anita Caldas
Danuza Moura
Helena Deyama
Carmen Fontes
Carolina Hanashiro
Anita Negrão
Soledad Derfler
Bia Crestani
Tatiana Bandeira

(Image from www.sonico.br)

Monday, 17 February 2014

Female Drivers in Touring Cars: the Netherlands


Ina van Kooten, Ann Vader and Mabel t'Hooft are congratulated by actress Yoka Beretti after a record attempt at Zandvoort, driving a Ford Corsair, in 1965.

Saloon and touring car racing in the Netherlands has attracted a relatively large number of female drivers since the 1960s. This post has been created from existing content, in an ongoing attempt to make Speedqueens easier to read. New drivers will be added in future. Liesette Braams and Henny Hemmes now have their own profiles.


Lilian Andela - active in Dutch motorsport between the late 1970s and early 1990s. She began her career as a rally navigator, in the 1978 Tulip Rally, in a Datsun. In 1988, she competed in the Dutch Touring Car Championship, in a Talbot Simca Rallye 3, in the Super Touring Group A section. She was not among the front-runners. In 1990 and 1991, she raced in the Citroen AX GTI Cup. In 1990, she was again not among the front-runners, but did quite well in the Ladies’ class. In 1991, the story seems to have been the same, although results from this year are proving hard to track down.

Theresia Balk - raced in the Dutch Tourenwagen Diesel Cup in 2008 and 2009, using a SEAT Ibiza and a BMW 120d. Her results were unspectacular. She was set to drive in the Sport class of the Dutch Supercar Challenge in 2010, in the BMW, but does not appear to have competed very much. Previously, she took part in the Formido Suzuki Swift Cup, finishing in the top ten twice and ending the season 20th overall. In 2006, she raced a powerful BMW E36 in the BMW Ziengs Cup in the Netherlands, but results are not forthcoming. Her earliest major activity was the Formula Woman Nations Cup in 2005, in which she raced a Caterham, although she began in 2003 by testing a Formula Ford at Zandvoort.


Rianne Bergman – races in the PTC Cup for production cars in the Netherlands. She began racing in 2013, when she was 17, driving for the Lohuis team. Her first car was a Citroen C1, changing to a Toyota Aygo for some of 2014, then back to a Citroen. She won the championship’s Ladies’ Cup in 2014, after really announcing herself in her first year, with a second place in her first race. She was seventh in the combined championship, with a best finish of third. Her best 2015 finish was fourth, at Zandvoort. She was second in the Ladies' Cup, and fifth overall in the championship. She raced a C1 again in 2016, and was fourth in the championship, with two third places. 

Eline Braspenning - races in the Dutch Supercar Challenge. Her debut year was 2007, when she drove a in a couple of rounds of the DNTR series, finishing on the podium twice. She moved on to the Supercar Challenge in 2008. Her car for the 2008 season was a BMW Z3 Coupe, and her co-driver was Esra van Elk. They were driving for Eline’s father’s Braspenning Racing team. Their best finish was third, and they were tenth in the Sport class at the end of the year. During the winter off-season, they took part in one round of the Dutch Winter Endurance Championship, in the same car, before returning to Supercars in 2009 with a BMW E36 M3. Eline, now driving with Iman van Schelven, was fifth in the Sport class after six podium finishes and one pole position. She drove in the Supersport class in 2010, in an E46 this time, but it was less reliable, and she could only manage a best finish of fifteenth. Her usual co-driver was her father, Ron Braspenning. In 2011, she competed in Supercars again, but only managed to enter three rounds, still with Ron in the BMW. They were 18th overall. It was a similar story in 2012: driving in the Sport 1 class, she and Ron were tenth, after four races. Their car was still the BMW. In 2014, Eline and her father competed in the Dutch Supercar Challenge together, in a BMW Compact. They performed well, winning a race in the Sport 1 class at the Nürburgring, and finishing second in another, but they were dropped to eleventh place, as they only did a part-season. 

Eva Harkema - drove in the Dutch VW Endurance Cup in 2008, 2009 and 2010. She raced a Golf for her family team, Palmyra Racing, alongside her father, Henk, and brother, Paul. Their best finish in 2010 was eleventh, and they were fifteenth overall. Although they were only 21st in 2009, they scored their best finish to date - ninth. 2008 was very much a learning season, and they were only 36th. In between seasons, they have also raced in the Dutch Winter Endurance Championship. More recently, she has raced in the Renault Clio championship. She was 26th in 2012, after six races with Verschuur Motorsport. She drove the same car in the 2011-2012 Dutch Winter Endurance Series. In 2013, she was twelfth in the Dutch Clio Cup, with a best finish of seventh, at Zandvoort. In 2014, she took part in the Syntix Winter Championship, in the Clio, with Paul Harkema. 

Mabel ‘t Hooft - raced mainly in the Netherlands in the 1960s. She mainly seems to have driven Fiat-Abarth cars, chiefly an 850cc TC model, which she shared with her husband, Dick. Her racing mainly centred on saloon events at National level, but she also took in a few sportscar races in the Abarth. The 1965 GT race at the 1965 Circuit van Zandvoort meeting is a case in point. As well as the Abarth, Mabel drove other cars; one of her best results was a fifth place in a Class B race at the Grand Prix of the Netherlands in 1965, which she achieved in a Ford Corsair GT. 


Amée de Jong (Caron) - winner of the first Ladies’ Cup in the Citroen AX GT Cup, in 1990. She won races outright that year and featured strongly in the mixed standings. In 1992, she found her winning form again, this time in a Suzuki Swift, after a quiet season in 1991, when she some Production racing in a Peugeot 405. She drove in the 1400cc class of the 1992 Dutch Production Car Championship and was second overall. She won two races at Zandvoort, the Pinksterraces round and one of the Interantionale races. She returned for a part-season in 1993, replacing a dismissed driver in the Suzuki works team, but her only race ended in disqualification. She then disappears from the starting lists for quite some time, but she must have kept her Suzuki links, as she made a couple of appearances in the Dutch Touring Car Championship in a Baleno, in 1999.

Danielle Kleyheeg - raced in the VW Endurance Cup in a Golf in the Netherlands in 2009, driving for the Certainty Racing team. She and her team-mates were 28th overall. In 2010, she stayed with the team, and moved into the Toerwagen Diesel Cup. Her car was a BMW 120d. She was 44th overall, again, alongside her team-mates at Certainty. She gained attention due to her car being sponsored by an underwear company. In 2011, she carried on with the Diesel Cup for six races, finishing 37th overall in a BMW 123d. More recently, she has been involved in classic rallying to raise awareness for female cancers.

Ina van Kooten - raced a Glas 1204 TS in the Netherlands in the 1960s. She appears on the entry lists from about 1965, and then the 1204 was upgraded to a 1304. Although she competed up to ETCC level sporadically, she was not especially competitive, and scored few decent finishes. Mainly, she stuck to National level races in the Netherlands, especially at Zandvoort, up until 1968. Away from the track, she may well have owned a scooter dealership at about the same time as she raced.



Nan van Lennep – did some touring car racing in the Netherlands in the 1960s. Her car was an 850cc Mini. She did not finish the 1963 Zandvoort Trophy, but was ninth in the Benelux Cup, also held at Zandvoort. At the time, she was married to Gerard van Lennep, of the famous Dutch racing family. She is better known and a model and actress.

Ellen Sminia - raced a Mini in Dutch Touring Cars in the late 1960s and early 1970s. In 1969, she was eleventh at the Paasraces and eighth in the Zandvoort Formula 5000 meeting. She also entered the Clubraces, but did not finish. In 1970, she drove in the Paasraces, Formula 5000 and Grand Prix meetings but did not finish any of her races. In 1971, she took part in the Formula 3 meeting at Zandvoort, but does not appear to have finished, this time in a Fiat 600D. 

Liesbet Tolman – chiefly a motorcycle racer, who has competed in the Netherlands since at least 2008, and also in the European Road Racing Championship. In 2015, she raced in the PTC Cup in the Netherlands, scoring points in six races. The best of these was an eight place finish. She was third in the Ladies Cup. Her car seems to have been a Toyota Aygo.

Thea de Vos – Dutch driver who raced a Renault Clio in the DNRT championship in the Netherlands. She won at least one race in 2006, at Zolder, and another in 2005. That year, she was ninth in the Sport class of the championship. She continued to race the Clio in the same series in 2007, and was still competitive, with top ten finishes. Her career seems to end there.

Elisabeth Wagenaar – raced in the Dutch touring car championship (NTK) in the 1980s. She first appears in the final round of the 1980 season, in a VW Golf. This would become her signature car. She did almost a full season in 1981, with a best finish of fourteenth, in the Trophy of the Dunes. 1982 was rather an indifferent year, still in the Golf, but with sponsorship from Samsonite in 1983, she became more consistent, and managed her first top ten at the Pinksterraces – a tenth place. Although she scored well in class in 1984, the Golf was not powerful enough to challenge to Chevrolet Camaros and Opel Monzas of the championship. She does not appear in the entry lists after 1984.

(Image from http://www.anp-archief.nl/)

Sunday, 16 February 2014

Sara Williams


Sara and her co-driver, Patrick Walsh, at the 2012 Wales Rally GB

Sara Williams is currently the most successful female, British driver in the history of  British national rallying.

Sara is a Welsh driver who has been active since 2006, after a year as a navigator to her father, Jonathan. They were a successful team in Welsh club events, and won the 2006 Rali Cwm Gendreath, in a Subaru Impreza. As soon as Sara was 17, she started driving herself, and her first rally car was a Rover 216. She used this rather unusual car in club tarmac rallies.

The Rover was replaced by a more conventional, and faster, rally car, a Honda Civic, for 2007. Co-driven by her father, she entered the Welsh Tarmacadam Championship. Highlights of this year were finishes in the Harry Flatters Rally and the Mewla National Rally. Both of these were 41st places.

She stepped up to the MSA Tarmac championship in 2008, still in the Civic. Navigated by Tony Fisher, she was 39th in the Tour of Epynt, and was the fastest female driver. A couple of offs put her out of contention in a wet Millbrook National Rally, but she was then a career-best 19th in the Abingdon Car-Nival Stages, a non-championship event. Moving out of her normal territory, she contested the Rally of the Midlands, co-driven by her father again, and they were 25th, with the mixed crew award. The Mewla Rally was not as fruitful, with differential problems keeping Sara in 42nd place. Her last event, the Patriot Stages, gave her a 31st, with a newly-adjusted diff. At the end of the season, she won the BTRDA’s Class 3 championship, and the Wessex Ropes Junior award. She decided to branch out and take on some gravel rallies, as well as tarmac, in future.

In 2009, she drove in club and national events, mostly in Wales, now in a Subaru Impreza. The increase in pace was immediate: on her first rally in the car, she was a credible 21st, on the Red Kite Stages. Her next event was the Wyedean Rally, run on snow that year, which was only her second-ever forest rally. She kept it on the road and was 28th, picking up the Ladies’ and Young Driver trophies once more. The Telford Winter Stages gave her her best finish yet: twelfth overall, and on snow again. She was then 16th in the Bulldog Rally, but retired from the Plains Rally with gearbox problems. However, things looked up again in the Severn Valley Stages, in which she was ninth, her first top ten. It was back to twelfth place for the Mid Wales Stages, but back into the top ten in the Swansea Bay Rally. Sara was eighth overall. She kept up her top-ten pace in the Coracle Stages, where she was ninth, crashed out of the Neath Stages, and crawled to the finish of the Woodpecker Rally. Her last event was the Cambrian Rally, and although the Impreza was fixed in time, she had another off, and lost too much time to be a serious contender.

In 2010, she kept the Impreza, now painted pink, and entered the ANCRO Forest Championship. The year was an up-and-down one, and started slowly, with retirements from the Wyedean and Sunseeeker rallies, both due to differential failures. Her first finish came in the Plains Rally, where she was 16th. The Severn Valley Stages led to another retirement, but Sara made the most of her weekend at Epynt, by co-driving for Wayne Palmer on the second day. The Mid Wales Stages was another disappointment: she dropped out with turbo problems after running as high as second. However, at the Coracle Stages, she managed to stay in second place, earning another career best finish. Then, she retired from the Neath Valley Stages with more mechanical problems, and was 19th in the Woodpecker Rally, despite hitting a log and ending up in a ditch. Towards the end, the season picked up, with eighth in the Cambrian Rally and third in the Sweet Lamb time trial. This was preparation for the biggest rally of her career: the Wales Rally GB National event. She did not allow nerves to get the better of her, and after a fast, consistent weekend, she was fourth overall. Her driving won her the John Easson award, and people were starting to take notice of her.

In 2011, she carried on using the Impreza, upgraded to an N12B for the 2010 Wales Rally GB. Sara’s programme included BTRDA, Welsh forest and selected BRC events.  The season started somewhat quietly, with a safe, but unremarkable 21st in the Wyedean Rally. The car was running far more reliably now, and Sara had only one retirement. Soon, she was back in the top ten with a ninth in the Mid Wales Stages. Two BTRDA rallies followed, the Somerset Stages and Plains Rally, and she was 16th and eleventh. The Severn Valley Rally was her best event of the year, a sixth place finish. The Nicky Grist Quinton Stages and Woodpecker Stages ended in 17th and 26th respectively, but the Cambrian Rally was a disaster. Sara crashed heavily and the car suffered extensive damage. Fortunately, it was repairable, and she was back in action for the Sweet Lamb time trial, the shakedown for that year’s Wales Rally GB. She was fifth. The Wales Rally GB National B event itself was somewhat of an anti-climax, with turbo troubles meaning that the Impreza was down on power for a lot of it. She was 17th, with the ladies’ award as consolation.

2012 started frustratingly once more, with a 35th place in the Wyedean Rally, although she was eighth in her class. After a twelfth in the Mid Wales Rally, she was back into the top ten in the Somerset Rally, in eighth place. A broken gearstick put her out of the Plains Rally. The second half of her season was marked by much greater consistency. Apart from 16th in the Woodpecker Rally, she was a regular in the top ten. She was fifth in the Severn Valley Stages, fifth in the Coracle Stages, sixth in the National B Wales Rally GB, and third in the Sweet Lamb Time Trial. Her last rally of the year, the Cambrian Rally, was fast becoming her bogey event, as she crashed out again. Nevertheless, she was second in her class in the Welsh Clubman Championship, and the top lady driver.

In 2013, she looked to build on her growing successes. Her first event was the Mid Wales Stages, a change from her usual programme, and she was fifth. This was followed by her first event outside the UK, the Loughman Forest Rally in Carrick on Suir, in Ireland. She soon got used to the terrain, and was ninth. For a change, she then went back to the Honda Civic with her father, for the London Rally Heroes event, in aid of the Help For Heroes charity. They were 22nd overall, with a class win. A month later, she returned to the Welsh gravel for the Swansea Bay Rally, and was rewarded with her first win. This was first outright win for a female driver since Louise Aitken-Walker in 1983, and it was the same event, 30 years later, which Sara won.

The Severn Valley National Rally, in June, ended in an accident, and this typified the dramatic up and down nature of this season for Sara. It was followed by a third in the Coracle Stages, a favoured hunting ground, then an appearance at the Goodwood Festival of Speed’s rally stage. The second Irish rally that came after that, the Jim Walsh Cork Forest Rally, also ended in the disappointment of a retirement, due to a loose bolt in the power steering system. However, Sara bounced back in September. Not content with one historic win, she won the Red Kite Stages, too, by 23 seconds, from Wug Utting who was in an identical Impreza. This was also special, as it was the first gravel rally she ever entered, back in 2009. Not even her subsequent retirements from the Sweet Lamb time trial and Wales Rally GB National could take her achievements away from her. 

In 2014, she carried on with the Impreza, although she had to miss the Red Kite Stages, due to the car not being ready. Her first rally was the Plains Forest Rally, in May, and Sara - with a different co-driver, Dale Furniss - could only manage 35th. The car's power steering failed on the fifth stage. She was ninth in class. Her next event, the Severn Valley Stages, ended in retirement, after the car got stuck in a ditch. A break from competition followed, and it was September before Sara appeared again. She was second in the Red Dragon Stages, after working on some electrical problems that had been affecting the car. She was also back with her usual navigator, Patrick Walsh. 

At the end of the season, Sara faced her biggest challenge yet: an entry into the WRC Wales Rally GB. This was her first World Championship rally. Despite mechanical troubles after the second day, and a couple of penalties, she finished the event in 43rd place. On stage twelve, Dyfnant, she was fourteenth. This performance earned her the Croeso Trophy, for the best Welsh crew, and the Richard Burns Trophy, for the best young British driver. 

In 2015, she contested the BTRDA Mixed Surface Challenge championship. After a slow start to the year, she picked up another win, in the Red Dragon Stages, in the Impreza. She was over a minute ahead of her nearest rival. Although she managed to finish all of her other rallies this year, she did not get into the top ten again until the Trackrod Rally, in September, where she was tenth. 

At the end of the year, Sara travelled to the Middle East to compete in the FIA Women In Motorsport Desert Challenge, in order to try and win a funded seat in the Sealine Desert Challenge rally raid in 2016. She was not one of the winners, although she did receive training from Jutta Kleinschmidt and Fabrizia Pons, and some additional exposure.

At the start of 2016, she was announced as the winner of the BWRDC's Gold Star Award. She was an impressive sixth in the Severn Valley Rally in June, driving the Impreza, but her season finished with an early retirement from the Wyedean Stages, and damage to the car. 

(Picture from www.dmaeuropa.com)

Monday, 10 February 2014

Tatiana Calderón


Tatiana in British F3 in 2013

Tatiana is originally from Colombia. In common with several other Colombian racers of the time, including Manuela Vasquez, she moved out of her home country very early on, to pursue her motorsport career. Even as a teenage karter, she was travelling to the States in order to compete in US and international races. This was combined with the Colombian championship, and her school studies.
Tatiana debuted in full-sized cars in 2009, at 16. Unusually, she chose sportscars, rather than one of the junior single-seater series, for her first championship. She drove in the Radical European Masters Series with Natacha Gachnang. They were driving for the PoleVision team. Tatiana finished on the podium four times, and won the SR5 class outright. This was in addition to karting, in Europe and the States.
In 2010, she returned to America to contest Formula Star Mazda, driving for the Juncos team. After a shaky start to the season, beginning with a DNF at Sebring and a 19th at St. Petersburg, she was soon closer to the pace, with ninth at Laguna Seca. After four more top-tens, including a best finish of seventh, at Autobahn, she was tenth overall in her first season of single-seaers.
A second season in Formula Star Mazda with Juncos beckoned for 2011. Again, her season started badly, with a DNF at St. Petersburg, but she immediately got back on the pace, with a third at Barber. At Mosport, she achieved a second third place. This was a first for a female driver in this particular series. For the rest of the season, apart from one non-finish, she was never out of the top ten, and was sixth overall.
As well as American single-seaters, she also returned to Europe for the latter part of the Euro F3 Open series. Her first round, Monza, gave her a tenth and eleventh place. She was not quite as fast at Jerez, but she was ninth in her second race at Catalunya, enough to give her 21st overall.
In 2012, she raced in Euro F3, and scored one third place at Paul Ricard, in the Winter Series. She did not fare quite as well in the summer series, at least to begin with, although she picked up some speed towards the end of the season. At the Paul Ricard round, she was fifth and seventh, and at the next meeting, in Hungary, she was fourth and seventh. The fourth was her best finish. At the end of the season, she was ninth. In addition to this, she also entered some Alpine Formula Renault events, at Mugello and Catalunya. She was not among the front-runners. On a visit back home, she entered the 6 Hours of Bogota, sharing a Radical with Juan Camilo Acosta, Juan Esteban García and Luis Carlos Martínez. They were third, and second in class. Tatiana’s sister, Paula, was also racing in the event, for a different team.
2013 was also focused on F3, mainly the FIA European Championship, but before the northern hemisphere season began, she travelled to New Zealand, for the Toyota Racing Series. After a consistent run of finishes, she was twelfth overall. Mid-season, she had a good meeting at Taupo, and scored her best finishes, a fifth and an eighth place.
Back in Euro F3, she struggled somewhat. Although she consistently made it to the end of her races, with the exception of the sixth round, at the Norisring, her best finish was only fifteenth, at Silverstone. Her team had trouble finding a suitable car set-up, which meant that qualifying was an issue. Subsequently, Tatiana’s confidence took some knocks, but she carried on.
Britain was a better hunting ground for her.  She scored one podium place in the British International series, at the Nürburgring, as well as fourths at Silverstone and Spa. She was seventh overall, the second of the Double R drivers in the standings..
The two races she did in the Euro F3 Open series were also better - she was sixth and seventh. She was driving for Emilio de Villota’s team, as she had for the 2012 Winter Series.
Late in 2013, she tested for the Auto GP series, at Jerez. 

During the winter season, Tatiana went back to America, and raced in the Florida Winter Series, a Formula Renault championship run by the Ferrari Driver Academy. She began very well, with a win at Sebring, but her performance tailed off towards the end, averaging sixth place. Not long after, she decamped to Europe again, and took part in one race of the Euroformula Open Winter Series, finishing fourth for the Emilio de Villota team.

The main part of the season was spent in the European Formula 3 Championship, with Jo Zeller Racing. It was an abrupt decision to sign with the team, just days before the start of the season. This left no time for testing. She did not get the best of starts in the first meeting, at Silverstone, finishing a lowly 23rd in her first race. Towards the middle of the season, her results began to improve, and she was fifth at Spa in June. She managed seven more top-ten finishes, and was 15th in the championship. 

At the end of the season, she got herself an entry in to the Macau Grand Prix. There have been virtually no female drivers in the single-seater event there, prior to Tatiana. She was thirteenth, from 16th on the grid, in a challenging race with a lot of high-profile retirements. 

In 2015, she returned to the European Formula 3 championship, with the Jagonya Ayam Carlin team. For the first part of the season, it was an uphill struggle, and driving standards by all participants were called into question. Tatiana picked up some speed at the Norisring, getting up to twelfth place, and she repeated this at Zandvoort. She was unplaced in the championship.

During the 2015-2016 Winter season, she had a try at the MRF Challenge in the Gulf states. She was second in her second race, at Yas Marina, and won one race, at Dubai. She was second in the championship. 

She drove in GP3 for Arden International in 2016, and scored her first GP3 top ten, a ninth and tenth at Hockenheim. However, several DNFs at the end of the season broke up her rhythm, which she found very disappointing. She was 21st in the championship. 

Driving for another team, Teo Martin Motorsport, she also tackled the 2016 Euroformula Open. She was almost always in the top ten, and got onto the podium at the Red Bull Ring, in third place. She was ninth in the championship. 

In March 2017, Tatiana was announced as a development driver for the Sauber Formula One team. She will undertake testing duties and simulator work. Her Sauber role will run in tandem with another GP3 season, with the DAMS team.
(Image from www.thegrid.co.uk) 

Saturday, 8 February 2014

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A revised version of Anny-Charlotte Verney's profile is now up.

Saturday, 1 February 2014

Michela Cerruti


Michela on the podium, at Monza, in 2013

Michela is a multi-talented Italian driver, who competes in several different disciplines, sometimes almost simultaneously.

As with many female drivers, she got her start in motorsport rather late, at 19, when she began taking performance driving instruction in 2006. As a child and teenager, her main sporting interest was skiing, rather than motorsport, although her father, Aldo, was a racing driver in the 1970s. However, she was soon bitten by the bug, and wanted to compete herself.

She began her career in earnest in touring cars in 2008, in an Alfa Romeo 147. She drove in some rounds of the Campionato Italiano Touring Endurance, with Mario Ferraris, who had been her driving instructor previously. Her best overall result seems to have been a 19th place, at Adria.

In 2009, she returned to the series, or part of it, at least, in a more powerful Fiat 500 Abarth, which she had helped to develop with the Ferraris team. She and Mario were tenth in Division Two, having scored four class wins. They were 29th in the overall CITE championship. Michela’s best overall finish was tenth, at Misano.

In 2010, she made the jump up to the mainly Italian-based International Superstars touring car series, driving a Mercedes supported by the Ferraris team. This was a big step up into international competition, against very experienced opponents, such as Fabrizio Giovanardi and and Johnny Herbert. She struggled somewhat at first, finishing near the back or not finishing at all. However, her form improved, and her best finish was seventh, at Varano, near the end of the season. She also scored two tenth places, at Kyalami and Mugello, in the second half of the year. She was 30th in the final standings.

In addition to this, she tried GT racing in the Italian GT Cup, still with Ferraris. Her car was a Ferrari 430. The learning curve was shorter here, and she was fifth and seventh in her first two races, at Varano. At Vallelunga, the next meeting, she scored her first podium finish, a third. Later in the season, she was fifth and third again, at Mugello. She was fourteenth in the championship, ahead of her team-mate, Francesca Linossi.

In 2011, she concentrated on the Italian and International Superstars series in an AMG Mercedes. At the first meeting, at Monza, she grabbed attention by finishing second in her first race, then winning the second. She was in the top ten again at Valencia and Algarve, but was unable to match her home race form. However, her improved performances gave her ninth in the International series, and eighth in the Italian standings. As well as this, she found time for a couple of CITE races, in another Mercedes.

In 2012, she was an extremely busy driver, moving into single-seaters as well as GT cars. During the early part of the season, she decamped to New Zealand for the Toyota Racing Series, a single-seater championship. Although she had almost no single-seater experience, she did not disgrace herself, managing three top-ten finishes: tenth places at Teretonga and Hampton Downs. At the end of February, she was 16th, and it was now time to move back to Europe.

She continued to shine in the GT3 division of the Italian GT Championship, with one win and three podiums in a BMW Z4. By now, she was driving as an official BMW Italy driver. Her win came at Mugello, and she scored additional podiums at Misano and Mugello. She was tenth in the championship. She drove the same car in the Spa round of the Blancpain Endurance Championship, and was 19th overall.

Later, she competed in Formula Three in Europe, combining drives in the German (ATS Cup) series and the Euro F3 Open. Lacking in top-level experience in this sort of car, she was somewhat less competitive in a big single-seater. She did the second half of the German championship, with best finishes of ninth, at the Nürburgring, Lausitz and Hockenheim, and was consistently around tenth place. For the first half of the season, she raced in the Cup class of the Euro F3 Open, which was considerably more difficult. She was usually near the back of the main field, but got up to tenth in class at Algarve.

If this was not enough, she also made guest appearances in the Mini Rushour one-make cup, as an official Mini guest driver.

She maintained this busy schedule in 2013. The Italian GT series was a success, with a win and a second at Imola, and a third at Mugello, in the Z4. This was the first win for a female driver in the championship, which is remarkable, considering the female sportscar racing greats who have raced in Italy. She was eighth overall. In the same car, she also did the Blancpain Endurance championship, with a best finish of second, in the last race, at the Nürburgring. She was ninth in the GT3 Pro-Am Cup. She was also sixth at Paul Ricard.

On the single-seater side, she contested the FIA European F3 Championship, but was far less competitive, with a best finish of only 18th place, at the Norisring. She did not run in all of the races, suffered a DNF at Monza and was unplaced in the championship.

She also found time to travel to Bahrain for two rounds of Formula Middle East, giving her two thirds. Later, she went to Moscow, for a guest appearance in a Megane Eurocup race. She also went to Brno and the Nürburgring, for guest spots in Auto GP. The German round was better, giving her a ninth and eighth place.

In 2014, she put together a deal to race in Auto GP with the Supernova team. This proved to be a good move. She was on the pace straight away, with a fourth and fifth in Marrakech. At Monza, she scored her first podium, a third place, and at Imola, her first win. She was sixth in the championship, after another third at the Red Bull Ring.

Part-way through the season, she was announced as a driver in the FIA Formula E championship, for electric-powered single-seaters. She was driving for the Trulli team, alongside Jarno Trulli. Unfortunately, she was less competitive in Formula E than in Auto GP, with a best finish of twelfth, at Punto del Este. She was replaced in the team after the fourth round.

The rest of her 2015 season was spent hopping between the VLN, and guest spots in several different one-make series. Driving a works-supported Z4 in the VLN, she won her class twice, but did not feature highly in the championship's complex final leaderboard. She finished the Nürburgring 24 Hours, driving the Z4 with John Edwards, Daniel Keilwitz and Felipe Fernandez Laser. They were sixth overall. 

The Z4 also came out for a guest spot in the Italian GT championship, at Monza, where Michela was ninth and eleventh. The following month, she travelled to the UK for the Brands Hatch round of the NASCAR Whelen Euroseries, but she could only manage one 20th place. Back at the Nürburgring, she took guest spots in the Renault Sport Trophy, finishing eighth and fourth, and a trip to the Red Bull Ring gave her eighth and tenth place in the SEAT Leon Supercopa. 

She competed in the TCR International touring car series in 2016, driving an Alfa Romeo Giulietta for Mulsanne Racing. She missed some races mid-season, and lost some momentum, and it was not one of her most illustrious seasons. Her best finish was ninth, at Oschersleben, and she was 29th in the championship. 

In 2017, she is driving the Mulsanne Giulietta in the TCR Middle East series. 

She is also involved in the FIA Women in Motorsport Commission. 

(Picture from www.michelacerruti.com)