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  2 juin 2015

Du fun et du plaisir pour Simon Jean-Joseph au Rallye de la Barbade !


Deuxièmes à deux petites secondes du vainqueur, Simon Jean-Joseph et Jack Boyère ont animé la 25e édition du Rallye de la Barbade ! A bord de la Ford Focus RS WRC08 confiée par John Powell, l’équipage double Champion d’Europe a pris beaucoup de plaisir sur les routes de l’île caribéenne.

Evènement majeur du calendrier barbadien, le SOL Rally Barbados débutait dès le 24 mai avec le « King of the Hill », un prologue permettant de déterminer l’ordre de départ du rallye proprement dit. Quatrièmes de ce premier exercice, Simon Jean-Joseph et Jack Boyère retrouvaient avec plaisir le comportement et les performances d’une World Rally Car.

Vendredi dernier, la course débutait avec deux passages dans la super spéciale de Bushy Park. Empruntant le tracé sinueux utilisé en décembre dernier par la Course des Champions, ce chrono n’était pas représentatif de la suite des hostilités.

« Avec une bonne centaine de kilomètres chronométrés pour une vingtaine de spéciales, ce rallye s’apparentait à un sprint », notait Jack Boyère, tout aussi heureux que Simon de l’opportunité offerte par John Powell. « Avec des spéciales de cinq kilomètres en moyenne, il était évident que la moindre seconde perdue serait difficile à rattraper. »

Samedi matin, Simon devait batailler avec des réglages trop durs lors de la première boucle de trois spéciales. Après un passage par l’assistance, le Martiniquais haussait le ton avec de meilleurs chronos. La suite de la journée était pourtant perturbée par quelques soucis de freins et une rampe de phares détachée dans la boucle nocturne !

Samedi soir, à l’issue de l’ES13, Simon pointait au troisième rang, à sept secondes de Jeffrey Panton et Paul Bird. Quatrième, Toni Gardemeister était relégué à plus de trente secondes de la Focus.

Avec une confiance accrue, SJJ haussait son niveau d’attaque le dimanche. Enchaînant les meilleurs temps, il passait Paul Bird avant d’échouer à 2’’1 de la victoire, décrochée par Jeffrey Panton.

« Evidemment, j’aurais préféré gagner comme tout bon compétiteur, mais le bilan de ce rallye est tout à fait positif », déclarait Simon Jean-Joseph après l’arrivée. « Je ne me suis jamais lâché à 100%, parce que je n’avais plus piloté sur asphalte depuis une quinzaine d’années, mais aussi parce que je ne voulais pas risquer d’abîmer la voiture de John. J’ai la satisfaction de ne pas avoir commis la moindre erreur et d’avoir animé la course face à Jeffrey et Paul. Je remercie notre équipe de mécaniciens, qui s’est beaucoup investie pour que nous ayons la meilleure voiture possible, et je salue les Barbadiens pour leur accueil. Il y avait vraiment une ambiance de folie au bord des routes, à tel point que nous entendions le public crier depuis la voiture ! Nous avons pris énormément de plaisir ce week-end et j’espère que je n’attendrai pas quinze autres années avant de revivre cela ! »


Simon Jean-Joseph has great fun in the Barbados Rally!

Simon Jean-Joseph and Jack Boyère finished just two seconds behind the winner after injecting a large dose of excitement into the 25th Barbados Rally. The double European Championship crew really enjoyed themselves on the roads of the Caribbean island at the wheel of the Ford Focus RS WRC08 entrusted to them by John Powell.

The SOL Barbados Rally is THE big event on the island’s calendar. It began on 24th May with the King of the Hill, a prologue that determines the starting order of the rally. Simon Jean-Joseph and Jack Boyère were fourth and they were delighted to rediscover the behaviour and the performance of a World Rally Car.

Last Friday, the rally kicked off with two passages through the Bushy Park super special held on the twisty layout used last December by the Race of Champions, so the times were not representative of the battle to come.

“With around around hundred timed kilometers comprising twenty stages this rally is basically a sprint,” smiled Boyère who was just as delighted as Jean-Joseph by the opportunity given to them by John Powell. “With stages of five kilometers on average, it was obvious that it would be difficult to pull back the slightest second lost.”

On Saturday morning in the first loop of three stages Simon had to cope with a setup that was too hard. After a quick passage through the service park, the man from Martinique upped the pace setting the fastest times. The rest of the day was perturbed by brake problems and a ramp of lights that fell off in the night loop!

On Saturday evening after SS13 Jean-Joseph was in third place seven seconds behind Jeffrey Panton and Paul Bird. Toni Gardmeister in fourth was over 30 seconds behind the Focus.

Jean-Joseph was now feeling more confident and he went pedal to the metal on Sunday. He set a string of fastest times and overtook Paul Bird failing to snatch victory, which went to Patton, by just 2.1 seconds!

“Obviously I’d have preferred to win like any good racer, but overall it’s been a very positive rally,” said Jean-Joseph after the finish. “I didn’t let myself go 100 per cent as I hadn’t raced on tarmac for around fifteen years, and also because I didn’t want to risk damaging John’s car. I’m very satisfied that I didn’t make any mistakes and that I added excitement to the race against Jeffrey and Paul. I’d like to thank our team of mechanics who really made a big effort to give us the best possible car, and I’d also like to thank the Barbadians for their welcome. The ambiance at the side of the roads was really wild to the extent that inside the car we could hear the public shouting! We had great fun this weekend, and I hope that I won’t have to wait another fifteen years to enjoy that experience again!”

  20 mai 2015

Simon Jean-Joseph au départ du Sol Rally Barbados ! 

Répondant avec plaisir à l’invitation de son ami John Powell, Simon Jean-Joseph participera au 25e Sol Rally Barbados sur une Ford Focus RS WRC 08. Le Martiniquais, bien évidemment accompagné par son copilote Jack Boyère, ne cache pas son enthousiasme à l’idée de retrouver l’habitacle d’une World Rally Car et d’affronter l’asphalte de l’île caribéenne.

Comme un peu partout dans la Caraïbe, la Barbade vibre avec le sport automobile ! L’île a accueilli quelques évènements d’importance ces dernières années, comme une manche du GRX (le championnat américain de rallycross), qui avait vu s’affronter Ken Block et Lewis Hamilton, ou encore la Course des Champions 2014.

Cette passion locale s’est développée depuis 25 ans avec le Rallye de la Barbade, bien connu pour ses listes des engagés bien garnies. Cette édition anniversaire ne dérogera pas à la règle, puisqu’un triple Champion de France et double Champion d’Europe sera au départ !

« Lorsque John Powell m’a proposé sa Ford Focus RS WRC 08 pour disputer ce rallye, je n’ai pas hésité une seule seconde », explique Simon Jean-Joseph. « C’est une épreuve que je voulais disputer depuis longtemps, mais les calendriers s’accordaient mal avec mes programmes européens. J’étais présent l’an passé en simple spectateur et j’avais été charmé par l’ambiance et la ferveur du public. Je suis donc très heureux de revenir au volant d’une WRC. Ca va être fun ! »

Le fun, c’est ce qui semble prédominer dans l’organisation du Sol Rally Barbados. Ce dimanche 24 mai, les hostilités débuteront avec le ‘King of the Hill’. Une course de côte de 5 km, à parcourir quatre fois. Le meilleur chrono de chaque pilote est retenu, et sert à déterminer l’ordre de départ du rallye en lui-même.

« Ce sera une bonne occasion de prendre la voiture en mains », poursuit Simon. « Je n’ai plus roulé sur l’asphalte depuis 2008. Et au volant d’une quatre roues motrices, c’est encore plus lointain, peut-être 2001 ! C’est dire si j’aborde cette participation avec humilité. Heureusement, je pourrai compter sur Jack Boyère dans le baquet de droite. Lui non plus n’a pas hésité quand je l’ai appelé pour lui faire part de cette opportunité ! »

La semaine suivante, les reconnaissances précéderont le départ du rallye, donné vendredi soir avec deux passages dans la super spéciale de Bushy Park. Samedi et dimanche, la course s’étalera sur deux étapes et 120 km chronométrés.

« Le parcours est hyper rapide et l’épreuve s’annonce comme un sprint incessant. Le revêtement est constitué d’un asphalte assez ancien et bosselé. Il faudra être prudent avec les multiples chicanes installées pour casser la vitesse des voitures dans les longues lignes droites », détaille encore SJJ. « Face aux spécialistes locaux qui connaissent le parcours par cœur, je ne sais absolument pas où je me situerai. Mais je sais déjà que je vais prendre beaucoup de plaisir avec la Focus de John. Le moteur turbo de 300 ch, la boite séquentielle avec les palettes au volant, les quatre roues motrices : c’est vraiment le top pour un pilote ! »

Plus d’infos sur le site officiel de l’épreuve : www.rallybarbados.bb


Simon Jean-Joseph to enter the Sol Rally Barbados!

Answering with pleasure to the invitation of his friend John Powell, Simon Jean-Joseph will take part in the 25th edition of the Sol Rally Barbados in a Ford Focus RS WRC 08. The Martinique native, accompanied by co-driver Jack Boyère, is thrilled about the idea of returning to the cockpit of a World Rally Car and battle on the asphalt of the Caribbean island.

Like pretty much everywhere else in the Caribbean, Barbados is a motor racing destination. The island has hosted a few important events over the past few years, like, for example, a round of the GRX (the American Rally-Cross Championship), where Ken Block took on Lewis Hamilton, and the 2014 Race of Champions.

This local enthusiasm has developed over the past 25 years with the Barbados Rally, well-known for its stoutly furnished entry list. This Silver Anniversary edition continues the tradition with the participation of the three-time French and double European champion!

“When John Powell offered me his Ford Focus WRC 28 to compete in the rally, I didn’t hesitate a second“, explains Simon Jean-Joseph. “It is a rally that I have wanted to do for a longtime, but there has always been a schedule clash with my European programmes. I was on hand last year as a spectator and I was won over by the atmosphere and the fervor of the public. I am thus very happy to return at the wheel of a WRC car. It will be fun! “

Fun seems to be what is predominate in the organization of the Sol Rally Barbados. This Sunday May 24, the action gets underway with the 5km hill climb ‘King of the Hill’ race, to be run four times. The best time of each driver will be counted and will determine the start order of the rally itself.

“It will be a good occasion to get my hands on the car“, continues Simon. “I haven’t run on asphalt since 2008. And it has been even longer with a four-wheel drive, maybe 2001! I am approaching this participation with humility. Happily, I can count on Jack Boyère in the passenger seat. He didn’t hesitate either when I called for him to be part of this opportunity”.

The following week, the pre-rally reconnaissance will be done on Friday evening with two runs on the Bushy Park super special. Saturday and Sunday, the rally will be run over two stages and 120 timed kilometres.

“The route is ultra-fast and the event looks like it will be a flat-out sprint. The surface is rather old and bumpy. I’ll have to be careful with the many chicanes set up to slow the cars down on the long straight sections”, details SJJ. “Against the local specialists who know the route like the back of their hand, I have no idea where I will be. But I already know that I am going to have a lot of fun with John’s Focus. The 300hp, turbo engine, the sequential gearbox with paddle shifters, four-wheel drive: it is really outstanding for a driver! “

More information on the official site: www.rallybarbados.bb

  1 mai 2011

Simon Jean-Joseph and Jack Boyère make a victorious comeback!

Simon Jean-Joseph and Jack Boyère made a stunning return to racing. The Citroën Xsara crew topped the time sheets in the six stages in the first leg of the Auxerre Gravel Rally, and went on to win the event for the third time.  In addition to this result, the driver from Martinique really enjoyed himself at the wheel of the car entrusted to him by Petter Solberg Engineering.

 

Despite not having raced for two-and-a-half years, Simon Jean-Joseph was the favourite for the second round of the French Gravel Rally Championship. The double European champion had the number 1, but he played down his chances the day before the start: “The messages of sympathy that followed the announcement of our participation in this rally really touched me to the core. I don’t consider myself as favourite as I’m taking on drivers who’ve honed their skills on gravel, and who have very good cars. I know I can count on the qualities of Petter Solberg’s team’s Xsara WRC , but I’ve got no idea yet of my own level of performance.”

Jean-Joseph had his fears put to rest in the very first stage in which he set the quickest time. The other five stages confirmed that the man from Martinique was back in the groove, and he finished the first day with more than two minutes in hand over his pursuers. “It feels so good to be back in a racing car with a nice team and friends around us,” exclaimed Jean-Joseph. “The stages are fantastic and I’m really enjoying myself in the Xsara. Shooting down little gravel roads flat out in sixth is a thrilling sensation. I’m trying to stay concentrated so as not to make mistakes.”

The second leg of the Auxerre Gravel Rally was much shorter than the first, and was also very different from the previous day. “The routes are covered with grass, which makes grip very precarious,” said Boyère after the only reconnaissance. “These stages are also very bumpy, and I think the conditions will make things very difficult for my sight,” added Simon.

The outcome of the rally was almost turned on its head in the second-last stage when Jean-Joseph punctured soon after the start, but he lost only twenty seconds. He opted for caution in the final stage and went on to score his first outright victory since 2005, which brought a huge smile to his face. “You don’t need a lot in life to enjoy small pleasures,” he quipped at the end of the last stage. “I’m delighted with the welcome I’ve received, with the quality of the stages in this rally, and the sensations that I re-experienced with Jack in the two days’ racing. The second leg was more difficult than the first, and there were quite a few sectors where I didn’t feel as much at home as the day before. It’s proof that things will never be the same again. My sight isn’t as sharp as it used to be and I have to accept that it costs me a few seconds.”

The double European Champion was given a warm welcome by his team when he returned to the service park, and he thanked all the members of Petter Solberg Engineering one by one: “I’m very happy to have shared this event with guys who are as enthusiastic as they are professional. All of them have at least fifteen years’ experience in motor sport, and I was able to count on a Xsara WRC that was fine-tuned to perfection. I’m also delighted to have scored Kumho tyres’ first victory in the French Championship.”

Throughout the weekend the question on everybody’s lips was what would be the next step after this outing. Jean-Joseph’s answer is one that will delight all his fans: “It doesn’t take long for the taste to come back. We enjoyed ourselves so much this weekend that all we want to do is to continue. We’ll see how the situation evolves, but I’d really like to race in other events in this championship – and why not the Langres gravel rally?”

  20 avril 2011

Simon back racing for the fun of it!

Two-and-a-half years after being forced to interrupt his professional career, Simon Jean-Joseph is getting ready to make his comeback to rallying. Still with Jack Boyère as co-driver, the man from Martinique has entered for the Auxerre Gravel Rally (30th April-1st May) in Petter Solberg Engineering team’s Citroën Xasra. Their aim is to enjoy themselves to the full and give the crowd their money’s worth!

Simon Jean-Joseph and Jack Boyère are tackling their first rally since 2008 with the aim of doing well, but without any pressure. And of course, it will give them the opportunity to enjoy themselves with their friends, as well as the pleasures of driving a mythic car and reliving sensations that have thrilled them for over 20 years.

“Since my accident in water skiing in the summer of 2008, I gave up my professional career,” says Simon Jean-Joseph. “In addition to the tests that I do for the Automoto programme on TF1, I’ve launched a small coaching and Management Company linked to motor sport. This has helped me to remain in touch with the milieu by working with drivers, teams and organizers. Since last year, I’ve been collaborating with Petter Solberg, whether as crew driver on asphalt rallies or in various projects including the development of his team, Petter Solberg Enginering. When the idea of driving one of his cars came up in a discussion, I didn’t take long to jump at the chance!”

On the stages in the Auxerois region, Jean-Joseph will be back with his faithful co-driver Jack Boyère whose enthusiasm is as strong as ever: “Two-and-a-half years without being in a racing car is too long when the passion’s still burning. We won’t be there aiming for a result, but we want to do as well as possible and relive the thrills that we’ve missed since we stopped. What’s more, we’re back in Petter Solberg’s team with a mythic car that’s won several world championship titles. It’s fantastic! It’s an exciting challenge but we’re tackling it with humility.”

Petter Solberg Engineering has a stable of rally cars and the equipment to run them, and it is opening up new perspectives. In the Auxerre Gravel Rally, Jean-Joseph will be the ambassador of the Franco-Norwegian team. “This rally is a good way to showcase the know-how of a team that’s been in the WRC since 2009. The team’s equipment and skills are at the disposal of other clients in both national and international championships.”

The rally based in Auxerre will be run in two legs on Saturday 30th April and Sunday 1st May. As always in the French Gravel Rally Championship, the route is secret and will only be revealed on the morning itself, and the drivers only have one reconnaissance run. Simon and Jack have won the event twice: in 2000 in a Group A Subaru Impreza and in 2003 in a Renault Clio Super-1600.