Event Report | Rfeda – National Spanish Hillclimb Championship – Round 1

Rfeda – National Spanish Hillclimb Championship – Round 1

Subida Penas Blancas  Estepona 2014 – 5/6th April – Andalusia

We arrived at Malaga airport late on Wednesday evening, 2nd April, to provide plenty of time the following day, and in advance of the event, to learn the Subida (Rise to), a 7.3 kilometre climb from just outside the town centre of Estepona across the motorway on road MA 8301. This particular event had not been run since 2006, and RS Sport the Escuderia (Sporting Car Club) responsible should be rewarded, as the route is superb. A very fast and smooth tarmac road, winding its way up over 500 metres, both climbing and, in 3 parts, dropping down, which is abnormal for a Hillclimb event as you can well imagine.

The average speed for these events must be kept below 140 km/hr so on one downhill stretch the organisers decided to insert a chicane which caused a great deal of heated discussion at the drivers briefing on the Friday evening before the start of the event, after the technical inspections had been completed.  Some of the top and faster drivers complaining that it was much too tight getting in and out of and as such there was a chance that cars could be damaged. The federations response was, quite simply, if you don’t like it then “Don’t race!”.  Fairly clear to me!  Personally, having probably the second widest car of the event next to the Mosler, I didn’t have a problem, but  he certainly did.

The Ayuntamiento, or local town council, had committed a great deal of funds to the promoting of the event and virtually closed all central roads of the town to allow a full display of the cars. The atmosphere was definitely one of a festival spirit. The town hall or Junta should be applauded for their efforts.

Our car was put in pride of place alongside last years champion Villarino, in his newly acquired Ossella, and the Mosler. Certainly a much photographed spectacle at Parc Ferme on the night before the commencement of the event, Saturday lunchtime.

Parc Ferme


I practiced the hill on the Thursday before the day of scrutineering, the weather not being very good.  Raining, not heavy, but not great in getting a feel of the road surface and changes etc.  Luckily, waking on Friday, the weather had improved dramatically and the sun had come out so a good chance to check out the road, grip and surface changes as there always are on Spanish carreteras.

No problems encountered at scrutineering, but none were expected, as the car is, as everyone knows,  well built and well prepared. Homologation papers all in order and the vehicle weight above the declared minimum by 60 kilos, including 25 litres of fuel so, all ok.

Scrutineering in the centre of town


Saturday, awake early, to be led away from Parc ferme with a multitude of police outriders through the old town centre of narrow cobbled streets. The noise was, as you can well imagine, amazing!  I wish I’d recorded it.  Into the service area for a couple of hours for final tweeks before first car (The last one, car 50) starts the run at 12.00 noon.

We had been informed at the briefing the evening prior, that they would take 6 cars at a time, at ten minute intervals, up to the start line which was some 1.5 kilometres away from service.   A minibus would accompany each batch of six cars with 1 mechanic/crew member for each car to attend the vehicle at the start line if necessary. This all sounds fine but, for us and one or two others, it would turn out to be an issue.   Our car is extremely tyre temperature, and tyre pressure, sensitive.  Too much deviation or loss of either is a nightmare, get it dead right and the car grips fantastically, a deciding factor in gear selection for every bend, right temperature and pressure, and a higher gear is chosen and, as such, the times are much better.

There were some seriously quick drivers present but, being a national round, this was expected.  Good competition certainly focuses the mind!  You can check out the entry list, or inscripción as it is referred to in Spain, on www.rssport.org   The main players are:


Javi Villa – Bango racing BR06, Javi is a GP2 and Nascar driver and is very talented and tipped one day possibly to be the next Alonso in F1.  He is a full time professional and, if you get the opportunity, watch his level of commitment into every bend on ‘Youtube’ on these events. He eventually, as expected, won the CM class.

There are effectively three events, which run side by side, the CM classification for such cars as Javi Villas Bango, the Ossela’s and Normas and DTM equipment, i.e. circuit cars.

Jonathan Alorez Arias, a privateer from Asturias,  again very talented, and from the Alonso school of drivers.   In fact Jonny, as he is referred to, was nearly chosen to test for a number of teams, a shame as he is exceptionally fast and came a close second in a much substandard BRC05 car to Villa.

Andres Villarino – Last years CM class championship winner driving a Norma, but this year driving a Ossella, his old (?) Norma being handed down to his very capable daughter Angela for use on this event and both sponsored by Santander bank.

The Villarino’s Steeds


Jose Fombosa – running an ex- Tom Christensen DTM Audi, champion a number of times. This car, which he used the previous year, had been (correctly in my mind) moved out of the touring car category and into the CM class alongside the above runners. Just look closely at these £1m vehicles and you will see why.  It’s a F1 car with a carbon fibre touring look body fitted over it.  The driver sits at rear seat position and about as low in the car as an F1 driver. The car is awesome to say the least. There was a further ex-DTM car entered, another Audi, but this one a TT derivative, didn’t appear at scrutineering and as such didn’t run.

There is also a classification for Historics and, lastly, the classification for touring cars and GT’s etc which is the category I fall into.  There were only a small number of historics running, the title holder Clemente in his trusted Seat 124, a Lotus Elan and the Andalucian champion in this category, Amador Guitierrez in his immaculate Renault 5 turbo.

Surprisingly, and totally out of character for Clemente, he slid off the road on the third bend from the start on the very first, and only, timed practice run, damaging his Seat beyond repair and effectively taking him out of the event.  In the end, all three historics retired as was the case for a number of cars including mine over the weekend.

You get 6 attempts at the Hill, a timed practice followed by an official timed run, 4 runs Saturday and two runs early Sunday.

The Touring car category was a rally and race car enthusiasts dream.  Three GT3 Porches, 3 group A Mitsubishi Lancers, a Mosler, an ex-Petter Solberg Subaru Imprezza S12 WRC, in stunning order, a Nissan 350Z and various Super 2000’s and screaming  kit cars.

The main competition expected, and as it turned out to be, were the two Porsches, the Mosler and the Subaru.  My target for the first event was a podium.  In all honesty, looking at the level of experience in the touring car category, a win would have been a big ask!

The main players in the touring car category were:

Jose Aznar, the 2011 National champion running his Gt3, but now much improved over the winter and run by a team of Porsche specialists who have obviously looking at his unbelievable times have worked some magic into the car. I closely came second to Jose in 2013 in the Andalusian championship, beating him on 6 rounds out of 16 that year in my old car which is not as quick as the Ginetta so I expected to get close to or even beat him.

Aznar and the new team


Raul Borrerguero running the Mosler a 700 hp car of enormous proportions and undoubtedly one that must demand great skill to pilot.  A very experienced, and successful, campaigner and another serious competitor. The hill being what it was, wide and fast, and climbing at a fair gradient should suit him well.

Borriega’s Monster, sorry Mosler



Manolo Maldonado – Again driving a Porsche GT3 identical apart from the unmissable colour, Amarillo, to Aznars and again a past champion over a number of years.


Pedro Moreno running the previously mentioned Subaru S12 WRC, a very capable driver and Madrid province champion.


Pedro’s Immaculate Impreza S12


Jose Blanco Rosales – Group A Mitsubishi Evo 10, yet another multiple past champion.

Other than myself I think any of the above would have a chance of taking the honours, it all would depend on how everyone and their cars performed on the day.

I only managed the first two runs on the Saturday before we lost oil pressure damaging the engine , we believe due to a faulty oil pump and hope to have it repaired back in the UK quickly, it is now being loaded onto a pallet to be freighted back to Ginetta as we speak.

The signs were all good for us from the off, third fastest just 1 second behind the Mosler but Aznar had romped away, 11 seconds faster than the both of us! An incredible time, and in practice too. I think we could have been second fastest and beaten the Mosler easily but, for some unknown reason, the launch control map wasn’t functioning, much time lost spinning wheels from the start.  A time of 4 mins 37.79 seconds, the Mosler 4 mins 36.667 but Aznar a crazy 4 mins 26.098.  The 4th placed car, a Mitsubishi, was some 11 seconds behind the 3 of us. Aznar had truly got his eye in, he actually went onto improve his time on the official timed run to 4 mins 16 seconds! The Mosler time had improved but not to that degree.

We did make the start of the first official timed run, and in fact actually achieved an official time of 4 mins 36.494, only slightly faster than the practice run due to me noticing a change in the engine note about 1 to 2 kilometres from the finish and as such, looked to check for indicator lights etc.  Nothing, so continued to the finish, but in a higher gear and coasting. I believe that my time on the official run kept me in 5th place over all so not all was lost, others naturally improving times as the day went on.

I made it to the top and, once I’d taken my helmet off, heard an engine chatter so turned it off quickly and requested a tow back to the service area to have the guys check the car.

All over for us until the next event.  Shame, I believe we could have scored well for the championship, a second place was on the cards ahead of the Mosler.

Some 20 cars retired from the event for one reason or another!


Next event Subida Ubrique 26/27th April





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