SAABs in Motorsport 2014

Photo: Team Per Eklund Motorsport

In the last two weeks, agreements have become clear that means we will see SAABs in two different motorsport championships.

The first announcement came early in April, then it become clear that the Swedish driver Ramona Karlsson will be driving for Team Per Eklund Motorsport in this years FIA World Rallycross Champrionship (World RX). THis is the first female driver in the Supercar class, and at this moment it’s decided that she will drive 7 of 12 rounds. She will of course be at the start line in Höljes (Sweden) the first weekend in July, and the work is in progress for that she maybe can drive more then the 7 rounds that already decided. Henning Solberg from Norway is the secound driver in Team Per Eklund Motorsport.

The Supercar class is the most extreme class in Rallycross, cars have a 1.6- or a 2.0-litre turbocharged engine with around 600hp. All engines that the original vehicle manufacturer has delivered in the actual model can be used as a base for building a supercar-engine, there is no standard engine in this class that everyone has to use. The car goes from 0-100 in around 2 seconds, and of course they have all-wheel drive and a sequential manual gearbox. Every car in the 2.0-litre class have to at least weight 1320kg including the driver.

Daniel Haglöf, STCC Göteborg 20130629
Photo: PWR Racing Team

This week it also become clear that NEVS initiates collaboration with PWR Racing Team in the STCC (Swedish Touring Car Championship). In a press release the team manager at PWR, Daniel Haglöf, says “- I am absolutely delighted that we have been chosen to run the 9-3 and represent Nevs in STCC. We both have a vision for collaboration and a shared vision of what we expect in the season.” The other owner of PWR Racing Team, Peter “Poker” Wallenberg jr, is also enthusiastic about this; “- Both Nevs and PWR are young company and we now want to help each other grow.”

Presentation of who’s going to drive the cars will be later in April.
“- It is an interesting driver line-up, this much I can say, and one of the reasons why we want to be involved in this venture, says Jonas Hernqvist, sales and marketing director at NEVS.”



Personally I think it’s exciting that NEVS choose to corporate with a motorsport team, but probably we can’t expect it to be like the time with the factory-team (where Per Eklund had great success in the 70’s), but a cooperation is good, and obviously a great way for NEVS to show up.

Saab Sport Video: Masters at the wheel

Mellde, Molander, Carlsson, Moss, Skogh, Blomqvist, Eklund, Lampinen. Monte Carlo, RAC, Swedish Rally, Finnish Rally, Liege-Sofia-Liege, Midnight Sun – even a stint in Australia! Swedes, Finns and the odd bit of English. Two strokers, formula juniors, V4s and 99s. Snow and Safari.

The Saab Club Nederland YouTube channel has just blessed the rest of us with this fantastic video from the Saab Rally Department, documenting Saab’s rally history through the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s.

It’s absolutely brilliant. If you can’t watch them now, bookmark them and come back.

Kudos to the SCN guys. An outstanding catch.



Saab touring car program put on ice

This is a project that’s been on the burner for a few years now. Unfortunately, those involved have been defeated by some prospective rule changes in 2012 that make the build inviable.

The Saab Dealer Team has decided to close down their planned programme for the Swedish Touring Car Championship.

“We are closing it down, there will not be anything of it,” said team boss Jan Warnestad to

The team has completed a test program with a S2000 specification Saab 9-3, powered by a bio-gas engine. The plan was initially for the team to join the STCC for a full season in 2009, plans that has been postponed several times.

“The regulations makes it hard. It does not look like we are going to make it. You’ll never know what happens in the future, but as things are now we are closing it down,” said Warnestad.

That text and the following video are both provided by Touring Car Times.



I feel terrible for these guys. It’s been a long process for them and as you see in the video, they had made great strides.

It’s ironic that they’re being forced out by rule changes as Saab themselves suffered from this on several occasions. In fact, the original Saab Sonett was destined for racing until rule changes stopped all chance of production in significant numbers.

Report: Saabs at the 2010 RAC Rally

The following report has come through from the guys in the Saab Historic Rally Team, who participated in the 2010 Roger Albert Clark Rally on the weekend.

My thanks to Steve W for passing it on and congratulations to the rally team!


Saab Historic Rally Team
Roger Albert Clark Rally 26 to 29 November, 2010

  • Event a great success
  • 1000 miles
  • 22 Stages
  • -17C lowest temperature
  • 12 inches the deepest snow on a stage
  • 64 entrants in the main rally event
  • 43 finishers
  • 9 hours sleep in four days

Nick Pinkett/Mark Casey
Second Historic Winners Class B1

They holed a piston on Saturday evening. The spare engine was fitted in the dark, in one hour thirty seven minutes, at the roadside, without a hoist or power tools, so that they could rejoin the rally. Nick’s result is particularly impressive as his car had no limited slip differential, which makes driving in snow virtually impossible, a heroic effort.

Jim Valentine/Andy Harris
Third Historic Second Class B1

Though fast on some of the stages, punctures, ignition and fueling problems in the extreme conditions hampered their rally with the car only running properly on the fourth day. Despite the problems they finished second Historic but ended a run of three previous class wins.

Colin Hope/Nick Patrick
Fourth in Class C3 31st Overall

Their result doesn’t tell the whole story. They started 59th overall and made up 28 positions despite having problems with the head gasket and cooling from Saturday night. Nonetheless, on Stages 12 and 13, in the Forest of Ae in Scotland they set really fast times in the top 30. That is some drive on a surface you couldn’t walk on, it’s hard to believe that his team finished building the car on the Friday of the event and this was the first time Colin has driven a Saab in anger.

Richard Simpson/Debby Myer
Retired Stage 21

Richard was challenging for the lead of the Historic category from day one of the event. As the other leaders retired or fell behind, Richard started stage 21 with a ten minute lead over his nearest rival. On Monday morning a win in the Historics seemed within the team’s grasp, all Richard had to do was complete the last two stages at half speed to secure the position. The team put their efforts into supporting him trying to plan for various possible scenarios, with limited servicing opportunities between the last two stages, the B1 competitors would double up as “on stage” service vehicles to try and ensure Richard the win: Nick took on spares and Jim carried an extra spare wheel for Richard’s car. Cruelly Richard’s car lost the clutch on the start of stage 21 and that victory slipped away.

Magic/Craig Wallace
Retired Stage 17

Magic’s rally ended when they holed the gearbox casing on stage 17. Poor Magic, two weeks before the rally the car was still a shell, and despite holding down his day job he managed to completely build the car back up and get it on the start line for the event (the team pretty much took the last spanner off the car as it went into the noise test for scrutineering on Friday). His late entry meant he started last in the rally, but the weather conditions dealt him the cruelest blow. As the last car on the competitive stages any car in the rally that went off or blocked the stage would hold him up. Sure enough he was baulked on the first six stages, and to add insult to injury since the stages are so narrow, having unstuck the car in front it would take off and, despite rescuing it, he would have to be stuck behind it for the rest of the stage. Where he could find some “clean air” the former works car was quick on the stages, but sadly a gearbox failure late on brought what must have been a frustrating event to a close.

Saab Historic Rally Team racing in RAC Rally this weekend

No, it’s not that RAC Rally. It’s the Roger Albert Clark Rally, which is one of the bigger events on the historic rallying calendar in England.

And no, it’s not the Saab Historic Rally Team that I’m used to covering on these pages. That’s the Saabs United Historic Rally Team, which is headed up by some Swedes and which ran in the Rally to the Midnight Sun in Sweden earlier this year. This team is headed up by some Brits and they’re running several cars in the Roger Albert Clark Rally, starting this weekend in Pickering.

As you’ll see below, it’d be well worth getting to the start, too, as Erik Carlsson and one of his co-drivers, Stuart Turner, will be present to wave them off.

Spectator information for the Roger Albert Clark rally is here.


The organisers of the Roger Albert Clark Rally are pleased to welcome the Saab Historic Rally Team to this year’s event. The brainchild of Roger Albert veteran Jim Valentine, the Saab Historic Team was put together at a time when the future of car maker Saab was uncertain and Jim was concerned that the 50th anniversary of Saab’s historic win on the RAC in 1960 might pass unnoticed. Thanks to Jim and his team we are delighted to be able to announce that the crew of that car, Erik Carlsson and Stuart Turner will flag the competing cars away from the Pickering start on Friday 26th November.

1960 was not just a special year for Saab but a year which heralded a seismic shift in rallying in the UK. Under Jack Kemsley’s stewardship, the RAC introduced the concept of a ‘special stage’ on forestry land for the first time. So Erik and Stuart do not just represent the history of Saab in rallying but the birth of stage rallying itself and these men both went on to dominate the sport, Erik as a driver and Stuart as a team manager for BMC and Ford

As well as the strongly supported team of competing Saabs, Jim Valentine has organised for a rather special service ‘barge’ to backup the team. Jim has arranged for a Scania 3 Series Streamline pulling a drawbar trailer to follow the rally. Their truck may also qualify for historic status being from a model range dating back to the seventies when Saab and Scania were still in the same industrial group.

Jim hopes that Saab fans will come to watch the start and follow the progress of the Saab team throughout the rally. “The Roger Albert Clark Rally is the best rally in the UK for historics and it has a superb atmosphere. I think this year’s event is going to be fantastic and look forward to meeting you there” he says.

On view at Pickering as a backdrop to events will be the rarely seen Saab Museum copy of the 1960 RAC winner, which will be displayed at event start alongside the modern Saab Carlsson 9-3 limited edition. Just 96 of these special edition cars will be available from just 50 Saab dealers across the UK.


A little history on the Roger Albert Clark Rally for those who – like me – don’t know much about it….. This comes from a mate in England, Alistair P:

This rally is in honour of the late Roger Clark, a famous English rally driver from the late 60s & 70s. In fact one of the earliest Saabing memories I have is of my folks and I going to see Roger, Erik and Stig being interviewed on stage at some hotel in the North West of England prior to the “proper” RAC rally, in the late 70s. The guys who run the modern rally do so to pay homage to the old Lombard RAC Rally which was a much tougher even than the modern WRC “Rally GB”, and clearly take advantage of Roger’s initials!

Thanks to Alistair for the background, and the tip!

Toomas Heikkinen is kicking rallycross butt – in Per Eklund’s Saab!

From the Rally America Rallycross event at the weekend…..

Toomas HeikkinenToomas Heikkinen wins the fourth and final Round of the 2010 RallyCar U.S. Rallycross Championship in the Per Eklund Motorsport-supported 2010 SAAB 93 ASS. The 19-year-old Finnish prodigy had an impressive showing in his U.S. debut after placing 2nd overall on Saturday and winning Sunday’s AWD A Main final outright with a time of 3 minutes 15.5 seconds.

Following the young Finn was Ford Fiesta driver Tanner Foust, the only American to stand on the All-Wheel-Drive podiums this weekend. Foust, who dominated the first two Rounds of the new U.S. Series, turned in a time of 3 minutes 17.2 seconds on the A Main and was amongst the fastest in Heats 1 and 2. Citroen driver Liam Doran overcame mechanical issues he faced on Saturday’s event to place the fastest Qualifying and Heat times on Sunday, eventually taking 3rd place with a time of 3 minutes 19.2 seconds in the A Main.

Toomas has already had some great success in his native Finland driving Eklund’s car after starting out in Eklund’s old rallycross car earlier this year.

I think we better enjoy scenes like this while we can. I don’t think it’ll be too long before some more cashed up teams start making offers to the young flying Finn.

Congratulations to Toomas!

And thanks to Pascal for the tip!

(TGI) Friday Snippets

It’s been a hellish week – tonsils and the flu. A big bowl of not good. And the next few weeks are going to be about as busy as January this year, which was the busiest time I’ve ever known. I need 26 hour days.


Autoblog can be a bit saccharine sometimes and the comments section can be like walking through a cabbage patch full of zombies (or wannabe comedians, which can be painfully close to the same thing). In general terms, though, Autoblog does a pretty good job at covering the mainstream US car scene.

This article – in terms of recognising a moment and documenting it the right way – is pretty close to blogging perfection.

Well done, Mr Shunk.


What’s this? And what’s it got to do with Saab?

inflatable helmet

It’s an inflatable bike helmet, useful for those who don’t like to mess up their hair. You’re seeing it inflated in that picture, but it starts life as a collar and acts like an airbag in the event of a pending collision.

The developers – Swedish, natch – used a Saab 9-3 as part of their testing regime.



Good luck to James Sera, who’s going to try and seal the Australian Sport Sedan Championship this weekend in a Saab 9-3. Well, actually, this car is to the Saab 9-3 as Darth Vader is to humans – it’s heavily modified (700hp Chevy engine, for starters).

Dean Randle Saab 9-3 racer

The car is actually built and owned by Dean Randle of Swedish Prestige, in Melbourne. A lot of Melbourne visitors would be familiar with Dean’s work. He actually looked over my Viggen for me when I bought it back in 2005. A great guy with a great workshop.


One of Australia’s elder statesmen in the music scene, guitarist Tommy Emmanuel, toured Sweden recently.

Whilst in Mellerud, he was set up with a new Saab 9-5 TiD by the local dealer, Roybil. Apparently he loved the car so much he insisted on driving himself the full 150km to Landvetter airport in Gothenburg when it came time to leave.

Tommy Emannuel Saab 9-5

It looks like enjoyed himself…..

Tommy Emannuel Saab 9-5

And to close the snippets for today, here’s a little bit of Tommy’s work. It’s always incredible to see someone so in tune with a musical instrument, like there’s no separation between them. Great stuff.


Historic racing in Tasmania

Time for something a little different. It’s non-Saaby, but I’m going to indulge anyway…..

Scroll on down if you’re not interested.

Today the MG Car Club hosted their second annual historic racing day here in Hobart, at Baskerville Raceway. There were some MG’s involved, though you won’t see many (if any) in the photos I’ve selected to show here.

The day had a mix of feature races and regularity events. The feature races featured the faster cars on the course and some notable drivers, too (more in a moment). They did one flat-starting event to begin with, followed by a handicap race later on, which was quite exciting.

Regularity, for those who are unfamiliar, is a type of racing where competitors nominate their own lap time. They then have to lap as consistently as possible and lose points for being off their nominated time. It’s a type of racing where you can still push your car, but the aim is consistency, not outright speed and therefore, it evens out the field a little.

Both types of racing were fantastic to watch, with some great machinery on display. The color. The sound. There’s something about grassroots motorsport that’s quite addictive.

I’ve posted a few photos below, along with a couple of thoughts/stories to go with them.
Historic racing at Baskerville

Shannons Insurance sponsored a vehicle display at the event and this Ferrari Dino was one of the stars of the show. It’s amazing the quality of machinery that’s hanging around in some garages, even in a small city at the end of the earth.

There were a few classic Australians there, too. I came within a hair of buying one of these XP Falcon coupes when I was about 19 years old. It was red, though.

Historic racing at Baskerville

Read moreHistoric racing in Tasmania

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