Iran Motor Sport – An Overwiew

In 1894, thanks to a French newspaper which organised the first race from Paris to Rouen and back, we saw the start of city to city racing, few years later in 1900; the Gordon Bennett Cup was established.

Following World War I, European countries organised Grand Prix races over closed courses. After World War II, the Grand Prix circuit became more formally organised. In the United States, stock car racing and drag racing became firmly established. Motor-sports ultimately became divided by types of motor vehicles into racing events, and their appropriate organisations.

Motor-sport rise to popularity was not confined only to the war shattered Europe and United states, it spread like house fire. At the time of writing this article, Formula-1(F1) 2016 season alone pits eleven teams (22 drivers) over twenty one races against each other, World rally Championship (WRC) increases these figures by another Fourteen races and adds six constructors, boasting 25 teams, 50 drivers (half are Co-drivers) to the mixing pot. If we take WRC2, WRC-3, Junior-WRC, Formula 3, GP3 series, Indy Car series in United (the list goes on and on…), you will soon realise that there is a staggering number of races organized globally, so there should be no surprise that this has even spread to IRAN.

Iranian drivers have in previous years taken part in the Middle East Rally Championship (MERC) with varying degree of success. Last year’s championship comprised of eight rounds of races in eight different countries, however the number has dropped to seven in the current year as the Shiraz International Rally lost its spot on the calendar, while Qatar, Kuwait, Jordan, Lebanon, Cyprus, Oman and Dubai remain. The 2016 season started with the Qatar International Rally on the 4th of February 2016 and it comes to an end in Dubai on the 19th of November. Rally of Lebanon was the championship’s midpoint which was held on September 2-4.

More closer at home, IRAN national rally-championship and Off-Road champions are held every year, and 2016 season is in full swing. The full technical specification and general guide line is available from the governing body Motorcycle and Automobile Federation of The Islamic Republic of Iran (MAFIRI) website, however currently this is only available in Farsi but the work for translating these documents is currently underway and I hope to publish these shortly.

Off-Road Championship

The Off Road Championship (ORC) features four support championships based on two different format, obstacle or speed course:

Level

Engine Size “CC”

ORC – Class 1 2500
ORC – Class 2 2501-3500
ORC – Class 3 3501-4500
ORC – Class 4 4501+

Each season runs over a course of a year driven on surfaces ranging from gravel and tarmac to snow and ice. Points from these events are calculated towards the drivers’, Co-driver and manufacturers’ championships. Under the current points system, points are awarded at the end of each rally to the top 15 overall finishers in the ORC standings; all categories use the following point’s structure:

Position

1st

2nd

3rd

4th

5th

6th

7th

8th

9th

10th

11th

12th

13th

14th

15th

Points

20

17

15

13

11

10

9

8

7

6

5

4

3

2

1

Rally Championships

The event was first held as a candidate event in 2014 before becoming a round of the before becoming a round of the Middle East Rally Championship (MERC) in 2015.

The first event, held in late September, attracted approximately 30 entries, mostly locally based Peugeots and Kias. It was won by Lebanese driver Roger Feghali with the only other international team, Qatari driver Khalifa Al-Attiyah second. Both teams ran Mitsubishi Lancer Evolutions. Twelve other teams finished, all bar two of them Peugeots. The rally had been cut short after an accident resulted in the death of Iranian co-driver Arash Ramin Yekta.

The races are divided into different categories depending on the vehicle and vehicle configuration.

Category

Class

S2000-Rally: 1.6T engine with a 28mm restrictorS2000-Rally: 2.0 Atmospheric

Group R5 (VR5)

Group R4 (VR4)

Group NR4 over 2000cc

RC2

RGT cars

R-GT

Group A over 1600cc and up to 2000ccSuper 1600

R2 (atmospheric over 1600cc and up to 2000cc – VR2C and turbo over 1067cc and up to 1333cc – VR2C)

R3 (atmospheric / over 1600cc and up to 2000cc – VR3C and turbo over 1067cc and up to 1333cc – VR3C)

R3 (turbo / up to 1620cc / nominal – VR3T)

R3 (diesel / up to 2000cc / nominal – VR3D)

RC3

R2 (atmospheric over 1390cc and up to 1600cc – VR2B and turbo over 927cc and up to 1067cc – VR2B)Group A up to 1600cc

Kit-car up to 1600cc

Group N over 1600cc and up to 2000cc

RC4

Group N up to 1600cc

R1 (atmospheric up to 1600cc-VR1A/VR1B and turbo up to 1067cc-R1A/VR1B)

RC5

Non-homologated cars group

Category

Class

All 2WD non-homologated cars up to 1390cc (up to 927cc turbo)

IR1

All 2WD non-homologated cars – 1391cc to 1600cc (Over 927cc up to 1067cc turbo)

IR2

Front wheel drive non-homologated cars – 1601cc to 2000cc (Over 1067cc up to 1333cc trb)

IR3

Rear wheel drive non-homologated cars – 1601cc to 2000cc (Over 1067cc up to 1333cc trb)

IR4

All 2WD non-homologated cars up to 2000cc (up to 1333cc turbo)

IR5

Iran Motor Sport industry is not as advanced as its European counterpart and is in its formative years, this does not means that it should be ignored and labelled uninteresting. Thanks to ever increasing fan base, role models in Europe and America, and with more European car manufacturers showing interest to invest in IRAN, there is a huge potential for growth.

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