Porsche Cars Great Britain will once again enter the gruelling Rallye Transsyberia in 2008. This is the second year that a UK team will participate in the event with the Cayenne S ‘Transsyberia’. The car will begin this extraordinary journey from Red Square in Moscow on July 11, and drive over 4347 miles, crossing the Ural, the Altai Mountains and passing the Gobi desert to finish in Ulaanbaatar – the capital city of Mongolia – on July 25.
The Porsche Cars Great Britain Cayenne S Transsyberia was the first to reach Mongolia in 2007, and to build on this record, the UK will be represented by professional rally driver, Martin Rowe (37) from Deddington, Oxfordshire, who will be joined by fellow rally driver and automotive engineer, Richard Tuthill (34) also from Deddington, as co-driver and navigator.
Over the course of the Rallye, teams will drive on both tarmac and gravel surfaces, as well as sand and rugged off-road terrain, while the weather will also present tremendous challenge with every likelihood of flooded river crossings, high-altitude snow blizzards and scorching sand storms.
The sheer variety of terrain and climate that drivers will experience during the Rallye presents a formidable test and, in response to this, Porsche has further developed the special Transsyberia version of the Cayenne S. The upgrade for 2008 is mainly concentrated upon improving the off-road capabilities and optimising the suspension set-up. This includes an even stronger sump-guard, and front and rear panel modifications to allow a larger approach and departure angle when driving up and down slopes. The Cayenne S Transsyberia is also now fitted with new specification off-road tyres – BFGoodrich 265/65 R18.
Under the skin, the driver-oriented chassis of the Porsche Cayenne has been designed to combine sports car handling on the road with the added versatility of extreme agility off-road. The engine features direct petrol injection to provide more power and performance on less fuel, cutting petrol consumption by up to 15 per cent. Another highlight is Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control (PDCC) featuring two active anti-roll bars to almost completely eliminate body roll when cornering. The PDCC also delivers maximum axle articulation when driving off-road, serving to further improve the already superior traction offered by the electronically-controlled Porsche Traction Management (PTM) all-wheel drive transmission.
The Porsche Cayenne S Transsyberia model epitomises this breadth of ability. Built in a small series, each car comes with a variety of modifications including those specific all-terrain tyres, a safety roll cage, a shorter transmission final drive ratio, a transverse differential lock, a larger reinforced under-body protection, and strengthened track control arms on the front axle. At 385bhp (283kW), output of the 4.8-litre eight-cylinder petrol engine remains unchanged.
In total, more than 35 teams from 22 nations will be competing for the coveted prize of being the fastest to reach the chequered flag in Mongolia.
The Porsche Cars Great Britain Rallye Transsyberia Team
Martin Rowe (37), the 2003 Production Cup World Rally Champion, has achieved much success in his motor sporting career. Born on the Isle of Man, Martin started driving professionally in 1991, winning the Manx Stage Rally Championship in a Ford Escort. Via a national rally scholarship programme, Martin earned himself the opportunity to pilot a Group ‘N’ Escort Cosworth in the 1993 National Championship Rally series. Martin rose to the challenge and became the youngest winner of the Manx National Rally – and the only driver ever to win the rally outright in a Group ‘N’ category car.
The following years brought further victories, including third place overall and first in group ‘N’ in the 1994 Mobil 1 Top Gear British Rally Championship, and fifth place in the ‘Formula 2’ class of the gruelling Network Q RAC Rally in November the same year. 1998 was great year for Martin as he dominated the British Rally Championship, winning four out of six events and in the process gaining the first rallying titles in Britain for Renault (the Drivers, Co-drivers, and Manufacturers Championships). In 1999, Martin again contributed to Renault’s rallying success, with a second place in Finland, Australia and Great Britain enabling the French marque to win the ‘Formula 2’ category of the World Rally Championship. In 2001, driving a Ford Puma S1600 in the British Formula Rally Championship, Martin gained first place overall, with three outright wins and two second places. Martin also entered the Production Car World Cup in 2001, finishing in sixth place at his first attempt. In New Zealand, a rally he had never contested before, Martin missed out on his first WRC win by just 19 seconds.
In 2002 Martin was the only driver in the World to compete in both the Junior World Championship and the Production Championship, driving in no fewer than 12 WRC events.
In 2003, Martin showed his fast and consistent pace throughout the year to beat tough competition from every corner of the world. This was another great year for Martin, for he won the Production Car World Championship, driving a Subaru Impreza. He was victorious in Australia, finished second in Cyprus and Germany, and third in Sweden and Corsica.
Most recently, Martin has been competing in the Chinese Rally Championship, winning the title outright in 2006, and finishing runner-up in 2007. This experience should stand Martin in good stead this year when the Oxfordshire-based driver takes the wheel of the Cayenne S Transsyberia on behalf of Porsche Cars Great Britain in the Rallye Transsyberia.
1991 Manx Stage Rally Champion
1992 British 1.6 Peugeot Challenge Champion
1993 2nd Gp N and Best Newcomer – National Rally Championship
1st Manx National Rally
1994 British Gp N Champion
3rd overall, British Rally Championship
1998 British Rally Champion
2001 British Formula Rally Champion
2002 6th place World Production Cup
2003 Production Cup World Rally Champion
2006 KST Rally Team – Chinese Rally Champion
2007 KST Rally Team – 2nd Chinese Rally Championship
Richard Tuthill (34), from Oxfordshire, has vast experience in competing in and managing international motor sport events, and through his work in the family engineering business has acquired a deep understanding of automotive design and technology. His rich and diverse experience in both contemporary and historic motor sport events includes competitions in Great Britain, America and Africa.
Richard’s career began in 1996 when he won the British Junior Rally Championship driving a Vauxhall Nova, and he has since proved to be expertly qualified both in driving and navigating. Driving a Subaru Impreza in 1999, he gained second place in the Production Cup of the British Rally Championship. In 2001, Richard achieved two international rally wins in the USA in a Mitsubishi EVO. In 2003, Richard’s association with the Porsche marque brought great success when he finished the tough East African Safari Rally for historic cars in third place, driving a classic Porsche 911.
1996 British Junior Rally Champion (Vauxhall Nova)
1999 2nd Production Cup British Rally Championship (Subaru Impreza)
2001 Two international rally wins in USA (Mitsubishi EVO)
2003 3rd Overall East African Safari Rally (3.0 Porsche 911)