5 racers that shone and surprised in 2015


There has been a lot of great performances in 2015, we pick out some that surprised us – 5 great racers from this year – plus a special mention of one more.

Janner Rallye 2015 - RacerViews
Janner Rallye 2015 – RacerViews

1. Kajetan Kajetanowicz and Baran Jarosław

Why: The Polish duo started in fantastic form, blowing the opposition away at the Janner Rallye – winning by minutes in the snowy event.  They then went onto beat the highly fancied Peugeot Academy and managed to put in a great and consistent year. Kajetanowicz has been around for a while, winning in Poland in the past but never really shone in Europe. Until this year. Running the M-Sport Fiesta, they were quick and never made a bad mistake. Worthy Champions and hopefully back for more rally action in 2016.

The facts: European Rally Champion, 3 wins, 3 seconds, 1 third

Porsche Carrera Cup, Phillip Island 2015
Porsche Carrera Cup, Phillip Island 2015

2. Matt Campbell

Why: The Warwick local shot to fame last year winning his category in the second tier Porsche series in Australia. This year he stepped up to the Carrera Cup and immediately showed pace. The loss of his grandfather and career motivator a couple days before the Adelaide round was a touch hurdle but he made it past that and shone, particularly in the second half of the season to take third in the Championship. It is also worth noting that he became the first person to take a pole position for the Ginetta in a national GT Championship.

The facts: 3rd Porsche Carrera Cup Australia (top rookie) including 6 wins, pole positions in Australian GT (first for Ginetta)

WSBK – Phillip Island 2015

3. Jonny Rea

Why: We always knew he had pace and racing for Kawasaki, he was always going to be competitive. But we didn’t know how good the partnership would be.  He made Tom Sykes look a little second rate – the same Tom Sykes that is a World SBK Champion and with luck could have been a three time Champion.  Rea dominated the season, his tyre management was his real strength – building his lead when others were falling off the tyre cliff.

The facts: World SBK Champion, 14 wins, 7 second places, 2 third places (26 races)

ASBK 2015 Morgan Park sbk225
ASBK 2015 Morgan Park

4. Mike Jones

Why: It was always going to be a bit of an odd season in the Australian SBK this year, with many top riders not entering the full season.  But Mike Jones was on fire on his privately run machine.  Smashing the lap record at Morgan Park – more than a second faster than the rest, winning the Championship, beating the factory Honda and Yamaha squads when he competed against them. He has been picked up by Troy Bayliss’ team for the ASBK next year, the Queenslander racer has a bright future.

The facts: Australian SBK Champion (6 wins, 4 third places in 10 races), 4th Swann Series Champion (1 round win), 5th AFX-SBK (1 race win), Phillip Island Championship Champion 

International Rally of Queensland, 2015
International Rally of Queensland, 2015

5. Pontus Tidemand and Emil Axelson

Why: The young Swede newly joined the Skoda WRC2 squad and had to battle against the expereinced Jan Kopeky and highly rated Esapekki Lappi and he did so with gusto.  Moving up from the JWRC in 2013 and a Ford campaign in 2014, he took a great win in Rallye Spain.  What was also impressive was his performance in the Asia Pacific Rally Championship – rallying without error and seeming more impressive than Lappi and Kopeky before him.  This Swede seems to have a big future in the WRC.

The facts:  5th WRC2 (1 win, 2 seconds, 1 third place), APRC Champion (5 wins)

Nasser Al-Attiyah and Matthieu Baumel celebrate their WRC2 title win at Rally Australia
Nasser Al-Attiyah and Matthieu Baumel celebrate their WRC2 title win at Rally Australia

Special mention: Nasser Al Attiyah and Matthieu Baumel

Why: Lowly rated by Crash, not making the Autosport Top 50.  This duo won two World Championships, Dakar and a regional rally championship.  They were mega through the year.  They beat the Skoda parings to take the WRC2 Championship.  While they are well funded, they are not the factory teams and they have talent beyond expectations and people need to rate them very highly.  When they won WRC2 at Rally Australia, they had spent more than a month away from home, and were successful in everything they took part in.  We know that Lewis Hamilton, Seb Ogier and others are great and, personally, I think that Al-Attiyah and Baumel duo should be rated in names such as that.

The facts:  WRC2 Champions (3 wins, 1 third places), Rally Raid World Cup Champion, Middle East Rally Champion, Dakar Car winner

By Sam Tickell, December 2015

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