At the starting line was the Leaf, the Roadster, four Citroen C-Zeros, two Peugeot iOns and a couple of converted electric rides. When the dust settled, it was the Nissan Leaf that captured the Oresund Rally title.
If you just went to go look up the top speeds of the participating vehicles and were wondering how this could happen, there's one importatnt point to make: the Oresund Rally is not an ultimate speed type of event. Rather, it's a regularity rally, meaning that the overall objective is to arrive at each destination on time. There are checkpoints along the rally's route and even a tenth of a second too slow or fast results in a penalty. The team with the least penalty points wins the event.
The Leaf, with 182 penalty points, trounced the competition with the next closest competitor scoring 451 points. Meanwhile, the Tesla Roadster Sport was penalized to the tune of 6,100 points. And in last place, a converted Fiat 500 racked up 8,000 points. These types of timed events are a consistent driver's dream and a lead-footer's nightmare. It's all the more difficult to hold back from gunning a Roadster whenever you have the chance, so we can understand if the driver racked up 6,000 points in exchange for some pleasure.
This weekend Nissan Nordic entered a Danish Nissan LEAF team into the Oresund Rally- an EV rally- and soundly beat all competitors, including two Citroën C-Zeros, a Tesla Roadster and several Peugeot iOns.
The inaugural Oresund Electric Car Rally took place in Denmark and Sweden from September 10th to 11th, featuring some of the best regularity rally drivers in the region. Besides Nissan, other established electric car brands such as Citroën, Peugeot, and Tesla competed to win this prestigious title; but it was the best car in Europe and the World that secured the title after the two-day event. The Nissan LEAF can now add yet another first prize to its resume - as the Oresund Electric Car Rally 2011 Champion.
The Oresund Electric Car Rally is not a TSD (Time Speed Distance) rally such as those you can see on Eurosport- with dirt flying and cars jumping- but a regularity rally which means that the objective is to be on time. There are check points along the predefined route and even a tenth of a second too slow or too fast will result in a penalty. Therefore, in regularity rallies the co-driver is even more important than the driver than in a 'normal' rally, because it is the co-driver who ensures that the speed is just right to be on time - every time. Additionally, the rally is conducted on public roads, in order to mimic a normal driving experience and make it extra-challenging for the drivers to comply with the predefined time check points.
Nissan faced a tough competition with electric cars coming from some of the world's biggest car manufacturers. That did not hold Nissan back however, and already on the first race day, it became clear that the Nissan team were in it to win. By the end of Saturday the Nissan LEAF team was leading the race, and when early Sunday arrived, it became clear to many that the Nissan team would triumph; beating Citroën's two C-Zero's, and Peugeot and Tesla respectively in the process.
According to Nissan Nordic Europe's Communications Director, Taina Erkkilä, the EV rally win in Denmark summed up Nissan LEAF's position in the EV market quite perfectly: "Winning is always nice but winning against all the other EV manufacturers is great - and it showcased the Nissan LEAF strongpoint very well, a reliable and exciting car that will get you where you want on time. I want to thank Peter Hal and the whole Nissan Denmark organization for bringing together the winning rally team and their huge effort to make this win happen."
The team behind the success:
The winning Nissan team consisted of Danish rally combo Tim Svanholt (driver) and Bjarne Kristensen (co-driver and observer). Both of them are talented and recognized rally drivers, who between them have many years of experience. Most recently, Tim Svanholt won the Danish Rally Championship in 2009, and has several times been awarded the title "Rally Driver of the Year". At the Oresund Rally the two drivers really showed their worth and proved once again that they are among the best in their field.