M-SPORT Ford World Rally team leader, Irishman Craig Breen, says he couldn’t have hoped for a better run into the 2022 season than the intensive testing programme he’s just completed with the Puma Hybrid WRC Rally1.
Craig’s last run in the 2021 season was way back in October when he was third in Rally Finland driving for Hyundai. Shortly after that podium finish, he signed a two-year deal with M-Sport Ford to lead the team into the 2022 Championship and since signing he has been testing with his new team.
Craig missed the last rounds of last year’s Championship as he was not contracted to drive but believes that the break has done him and his teammate – Killarney’s Paul Nagle – the world of good, allowing them to focus even earlier on the new car. Paul believes the additional test sessions will stand him in good stead ahead of the first round, from January 20 to 23 in Monte-Carlo.

Paul has now tested the Puma on all surfaces, completing his final test of the year on snow in northern Finland in December. He believes that the time he spent in Rovaniemi had been useful in getting to grips with the set-up of the suspension and differentials. Paul said: “We were really just scanning through all of the set-up options we have. It’s gone well. It was great to get the car into the snow and see how it felt.
“Looking back now, I’m really, really pleased with the way the testing has gone. I feel really at home with the team and the car now, and we’re ready to get going, I can’t wait for Monte Carlo.”
The Ford team will field four cars at Rally Monte Carlo, with Adrien Fourmaux, Gus Greensmith and multiple world champion Sébastien Loeb all joining team leader Breen for the first round of what is a new era in rallying.
Good luck. boys.

Drivers: get ready for Highway Code changes


THERE are several additions to the Highway Code for 2022. Although (subject to parliamentary approval) many of these changes are coming into effect on January the 29th, few if any road users know anything about them. Until now that is.
There is a change to the hierarchy on the road: pedestrians, then cyclists, horse riders, motorcyclists, cars and taxis, vans and minibuses, then larger buses, and finally lorries will be the order of the day.
There are new rules for drivers to observe in relation to cyclists:  drivers must maintain a 1.5m distance when overtaking and cyclists should ride in single file when drivers wish to overtake.
It will become illegal to flash your lights at other drivers and, believe it or not, there will be a new way to open your car door when inside. It’s called the Dutch Reach method when the driver’s left hand opens the door, so the body turns towards the direction of approaching traffic to check if it is clear.
Tougher laws on using your mobile phone while driving will come into force. It's already illegal to call or text while driving, other than in an emergency. But from 2022, laws will ban drivers from using their phones to take photos or videos, scroll through playlists or play games. Anyone caught using their hand-held device while driving will face a £200 fixed penalty notice and six points on their licence. Hands-free devices such as a sat nav will still be able to be used if they are secured in a mounted holder.
Parking on pavements could be banned, Scotland has already passed a bill to outlaw all parking on pavements, but tougher rules could apply here in the coming year if Stormont get their act together.
And finally, in a bid to improve road safety, from the 6th of July 2022, new cars will be fitted with speed limiters. The Intelligent Speed Assistance black boxes will use GPS to work out what the speed limit is and will then ensure the car doesn't break it. Watch this space for more information – Big Brother could be watching you.

Classic cars aren’t the financial banker you might think



HAGERTY, an American automotive lifestyle and membership company and the world's largest provider of specialty insurance for classic cars  and motorcycles, are recognised as experts in all things classic.
With classic cars being recommended as investment opportunities, in December 2020 the Hagerty valuations team identified 10 classic and collectable cars that they believed car enthusiasts should keep their eye on during the year with a view to investment. So, one year on, did the experts get it right? Five cars increased in value, two remained unchanged and three lost value.
One car we might have thought was a good bet was the Aston Martin DB7, valued in 2020 at £31,580, one year on the price guide is still £31,580 meaning no increase at all. The old Mini Cooper 997cc was valued at the outset at £24,100, and with a current value of £26,500 saw a ten per cent increase; and yes that figure is right – early-60s 997cc minis are selling for more than £26k, with two much sought after 1275cc models having been sold for £50k plus.
A Ferrari 328, with a 2020 value of £80,650, fell slightly to £79,750. A Ford Focus, valued initially at £1,400, showed a modest increase over the duration of the test, the tracked Focus model was the 1.6 litre Zetec and ST models did much better over the period.

Inspector Morse would be glad to see his preferred car, the Jaguar MKII, showed a 20 per cent rise from £27,700 to £33,234. Incredible to think that Minis are selling for the same price as a Mk I Jaguar. Old Land Rover Discoverys held their value still valued at £9,800. Mercedes-Benz SLSs fell in value, valued at the outset at £166,500 and falling to £163,500, showing that selecting a high value prestige classic doesn’t guarantee a profit.
One of my old favourites, the Porsche 944, didn’t do so well ,dropping ten per cent from £17,550 to £15,700. The ever-popular Renault 5 GT Turbo showed a modest increase from £17,700 to £18.500, a similar percentage rise to the much-followed Toyota MR2 which rose from a lowly £4,100 to £4,200.
This all goes to prove that there is no such thing as a certainty in classic cars. I have owned classic cars for more than 10 years and have learned to buy the type of car I like, that way I can enjoy it, then if I lose some money, it doesn’t really matter. Happy classic motoring.