httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=asKuYgAcyIk

Front wheel drive or wrong wheel drive as some like to sneer, has long been the undeserved victim of much criticism. Understeer, torque steer etc. are the usual phrases thrown about, along with lines like ‘the front wheels are for steering only’. I can probably guess however that the people who utter this nonsense have never had the privilege of seeing what a sorted FWD car is capable of…

On that note, let me introduce you to Jean Ragnotti. A Monte Carlo and Tour de Corse winner, Ragnotti is not only a Group B veteran but also has the rather impressive moniker of ‘God on Tarmac’. He may not have the infamy of his fellow countryman, monsieur Loeb, but make no mistake that the man is magic behind the wheel of a car. This video pays tribute to some of his best moments behind the wheel of his Renault Clio Maxi, the Group A7K 250+BHP two litre naturally aspirated and front wheel drive monster.

If you’ve never experienced Jeannot before, you’re in for a treat. My personal favourite moment comes at around the 4m10s mark. If ever there was a perfect example of #MAXIMUMATTACK…


Paddy McGrath
paddy@dev.speedhunters.com

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104 comments

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1

ragnotti is one of the best if not the best FWD rally driver in the world. he gave 4x4 group a cars run for their money.

2

omg that car is beast.

3

it's amazing how this car has no torque steer or under steer what so ever

4

great but would be greater in an awd yes the cra looks fun but its missing something out of those corners...

5
RapeeLeepraditwan

He nuts!  He drive that understeer monster like nothing.

6

In France he is the god of driving !

7

That car is a good choice too : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eEi3PLeEARs

8

The man sure can pedal a motor car... Very impressive.

9

Madness

10

Think how cool he would have looked in a 300bph AWD car!

11

@BoostNAbler 
That car had plenty of understeer, possible to see in more than one place, but it has a proper LSD up front and he was clearly active with the handbrake to compensate.

12

Redifining the term "dragging ass"

13

holy cow.
 
drifting is immeasurably more impressive when it's on uneven terrain in a psycho revving fwd car with spectators shins within about a foot of your front and rear bumpers.

14

@BoostNAbler It had so much understeer did you watch the video?

15

Awesome articles guys great way to unite us enthusiasts and get us to apreciate ALL types of cars no matter the year, drivetrain, bodystyle, national origin, or engine type. This is what this site is all about. If it's fun its Speedhunters aproved. Epic video.

16

RWD - drive fast or drift
4WD - drive fast or powerslide
FWD - drive fast only, so yeah its a bit boring than others

17

Epic. The grip out of some corners was surprising. He must of bin driving with one hand on the wheel and one on the Handbrake ! Crazy.

18

I remember when I used to talk down about FWD. Then I went to a national autocross (solo) event and went for a ride in an STX-prepped Honda CRX. I shut my mouth after that.

19

THIS is rallying !!!

Author20

@OysteinTeigland It most certainly would have been a much tamer affair...

Author21

@Curlytop I think he has extra arms, like Goro in Mortal Kombat. Must be a PITA to get a race suit that fits.

Author22

@patxsport Jeannot has been putting manners on AWD cars for many, many years including on one or two occasions during Group B. I think 2WD is his thing :)

Author23

@lalandeusse ...and more often than not with less than an ideal amount of wheels in contact with the road.

24

this guy is THE GUY of rallying !!

25

I won't even bother arguing with people here, but Paddy forget your 4 minute 10 second mark point of the video and go to 1 minute 9 seconds ;)

26

I'm with Paddy on this one, he wouldn't have looked nearly as cool. The cool factor of this is taming an unlikely beast.

27

I have seen all I need to see on the Internet this week.

28

I remember this from the driver.ie days. Pure Epic

29

@PaddyMcGrath  @patxsport Actualy he won the frensh superturing in a renault 21 turbo 4x4 -http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KdYCKlW0nNI:) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oo_C-4QfsbM

30

FWD cars are not boring, But if youre comparing FWD cars to RWD or AWD cars that are on the same level , than yes they are more boring than the competition.

Author31

@RicardoCosta  @patxsport I never said he didn't race 4WD, just that he's known for his 2WD antics. The Renault 5 Maxi is RWD by the way...

32

There are boring FWD cars, boring 4WD cars and boring RWD cars.
 
I like FWD cars, but it seems to me that the modern ones have lost the off-throttle adjustability that made them so great. A 306 or a Saxo with its autodirectional rear axle was an absolute laugh to drive, in fact Clarkson put the 106 GTI (Which had the same axle) as one of the best handling cars...     In the wooorld.(Sorry I could'n't help it XDD)

33

While that's impressive, I've seen footage of him doing even more frightening moves, threading the needle through a village after coming in on the speed limiters, sideways in the air. The man is on a completely different level. He was born to drive FWD, anything else would be a waste of his talents.

34

@PaddyMcGrath  @patxsport I dind't said you didin't, he drove anything, anything renault.The Maxi video is just for the pure class  of Jean :)

35

What does this video show? A very experienced and talented racing driver. Using a purpose built vehicle. On a closed road. In a competition. In other words: nothing close to the everyday life of moft. This is not the kind of thing any trivial driver can enjoy. This is not the usual daily commute or sunday drive kind of fun for most people. And this is what bothers me with FWD. In order to have real fun you need 1- a race track or 2- to push things to an extent that is way reprehensible on public roads. Now give me RWD. I don't have to drive like 20 miles above the limits to feel how superior this layout is with regards to steering feel, weight distribution, etc. Just give me rain and an industrial area. I will have more fun sideways at 30 mph than trying to avoid terminal understeer at 60.
FWD can be good. Some rally or WTCC cars prove it. But we're talking racing cars here. For everyday, RWD is just easier to have fun with, even at slower speeds.

36

Very similiar to my commute to work!

37

@OysteinTeigland @BoostNAbler But you can never have to much handbrake! AHA, as any Top Gear viewer will know, there will of been a huge queue of women waiting to jump on him when he emerged from the car. Quite clever really.

38

Maybe it's my driving, but precise steering feel, weight distribution, etc is usually observed when pushing the car a bit. Slow acceleration to 25 miles an hour will feel mostly the same, regardless if you're in a Prius or a Pantera (disregard your sense of hearing and sight). Changing lanes on the freeway at 55 miles an hour will generally feel the same. The way driving laws/restrictions are set up, every car is meant to feel the same. 
 
You're also forgetting autocross. Loads of fun at low speeds. 
 
Just give me an industrial area and some cones. I will have more fun dodging cones and honing my skills than trying to avoid terminal oversteer at low speeds in a parking lot.
I'm not trying to put rear wheel drive down, just playing a bit of devil's advocate.

39

When speedhunters start the fwd week ,i was thinking of Jean Ragnotti and this particuliar video ...and you made it !!!
In France Jean is very well known for is talent to make the show on any rally stage by throwing his car on mad sideways.He is a very funny guy out of the car too.
I was always impress to see he could beat some better awd cars.
FWD can be fun ,take some old school fwd hot hatch like a 205 gti (because i got one) ,you don't have to go really fast to do some lift oversteer and have the back of your car trying to go to the front.I'm sure old clio or golf or all pug from that era do the same.

40

FWD is still boring, sorry Paddy. To say it isn't, is like saying Ken Block is fast. It's just something that isn't true.

41

@LegacyCT Hahaha well said man, well said!

42

Up to a certain power limit FWD is just as competitive as any other drivetrain layout. However I can't think of many people who would go out of their way and choose a FWD over the others.

43

For the ones that say FWD are boring, go out and drive one on the track. You will definitely enjoy it. Most FWD haters have never experienced a FWD car.  A friend of mine (he owns a z06) used to always hate FWD cars. One day, i got him a chance at driving another friend's car (turbo EG). that changed his perspective for life.

44
get a new job paddy

that was LITERALLY the most boring rally video ever. time to ignore every article paddy mcgrath every pukes onto a computer.
 
LMFAO

45

@goon It probably is your driving then because I can't think of any RWD cars which have "terminal oversteer" at low speeds. Also the examples you give are not very relatable as who would compare these rather mundane acts in different drivetrain layouts?

46

That's something that not very many people could do.  Out standing control and commitment!

47

@ylee I think a lot of the "haters" are just saying comparatively that FWD is boring compared to the other layouts.

48

In my opinion, there are plenty of great FWD cars but, as a drivetrain, it's very flawed. I have a newfound respect for FWD but my opinion has not changed and it never will.

49

Rally driving...Like a Mafukin Boss!

50

When these F2 cars competed in WRC, they were often quicker than the 4wd turbo cars on dry tarmac. Fact . They also sounded incredible and were more entertaining to watch on those stages . This man and a few others like him were the reason why, just awesome .

51

This was very thrilling, thank you
 
 
perpetualroad.wordpress.com

52

@Bentmafk  @BoostNAbler 
 
i always thought that you could correct understeer with a stiffer/larger rear sway bar????

53

@SeanStott  @Bentmafk  @BoostNAbler that will help for static-state understeer, and provoke more lift-off oversteer. however, sometimes you just can't outwit physics; there's only so much traction available to the front two wheels, and in times of high load lateral & axial, FWD will understeer.

54

@varilight  @goon my mistake, meant say "on slippery surfaces at low speeds", referring to his industrial area/rain example. And the reason I gave those seemingly mundane acts is because that is all that is done on most people's daily commutes ( in response to his point about the video not pertaining to everyday life. In everyday life, A/F/RWD plays little role)--slow driving and lane changes.

55

@that4AGsound Audi TT-RS VLN. Probably the best FWD car ever, also dominates RWD's

56

FWD dominates RWD in WTCC.

57

@somebodysb2 isn't that because the lack of entries of RWD?

58

@somebodysb2 @that4AGsound A brilliant car, which I didn't know existed however I doubt the domination.

59

@varilight  @somebodysb2 Not really. It's because of a few reasons. In low-power classes, there's not much advantage RWD has over FWD. Also, the drivers of the RWD BMW WTCC cars can't hop curbs to lift the inside drive wheel from the ground then land while still planted in the throttle otherwise they risk breaking the half shaft. There's also a slight but noticeable weight disadvantage of the BMW 3-series WTCC chassis. They just can't reduce any more weight from the chassis. The FWD cars take better advantage of lifting the inside drive wheel over curbs to corner faster without putting enough stress to break driveshafts.

60

SWEET BABY JESUS! thats one pissed off little car! great driving skills!!!

61

@RLee90  @varilight Also, FWD can be saved extremely easily. In WTCC 2012, we have seen countless examples of "pedal to the metal" car control from the likes of Muller, Tarquini, etc. RWD on the other hand is just an On/Off switch. So 400HP and under touring car application, FWD wins. Easily. 
 
I say 400 because BTCC 2013 overboost will allow that figure.

62

When properly sorted, driven well, and placed in competition in the right class, FWD doesn't really have much of a disadvantage. I drive a FWD car and enjoy it, but I know it's not ideal in many performance driving situations. At least it's easier and more forgiving to drive. Just can't really adjust rotation and rear slip angle like you can with RWD. BTW, Renault makes some of the best-performing FWD cars besides Honda. I wish they could sell their cars in the U.S.

63

i`m late for work because of this

64

@get a new job paddy Oh I know!! Who the hell gave this guy permission to spout off about "blah blah fwd is better than rwd".

65

The small, French hatches of the 90's had a lively rear end. No racetrack required, though you might want to…Here show with the fun Saxo VTS. 
 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DYjG-jCDaMY

66

There's one LITLLE secret- it is named quick steering rack :] Then you maybe can consider fwd as a fun to drive.
 
As many pepole said before- yeah, advantages, but "normal" fwd is still booring to drive.Only for kanjo racing :P

67

RWD sideways RT @SPEEDHUNTERS So FWD is boring, huh? http://t.co/OxaFS5Xx3O

68

RWD sideways RT @SPEEDHUNTERS So FWD is boring, huh? http://t.co/OxaFS5Xx3O

69

@KBR 
If you want more:Best for me: with the clio wiliams GrA (approx 220cv) :
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oXNrzqaau1Q
With a R8 Gordini 1300 (110 cv) and after 3 min, with a r5 Turbo (Both rwd) :
  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RIxxwtkns1g
It's a showman, see how he celebrates the first victory of the 21 turbo superprod (AWD) : http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x8aiyg_r21-turbo-superprod-360-par-jean-ra_auto#.UTCTRDA02NA

70

@KBR 
If you want more:Best for me: with the clio wiliams GrA (approx 220cv) :
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oXNrzqaau1Q
With a R8 Gordini 1300 (110 cv) and after 3 min, with a r5 Turbo (Both rwd) :
  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RIxxwtkns1g
It's a showman, see how he celebrates the first victory of the 21 turbo superprod (AWD) : http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x8aiyg_r21-turbo-superprod-360-par-jean-ra_auto#.UTCTRDA02NA

71

@somebodysb2  @that4AGsound  got a feature on that one coming today :)

72

@somebodysb2  @that4AGsound  got a feature on that one coming today :)

73
GuillaumedelaBastie

@Budd19 I live in France and have seen the man in action with many different cars on stage and on track. Take a look at his videos in Renaut 5 turbo, RWD with insane ON/OFF action, he is just as entertaining to watch. Mr. Ragnotti was probably born with a wheel in his hands and a clear capacity to make any car go like hell ! Also that little Clio Maxi was one of the (or the) best FWD in its time. Still often beats the crap out of many newer cars in uphill racing.

74
GuillaumedelaBastie

@Budd19 I live in France and have seen the man in action with many different cars on stage and on track. Take a look at his videos in Renaut 5 turbo, RWD with insane ON/OFF action, he is just as entertaining to watch. Mr. Ragnotti was probably born with a wheel in his hands and a clear capacity to make any car go like hell ! Also that little Clio Maxi was one of the (or the) best FWD in its time. Still often beats the crap out of many newer cars in uphill racing.

75

I saw Ragnotti last year at Charade for "Tour Auto Optic 2000" with an Alpine A110 1600s, just amazing how he drove the last corner : sideways!
Our french cars are amazing and not only with a race set up, just the basic Clio of my best friend's mom is funny to drive (900kg-90cv)...

76

I saw Ragnotti last year at Charade for "Tour Auto Optic 2000" with an Alpine A110 1600s, just amazing how he drove the last corner : sideways!
Our french cars are amazing and not only with a race set up, just the basic Clio of my best friend's mom is funny to drive (900kg-90cv)...

77

I used to drive a Civic with a Mugen LSD. It bring FWD to a different level of control and traction.

79

Wow...    Just WOW!  You sir, are a legend!

80
AlessandroLwSgreccia

can i make a small specification? The kit cars are not really A7 (or A7k) group cars but they're used to be in K11 class because there were some differences from the A7s (2000cc); i know that in some rally races the organizers put those cars in the A7 or A7k class but it's not correct. 
One of the most important differences is the power of the engine, generally the A7s reach 220-230 hp (officially XD) instead the K11s can reach also 270-300 hp ; maybe the clio maxi has not all that power but  for sure the peugeot 306 maxi evo2 and the renault megane maxi have power around the 300 hp. Another difference is the displacement of the engine (2000cc for the A7s and from 2200cc to 2500cc for the kits).
Considering this,  the kit cars in a tarmac special stage can be fast as the old A8 cars or old wrc (in the right hands obviously ^^).
You can imagine this absurd situation (in the past years, especially in Italy my country) with some drivers in "normal" A7 cars and others driving a K11 in the same class!
 
Anyway i'm just a rally enthusiast =) I love your blog guys! And when you post this kind of things i love you even more!
 
see ya!

Author81

@AlessandroLwSgreccia Great information Alessandro, thank you!
 
I think the early Clio Maxi was 'officially' around 250BHP with the later versions exceeding 275BHP so perhaps this is why the car might have appeared in two separate classes over time?

82
AlessandroLwSgreccia

@PaddyMcGrath ahah good question! well honestly i don't know. We should read the old rally entry list. But i believe that in the world rally races we will find those cars in the Kit class and in the local races we could find this sort of contraddiction.
Generally, when the official teams bring some evolution, the car should remain in the same class...well unless the evolution has been created to make this car pass a further class, but i don't know if this is the case of the kit cars. We should also consider that the kit cars in the omologation documents are an extention of the group A cars with some "special" (and really expensive) parts.
Probably also this aspect plays a role in the confusion of the rally event organizers.
The kit cars are my favourite rally cars, i mean i love turbos but the sensations that gives you the scream of those engines coming from the valley is something special for me :D

83

@PaddyMcGrath  @AlessandroLwSgreccia 
The differences between Gr A and Kit cars are not on the displacement.
Compared to Gr A, kit cars were entitled to Modify the original body by extending and using aerodynamic appendages.
The kit should be produced by the manufacturer
For the engine, they could change the intake manifold to replace the original ones on Gr A, which limited engine power by 4 throttle bodies.
The wheels were no longer limited to only 2 inches longer than series.
The recipe was simple enough and that was the goal, it was necessary that GrA reach a level of performance consistent with the price they reached.
With a big admission, wide track, large wheels and a big spoiler, the result was good too: same power as the wrc and lighter.

84
AlessandroLwSgreccia

@PaddyMcGrath well i'm sure that the kits have other things omologated for the engine like pistons, conrods, 4 throttle bodies for example. It's a big difference because for a group A you can take the stock engine and if you don't have enough money you can prepare conrods, pistons, cranckshaft from the original pieces by your own. The concept of the kit car is precisely in the kit wich is sold and built by the manifacturer. But the difference is bigger from a gr.A

85

Rally hatches are the reason I like cars. Thanks for this! I'm glad the hipsters hate FWD right now, so I can buy FWD cars/parts cheap! Most people don't realize, that if they ever tried a rally themselves, they'd know that FWD on tarmac and tight courses is easier/better than AWD. RWD is no fun at all for rally. Then again, most kids on SH have only raced in videogames...

86

The Seat Ibiza Kit Car was the king of FWD

87

The Seat Ibiza Kit Car was the king of FWD

88

I now have a much greater respect for FWD cars after seeing this

89

So much skill in that video.
Car wise I prefer the Peugeot 306 Maxi though. :P http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eEi3PLeEARs
 
oh and people who say FWD is boring are ignorant imho.

90

So much skill in that video.
Car wise I prefer the Peugeot 306 Maxi though. :P http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eEi3PLeEARs
 
oh and people who say FWD is boring are ignorant imho.

91

So much skill in that video.
Car wise I prefer the Peugeot 306 Maxi though. :P http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eEi3PLeEARs
 
oh and people who say FWD is boring are ignorant imho.

92

So much skill in that video.
Car wise I prefer the Peugeot 306 Maxi though. :P http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eEi3PLeEARs
 
oh and people who say FWD is boring are ignorant imho.

93

Yes "normal" FWD are boring, not drifty (...depends on what normal is ;) ) etc... but they are much faster on little road ;) I am driving FWD and RWD on little roads of Provence in France everyday. Clio RS1 or 205 GTi are burning any RWD on that kind of roads... just the AWD are challenging ;) After it is matter of driving skills too, and habits. Jean Ragnotti was flying with his RWD Renault 5 Turbo in Group B :) For me one of the 5 best pilot ever, all categories considered!

94

Yes "normal" FWD are boring, not drifty (...depends on what normal is ;) ) etc... but they are much faster on little road ;) I am driving FWD and RWD on little roads of Provence in France everyday. Clio RS1 or 205 GTi are burning any RWD on that kind of roads... just the AWD are challenging ;) After it is matter of driving skills too, and habits. Jean Ragnotti was flying with his RWD Renault 5 Turbo in Group B :) For me one of the 5 best pilot ever, all categories considered!

95

Yes "normal" FWD are boring, not drifty (...depends on what normal is ;) ) etc... but they are much faster on little road ;) I am driving FWD and RWD on little roads of Provence in France everyday. Clio RS1 or 205 GTi are burning any RWD on that kind of roads... just the AWD are challenging ;) After it is matter of driving skills too, and habits. Jean Ragnotti was flying with his RWD Renault 5 Turbo in Group B :) For me one of the 5 best pilot ever, all categories considered!

96

Yes "normal" FWD are boring, not drifty (...depends on what normal is ;) ) etc... but they are much faster on little road ;) I am driving FWD and RWD on little roads of Provence in France everyday. Clio RS1 or 205 GTi are burning any RWD on that kind of roads... just the AWD are challenging ;) After it is matter of driving skills too, and habits. Jean Ragnotti was flying with his RWD Renault 5 Turbo in Group B :) For me one of the 5 best pilot ever, all categories considered!

97

@AlessandroLwSgreccia Is my memory correct that Francois Delacour was also the first driver to win a WRC event outright in a FWD Citroen Xsara Kit Car? I want to say that was mid-90s at a tarmac event, but the issue of Autosport detailing the rally is in someone else's home library now...

98

@AlessandroLwSgreccia Is my memory correct that Francois Delacour was also the first driver to win a WRC event outright in a FWD Citroen Xsara Kit Car? I want to say that was mid-90s at a tarmac event, but the issue of Autosport detailing the rally is in someone else's home library now...

99
AlessandroLwSgreccia

@GregSampson  @AlessandroLwSgreccia ahah man you have a great memory here you are the answer.  i found this ;) http://www.rallyedefrance.com/palmares honestly i didn't remember the past victories but for sure i can say two things, Delecour was only an official peugeot driver in fact he drove the 306 maxi but Bugalsky (RIP) was the official Citroen driver. He drove the Xara maxi kit and i found that he won in 1999 the Tour de Corse and Rally RACC (Catalunya). All tarmac rallyes ;) Panizzi and Delecour drove the 306 maxi.

100
AlessandroLwSgreccia

@GregSampson  @AlessandroLwSgreccia ahah man you have a great memory here you are the answer.  i found this ;) http://www.rallyedefrance.com/palmares honestly i didn't remember the past victories but for sure i can say two things, Delecour was only an official peugeot driver in fact he drove the 306 maxi but Bugalsky (RIP) was the official Citroen driver. He drove the Xara maxi kit and i found that he won in 1999 the Tour de Corse and Rally RACC (Catalunya). All tarmac rallyes ;) Panizzi and Delecour drove the 306 maxi.

101

Talk about "throwing a car arround a corner"....At 1:06 - 1:11 the pilot is think out of box and into the woods....

102

good night ken block en France nous avons de trés bon pilote ^^

103

To pull off these stunts, you better have the same car as him. In a stock eurobox, you crash onto a tree purposely before dying of boredom.

104

You, sir, are 110% right.

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