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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87 comments
kiraboy86
kiraboy86

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

greenroadster
greenroadster

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

Dasha
Dasha

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

EvolveWRC
EvolveWRC

The Seat Ibiza Kit Car was the king of FWD

bakayaru
bakayaru

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...

AlessandroLwSgreccia
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!

detonater
detonater

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

Serge914
Serge914

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

TheExoDozzMRT
TheExoDozzMRT

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)...

Matiz
Matiz

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

ioncelfals
ioncelfals

i`m late for work because of this

RLee90
RLee90

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.

KBR
KBR

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

izzy_ortiz
izzy_ortiz

This was very thrilling, thank you

 

 

perpetualroad.wordpress.com

EOS
EOS

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 .

FWD4TW
FWD4TW

Rally driving...Like a Mafukin Boss!

BavarianBanshee
BavarianBanshee

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.

markmctavish
markmctavish

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

ylee
ylee

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. 

varilight
varilight

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.

Spike4090
Spike4090

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.

BenD
BenD

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.

roeby
roeby

Very similiar to my commute to work!

RS Anthony
RS Anthony

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.

Budd19
Budd19

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.

Pau_Prat
Pau_Prat

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)

Oldshcoolcat
Oldshcoolcat

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.

shanebrk
shanebrk

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

DaveT
DaveT

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

goon
goon

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 ;)

 

 

zeubmasteur
zeubmasteur

this guy is THE GUY of rallying !!

 

FunctionFirst
FunctionFirst

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.

Curlytop
Curlytop

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.

tis
tis

RWD - drive fast or drift

4WD - drive fast or powerslide

FWD - drive fast only, so yeah its a bit boring than others

xracer6
xracer6

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.

lalandeusse
lalandeusse

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.

MikeFlo
MikeFlo

Redifining the term "dragging ass"

OysteinTeigland
OysteinTeigland

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

datsunsss
datsunsss

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

Shavo26
Shavo26

In France he is the god of driving !

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