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GP Week : Issue 1
MISTER Loeb was not the only ‘Sebastien’ in favour within the Citroen team in Mexico. Sebastien Ogier came through to victory in his C2 S1600 in the Junior WRC category, on his first ever world championship rally, in which he led all the way. There were nine entrants in the Junior championship series (all from different countries) who ventured to Mexico. They had a dramatic time. Martin Prokop was the favourite but crashed on the first stage, did a lot of damage, but continued. Twice he lost more time, each occasion because of a broken crankshaft sensor, but he struggled on to finish in the points in seventh place. The 24 year-old who took the lead, Sebastien Ogier, was completely unknown outside his native France before this weekend. A hint of special class was shown by support from the French federation, and he drove a well prepared Super 1600. Another favoured driver arriving with high hopes was 2006 Junior champion Patrik Sandell, whose Renault Clio S1600 was being run by a different team - the Serbian- based Interspeed team - but Sandell’s rally was fraught. For most of Day 1 he had no brakes, dropping from second behind Ogier. He tried to make up for the delays but had punctures and eventually finished fifth. Driving steadily behind the leading Citroen were the Suzukis of Estonian Jaan Molder and the Polish driver Michal Kosciuszko. Molder had traction troubles and Kosciuszko suffered power loss on the higher altitude stages, but both took it in turns to drive flat-out trying to beat each other. Eventually they finished second and third respectively. Aaron Burkart finished fourth after arriving at the end of one stage with his side door dragging on the ground and the occupants plastered with dust. – MARTIN HOLMES Beginner’s Luck Favourites never win: Martin Prockup went into the Mexican round as the pre-event fave, but crashed on the very first stage ... 48