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GP Week : Issue 4
n Retired two-time World Rally Champion Marcus Gronholm is to make a guest appearance as a zero car driver on the forthcoming Vodafone Rally of Portugal on 9-10 May, again at the wheel of a Ford Focus World Rally Car! Rally of Portugal is one of two events in the country to qualify for the IRC series so this is likely to be the only World Rally Car able to entertain the crowds of spectators in the country this year. n Hungary has never run a top international rally, but the Vezprem Rally has applied to join the candidate list for events counting for a future IRC series. n After a luckless drive in a Fiat Grande Punto S2000 on the world championship Corona Rally Mexico, Skoda test driver Jan Kopecky is to drive a Peugeot 207 S2000 on the Istanbul Rally next weekend. n Gilles Panizzi has withdrawn his entry for Istanbul Rally but hopes to compete instead in the IRC Rally of Portugal. n Bad day for Ferraris in Spain. No fewer than five 360s entered Saturday’s Spanish rally championship qualifier based at Vila Joiosa. Four of the top five places were taken by Peugeot or Fiat Super 2000 cars, a Porsche 997 GT coming third and the top Ferrari was only sixth. Winner was Luis Monzon with a Peugeot. n Piero Longhi has now won the first two rounds of the Italian championship. After the shortened Ciocco Rally he took the San Marino Rally at the weekend, again in a 2006 version Subaru. SPECIAL StAGES SUZUKI is to benefit from an easing of technical requirements for WRC new boys, agreed at last week’s FIA World Motor Sport Council meeting. Precise details have yet to be announced, but World Rally Championship Commission President Morrie Chandler explained: “This will cover quite fundamental aspects of the design such as engines, suspension and gearboxes, so long as there will be no performance advantage and the team can show the FIA that the change is necessary in order to improve reliability.” Following Suzuki’s run of engine failures, the FIA has declared that its team cars can use two more engines this season. It is the only team that can benefit from the rule this year. Suzuki to get concessions Technical tweaks to aid fledgling WRC team BOTH Rally Japan and Wales Rally GB have been postponed by one week. This means that the 2008 championship will not finish until 7 December, the latest it has been since 1980. This leaves little more than a fortnight for promotional purposes before Christmas. Japan/GB delayed a week 10