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GP Week : Issue 5
THE FIA's 2008 Asia-Pacific (APRC) regional series kicks off on in the Melanesian island of New Caledonia (which lies in a line between Fiji and Australia). This traditional rally is based at Noumea where there is a superspecial stage, then in two separate regions further up the coast. Conditions are hugely dependent on the climatic conditions. When the weather is wet, the stickiness of the mud on this event is legendary! This year's APRC is expected to witness a close fight between Cody Crocker, who is seeking a third successive title, and fellow Australian Scott Pedder, new to the series, and Dean Herridge. This year sees a stronger Australian presence in the series but regular contenders also come from New Zealand, Indonesia, Russia and Japan. Registration requires competitors to undertake to contest six of the seven events, and several have already opted to begin their challenge on the second event, the Canberra Rally in Australia. Japanese drivers Katsuhiko Taguchi (Mitsubishi) and Hiroshi Yanagisawa (Subaru) are the first competitors off the start ramp in Noumea. Crocker's first event will be the second round. New Caledonia to kick off Asia-Pacific series THERE is still silence on the subject of Pirelli's proposed worldwide ‘Find-a-Driver’ scheme, which is to be based on the four FIA regional championships. The opening rounds of the African championship and the Middle East series were held many weeks ago, the opening round of the European series was held this weekend and the first round of the Asia-Pacific series runs next weekend, and so far no details have been issued. Running this bold initiative was part of Pirelli's control tyre supply agreement with the FIA, and the FIA are said to have confirmed the plan at the March 26 WMSC meeting. Late in 2007 Pirelli's Motorsport Director Paul Hembery explained the auxiliary help which the tyre company is giving to the sport. The idea is to promote five drivers from outside the world championship, taking two drivers from the European series and then one each from the other three series. The chosen drivers will be given the opportunity in 2009 to drive five or six rounds of the world championship in a Super 2000 or Group N car on a variety of surfaces. Pirelli Running Late 13 WRC news >>