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GP Week : 06-May-2008
Wilks tests Honda ahead of Canberra Rally THE second round of the FIA’s Asia-Pacific championship is run this weekend around Canberra in Australia. The international event is mostly made up of Mitsubishi and Subaru Group N cars, with one special addition – a Honda Civic Type R Class R3 car. The only two-wheel-drive car on the event, running number 13, is to be driven by British champion Guy Wilks. Wilks had his first encounter with the Honda at a test session on asphalt roads near Sanremo in Italy recently. “I am not sure what to expect” Wilks said, whose international rally experience is mostly at the wheel of front drive Suzuki S1600 cars. “We still have a lot to learn about the car and the terrain”. He will have two more days of testing before the start of the event. This gravel road event will see the first APRC appearance this year for Subaru driver Cody Crocker, as he starts his quest to win the title for a third successive time. He runs Number 1 in front of championship leader Katsuhiko Taguchi (Mitsubishi), who won the opening round in nearby New Caledonia. The event also coincides with the second round of the Australian Rally Championship, which is currently led by Simon Evans in a Toyota Corolla Super 2000. THE third round of the 2008 Intercontinental Rally Challenge series takes place this weekend in the Algarve region of Portugal. The star entry is 49- year-old former world rally champion Didier Auriol. He is making his first major appearance on an international championship rally since he retired from full-time rallying since the end of his career with Skoda in 2003. Auriol is planning to contest four rounds of the IRC this year in a Fiat Grande Punto S2000 run by Grifone. For a driver whose professional career had been largely spent at the wheel of turbocharged cars, the normally aspirated Fiat is a different challenge. “It is harder to drive,” he confirmed. “You have to stay higher in the revs all the time. It is completely different to drive than a World Rally Car, but we are going to have fun in the car!” Auriol has not been completely absent from the sport over the last four years. He contested the promotional Rally of Portugal in 2005, made a one-off appearance that year in Monte Carlo and drove the Monza Rally and Jamaica Rallies as well. The rally will start with a superspecial in downtown Faro on Thursday evening, with orthodox stages being held on the Friday and Saturday. Auriol to headline IRC Former World Champ to headline Portugal rally M ar tin H olm es WRC news >>