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GP Week : Issue 11
SARDINIA saw Subaru’s World Rally Team take a completely new approach to communication. It was rather innovative. The team banned its members from talking about certain things. Firstly, the plans for launching its S14 rally car on World Championship events. An announcement would be made at the appropriate time in the future, we were assured. Fair enough. Then we became aware of another restriction – no team member was allowed to talk to outsiders about dampers. Coming after a long period when its team members spoke of little else when recounting why there were delays on stages, or even, as in Jordan, a spectacular fire when a damper failed, there clearly wasn’t going to be much conversation with the Subaru team. David Richards, the team principal, told anyone who asked the question that pre- event development work had successfully eliminated the problems of the dampers experienced in Jordan. This referred to the weakness in the hose connecting the damper body with the inboard mounted hydraulic reservoir. But there was absolutely no way that the general performance deterioration, apparently inherent to the Subaru’s dampers, had been eliminated as well. Desperate situations demanded desperate measures ... “You have not told me why the split times showed you were getting slower through the stages”, one would ask. “Can’t say.” “Don’t know, or mustn’t say the dreaded word?” “Something like that!” That was getting too close to the embargo. Body language was next. The motion of the head. “Do you have problems like this?” we asked, moving the head up and down as we spoke. An unspoken reply moving the head upwards and downwards indicated the dampers were still giving trouble. If this game continues into 2010 we have a problem that I really don’t know how to solve. One of the curious characteristics about Bulgaria, where the World Championship is to go that year, is that for Bulgarians the up and down movement of the head means ‘no’ and the sideways movement means ‘yes.’ That is when I fear our rally reports might be inaccurate. Unless, as we are assured, the new S14 Impreza World Rally Car will cure all known ills. 1 Sebastien Loen Citroen Daniel Elena 3:37:17.2 2 Mikko Hirvonen Ford Jarmo Lehtinen +10.6s 3 Jari-Matti Latvala Ford Miikka Anttila +15.3s 4 Gigi Galli Ford G. Bernacchini +1:42.5s 5 Dani Sordo Citroen Marc Marti +2:05.6s 6 Chris Atkinson Subaru Stephane Prevot +5:08.6s 7 Henning Solberg Ford Cato Menkerud +6:01.0s 8 Urmo Aava Citroen Kuldar Sikk +6:21.3s RALLY d’ITALIA Points: Hirvonen 43, Loeb 40, Atkinson 31, Latvala 24, Sordo 21, Galli 17. MARTIn Holmes Rallies editor o p in io n Body language beats the spoken tongue every time WRC ITALIA >> 43