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GP Week : Issue 12
WRC news >> Higgins uses old ‘spare’ to win Jim Clark THREE times British rally champion Mark Higgins swopped a new MG Super 2000 in which he started his 2008 challenge for an older Subaru Impreza – and gained maximum points on the second round of the series. The all-asphalt and very fast Jim Clark Memorial Rally, the only event on the British mainland run over closed public roads, was as usual a double event, qualifying also for the Irish-based Global Group Tarmac championship, which admits World Rally Cars. The rally was won by the Subaru Impreza WRC Irish driver Eamonn Boland who headed Tim McNulty in a similar car and Gareth MacHale in a Focus WRC, leaving Higgins fourth in the overall standings. There were dramas galore. British Championship leader Guy Wilks made a great start, running second overall before suffering a broken propshaft which damaged the fuel tank causing the car to be consumed by fire. Wilks’ Mitsubishi teammate Philip Morrow rolled on the first corner of the event, restarted, but then suffered a minor fire and the car was withdrawn. Boland lost time with a spin at the place where Morrow (and others) had crashed and set about catching McNulty who held the lead until three stages from the end. McNulty suffered a series of minor delays which let Boland through. Higgins was unable to match the pace of the leading World Rally Cars, but had a long battle with Aaron McHale’s Focus WRC before finally cementing fourth on the final stage when the younger MacHale brother retired with steering failure. Younger brother David Higgins drove a newer N14 version Subaru and dropped back on the final stage behind Stuart Jones’ MG S2000, who had power steering failure when the Subaru had gearbox problems. David Higgins leads the BRC by one point from Stuart Jones. THIRTY-TWO year-old Indian industrialist Naren Kumar from Coimbatore is to drive the Team Sidvin India entry in the 2008 Production Car Championship. Already six-times national rally champion in India at the wheel of Maruti Esteem, Honda Civic, Suzuki Baleno and Mitsubishi Cedia cars, Kumar has also competed in the Asia Zone series for many years and in 2007 finished fifth in the FIA’s Asia-Pacific regional series in Mitsubishi Lancer Evos. “This is my big break, the world championship is somewhere I have always wanted to be”, he says. His challenge starts with this weekend’s Acropolis Rally. Kumar himself has a casting foundry business and is strongly supported by a Bangalore-based friend Mohan Nagarajan who runs the Sidvin oil exploration company, and is himself a former rally driver. Coimbatore may by Indian standards be a small town but it has produced most of the big names in Indian motorsport – including Kumar’s close friend, Formula 1 driver Narain Karthikeyan.. The Subaru Kumar will drive is prepared by Tommi Makinen Racing and run by the Italian Motoring Club team. Kumar tested a Prodrive Impreza last October in Britain under the guidance of the Bill Gwynne rally school. He is the final driver to enter this year’s PCWRC: and has to contest all the remaining events. Every other competitor has made at least one previous appearance in the series. India joins the WRC 18