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GP Week : Issue 13
n Sebastien Loeb’s codriver Daniel Elena resumed his amateur rally driving career on the weekend between Sardinia and Acropolis. He entered a Citroen C2 on the Rallyes Vins des Macon, in the region where the Monagasque has a family home – in fact a stage on the rally went right past the house. At half way Daniel was lying fourth in his class, but then disaster struck. The engine failed, right outside their house: “It was incredible, we came to a halt 30 metres away from countless friends and neighbours who had come to cheer me on!” n Belgian rallying legend Patrick Snijers has been nominated as the BF Goodrich rallying ambassador and chosen from 55 applicants for the chance to rally a Peugeot 207 S2000 on the forthcoming Ypres Westhoek Rally (27-29 June). He will be given the chance to test the Kronos car on 18 June. Snijers was European rally champion in 1994 at the wheel of a Ford. n World Rally Championship Commission President Morrie Chandler confirmed that the FIA is proceeding with plans to force the sport into using bio fuels: “The problem is that the FIA is determined that the fuels used in the sport in future come from waste materials, and not food products. We cannot proceed until that is clear.” No deadline has been issued. n Retired former world rally champion Marcus Gronholm is confirmed as the star attraction of the Rally Show this Saturday and Sunday (7-8 June) at Chatsworth (UK). Gates open each day at 7am. SPECIAL StAGES SUBARU World Rally Team Technical Director, David Lapworth, suggested at the Acropolis Rally that Subaru will go the Group N+, rather than the Super 2000+, route in 2011 when the new World Rally Car rules come into force. The next generation of World Rally Cars can be based on either upgraded Super 2000 cars, or uprated Group N cars – it is up to manufacturers themselves to decide. None of the manufacturers currently engaged in top level world championship rallying have officially produced a Super 2000 car, and Subaru is unique in already running Group N cars, albeit at privateer level. “Our company is now waiting for the final version of the rules to be rubber-stamped by the FIA before knowing whether we go to S2000+ or Group N+ direction,” said Lapworth. “Things like the rules about gearshifting systems, clutch control and the central differential operation are waiting for an official decision by the WMSC, but these should not be fundamental to the future for us. “Remember, however, we are waiting not just for technical rules but also the wording of the homologation rules, which are just as relevant. Philosophically I guess that we will come to the new rules from the Group N direction to begin with. We are perhaps the only manufacturer who will have this choice. It has always be our preference to keep the rally car as close to the car on which the rally car is based.” From a performance aspect, the choice is probably not as important as it seems. “It is very clear the intention is for the next generation World Rally Cars to be equivalent in performance whether they are derived from current S2000 cars or Group N cars. And the FIA will ensure that the performance of the new World Rally Car will be somewhere between the existing World Rally Car and the existing Super 2000 or Group N cars. We cannot say exactly where in comparison. The main aim of the FIA is that the car designs will be more accessible to new manufacturers and won’t be too expensive to run, yet they did not want to lose the spectacle.” There are countless ways in which this new level of equivalence can be achieved. “Equalising the performance in future will come from detailed adjustments to the rules. The first variable available under the rules that springs to mind concerns the minimum weights. These will inevitably go up, the only question being by how much in each case. Nowadays bodyshells on production cars are heavier than they used to be because of all the necessary safety features but the freedom under existing rules, which allows teams to try to get down to the existing weight limits of cars, means a lot of expensive work. Better to increase the weight minimum limits.” Another way to adjust the performance equivalence is that the engines need not be so highly tuned as nowadays. “The turbocharger boost can be limited and of course the size of the inlet restrictor can be adjusted to ensure balance of performance. A boost limit and a restrictor enables you to balance torque and horsepower. These things have not yet been defined, but there is an increasing consensus among the teams that these are some of the ways that the performance under the new rules will be controlled and enable a true balance between Group N+ and Super 2000+ to be achieved. “So far as behaviour of the cars are concerned, higher weights mean that cars will have a higher Centre of Gravity in future, and the engines will not be as torquey as now. Total power can be made much lower than today’s World Rally Cars but the lazy torque curves of today’s rally cars will not be there. Drivers will have to learn to work harder at the gear lever!” 16