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GP Week : Issue 14
AFTER its devastating disasters in Greece, when only one championship registered Ford out of its three two-car teams finished in the top six places, Ford is fighting back for Turkey. “We made misjudgements,” a team spokesman explained. “It never occurred to us that the Acropolis Rally would be as tough as it turned out to be. For instance, we did not choose the roughest available tracks when we made our test at the Chateau Lastours track after the Swedish earlier in the season. We did not think it would be necessary.” Urgent action has been taken. Following Latvala’s breakage, the turbo pipe has been redesigned in time for Turkey and troublesome front suspension items have been strengthened. Ford also admits there will be a change in its tactics: “The team will concentrate more on preventative maintenance in Turkey, with more frequent parts changing at service.” The tracks of Turkey are not expected to be as rough as in Greece – but the 11 days between events mean there is logistically a tight schedule. Teams are required to run the same cars and chassis on both events and Ford, like other teams, has not brought its cars back to base between events. Ford Fights Back for Turkey Rally Japan this year is still on Hokkaido island but has moved from the central island town of Obihiro. Now, for the forseeable future, it is to be based at Sapporo which is the country’s fifth largest city. Good news is that the overall distance of the rally has been substantially reduced because the stages are physically located closer to the rally base. For world championship competitors, every stage will be completely new. Under the FIA rules pre-event testing in Japan is banned and the event Shakedown for this gravel event is to be held at the all-asphalt superspecial at the Sapporo Dome (below). Sapporo Dome Hirvonen and Latvala (above) both had suspension failures in Greece WRC news >> 15