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GP Week : Issue 15
n The young Russian PCWRC driver Evgeny Novikov took time out between Acropolis and Turkey to return home to win the famous White Night Rally. A last stage puncture for his rival helped the 17 year-old score a win on his first time out in a Peugeot 207 S2000. Novikov had himself been delayed earlier by a puncture, and was back in a Mitsubishi in Turkey, where he crashed and retired on the first normal stage. n Pity the poor policeman. When Suzuki brought their replacement SX4 to Turkey for Gardemeister, it carried a different registration number than when the car had been seen earlier in Mexico and Argentina. Instead of ‘HU’ it carried the letters ‘FU’. A Japanese member of the team explained that international registration letters were phonetic not alphabetical. The correct identification was a sound like “foooo”....! n In Belgium, race and former rally driver Marc Duez has been injured in a road accident. He will miss three events in the coming weeks, including the historic section of the Ypres rally. n Entries for the Belgian Ypres Westhoek Rally (ERC and IRC series) closed with 18 Super 2000 cars, mostly Peugeots and Fiats but also including two VWs and an MG. n The Topaz Donegal International Rally was halted after a tragic accident involving a spectator who died after he was hit by a competing car. Leading at the time was Eugene Donnelly, making a surprise return to active rallying, at the wheel of a Skoda Fabia WRC. SPECIAL StAGES TRAVIS Pastrana, the American stunt-man- cum-rally-driver, had to stay back home in America and miss last weekend’s WRC round, when his team’s American insurers declined to issue cover because they consider Turkey to be a ‘high-risk’ environment. Subaru Rally Team America, which runs Pastrana, has applied to the FIA to be allowed to compete in Finland instead of Turkey. This is expected to be with a Finnish driver, because Pastrana is contracted to compete on an event in America on the same day. Pastrana’s daytime stunt job includes not only spectacular aerobatics on motorcycles but also jumping out of aeroplanes with no parachute. His world championship plans for the team are on hold, as it has already been agreed that industrialist gentleman driver Ken Block will compete for the team in New Zealand, Japan and Britain Pastrana stays at home M-SPORT director Malcolm Wilson tantalised visitors at the Rally Turkey by alluding to “more exciting products in the future.” He confirmed that Ford is looking at a variety of options for a possible Super 2000 car. “All this is subject to many things, like the final signing-off by the FIA of the new World Rally Car rules and an extension of M-Sport’s contract to run the world championship team. “We are also looking at other projects, like developing the Fiesta into the new Group R2 and R3 car. Ultimately we need to find a successor to the popular Fiesta ST. No decision has been taken as to what the next Ford World Rally Car will be, because we are examining all the commercial aspects to what could be involved, not the least from M-Sport’s point of view. “Nothing solid will happen until we have got the contracts done, and know what is happening with the FIA. “Ford people are also very concerned with the promotional side of the sport. We are happy with the way we can promote the sport internally, but the biggest problem is that the sport is not being promoted generally and it is obvious at this time that investment in the sport is not delivering value. “If investment in the sport is not going to deliver value, we will all be out of a job. Reducing cost is not the question. The problem is how to raise the value.” Ford waits for FIA before deciding future 16