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GP Week : Issue 17
n Next year’s Rally Norway, second round of the World Rally Championship, is to start off with a superspecial at a trotting track close to the centre of the country’s capital Oslo. The rest of the event will be run in the Hamar and Lillehammer region. n Mitsubishi drivers 33- year-old Chris West and 21- year-old Hayden Paddon will be the sponsored guest drivers for the Repco Rally of New Zealand. Both come from the country’s South Island, and were selected from a short list of promising NZ drivers, which included 33-year-old Stewart Taylor, 18-year-old Andre Meier and 16-year- old (yes, 16!) Sloan Cox, all accomplished rallymen from North Island. n The Italian Motoring Club team will run five cars in the forthcoming Neste Oil Rally Finland, and has put its name as entrant for three of them. The drivers nominated in all three of their entries (the N14 for Teemu Arminen, another N14 for Jari Ketomaa and the Evo IX for Fabio Frisiero) will be driving their own cars. Motoring Club will run a fourth car for Naren Kumar under Team Sidvin India (his own N14) and a fifth car (an N12) for the young Finn Jussi Tiippana. Of these five, only one, Tiippana’s entry, will be Motoring Club’s own car. This will, however, be entered by Subaru Rally Team International from America. All five are participating in the Production Car World Championship. Who said the FIA’s rules are easy to follow? SPECIAL StAGES ADVERTISE in GPWEEK For more details CLICK HERE to access a HuGE global audience WHILE 48 hopeful Portuguese drivers signed up for the chance to drive the third Kronos BF Goodrich Peugeot at the Intercontinental Rally Challenge (IRC) qualifying Rally of Portugal in March, over 50 applied to drive the car at the Ypres Rally in Belgium. The IRC has brought the Belgian Kronos team boss Marc van Dalen, pictured right, new impetus in rally life, after ending his work in the World Championship in 2007. “The IRC celebrity driver project started in March 2007, when the FIA announced that Pirelli would be the sole suppliers for the World Rally Championship,” he told GPWeek. “We were always very close to the people at BF Goodrich, who we always found to be very fair guys. The original idea was for us to do the 2008 IRC season with two cars, and then we got the go-ahead to run the third car on certain events. “It has been a real success. The scheme is attracting a variety of drivers, different genders, old and young. The criteria is to find a really good ambassador for BF Goodrich on specific events. We would be happy if we found a young driver, but that is not the main objective”. People at Kronos, together with BF Goodrich, will narrow down the list to three possible drivers. After that they will arrange a dinner with 15-18 journalists and decide who will be the selected driver each time. Each successful applicant will have one test before the rally. In Portugal former national champion Miguel Campos, who used to compete in 206 World Rally Cars, was selected. He made about 100km in pre-event testing and despite various problems was lying eighth after the final stage, but retired on the run to the finish with alternator failure. It was a success, a chance for Portuguese fans to see again a friend who had entertained them so well in the past. The IRC scene is hotting up. BF Goodrich does not have a monopoly, but the majority of top drivers use their tyres. Van Dalen: “The most important thing on these events is to have a good battle. We calculated in Portugal there were around 17 drivers who had a fair chance of ending up on the podium. We haven’t seen that in WRC in the last ten years! “This is what we like. We believe that the one- make tyre supplier in the WRC is going in the wrong direction. It is not what the sport should do at the top level. “In Super 2000 there isn’t so much difference between the cars and the tyres make a difference. Peugeot supplies a car and give advice on how to run them but all the different types of car are quite close. At the finish everybody will be close. I really like this! I put sport, not politics, first. The exact opposite to the WRC ...” BF Goodrich Lives On! M ar tin H olm es 16