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GP Week : Issue 17
WRC news >> RELEASED in 2009 from the format shackles imposed by the FIA’s World Rally Championship, the organisers of next year’s Rallye Automobile Monte Carlo have announced the sort of event they would like to run ... The event has already been guaranteed as a qualifying round in the 2009 IRC series, which imposes fewer standardised formats in the layout of qualifying events than the WRC, to which the event will return in 2010. Main features are: a three day midweek event (Wednesday through Friday, with a middle-of-the-night finish on Saturday morning); start and finish in Monte Carlo with two nights away at Valence; a variety of different service parks; entry classes based on the old Group A and N, not the new Group R; four stages to be run at night, including two runs over the iconic Col de Turini, with only 60 out of the (maximum) 100 entries allowed to tackle these stages. At a press conference in Ypres, the organisers stated this was a deliberate attempt to return to their traditional and historical standards. A lot of attention is being offered by Eurosport to provide live television coverage both from stages and service parks. It is an event intended to be attractive to both official and private teams. The full calendar of other events that will run in the IRC series in 2009 has yet to be decided. More Rebellion from Monte Carlo KENYAN driver Lee Rose won one of the closest Safari Rallies in memory when he beat Carlo Tundo by just over a minute. Postponed from earlier in the season because of unrest in the country, a move which lost the event IRC status, the two day event was similar in concept to that run last year. It was again a qualifying round of the FIA African series: top registered ARC driver was the Japanese Hideaki Miyoshi who finished third overall. Drivers suffered a strange spate of gearbox failures. Top entries Muna Singh, Riyaz Kurji, Asad Anwar and Jas Mangat all failed to finish for this reason. Highest placed driver eligible for the Pirelli Star Driver award was Alfir Khan in a Subaru. This was the first major win in the career of Rose whose first Safari was nine years ago. Rose of Africa ROGER Feghali made two bold moves in the days before his major home event, the Rally of Lebanon. He invited world championship codriver Giovanni Bernacchini to guide him, and then he swapped his entry with a Mitsubishi for a Subaru Impreza N14, which was only delivered to him days before the start. It all ended in smiles – they won by nearly 10 minutes! For Nasser Al Attiyah, the four-times Middle East champion who had never won this event, it was disaster. On the first stage he slid into a bridge parapet, retired for the day, and then after a couple of stages on the second day, retired again with handling problems. Feghali’s big win M ar tin H olm es 18