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GP Week : Issue 19
15 WRC news >> Better than an F1 car off the line! RECENTLY released is footage of the race organised at Abu Dhabi last April, when one of the Red Bull air racing machines was pitched against a Formula 1 Red Bull car and an Abu Dhabi team Ford Focus RS World Rally Car. It was a little unfair, because the plane had a flying start, while the cars had a standing start ... Sebastien Buemi, Red Bull’s test driver, was pitched against Jari-Matti Latvala for this exercise. “We did 10 to 15 starts, always having to wait for the Red Bull to cool down before we could have another go, and the airstrip on which we did the test was a little slippery,” said Latvala. “But every time the rally car was quicker off the line than the Formula 1! “For the first 100 metres or so I was always ahead of the Red Bull car, then it would draw level, and only after that would it pull in front.” The last rally-related Red Bull promotional video doing the rounds showed rally driver and stuntman Travis Pastrana jumping out of a plane with no parachute. “My heart sank when they asked me to be involved,” added Latvala, “but happily it was not as dramatic as that. It was in fact a nice idea, quite the best PR job I have done with our team, very enjoyable and well organised!” Latvala is currently staying at home rebuilding old rally cars ready for the 30th anniversary of his family’s earth moving equipment firm at Tuuri in Finland, in which everyone is going to be given rides in rally cars ... FOUR-times Codasur champion Roberto Sanchez has raced his final rally. He announced his retirement at the Tucuman Rally, fourth round of this year’s Argentine national championship, based at his home town in the north of the country. One final delight eluded him – he had been leading the rally until two stages to go when he punctured and finally finished third, 12.4 seconds behind the winner. Forty one-year-old Sanchez had been a long time Subaru driver who seldom ventured beyond Argentina. His best foreign result was 10th and second Group N on the 2000 World Championship Safari Rally in Kenya, a feat immortalised for an unfortunate reason – he had unwittingly baulked the Peugeot driver Gilles Panizzi and was then physically assaulted at the next time control! Winner of the Tucuman Rally was Tango Team leader Marcos Ligato (Mitsubishi) who beat the Subaru Impreza N14 cars of Claudio Menzi and Sanchez. Because of his conflicting Munchi’s team commitments the championship leader Federico Villagra did not contest this event. Villagra’s teammate Luciano Bernardi now equals Federico’s points total, with Sanchez bowing out while in third place in the series. Sanchez Bows Out M ar tin H olm es M ar tin H olm es CLICK HERE TO VIEW ON YOUTUBE!