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GP Week : Issue 19
16 WRC news >> APART from the initial superspecial close to rally headquarters in Borovetz, Krum Donchev led the European championship qualifying Rally Bulgaria from start to finish, but eventual victory was close. For several stages his Peugeot 207 S2000 was lacking third gear, then, on the final stage, he also lost second gear. The result of this was that Turkish driver Volkan Isik (Fiat Grande Punto S2000) was able to close on Donchev – finally the Bulgaria won only by 6.2s. Following Dimitar Iliev’s victory there last year, Donchev has become the second home winner of this event for 37 years. Iliev finished sixth after fuel pump problems which culminated with a delay off the road. Original leader Jasen Popov had turbo pipe trouble on the Mitsubishi and finished eighth. Former Tommi Makinen Subaru N14 driver Donchev originally entered a Mitsubishi for this event but finally appeared with this S2000 cars having become stablemate in the Racing Lions Peugeot team to Luca Rossetti. After the Peugeot S2000 which Luca Betti had hoped to drive was damaged the weekend before in France, he had to revert to a Mitsubishi which gave a lot of problems, while fellow Italian Renato Travaglia did not start at all . At the end of the event, Rossetti still leads the series, ahead of fellow Peugeot driver Michal Solowow from Poland (who finished third on this event) and Isik third. Donchev’s win places him fourth in the series. Peugeot brings Success to Donchev WEXFORD business rally driver Eamonn Boland has the chance to clinch the Global Irish Championship this weekend at Rally Isle of Man, the asphalt event traditionally known as the ‘Manx.’ It is not only the third round of the British rally championship, in which World Rally Cars are excluded, but also the fifth of the Global Group Irish Tarmac series, which admits WRC cars. Hopes of British drivers of featuring on this event are unusually high, given that Boland is the only top Irish driver entered on the event. Guy Wilks comes back to British to drive a specially prepared Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX for the British importers’ team after his regular car was destroyed by fire on the Jim Clark Rally. His two main rivals on the rally are expected to be the Higgins brothers, both in Subarus. Wilks’ teammate Philip Morrow has his usual Lancer Evo IX rebuilt after his accident on the Jim Clark Rally. Manx heats up NO sooner had the World G8 Summit finished than Hokkaido was back in the news again, this time as the venue for Japan’s APRC event, where driver Toshi Arai walked home the winner of the Hokkaido Rally, even though he is not an entrant this year’s Asia Pacific series. His previously unlucky Impreza N14 survived very mixed weather conditions. Reigning champion Cody Crocker fought back after a disastrous first day to finish fifth overall, fourth in the championship category, which was won by Katsu Taguchi, whose Mitsubishi was the only top placed non-Subaru car. Heavy rains caused two of the first day stages to be cancelled, a zero car blocking the route cause another to be abandoned, and so drivers running further back generally had the advantage. These included Arai and Hiroshi Yanagisawa. An early casualty on the rally was Scott Pedder whose Mitsubishi had gearbox trouble, while Subaru drivers Kamada (N14) and Sumiyama (N12) both crashed too heavily to be able to carry on. Arai Walks it in Hokkaido M ar tin H olm es Lin ea r