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GP Week : Issue 27
SPECIAL StAGES n Old-timers beat the youngsters when nearly 200 entries contested the French championship Rallye Mont- Blanc Morzine, which was won by 62-year-old veteran Dany Snobeck in a Peugeot 307WRC. Early leader Alexandre Bengue (Peugeot 307 WRC) retired in style, after winning a stage with two flat tyres. n Alister McRae won the Competition Classic category of the Targa West asphalt rally in Perth, Western Australia, in a Porsche 911 RS. The event overall was won by Steven Jones in a Nissan Skyline GTR. n Sean Lockyear and Roy Stevenson won Tour Britannia, a three day circuit and stage classic car event, at the wheel of a 911, beating the AC Cobra of Chris Chiles and Dave Mountford. The Lotus Elite of Andrea McAlpine and Neville Alderson won the Index of Performance. n Tyre problems bedeviled the penultimate round of the Norwegian championship at Larvik. Mads Ostberg fell back with a puncture, promoting Andreas Mikkelsen into the lead, but he was then penalised for a tyre offence. Guest driver Guy Wilks finished provisionally eighth in a budget-level Impreza being developed for a one-make series in that country. n Queensland has been nominated as the future venue for Australia’s Asia Pacific regional rally event, replacing Canberra., after Governmental support was terminated for the Canberra event. At the same time, Rally Australias is now expected be held entirely within New South Wales. 16 Ireland gets night stages TWO closed-road Monte- Carlo style night stages are to be run on Rally Ireland, the opening round of the 2009 WRC. This will be the second time Rally Ireland has commanded world status, and linked to the event will be a major pre-rally presentation the weekend before in Belfast. Joint promoter Sean O’Connor (below) has confirmed that the basic running of the rally will remain unchanged, with the town of Sligo in the Republic staying as the HQ location. “The position of the event as the first round in the championship has given us a great boost,” said O’Connor. “There will be a prestigious launch on the preceding Saturday. This will serve as an introduction to the championship itself, with teams bringing a car to the event for televised celebrity co-driver rides round a course in the grounds of Stormont (the home of the Northern Ireland Assembly).” The other main change this year is a downtown stage in the centre of Donegal, substituting for the short spectacular coastal stage at Mullaghmore. The promotional display leaves a two-day gap before recce starts on the Tuesday morning, which provides a unique promotional opportunity for the manufacturers involved. Shooting for the Stars THIS weekend we expect to know the identity of the first of the FIA’s new Pirelli Star Driver challengers. This decision will come at the end of the African championship Zambia Rally, according to the results of the relevant under 27 drivers, and then confirmed by FIA officials. Meanwhile, probably the most important rally to be held in Austria in recent years is to be run on Saturday 25 October at Freistadt. This event is to decide which two young drivers from Europe, South and Central America shall be supported on six events in the 2009 World Championship by Pirelli. Two special stages venues close to the Czech border have been laid out, one basically gravel and the other entirely asphalt, each to be tackled three times, but the prize overall awards may not go to the fastest driver. The European co-ordinator explained: “the two chosen drivers will be selected by a jury consisting of two former World Championship drivers, two FIA people and two people from Pirelli. Selection will be by talent, personal development potential and capabilities with press and sponsors. The actual results from the shoot-out are not going to be decisive.” The ultimate award winners will be announced on the Saturday evening. Competitors bring their own cars which must be homologated, but most not include A8 (World Rally Car) class cars. Entries for the event close on 15 September, each to be nominated by their country’s federation.