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GP Week : Issue 30
SPECIAL StAGES n Wrigley’s Airwaves has been announced as the Official Chewing Gum sponsor of the FIA World Rally Championship. The company is also supporting the Fiesta STi series, and the winner will receive a year’s supply of chewing gum. n The 2009 British Rally Championship will revert to six rounds. The two final rounds which coincide with the Wales Rally GB have been dropped, Rally Cymru inserted in its place. n The FIA has given authority for Kris Meeke to drive the Clio R3 entered by Milos Komljenovic in Spain, while the Serbian driver has a neck injury. With the Munaretto team also running Patrik Sandell in a Clio S1600, Renault chiefs will use this event to evaluate the comparative performances of the two types of Clio. n French racing driver Stephane Sarrazin, four years ago the rally champion of France, will return to rallying at the wheel of a Peugot 207 S2000 on the Rallye d’Antibes, final round of the European championship. n Third place on the final round of the Norwegian championship was enough for 19-year-old Andreas Mikkelsen to beat 20-year- old Mads Ostberg to the title. Ostberg won the event despite brake troubles, while his father Morten came fourth. The rally was held at Hamar, the base for Norway’s world championship round. n Retired rally driver Austin McHale drove the prototype Corsa S2000 as zero-car on the Cork 20 Rally in Ireland, reporting that it was already only a second per kilometre behind the fastest Group N times on the stages. 16 UK rallying explores green op FOR all the constraints, and the ever increasing costs of running rallies on these roads, forest rallying is very popular in Britain. Efforts are being taken to find ways to reduce the costs. For example, reduced entry fees are being offered to drivers of smaller cars, which are less destructive on the roads, on the forthcoming Wales Rally GB. Meanwhile, Pirelli is conducting experiments on a forthcoming rally in which special tyres with less aggressive tread patterns will be provided to competitors. This event, called the Greenerways Rally, is to run on October 25 (same day as their European Star Driver shoot-out in Austria) in the Kielder region on the borders with Scotland. This stand-alone event will have 25 guest entries in Group N or equivalent cars, using a 5.5 mile stage run four times, showing the British forest authorities ways of running rallies which are less damaging to their roads. An initial experiment with Kris Meeke in a current Group N car showed that Pirelli’s concept tyres reduce cornering speeds, demand earlier braking, last longer and do less damage than traditional rally tyres. This experiment comes at a critical time with negotiations for future use of the British forests soon to be held. Rally Ireland promoters quit RONAN Morgan and Shaun O’Connor, the founders and joint promoters of Rally Ireland, have left the organisation of the world championship rally, handing their responsibilities over to the Irish Republic federation, Motorsport Ireland. However, there appears to be no disagreement behind the move. Speaking after their departure from the team, announced earlier this week, Ronan said “there is nothing sinister about our move. It is something Shaun and I have been considering for some months. “We have ideas about other project in our minds, which we cannot progress while we retain responsibilities to Rally Ireland. Shaun and I did not want to Ronan Morgan with Sebastien Loeb hang on doing the same things year in and year out, and this is why we made the decisions that we did. “We both want to stay in the World Rally Championship business.” No other personnel changes are expected in the rally organisation.