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GP Week : Issue 30
>> WRC InSIGHT covered much of the Mediterranean island, but now the event has become located in the South of the island. The Tour de Corse, however, is very much one of the sport’s truly classic events, having been run more than 50 times. In the pre world championship days it attracted a truly wide variety of cars, ranging from sports racing cars through to monsters like AC Cobras. In 1972 it was the last of the ‘Group 5’ international championship rallies and was truly an event that will never be forgotten by those who were there for the exotic and almost outrageous range of cars taking part. In the old days it was only a 24 hour event but a mighty one, with virtually no time for rest at all. Hundreds of roads over the island were closed off to other traffic, not only for stages or selective sections but for road sections as well! Now it is run over the regulatory three days in daylight. Entries for Catalunya and Corsica are very similar, with 79 in the first rally, 80 in the second, including 27 and 25 WRC cars respectively(the Munchis will not start in Corsica). Munchi’s absence in means that Stobart have entered four cars for Corsica. Subaru expands to three-car entries for both events, running a car alongside Petter Solberg and Chris Atkinson for the French driver Brice Tirabassi. Both rallies count for the FIA Junior World Rally Championship. Sebastien Ogier is the odds-on favourite for the title, following the tradition of fellow Citroen drivers Sebastien Loeb and Dani Sordo. He is already nine points ahead with two events to go. His closest rival Shaun Gallagher will miss the final round in Corsica but third and fourth placed drivers Aaron Burkart and Michal Kosciuszko will enter both events. All four have a statistical chance of the title, but the chances of Citroen being beaten to the title are very low. Points-wise another Citroen driver Francesco Fanari is unbeatable in the Rookie’s challenge, he only has to cross the start line in Catalunya to be crowned. All 18 registered JWRC entries nominated Spain as one of their six mandatory events, with all except two nominating Corsica as well. The Citroen drivers have a special incentive in the championship – if the JWRC series winner is a Citroen man, he wins two world rallies next year in a World Rally Car, if he is second he wins one and if he finishes third (like Martin Prokop did last year) he wins a test session in a WRC. All to play for! Looking for an outsider? It is well over four years since a Spaniard has won a world championship rally, but with Dani Sordo having finished a world championship rally in second place no fewer than nine times, and finished on the podium 14 times so far, there won’t be a dry eye in the house should he win in Spain this year. It was three years ago on this same event that he won the JWRC category and clinched the Junior world title. 45