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GP Week : Issue 34
>>WRCnews Boys will be boys THE prospect of a long haul flight to Japan did not faze Sebastien Loeb … He readily accepted a ride in an Alpha Jet of the formation aerobatic Patrouille de France team, and admitted the experience blew his mind. From the team’s base at Salon-de- Provence, north of Marseilles, the hour long flight was over the Provence region, finishing with an aerobatic display. “The aerobatics were breathtaking and it was fascinating to hear how the pilots gave instructions to each other, not unlike how our pace- notes systems work in rally cars,” he said. “It was amazing just how close the planes were to each other when flying in formation.” Meanwhile, in Sweden, another famous driver was going upside down. Kris Meeke was invited to Karlstad by his friend P- G Andersson to take part in the NGK Masters ‘folkrace,’ an event not unlike rallycross, but using low cost cars that must be sold to anyone offering Euros 500 after a race. Meeke’s car was a Nissan Sunny fitted with a 2-litre Saab engine, but nobody made an offer, probably because Meeke rolled the car in the race. “It was a good fun idea which P-G Andersson proposed to me during the Catalunya Rally,” he said. “He was so keen that he even came along to the event to be my mechanic.” Stars selected in Austria TWO lesser-known drivers have walked away with the offer for six free drives in the 2009 World Rally Championship after the European Pirelli Shoot-Out. Jarkko Nikara, from Finland, was voted top of the under 27 year old contenders from Europe, while 18-year -ld Martin Semerad, a last minute substitute from Czech Republic, was the runner-up. The one-day event was held in north Austria, in territory famous for the annual Janner Rally, but what it would take to win was a secret. There was an international panel of six jurors, headed by Walter Rohrl and Michele Mouton, who had to interview the drivers concerned, watch the stages and, later that evening, make their pronouncements. In the end a total of 18 drivers arrived in Freiburg. In addition to the four drivers who were Walking before running TOM Cave will be 17-years- old on November 16, and his entry has already been accepted for the Wales Rally GB. The minimum age for driving in Britain is 17, so all Cave needs before he can compete is a driving licence ... Cave is the first graduate of the British Junior Rallying program, which makes it possible for budding under- age rally drivers to gain experience abroad, principally in Latvia, where drivers can start their sport at 14-years-old. “I am all set,” he confirmed. “I have my provisional driving license post-dated to 16 November, I have booked driving school lessons and I have already taken lessons at a special young driver off road course. I will have 13 days before I can start the rally and must have everything else in place by then”. Tom comes from central Wales, growing up in a rabid rallying family environment and drives a Fiesta ST which he plans to use in Wales in December. He will be the youngest driver to enter the WRGB, but not as young as drivers have been in New Zealand, where the legal minium age for driving is 16. 17 substituted at the last moment for those less experienced, the French federation’s nominated driver Guillaume Canivecq, due to appear in a Peugeot 207 S2000, was also absent. The rally consisted of two stage locations, some 10 kilometers apart. The first was run in the morning on a mixture of gravel and asphalt. Then, in the afternoon, a similar plan on asphalt, giving a total of 62km of competitive driving.