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GP Week : Issue 35
>>WRCJAPAN Makinen hands over mantle AMONG the first to congratulate Sebastien Loeb at the end of the rally was Tommi Makinen, the Finnish driver whose run of four consecutive World titles was the record that Loeb had previously equaled, and has now beaten. “It is an incredible work which Sebastien has done”, Makinen said. “He would have had to concentrate for all the five years. I know from my experience that even four years of concentrating on your career was very hard. And it wasn’t just Sebastien, it was also very hard for the Citroen Sport team to have concentrated on helping him gain these titles. Their work would have been amazing. “[It’s] incredible to think the team must have made no mistakes for five years! Well done, Sebastien. It was a record I knew I would hold for at least five years. It is just amazing that Sebastien gained the record so quickly after that!” As for the challenge of fellow Finn Mikko Hirvonen, Makinen reckoned that “Mikko has been unlucky, like the three rallies he lost because of punctures. He is, however, improving himself, mentally growing, getting better with each of his victories. If there is anything I must say, it is that I think Ford and Hirvonen must learn that to be unbeatable they must be good on every kind of rally, which I do not think they are at the moment.” I Passed! ONE of the strange things in Japan is the driving licence rule. The international licences from only certain countries are recognised in Japan, and one person who suffered was Toni Gardemeister, who holds a Monaco licence. The only solution was to pass a driving test in Japan. “It took all day,” he said. “I had to attend lessons (in Japanese language) and then had to pass the actual test. Not everybody passes, but luckily I did. I learned some special techniques from them!” Apart from one lost day, Gardemeister then had to carry a recently-passed sticker on his car, including his rally car ... 43