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GP Week : Issue 37
>>WRCnews yprus A British Rally Star – at last Ulsterman Kris Meeke became the first British rally driver since 2006 to win a major championship event when he won the Curitiba Rally (Mar 6/7) in Brazil. This event was the second qualifying event in the IRC series, the Eurosport backed championship kicking off with Rallye Monte Carlo, which Kris led in the early stages before crashing. “Our programme with the Peugeot UK-backed 207 Super 2000 run by the Kronos team is a fantastic step for me”, Kris said. “We plan to enter around nine of the 12 events in the series but our crash in Monte Carlo looked like being a big set-back. Happily Kronos had a spare car, the one which was used when Juho Hanninen won Rally Russia last year, and then Sebastien Ogier used when he won Monte Carlo. We were under a lot of pressure when we went to Brazil!” British success in international rallying has been at a lower ebb since the halcyon days of Colin McRae and Richard Burns, and it was Colin’s brother Alister who was the last major British rally winner, when he won the Zulu Rally in South Africa in 2006, the first event qualifying round of the IRC. VW on the fence Major Decisions Coming The FIA’s World Motor Sport Council expects to end once and for all the endless in- fighting about future World Rally Car rules when it meets on Thursday (19 March). Hot favourite formula is something largely based on the current normally-aspirated Super 2000 cars, which are run side-by-side with turbocharged Group N cars, and which form the basis of the Intercontinental Rally Challenge competition. The exact specifications to distinguish the new-formula World Rally Cars from the existing S2000 cars are to be announced, together with the transitional plans for the changeover of the formula, due at the start of 2011, but the new style WRCars are not now expected to feature the bolt- on turbochargers requested by manufacturers. Following speculations about VW's possible future in rallying, Competition Chief Kris Nissen recently commented that World Rallying retains its attraction because of the chance to identify and prove the reliability of your products in public. As to current plans, VW is in no position to become involved in rallying before 2012, because such a move would demand at least a two-year lead time, and the company's first goal is Dakar 2010. "Then we can think about other activities! VW has given no thought to running diesel cars in the WRC, but it makes sense to downsize the engine sizes – for instance use a 1.6 litre turbocharger engine in future.” Nissen identified what he sees is necessary in the WRC: proper world wide promotion and TV coverage, a workable calendar and 3-5 year stability in technical regulations. 17