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GP Week : Issue 37
PACE NOTES n New FIA rules allow single team entries in the World Championship. This enables the Munchi’s team to qualify for Manufacturer’s points. n Most important technical developments were the newly homologated changes to the N14 hatchback-version Subaru Impreza cars. Although drivers appreciated the improved driver characteristics, the frustrating power- loss characteristics in hot conditions frustratingly continued. n Its difficult to define what counts as a privateer, but perhaps the most recent privateer overall podiums in WRC include Toni Gardemeister at the 2006 Rally Monte Carlo in a Xsara. Other good results include Gigi Galli’s third place in Argentina that year, and Mikko Hirvonen’s third place in Spain in 2005. n This was Sebastien Loeb’s 116th World Rally start, giving an amazing winning average of 43 percent. His first win was in Germany 2002, meaning that he has averaged around seven wins per season ... Petter Solberg’s Xsara first started its competition life before Loeb started his professional driving career! n Curious pre-recce error for Sebastien Ogier meant he tried to take the wrong turning down a stage. He retraced his steps and drove about 5km with no pace notes. At an equivalent stage of his career, Sebastien Loeb took a wrong turning on a road section (Turkey 2003) and had to retire, having run out of fuel. 44 Variety is the spice ... CYPRUS Rally chief Takis Kyriakides explained how the opportunity to use mixed surfaced rallies was offered by the FIA last year, and was taken up because of the inherent limitations offered by the traditional gravel stages in Cyprus. “The decision to go ahead with asphalt and gravel stages was made when the FIA decided that our event this year would count for both the PCWRC and the JWRC cars, as well as the normal WRC championship,”he said. “We knew that the usual style of double- usage of gravel stages would create damage to the tracks which would be unacceptable to competitors. So we ran three asphalt stages on the Friday twice, and then all the gravel. With one exception, which were used on the other days, they would only be run once.” Everlasting corners BECAUSE the tarmac stages were much faster than the gravel ones, the rally was won at a much higher average speed than usual. But the slow stages, and the fact that all except one of them were run only once, made for a very heavy life for the crews. Patrik Sandell’s co-driver Emil Axelsson had 433 different pages of pace notes … “I have been talking non-stop all weekend,”he remarked. Jarmo Lehtinen, Mikko Hirvonen’s co-driver added: “I had made about 340-350 pages, and I had re-written about 230. You have to do that because the roads are bumpy and you cannot write the notes neatly when you are driving along. The first day of recce took 15 hours!” Sandell likes running with the bulls PATRIK Sandell was almost overwhelmed by the performance of the Red Bull team Skoda Fabia Super 2000, in which he is contesting the Production Car World Series this year, the first private team to be entrusted with this car. Victory in Cyprus was his second in two outings. “We now know that the car is already competitive on winter rallies, asphalt and gravel,”he said. “Compared with Araujo’s Mitsubishi we found we missed out a bit when it was slippery and traction was critical; when it was drying out we were able to catch back again. “It was only down to my driving that we were not leading at the end of the asphalt stages. It was difficult to discover just how much you can push the car. When I discovered you could go sideways into the corners I was immediately faster. “The car is amazing. With Super 2000s you have to push maximum all the time, almost go back to basics, every straight, every corner – you have to concentrate on improving everything you do.”