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GP Week : Issue 40
SPECIAL StAGES n FIA officials confirmed in Portugal that the proposed World Rally Driver ranking experiment was up and running, but results were being kept secret until they were content with the calculation system. The system will be in full operation, and public, in 2010. n Neal Bates suffered steering problems on Day 1 of the Australian Quit Forest Rally and his former Toyota team-mate Simon Evans broke his gearbox, but both were back to contest Day 2 when they finished 1-2. The brothers Raymond won the overall event in a Toyota Corolla Sportivo. n The German championship Wikinger Rally has been won by Peter Corazza in his legendary Lancer Evo VII, but only after Olaf Dobberkau stopped when his Porsche had engine problems. n Paolo Andreucci has won the Adriatico Rally in a Peugeot, beating the Fiat of European champion Luca Rossetti by a minute. 13 Super 2000s started the rally. n Former champion Richard Mason (Subaru) has won the Hawkes Bay Rally in New Zealand, ahead of Mitsubishi driver Hayden Paddon and the Subaru of Emma Gilmour. n While Pirelli Star Driver Jon Williams was in Portugal, his regular co- driver Pierre Aries was busy winning the Toyota Dealer Rally in Cape Town, South Africa. The VW Polos of Hergen Fekken and Jan Habig headed six Super 2000s cars at the top of the results. 22 The futureaccording to Max FIA President Max Mosley appeared at the Rally of Portugal and fronted a press conference, identifying recent changes in FIA policies for rallying and clarifying many confusing issues. He freely answered questions for those present: Q: What is the power of ISC, the newly appointed World Rally Championship Promoter? Max Mosley: The Promoter is to propose the world championship calendar and it is for the FIA's World Council to decide whether to accept that calendar. The Promoter is analogous to Bernie Ecclestone in Formula One, except that the degree they can influence the calendar is slightly less. Why is the World Championship going ‘Atmospheric’? The idea of adding to a kit to the engine was something that would be very expensive. The biggest single problem in the WRC is cost. What is the future for alternative Energies in Rallying? We want to see how these ideas develop in Formula 1 before we put this into rallying. Why did the FIA go into Event Rotation? Rotation is the least worst option to solve the problem of how to fit 22-24 events into a championship when there is only room for 12-14 events each year. Is the FIA attracted to the idea of a winter-based WRC calendar? I can see strong arguments in favour. We wait to hear from the Promoter what it has to say about the idea of changing the format of the world championship into a winter calendar. Is the IRC perceived to be a challenge to the world championship? I think the IRC is excellent. The FIA is very happy with the IRC. It gives organisers an opportunity to do something different in their off-year from the WRC. It is up to Monte Carlo whether they want to be in the WRC. Choosing whether to give priority to include classic events like Monte Carlo in the WRC is something the Promoter has to propose. If the manufacturers said they wanted a turbo engine formula in the WRC, why is the FIA is proceeding with an atmospheric formula? Everything has to fit in with the future product range of manufacturers. In fact we are looking at another concept, a ‘World Engine’ for 2013. The same engine will be produced by manufacturers as being capable of working with a turbo or as atmospheric, suitable for a variety of different applications. We are in consultation with manufacturers about this. There is no point in planning anything else for the period before then when we already have Super 2000. Can you visualise the WRC if there are no manufacturers involved? This is a hot topic. There has been a tendency in the last years to run the WRC for manufacturers who are in fact a minority of the competitors on rallies. I believe that having no manufacturers officially entering a manufacturers' championship does not really matter. What matters is that there should be a number of makes. With Super 2000 you are certain to have a number of different makes in the future. That is the fundamental thing. If there are no active manufacturers what will be the big pull in the championship? The drivers. If we run the championship reasonably well and it is commercially successful the drivers will come because they will want to be world champions. The drivers will come, and the cars will follow.