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GP Week : Issue 41
SPECIAL StAGES n VW and Opel teams have announced they will contest IRC rallies this year. The Belgian Rene Georges VW Polo S2000 team are to run French driver Julien Maurin in six events starting at round 4 (Azores) while Irishman Gareth MacHale plans to run an Opel Corsa S2000 at five events starting round 5 (Ypres). n No registered drivers scored points in New Caledonia, first round of the FIA’s APRC series. The second half of the event was cancelled because of heavy rain. International event winner was Subaru driver Claude Clavel while the national category winner was Alexis Barbou (Mitsubishi). n Another rainy day story ... the opening round in the Malaysian Rally Championship was halted in mid-afternoon on Day 1 by torrential storms. Winner was Mike Ari Ratnam (Proton Wira) while Saladin Mazlan led the rally before starter motor failure in his Proton Gen 2. 2002 World Group N champion Karamjit Singh was fastest on every stage and finished ninth despite a 15 minute penalty. n Eugene Donnelly scored his 16th Irish Tarmac championship rally when he won the Circuit of Ireland. His Skoda Fabia WRC finished ahead of Eamonn Boland’s Impreza WRC. n Former European rally champion Patrick Snijers was a shock non-starter at the opening round of the Belgian series, the TAC Tielt Rally, after a speeding offence during recce. Paul Lietaer won in a Subaru WRC car ahead of Melissa Debackere in a Toyota Corolla WRC. Both Peter Tsjoen and Tim van Parijs went off the road in their Focus WRCars. 16 Citroen tests its ‘Spy Car’ in DANI Sordo tested Citroen’s hybrid C4 WRC in Algarve the day after the end of the Vodafone Rally of Portugal. The twin-engined car was driven on asphalt stages in the area, using many features parallel to KERS-equipped cars in F1. These include access to 30 percent more torque at the switch of a button, when both the electric and the orthodox engine work together. Dani explained the curious spy-car character of the car: “In electric mode you can drive through villages without making the slightest noise, which is very unusual for a competitor car – better for the environment and more comfortable for the crew, making road sections more pleasant!”. This test followed three days after FIA President Max Mosley said he was thinking of introducing more eco-friendly measures into rallying when systems had been perfected in Formula 1. Hybrid testing – Dani Sordo tests the hybrid