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GP Week : Issue 44
>> RALLYnews s in Africa World calendar in disarray THREE events are now believed to have withdrawn from the 2010 World Championship Rally calendar, which was announced by the FIA in December 2007. Indonesia, has requested a one year delay because of the expected commercial problems during their presidential election year of 2010; Russia, has asked for one extra year before being submitted to an official inspection; and Rallye Automobile Monte-Carlo has intimated that it prefers the relative organisational format freedoms offered by the IRC. Several long-established events are now waiting to hear if they will be invited to fill the vacancies. Detailed recommendations from the ISC, (Promoters of the World Rally Championship) are awaited so that the World Motor Sport Council can make decisions at its June meeting. It is reported that ISC have decided to drop their recommendations for a winter rally calendar. Emma’s big break in Queensland IRC goes exotic MAJOR event this weekend is the 44th Sata Rallye Acores, held in the Portuguese mid-Atlantic island one thousand miles off-shore from Lisbon. The event, which traditionally attracts important celebrity entries (the first win in the career of Markko Martin included – while top ‘guest’this year will be Conrad Rautenbach), this year strikes a new importance – it will be the first time this event has qualified for the Intercontinental Rally Challenge, the first of two Portuguese rounds of the series. This is round four out of the 12 round series. The current championship leader is Freddy Loix on 13 points. Loix starts Azores with a new codriver, the fellow Belgian Frederic Miclotte. 49 crews have entered the two day event, held on San Miguel, the largest of the nine islands of the Azores and based at the port city of Ponta Delgada. This will be only the second time that the three major IRC teams (Peugeot-Kronos, Fiat-Abarth and Skoda) have met face to face this season and the first time any of them have competed on the island. The hard packed gravel roads are splendid in dry weather, but tend to become stony if wet. The Rene Georges VW team from Belgian is also competing, with French driver Julien Maurin. REIgnIng FIA Asia-Pacific Rally champion Cody Crocker has a new teammate at this weekend’s Rally Queensland – Kiwi rally driver Emma gilmour. This event hosts APRC contenders for the first time and Emma is the first registered lady driver in the history of the series. Following a shortened opening round in New Caledonia, when no championship competitors scored points, this will be the first APRC event of the season when all the major contenders will be present. Singapore-based Subaru team Motor Image Racing driver Crocker has already equalled Kenneth Eriksson’s record hat-trick of APRC titles and is now attempting a fourth championship. Motor Image’s most serious championship challengers are the Indian funded Mitsubishi MRF Tyres team with drivers Katsuhiko Taguchi and PCWRC driver Gaurav Gill. Queensland will also be a Pirelli Star Driver qualifying round. Pole wins in Istanbul POLISH businessman Michal Solowow has won the Istanbul Rally after a close battle with fellow Peugeot 207 S2000 driver Luca Betti, which ended when Betti crashed on stage 13. He went off the road when lying second, just 0.1 seconds behind his rival. The two drivers commandeered the lead throughout the two day event, their relative positions dictated by punctures. This was the second round of the FIA’s European championship, which Solowow now leads with 21 points against 15 from Mille Miglia winner Giandomenico Basso. Of the other registered drivers, Bulgarian Todor Slavov retired his Renault Clio R3 on the first stage with engine failure while Bulgarian Krum Donchev was delayed by punctures and finished fifth, ahead of Corrado Fontana (Mitsubishi) who was seriously delayed by brake problems. 17