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GP Week : Issue 45
SPECIAL StAGES n Petter Solberg has been shopping. His eight year old Xsara WRC will appear in Sardinia (22-24 May) with a revised nose section, which improves the under-bonnet cooling. This modification first appeared on the Kronos run works cars in Mexico 2006 after which Sebastien Loeb broke a spell of bad luck and went on to win his next five rallies... n Kimi Raikkonen is to contest the Rally della Marca (May 30, the weekend after the Monaco Grand Prix) in Italy, in his Fiat Grande Punto S2000, serviced by Tommi Makinen and Motoring Club. n Abarth’s face last weekend was saved by 6.1 seconds – the winning margin for their newly signed driver Luca Rossetti – when he beat Paolo Andreucci’s Peugeot on the 93rd Targa Florio. Current Italian championship leader Renato Travaglia debuted the Italian team’s Skoda and finished third. n Azorean enthusiasts kept saying that ‘Miki’ was leading their rally. Couldn’t be – Miki Biasion had not contested an orthodox rally for some time. It was, it seems, difficult for them to pronounce the name ‘Meeke’ any other way! More diction challenges are coming to Meeke. He is to contest the Barbados Rally in the West Indies on 30-31 May. n Subaru drivers took the top three placings at the Erechim Rally in Brazil, second round of Codasur championship, headed by Raul Martinez. Fellow Argentine Mitsubishi driver Alejandro Cancio led for the first five stages. n A Porsche car has won a round of the German Rally Championship for the first time in over a quarter century! Olaf Dobberkau took his 911 GT3 to victory at the AvD Sachsen Rally, beating Herrmann Gassner Junior’s Mitsubishi, by 6.1 seconds. 18 Ypres Goes to Fran NEW management and new ideas will be featured at the Ypres Westbroek Rally (18-20 June), Belgium’s biggest rally and round 5 of the IRC series. New rally manager Alain Pernasse announced the new plans during the Sata Rally Acores: “Many things are different this year, a lot of them to make the event more attractive for spectators, the income from whom represents one-third of the event’s total budget. “There will be more emphasis on using the town’s market place for servicing and regrouping, to give a chance to see the cars as much as possible as well as moving the podium. The routes of the stages have been altered to provide for specific spectators areas, a total of eight in all, all fully signposted from the centre of town, and full commentary and results information will be available at those places. People there will immediately know what is happening in the rally. “We are also going back a little into history. We have included a short stretch of pave, the traditional road surface in Belgium, in the Kemmel region. Pave is a well known traditional challenge in Belgian cycle racing, and of course we have a special competitor, Paolo Bettini, the former champion racing cyclist. Cycle racing is very strong is Belgium and Bettini has been a hero for a huge number of Belgian fans He will drive a Procar Abarth S2000. “The IRC series is good for us. It brings a strong quality entry list. We expect to have around 20 Super 2000 cars a from a record number of six different S2000 manufacturers. And we have one very big change. For the first time the rally goes into France where we will hold special stages close to Lille. “This means that the last stage on the Friday will be run at night, at around 2300. Nowadays we are not allowed to run stages in Belgium after 2300, so we again go back to our rallying roots - special stages at night!” Peugeot’s new Turbo Wins Abroad Peugeot is the first rally manufacturer to homologate a small engine turbocharged car in a form proposed by the World Motor Sport Council as the basis for future World Rally Cars. Announced last year was the new national one-make 180 bhp 207 RC Rallye (Volant 207) series for petrol-engined 1600cc turbo cars which have now been homologated by FIA under Group R3T rules. Cars complying with this homologation do not have to comply with the usual 1.7 capacity coefficient factor and, instead, are allowed to compete against normally- aspirated cars in the 2-litre (A7) class. The car was first homologated by the FIA on March 1, and privateer challenge cars first appeared in mid-April at the Lyon-Charbonnieres. French driver Denis Millet is contesting the IRC’s two-wheel drive category and won his class and championship category at the Sata Rallye Acores. In Italy, the official Racing Lions driver Tobia Cavallini finished second behind a Clio R3C car specification car in the Targa Florio.