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GP Week : Issue 45
nce Aston Martin in Rallies! V12 500 bhp > WRCnews > “I think the whole idea is fantastic! Aston Martin is an elite brand, but I know rallying one of these cars will not be easy”. Jose Pedro Fontes was talking about his latest project, rallying the DBRS9 GT3 used last year by Scuderia Italia in FIA GT3 races, which has been brought to Portugal to be run on tarmac rallies in Portugal and Spain. “The DB9 has a V12 engine which is much lighter than the V8 engine used in the Vantage which was rallied last year in France. The car weighs in about 1300kg, similar to World Rally Cars but it is much bigger – it is almost 2 metres wide and 4.8 meters long!” Fontes rallied a Fiat Grand Punto S2000 in 2008 in Portugal, and was visiting old rally friends in Azores last weekend. He explained: “The first work is to change the suspension and the final axle ratio, a handbrake will be fitted and of course undercar protection fitted. Then we must test the car and find a good set-up. “It is a similar project to development work made with Porsches which have been very successful in rallies in Spain. “The first event for the car is at the end of June, the first round of a new asphalt championship in Portugal for cars with either two-wheel drive or a maximum engine size of 2 litres” Conrad likes Super 2000 WORLD championship Citroen C4 driver Conrad Rautenbach rallied a Super 2000 car for the first time, in Azores – and liked it! “These cars are quite different to the current World Rally Cars. but for me this Peugeot 207 Super 2000 is a lot of fun. “If this sort of car is what the future WRC is going to be about, I don’t have a problem with that! With S2000, you have to be really ‘on it’ to get the most out of them, especially on faster stretches of road. If you hesitate you lose a lot of time. “It isn’t really so different from Super 1600 – it is a S1600 plus four-wheel- drive and more power. And the car is much simpler than a WRC – there is nothing like so much to think about. You just get in and drive. I find it is easier to find the limits in one of these cars than a WRC car, which makes the competition much closer. “I think it is therefore more down to the driving with these cars. I would like my future rally career to be in cars like these. I think this is a good way for the sport to go. “They are a lot cheaper than a WRC car, and you have got a lot more manufacturers interested. For me its great!” Conrad finished seventh in Azores, behind the four official team S2000s and two Mitsubishis. The car he drove was the original Peugeot 207 S2000, chassis 01. 19