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GP Week : Issue 46
run in Sardinia. The ceremonial start on F Thursday evening will be outside the City Hall in Olbia, the headquarters town of the event, while the finish on Sunday will be at Porto Cervo in the Costa Smeralda coastal region in the north east of the island. There are many detailed changes in the route this year. There is now only one stage in the north of the island, the final stage on the way up to Porto Cervo. The stages are otherwise completely centred in the wooded hills in the middle of the island, north of Nuoro, where two of the stages on the second day will be completely new. One of these is being run along an old disused railway line; the other uses traditional tricky Sardinian roads. The main organisational 3 OR the sixth time, Italy’s round of the World Rally Championship will be novelty concerns spectator control. Instead of demarcating spectator-forbidden areas by red tape (loathed by professional photographers), there will instead be areas marked out by green tape within which spectators must stand. As Round 6 in the twelve-rally series, this is the half way point in the World Championship. In both the drivers and the makes series, the blue, red and white Citroen team continue to be dominant. In the drivers series, Sebastien Loeb and Dani Sordo are lying 1-2, while non- championship Citroen driver Petter Solberg is a remarkable fifth. There are two major records that can be broken in Sardinia. If Loeb wins, this will be his seventh successive World Rally win, breaking his own record. And if Citroen wins, this will be their seventh successive win, breaking the record of six shared by Lancia in 1987/88 and Mitsubishi in 1998/99. The last non-Citroen world rally victory was Mikko Hirvonen’s in Japan last year. For this event Ford have built a new car for Hirvonen, while Jari- Matti Latvala takes over the car that Hirvonen drove in Portugal. The latest news from Citroen Junior team is that a decision about Sebastien Ogier’s future has been deferred until after Acropolis. and Junior World Rally Championship are already into the second half of their seasons. The rules state that these championship drivers must enter six of the eight events; Sardinia is Round 5. All of the top championship drivers in both series have already contested three of the first four events, except for Martin Prokop in the JWRC series. This will be the first time this season that all nine registered drivers in the JWRC will B oth the Production Car World Rally Championship compete against each other. Patrik Sandell had a pre-Sardinia test in Austria in his Skoda S2000 when it was wet, hoping this year’s Sardinia will break its tradition of always being dry. The only major PCWRC news are reported contractual difficulties, which have forced Indian driver Gaurav Gill to miss the Sardinia event. His entry has been taken over by the German privateer Hermann Gassner Jnr. This will be the second time the five Pirelli Star Drivers appear in their six- event programme of World Championship events with their Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X cars. Their first outing was in Portugal, where the Finnish driver Jarkko Nikara was fastest and even scored one scratch time in Group N, while South African Jon Williams showed the relevance of his experiences back home when he was the only one of the five to complete the route. Some suspension strengthening has