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GP Week : Issue 47
SPECIAL StAGES n The debate about the two-minute penalty in Sardinia imposed on the World Champion Sebastien Loeb is bound to continue, especially as his team-mate Dani Sordo was excluded for the same offence in Japan in 2006... n The IRC authorities have finally confirmed that the planned round in Japan will not now happen, so there will now be eight weeks between the penultimate and the final round of the series. n Patrick Snijers won seven of the 12 stages on the Sezoens Rally in Belgium, at the wheel of a Subaru Impreza World Rally Car. This was the first of the six rounds in the 2009 Euro Rally Challenge, which is aimed at competitors in World Rally Cars. n Reigning champion Roman Kresta (Peugeot 207 Super 2000) beat Vaclav Pech (Evo IX) by nearly a minute on the Czech national Cesky Krumlov Rally with Jaromir Tarabus third in a Fiat Grande Punto S2000. n Round three of the FIA’s European rally championship, the Croatia Rally, is held this weekend at Zagreb. Top seed is Polish driver Michal Solowow (Peugeot 207 Super 2000), ahead of Giandomenico Basso (Grand Punto S2000), who are heading the series. n Bumper fortnight for Italian rally fans, following last weekend’s Sardinia Rally. This weekend Kimi Raikkonen has been seeded number 15 in his Grande Punto S2000 on the Rally della Marca, to be run at Treviso. 18 We will if they do ... “WE’RE ready and want to continue in World Championship rallying but this is conditional – we will not be involved if we are alone!” Citroen Racing chief Olivier Quesnel has confirmed his company’s policy regarding future activity effectively depended on whether Ford will be present in championship rallying after the end of this season. “We certainly want to stay and eagerly await coming decisions from the World Council on June 24 about the calendar and the technical regulations, and we hope that Ford will still be there.” German’s WRC chance 22 year-old German driver Mark Wallenwein is entering four World Championship rallies as part of a proposed system in which entries on events in Italy, Poland, Finland and Spain are exchanged for entries in the Deutschland Rally. Mark is the third generation rally driver in his family – his grandfather started competition 40 years ago and drove his last event at the age of 76. Mark’s elder brother Sandro finished second in the 2008 German championship. Higgins closer in BRC scrap MARK Higgins reduced the British Rally Championship lead of Irish driver Keith Cronin in a close battle on the asphalt roads in south-east Scotland, but only just... Cronin’s Group N Mitsubishi punctured early on in the two- day Jim Clark rally and he spent the rest of the event trying to catch Higgins, closing to within 2.6 seconds before the final group of stages. Higgins meanwhile had been suffering differential and misfiring problems, and only in the late stages was his old Group N Subaru Impreza made to work better. He finally gained maximum points from this event by 11.4 seconds. Points total after three of the six championship events is Cronin 58, Higgins 56 and Alistair Fisher 41. Class wins were taken by Matti Rantanen, (Renault Clio), Martin McCormack (Citroen C2 R2 Max) and Gordon Nichol (Suzuki Swift Sport). Higgins, below, during the popular Duns Special Stage Mark Deans, Ford of Europe’s Motorsport Manager, is unable to give any assurances about the future of his team. “The Super 2000 development project is an M-Sport not a Ford project. We also really want to stay in the sport, but consent depends on the global economic situation.”