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GP Week : Issue 49
are back to the sole entry for Mads Ostberg, who this time has the new co-driver Jonas Andersson. The withdrawal of the Vovos entry is a major blow for Greek enthusiasts, it is the first time ever that a Greek driver has not been present on this event in a top-level rally car. Junior World Rally Championship cars do not go to Greece (their next event is Poland). In the Production Car World Rally Championship, there are 17 entries, including one guest driver and the two Pirelli Star drivers. The Guest is Lambros Athanassoulas, who will be at the wheel of a Skoda Fabia S2000 rented from Italy. The Subaru entry for TSI Racing in India is to be taken over by Italian gentleman driver Stefano Marrini. This will be the third event in which the five Pirelli Star Driver award winners appear and another chance for Jarkko Nikara, who scored three scratch times among the Group N drivers in Sardinia, to show his natural talents. The Ralliart Italia’s fuel contamination problems experienced by all the members of the team in Sardinia have been traced to degradation of the rubber fuel tanks. For Acropolis these will be replaced by smaller metal fuel tanks with auxiliary secondary tanks to extend the range, and recent hot weather tests in South Italy suggested their Sardinia problem had been solved. Jon Williams’Sardinia problems were different; he suffered a clutch master cylinder failure and later tackled two stages with power steering trouble. Further down the field, the Acropolis will see the World Championship debut of the Opel Corsa S2000 in the hands of veteran gentleman driver Haris Kaltsounis, for whom this is his 40th Acropolis as a participant, either as co-driver or as now a driver. Greece will be the first appearance by Gerard Quinn in his new position as Ford of Europe’s competition chief. As on the previous event in Sardinia, it is his team’s driver Jari-Matti Latvala who starts with a tremendous advantage. Latvala will be running sixth car on the road (sixth being his current position in the World Drivers Championship standings) with no fewer than five stages (totalling 117km) being run in virgin, uncleaned conditions on the first day. Sebastien Loeb, suffering the pains of stardom, runs first car on the road once again. Running-order tactics are anticipated with a vengeance during the event ... 42 When good tactics ONE morning I was standing alone in an Australian forest, and I saw something strange. Richard Burns had long and loudly proclaimed his dislike for the system in which cars were restarted on gravel events in classification order. On this occasion, he was due to start the final day of the 2000 Rally Australia second car on the road, and wanted to run further back. Forget the fact that Marcus Gronholm was due to run first car, for Marcus this was not so much an issue as a challenge. For Richard, the idea of driving over uncleaned surfaces covered the by hugely slippery ball bearing-type stones was an unfair obstacle he did not deserve. Every car passing the stages in front of him made the conditions better. His solution was brutal. He availed himself of the rule that should a tyre deflate in a control area, you were allowed to change the tyre and check into the start of a stage late, and therefore run in a different order, without penalty. At the appropriate moment his co-driver left the car and physically examined all four tyres. Then came a hissing sound, and gradually one tyre began to lose its air. Even though cars on that event were running at three minute intervals, the procedure of changing wheels took even longer, so the deed was done, the aim achieved. Burns checked into the control late, but penalty free, and was no longer running second on the road but third, now behind Tommi Makinen as well. But like on the recent Sardinia event, it was full of unexpected twists. Earlier in the rally Carlos Sainz misjudged his slowing down tactic by pausing in an illegal place. This time Burns did not anticipate that his manoeuvre would be considered a personal affront by Makinen and made the Finn even more motivated. And neither Burns nor Gronholm knew that Makinen was later to be excluded for a turbocharger offence. Gronholm, who refused to be fazed by what was going on, won the rally. Burns’tactics failed. He