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GP Week : Issue 50
SPECIAL StAGES n Will the Acropolis Rally be run next year if it is out of the WRC? ELPA President Vassilis Despotopoulos said “we still hope to be in the 2010 WRC. We wait for the World Council’s final verdict before we make any decisions.” The WRC Promoter ISC proposes that the Acropolis will not be included in 2010. n Was it any surprise Sebastien Ogier came second in Greece? Citroen Racing’s C4 WRC chassis 17 is one of their favourite cars, in which Sebastien Loeb won Argentina, Finland, Spain and Corsica last year. n Yazeed Al-Rajhi scored the first victory for a Super 2000 car in the Middle East when he won the Middle Eastern Rally Championship Syrian Rally in his Peugeot 207 recently. It is also the first international rally win abroad for a Saudi driver for 13 years. Yazeed finished ahead of Misfer Al-Marri (Subaru) who now leads the MERC series. n The headquarters of the Wales Rally GB will be at the Wales Millennium Centre in the new Cardiff Bay complex. The WRC service park will be adjacent, with the service area for privateers nearby. n Former SEAT works driver Toni Gardemeister will make a welcome return to international rallying when he drives a Group N Subaru on the San Marino Rally this weekend against no fewer than 19 Super 2000 cars. 16 French rallies vie for WR SIX organisers are believed to be responding to the French Federation’s invitation to tender for running the French round of the World Rally Championship from 2010 onwards, the slot traditionally filled by the Tour de Corse. Under the FIA’s new rotation system, this event is not being run at world level in 2009, though a minor event will be run in order to maintain organisational continuity. The Corsican authorities are expected to be among the applicants, which amongst other matters must assure the federation of an available budget of around 3 million euros. Other events expected to submit tenders are the current French championship Rally Limousin, the French Cup Rallye Coeur de France, a new rally planned for the south of France, the existing Antibes Rally, another new rally in the Burgundy region, or maybe the current Alsace Rally. CLICK to access a huge global audience ADVeRTISe in gPWeeK Rally GB to have a Wale FINALLY, the British motorsport federation has decided that the 2009 Wales Rally GB will be run, irrespective of the uncertainties about financial support from the Wales governmental agencies. It is to be held on the October dates as originally planned, and ends the federation's threat that they would not run the event if the Welsh authorities did not rescind their decision to withdraw from the event's sponsorship. Alan Gow, Chairman of both MSA and IMS said: "In recent years, the MSA has exercised prudent management of its finances to create a surplus in order to protect the sport against unforeseen circumstances. Consequently, we have decided to underwrite this important and prestigious international event for the good of the sport, while continuing to pursue our extremely robust case against the Welsh Assembly Government for its breach of contract.” BP Ford Abu Dhabi driver Mikko Hirvonen was ecstatic to hear that the iconic event would be part of this year’s WRC schedule. "[I’m] very happy that the event will in fact take place”he said. “The RAC Rally has a long tradition of being in the championship. A lot of good stories come out of that event; the event belongs in the championship. I am happy they have finally solved their problems.” As soon as the announcement was made, Andrew Kellitt, route manager of the rally, came to the Acropolis Rally to present route plans to the teams. The main difference is that Swansea no longer features in the event, and all the main functions will be held in Cardiff.