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GP Week : Issue 52
SPECIAL StAGES n Sebastien Loeb has been voted the best-loved French sportsman, according to a l’Equipe survey. n Edox watches have been awarded the title of Official Timing Partner for the World Rally Championship. n Finnish driver Matti Rantanen is to drive a number two Munchi’s team car on Neste Oil Rally Finland (30 July – 2 Aug), as teammate to Federico Villagra. Last year he finished the event seventh overall, highest non championship driver. n It ended in tears last week in Argentina. The results of the Rally de San Luis (reported GPW51) were altered. The Subaru Impreza N14 cars of second place Claudio Menzi and his teammate Gabriel Pozzo were excluded for turbocharger assembly irregularities, leaving WRC’s Munchi’s team driver Federico Village a clear winner in front of Luciano Bernardi. Lancer Evo X cars now take the top three places. n Jose Pedro Fontes made his debut with his Aston Martin DBRS9 at the Rali Vila Verde, a qualifying round of the Portuguese two wheel drive rally series. He finished third overall behind Mex Machado Santos’s Porsche 997 and a Citroen C2R2 Max. n First day winner of the two day Spanish national gravel championship Lanzarote Rally was Yeray Lemes; second day winner was Xevi Pons, both with Mitsubishi Evo IX cars. Subarus took the top three places on the Rallye Baies des Chaleurs in Canada, headed by the car of Patrick Richard. American Ken Block led initially in his Subaru but went off the road. British championship contender Keith Cronin won the Raven’s Rock Rally in Ireland in his Mitsubishi, beating a gaggle of World Rally Cars. 1 Fia ticks WRCboxes LAST Wednesday’s FIA World Motor Sport Council approved several far-reaching changes for the future of World Championship rallying. Many of the promotional proposals reflect the traditional character of the sport. These include: (a) the return of night stages, which were officially dropped in 1996 on account of safety as well as promotion reasons; (b) return of stages with more than one type of surface on the same leg, so long as the same type of tyres are used for all the leg; (c) greater flexibility in total lengths of stages, from 300 to 500km; (d) ability to run rallies on anything from two to four days, so long as the rally finishes on a Saturday or a Sunday; (e) official podiums at the end of each day; (f) increased opportunity to make use of remote service points so long as the total recce period remains within a 48 hour framework; (g) using promotional opportunities on the recce and also making scrutineering a major promotional activity. Other changes are still under consideration, including (i) official start order for the rally; (ii) for qualification as priority status and (iii) using shakedown for deciding the (ii) using official driver seeding records (iii) accepting cars using regional modifications on their cars, so long as this offers no performance advantage and the basic car is homologated by the FIA. 2011 World Rally car spec still unfinalised Detailed specifications for the 2011 version World Rally Cars are still unpublished. The latest situation is that 1600 turbo engines, originally authorised as from 2013, will be permitted, and presumably these will run alongside two-litre normally- aspirated engines and will be subject to new performance equivalence rules. If this is the case, the 2011 version World Rally Campionship will be a dual regulation formula, much as Group N (which admits lighter normally-aspirated Super 2000 as well as heavier turbocharged cars) is at the moment. It is also currently expected that Super 2000- based cars being modified for World Rally Car use can be widened up to 1820mm maximum body width, providing not only bodywork changes but also modified suspension systems –technical details of these changes are not yet available. These proposals indicate a divergence from earlier FIA rulings that the 2011 World Rally Cars should be Super 2000 cars with simply cosmetic bodywork changes. The need for an elaborate transitional overlap period for 2010 between the existing World Rally Car and cars complying with the new WRC rules in 2010 is receding. This overlap is now limited to a proposed WRC Cup for cars complying with the new rules that are running during 2010, details of which are still under consideration. Confirmed at the WMSC was that Group N turbocharged cars will be allowed to run with a 33mm turbo restrictor from the start of the 2010 season instead of the existing 32mm restrictor. The length of time that Super 2000 will continue in its present form is not known. Petter eyes Peugeot PETTER Solberg is to test an old Peugeot 307 World Rally Car, to check how this car rates against the eight year-old Citroen Xsara WRC which he is currently driving in the World Championship. “It is a chance not to miss. Since the 307 was last used in World Championship rallying in 2005 it has been developed a lot, and the development of the engine of the 307 has not been restricted like it has been with the Xsara.” The 307WRC scored three victories in the WRC, two of them on Rally Finland, the next round of the current World Championship.