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GP Week : Issue 53
SPECIAL StAGES n 19 year old Cumbrian Fiesta driver Kris Hall has been selected by the British federation as its representative on the Pirelli Star Driver Shoot-Out for European drivers. This will take place September 18- 20 at Freistadt in Austria. n Ford’s new Fiesta R2 made its competition debut at the Isok Istanbul Rallisi, third round of the Turkish championship in the hands of Emre Yurdakul but retired on the first day. n Japan’s most important rally this year is the Rally Hokkaido (10-12 July), a qualifying round of the FIA’s Asia Pacific series, based at Obihiro with stages in the region used of earlier editions of Rally Japan. Championship leader is Australian Cody Crocker. A separate event counting for the All-Japan national series is held at the same time. n Tested, liked but probably rejected. Petter Solberg checked out David Salanon’s powerful French championship five year-old ex-works Peugeot 307WRC in a back-to-back test at a secret venue in France, but is expected to stay with his 2001 Citroen Xsara WRC for Neste Oil Rally Finland. Petter’s Finland plans are to be finalised this coming week. n Two-car entries representing 17 national teams from 14 countries are due to start the Rally of Nations to be run by the organisers of the World Championship Corona Rally Mexico on 10-12 July. n First and second cars on the Impromat Rallysprint Kopna in Czech Republic were the Fiat Grande Punto S2000 cars of Czech driver Jaromir Tarabus and the Pole Grzegorz Grzyb. Last year’s winner Roman Kresta led in his Fabia WRC before stopped by fuel pump problems. The event was noted for the appearance of Slovakian driver Lukas Lapdavsky in the 75th Peugeot 207 Super 2000 rally car to be delivered. The world total of all S2000 cars is believed now to be around 200. n Five year old Mitsubishi Lancer World Rally Cars are still winning! Latest victory was on the BF Goodrich Veszprem Rally in Hungary, in the hands of national champion Csaba Spitzmuller. Austrian Raimund Baumschlager won the Maribor Rally in the Skoda Fabia S2000 which Patrik Sandell drives on PCWRC events. Second was Andreas Waldherr in a VW Polo S2000. 1 IRC heads toRussia SECOND event in the annual mid-summer season of East European rallies is Rally Russia (9-11 July), round six out of 11 in the 2009 IRC series. Based again in Vyborg, situated midway between St Petersburg and the Finnish border, this year’s event will run over three days without the unusual mid-event ceremonial 'start' held last year in St Peterburg. A stressful championship logistic schedule means that the Belgian- based Peugeot cars of championship leaders Kris Meeke and Freddy Loix will not start this event. The entry remains strong, however, with official entries from Skoda (Hannunen and Kopecky) and Fiat (Basso, and a return of Anton Alen after missing Ypres) while IRC newcomer Proton (Wilks) has also entered. Orthodox Group N entries include Franz Wittmann Junior (Mitsubishi) and the Subaru of Swedish driver Patrik Flodin, a Russian championship rally habitue. Rally Russia at Vyborg is not the same event as the World Championship candidate event, the Novorossiysk Rally, run the other end of the country, which is due to be observed later this year. The Vyborg event, however, will be a first chance for western teams to see first hand the latest Russian rally cars. Lada Sport Rally Team have entered Kalina 1119 cars in both R1 and R2 categories and bigger engined 21124 in R3. Rally Australia finally, officially, confirmed ... WHEN it comes to tenterhooks, Repco Rally Australia (September 2-6) puts the British federation’s indecision about whether to run this year’s Rally GB (21-25 October, finally approved on 10 June) into the shade. The final decision to proceed with the Australian event (round 10 of the 2009 World Rally Championship) was only taken on June 23, after promoting representative Garry Connelly had already travelled to Europe to give event details to the WRC teams in Poland. June 23 was when the local legislature passed the Motor Sports (World Rally Championship) Bill 2009, thus signifying official approval to the event and allaying the worries raised by local concerns. ‘Stop-start world event finally gets green light’ was the headline of the local Tweed Daily News, announcing the end of years of indecision and worry about the inaugural New South Wales based World Championship rally. Final confirmation of the event came with Governmental legislation which followed exhaustive Development Approval application formalities. Although legislation is commonly used for major motorsport events, the requirement to lodge a Development Application was unprecedented for a temporary motor sport event. It requires comprehensive information in support, which was the reason several detailed impact reports were produced. The RRA’s approach was always to comply with every official requirement. A spokesman for RRA said: “The organisation’s approach has been to push on with the organisation as though everything would be approved in due course. We had a reasonable expectation that the application was being approved. Now everything is guaranteed.”