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GP Week : Issue 53
>>WRCnews fRaikkonen or WRC round 2007 champ Kimi Raikkonen is set to become the first Formula 1 World Champion to contest a round of the FIA World Rally Championship. Formula 1 champions Graham Hill and Jim Clark both entered the RAC Rally in pre-championship days. Raikkonen has entered the Neste Oil Rally Finland with a privately-entered Fiat Abarth Grande Punto S2000. Other top level private entries on this event include Anton Alen (also with a Fiat) and Juho Hanninen with a Skoda Fabia S2000, both regular official drivers in the IRC series. A total of 90 entries have been received for this event, the greatest number entered on a World Championship rally for a year. Skoda Motorsport, meanwhile, has confirmed it will miss the IRC round at Madeira (30 July-1 August, the same weekend as Finland) because of the close proximity of the IRC rallies in Russia and the Barum Rally in their own country, the Czech Republic. The company has however given permission for Juho Hanninen to drive a private Skoda Fabia S2000 in Finland if sufficient budget can be raised. Higgins/Cronin resume battle on the Manx HIGHLIGHT of the British rally calendar this weekend is the Rally Isle of Man (10-11 July), round four of the six events in the BRC and the latest head-to-head battle between Mark Higgins’ Subaru and Keith Cronin’s Mitsubishi Evo IX. This year this all-asphalt event will be run over two rather than three days, but there will be something for every taste. The sporting weekend extends to four different rallies within a rally - the BRC qualifying international rally also caters for Ford Fiesta, Citroen C2 and Suzuki Swift one-make competitors, while there are also the separate Historic Rally, the Challenge Rally for two-wheel drive cars and the Trophy Rally for club drivers. Despite once again preferring to drive the old N11 model Impreza rather than the latest N14 version, Manx born Higgins starts favourite. Higgins ranks with the late Tony Pond and Russell Brookes as a four-times Manx winner: victory for Higgins this time will elevate him into uncharted territory! Keeping it in the family A member of the Singh family has now won the Zambia International Rally for the 19th time! This was the third time Muna Singh has clinched his country’s major rally, but it was close. One second ahead of Muna at the start of the final section of the 33rd Zambia Rally was fellow Zambian driver Mohammed Essa, who was slowed when a rock flattened his exhaust pipe, and he finished 15 seconds behind Muna. Six cars finished the rally, all Subarus. A Subaru walkover was inevitable. Subarus were the only homologated cars on the event. Muna is now seven points behind Zimbabwean driver Jamie Whyte, who finished third on this event, in the FIA’s African championship. One final round of the ARC event is to run, the Zimbabwe Rally. Meanwhile, Mitsubishi Evo IX driver Roger Feghali, six times a previous winner, has scored a seventh win the 32nd Rally of Lebanon, the only all-asphalt round of the FIA’s Middle East Rally Championship. His winning margin was over 10 minutes! MERC championship challenger Nasser Al Qassimi failed to start, being delayed in returning from the cross country Rallye dos Seroes in Brazil, where he finished second behind his VW teammate Carlos Sainz. Saudi Peugeot 207 S2000 driver Yazeed Al Rahji finished third and took the lead in the series. 1