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GP Week : Issue 57
SPECIAL StAGES n 19 years of defeat in the Australian Rally Championship has ended for Mitsubishi with Simon and his wife Sue Evans winning in South Australia in a Lancer Evo IX. Their job was made easier when Neal Bates’ Toyota had an electrical problem and could not be restarted. n Subaru World Rally Car crew Tamas Turi and Imre Toth had an incredibly lucky accident at the Allianz Mecsek Rally in Hungary, suffering nothing worse than cuts and bruises. Their chief rival the reigning champion Csaba Spitzmuller also left the road, happily without serious consequence. The event was won by a Peugeot 307WRC driven by Frigyes Turan. n Krum Donchev avenged his defeat at the hands of Giandomenico Basso at Rally Bulgaria when he won the national championship Hebros Rally last weekend while Basso was away in Madeira. Rivals Donchev and Basso are expected to face each other again at Barum Rally. n Martin Prokop has an outside chance of a double. The new Junior World Champion also has a statistical chance of winning the Production Car World title, thanks to the exclusion of Nasser Al Qassimi from the results of the Acropolis Rally. n The title ‘Wales’ has been dropped from the name of Britain’s round of the World Championship following continued impasse with former sponsors, the Wales Assembly Government. Plans are going ahead with the 2009 event as outlined in June, with activities based at Cardiff, with the event funded by the British motorsport federation. 16 Ford confirms two more years … FORD announced on the eve of the Neste Oil Rally Finland that the company will continue an official presence in the FIA’s World Rally Championship for two more years, with support from their “senior partners” BP and Abu Dhabi. Drivers will continue to be Mikko Hirvonen and Jari-Matti Latvala and cars will again be prepared by M-Sport. In 2010 they will continue to run the current model Focus RS WRC and in 2011 the new Fiesta Super 2000. This encouraging news came on the same day that BMW announced its impending withdrawal from Formula 1. Gerard Quinn, Ford’s Senior Manager Motorsport said: “We think that this decision will be pivotal for the future of the sport and we hope our decision will encourage other manufacturers to make similar decisions.” MSport’s Team Director Malcolm Wilson said: “We think this will give a clear message that we believe the WRC has a strong future.” Citroen Racing personnel have already stated they want to continue their presence in the WRC, but only if they are not alone. … andCitroen to go on IMMEDIATELY after Ford announced its plans to continue participation in the World Rally Championship, Citroen did likewise, also covering the years 2010 and 2011. No announcements were made concerning sponsors, but Citroen’s Racing Director Olivier Quesnel said the company would remain in the WRC, on account of having costs contained: “It is an excellent promotional vehicle. It is important to keep expressing ourslves through motorsport. We are currently working with our existing driver line-up. I am confident that Sebastien Loeb and Dani Sordo will be continuing their adventures with Citroen Racing in the future.” Only limited news about the development of the company’s new World Rally Car design is available, on account of the fact the new car is to be based on the new production C3 model which has not yet been publicly launched. It is assumed that the World Rally Car, like that from Ford, will be powered by a normallyaspirated 2-litre engine, to ease complications of developing not only a new car but also a second type of engine at the same time.