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GP Week : Issue 63
n The Larvik championship rally. run on asphalt stages in Norway, was stopped after a tragedy on the second stage. A young spectator who had been sitting in a chair died when Andreas Mikkelsen's Subaru left the road after a jump. Leading was Mads Ostberg's Subaru Impreza WRC while Eyvind Brynildsen, who was making his debut in a Skoda Fabia S2000 from the Rene Georges team, was fifth on the first stage. Brynildsen plans to rally the Skoda at Rally GB. n The 50th Flanders Rally, qualifying round of the Belgian championship, has been won by Pieter Tsjoen's Focus WRC, but fastest on the stages was Patrick Snijers' Subaru which was penalised on a road section when the car refused to start at a time control. Young Belgian Thierry Neuville, who drove the BF Goodrich celebrity Peugeot at the Ypres Rally, crashed his Citroen C2 R2 and it is not known if he will be able to make his WRC debut in two weeks in Spain. - - - n Paolo Andreucci leads Renato Travaglia by two points in the Italian series after the Peugeot team driver won the Costa Smeralda Rally in Sardinia. During the course of this season, Travaglia, who finished third on this event, has rallied Fiat, Peugeot, Skoda and Mitsubishi. Trouble for Fiats: Anton Alen retired after losing a wheel, Luca Rossetti was second after puncturing. Piero Longhi's Skoda stopped when it refused to restart. n Sixth round of the German championship as the ADAC Saarland Rally, has been won by Hermann Gassner Junior (Evo IX), beating Sandro Wallenwein's Subaru with father Gassner third overall (Evo X). Gassner Junior leads Wallenwein by one point in the series with one more event to go. n Another sensational battle in the Argentine championship was fought out at the Rally de Entre Rios run from Concepcion del Uruguay. With one stage to go, the Mitsubishi Lancer Evo Xs of Nicolas Madero and Federico Villagra were exactly equal. On the final stage Madero took the lead by 2.1 seconds. n 80 entries have been received for the Catalunya world championship rally. This will be the first rally for Petter Solberg in a Citroen C4 WRC, the car originally entered by Andreas Mikklesen whose entry has accordingly been withdrawn. Among the entries is 63 year-old race and rally driver Dany Snobeck, the 2008 French champion, whose first WRC entry was 30 years ago. SPECIAL StAGES PEC StAG S EC AG E A tA A PE t P S S St SP SP S S S At the end of Rally Australia, the three remaining Citroen crews were each given a one-minute penalty for homologation mistakes. Two of them dropped a place, the third stayed in the same position. Two years ago in Portugal, a five times more severe penalty against six Ford competitors for fitting glass windows of a thinner dimension than those which were homologated led to four cars all losing two places, and two cars staying put. This has raised suggestions that punishment policies are changing. It seems that policy today is to issue penalties which lead to a change of results commensurate with the perceived offence, rather than inflicting a penalty according to a standard and predetermined level of severity. It also leads to the thought that Ford's mistakes in Finland were twice as serious as the errors by Citroen. Penalties which can be issued by Stewards come under a variety of categories ranging from reprimands to exclusion, and can lead to eventual permanent removal of a competitor's right to compete in motorsport. One factor about the Citroen penalties which was never explained is why all three Citroens were penalised, when it was advised that only one car was under investigation. In the minds of many there could have been some plea-bargaining, a form of mitigating factor which led to a more lenient penalty imposed on the team's highest place car. Still large in the mind and unresolved was the debate in Finland 2008 when the championship challenger was allowed to start the rally although a private driver, convicted of exactly the same speeding offence in recce, was banned. Greater transparency can do no harm ... Stewards' new Book of Rules? GOOD news has come to protesters worried that traffic associated with Repco Rally Australia would harm protected lifestock species! A report issued by specialist authorities states "the most pleasing aspect was the results were far better than anyone would have expected. We only found a small number of killed animals which, quite frankly, is arguably less than you would normally expect to find on these roads. "We put this down to the gradual build- up of rally activity over the morning of each day of the event. Importantly, there was no evidence of any animal having been killed in the small areas of National Park traversed by the rally." The specialists checked out all the 344 kms of rally activity and recorded a casualty total of two lizards, four snakes, nine birds and a single mammal, which was much less than expected for this number of competing vehicles. "Most importantly, no threatened fauna, including koalas, were killed or injured. Despite claims made to the contrary in the weeks leading up to the rally, the results validate the conclusions reached in our July reports that the rally would have no significant impact on threatened species." Threatened species survive Rally Australia Sebastien Loeb lost his win at Rally Australia 16