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GP Week : 13-Oct-2009
n Jean Marie Cuoq (Peugeot 206 WRC) has won his second French gravel championship event of the year at the Cardabelles Rally, based at Millau, with Dominique Bruyneel (Subaru Impreza WRC) second. The one remaining event, Vaucluse, is to be held in mid November. n Nicolas Madero has edged closer to the Argentina championship title when his Lancer Evo X finished second at the Catamarca Rally 4.1 seconds behind his closest rival Federico Villagra's similar car. n No decision yet has been taken about the cars the Peugeot Kronos team will enter on the Rally of Scotland, the final round of the IRC, though it is expected the IRC champion Kris Meeke will take part, along with a British driver in the BF Goodrich celebrity car. The decision is expected to be made next week just before entries close. n The location for the French round of the 2010 World Rally Championship, to be decided between the traditional Tour de Corse, and the contender Alsace-Vosges, will not be known until after the end of the final round of the 2009 season. A decision which was to be taken on October 6 has now been postponed until the 28th. n President of the Italian federation Angelo Sticchi Damiani has confirmed that Rally Italia aims to develop its world championship rally into the future and plans to run its 2011 event in Sardinia but with a ceremonial start in Rome. Italy has no world championship event in 2010 but the Sanremo Rally will qualify for the IRC. n Just like old times. Juha Kankkunen won the classic car Rally Legends in San Marino at the wheel of a 1993 Toyota Celica ST185, beating a host of Lancias headed by that of Andrea Aghini who was nearly 40 seconds adrift. Marcus Gronholm won the special category for World Rally Cars at the wheel of a Peugeot 206 WRC ahead of the Subaru of Piero Liatti. n Rally GB competitors are out in force on this Saturday's Cambrian Rally at Llandudno at 0800, using five special stages in forests in North Wales. World Championship leader Mikko Hirvonen, who won the event seven years ago, will drive a zero car. n Mark van Eldik has won the Veenhuizen Group Nederland Rally in an ex-works Mitsubishi Lancer WRC, beating Jasper van de Heuwel in his Evo X. SPECIAL StAGES PEC StAG S EC AG E A tA A PE t P S S St SP SP S S S Notwithstanding his PCWRC disappointment, Nasser Al Attiyah has scored his seventh win on the FIA's Middle East Rally Championship Troodos Rally in Cyprus, and has taken the lead in the championship. Championship leader Yazeed Al Rajhi (Peugeot 207 Super 2000) went off the road on the first stage, and on the second day when hoping to gain bonus day-points the Saudi driver crashed again. Al Attiyah had many problems on the first day. He punctured on Stage 3 which damaged the steering arm, dropping him to third place, letting Roger Feghali ahead. He retook the lead only for gearbox problems to intervene on Stage Four, which let Feghali back into the lead overnight. Third place for almost all the rally went to Nicos Thomas, the 200a9 MERC world championship Pirelli Star Driver. With two more rounds of the MERC to go (Jordan and then Dubai) two points separate the top three contenders. Qatari driver Nasser has already won the MERC five times including the last four years. THE judgment of the FIA's International Court of Appeal on the appeal by Nasser Al Attiyah's entrant against exclusion from the Acropolis Rally confirms that Armindo Araujo's claim to the 2009 World Production Car championship is valid. Although the ICA quashed the stewards' original exclusion notice, the court confirmed the engine in Nasser's car had been illegally modified and imposed a demotion of Nasser's finishing position to the last place of the classification. This ground-breaking form of penalty means that Nasser finished 12th of the PCWRC competitors on that event, out of the points, thereby confirming that Araujo cannot now be beaten in this year's series, even before the Rally GB is run. Championship positions remain to be officially confirmed by the FIA at the end of the season. This was a difficult case for the FIA to handle. According to the team running Nasser Al Attiyah, the company preparing their engine had been given a verbal clearance by the FIA to balance the Group N engines in the way they did, which involved removing metal, an action not allowed under Group N rules. If Nasser's engine was deemed to be illegal, then there would be questions over all the similar engines the company had prepared. The decision coming from the FIA's ICA was delayed. It was announced the decision would be made on Wednesday afternoon October 7. It was finally decreed 48 hours later. (For more on new champion Araujo, see our rally features further in this issue) Nasser loses his PCWRC claim ... ... but holds on to Middle East hopes PCWRC | CYPRUS 1 Al Attiyah/Bernacchini Subaru Impreza 4h18m17.2s 2 Feghali/Arena Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 4h18m57.8s 3 Thomas/Loizides Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 4h21m37.6s 4 Tingirides/"Chips" Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 4h26m44.9s 5 Al Mari/Patterson Subaru Impreza 4h30m02.7s 6 Kyriacou/Aristidou Subaru Impreza 4h34m11.1s 16