by clicking the arrows at the side of the page, or by using the toolbar.
by clicking anywhere on the page.
by dragging the page around when zoomed in.
by clicking anywhere on the page when zoomed in.
web sites or send emails by clicking on hyperlinks.
Email this page to a friend
Search this issue
Index - jump to page or section
Archive - view past issues
GP Week : Issue 96
THE Citroen steamroller progresses inexorably towards new titles. With a 1-2-3 result on the asphalt Rallye Deutschland, Sebastien Loeb has now won the event for a record eighth time -- every time the event has been held as a world championship round, another ground breaking achievement in his career. Sordo was back as Loeb's teammate for this event and earned his place. His pace was such that he had to be restrained from pressuring Loeb unnecessarily, eventually realising that the most he would be allowed was, once more, for the 15th time in his career, to be runner-up. Ford drivers Mikko Hirvonen and Jari-Matti Latvala hung in as close as they could behind the C4 WRCs and this time the Fords were measurably less uncompetitive as they had been in the previous asphalt event (Bulgaria). Latvala found himself easily matching the pace of his team-mate -- and then Hirvonen was twice forced to stop with transmission trouble. Latvala had been lying third for a long way before eventually submitting to pressure from Sebastien Ogier, who gave Citroen one more 1-2-3 result. The vineyard, public roads and military plains were host again to the world championship, after a one year gap. The only thing missing this time was the traditionally changeable weather. Unusually, it stayed dry all the time. The stage route was the longest for a WRC event for six years, but the endless sharp turnings were there to test the suitability of the handbrakes of the cars. This was specialist driving territory. Citroen brought tarmac specialist Sordo back into the Total team and left Ogier in the secondary Junior team on this occasion, while Ford enlisted the Belgian driver Francois Duval, a driver absent from WRC events for 20 months, as the driver of a Stobart team car. Duval found it difficult to acclimatise himself to the current pace of the cars but after falling back with a puncture he was gradually improving. At the end of Day 2, however, he crashed when back up to fifth place. A driver who once again was full of determination to succeed was Petter Solberg, but his hopes were dashed when a tyre came unexpectedly off its wheel rim on the first stage dropping him to 53rd. He surged back, reaching eighth place by Stage 5, only to suffer another puncture. By the finish he was fifth. Matthew Wilson finished sixth after suffering endless brake issues but had a battle all event against Kimi Raikkonen, who was delayed by anti roll bar problems, a slipping clutch and set-up generally. The event ended well, when Kimi won his first WRC scratch time, on the Trier downtown stage around the historic Porta Nigra monument. Unfortunately for Raikkonen he didn't win the stage by enough to snatch sixth place from Wilson. As has become another tradition, the event attracted many gentlemen drivers who normally run World Rally Cars in their native Holland, and finishing in ninth place was Mark Van Eldik in a Subaru Impreza S14. No fewer than 20 World Rally Cars took part on this event, the greatest number for half a year, and those driving arrived in a miscellany of types including Ford, Subarus, Mitsubishis and a Skoda. The event was also notable as the first time no fewer than four support championships (the S2000, Production Car and Juniors, together with the Pirelli Driver cars) were running on the same event.\par Even though the rally stayed dry all the way, this was once again a mental battle-ground in choosing the correct tyres. Competitors on asphalt rounds in WRC events have on offer both hard and soft compound tyres, the latter to cater for rain, each supplied in sufficient quantities to suit. Soft tyres were soon chosen by teams for the dry stages, run in slightly cooler conditions in the mornings. Cats play with mice, as teams placed stickers on the sides of the tyres they were fitting, hiding the tell-tale explanatory compound codes, hoping to deceive their rivals. Rally Japan comes next in the WRC and the odds are looking strong for Citroen to continue their title winning ways, even though Japan is an event on which Ford finished 1-2- the last time it was run two years ago. But two years is a long time in the endless development work of rally engineering, and in the rally car development race Citroen still seems to be pulling ahead. In the Manufacturers' championship Citroen Total leads BP Ford with 308 points compared with 222, extending its lead over BP Ford to 86 points, exactly two-events worth of maximum points! Loeb extended his lead by a further 10 points in the Drivers' series, still ahead of Ogier in second place. Latvala remains the highest placed Ford driver in third and the only non-Citroen driver with a possible chance of the title, but 74 points behind. Following Hirvonen's non- points score leaves him 105 points adrift -- he has lost his battle for the title this year. WRC GERMANY >> 35