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GP Week : Issue 96
Junior WRC Hans all the way CITROEN C2 S1600 driver Hans Weijs had the easiest time of the event, eventually winning the JWRC category by over five minutes, helped when Dutch colleague Kevin Abbring crashed his Clio R3 on the opening stage, and then when Thierry Neuville stopped with engine problems at the end of Day 1, after a blade from the engine's plastic cooling fan became detached and damaged the radiator. German driver Aaron Burkart, the championship leader, set high hopes of success but damaged his car badly after a puncture caused the car to spin into a barrier. Eventually the misfortunes of others allowed him to climb back to finish second ahead of Karl Kruuda. Guest driver Christian Riedemann finished fourth over 20 minutes behind the winning Weijs. The results have turned the JWRC championship standings around, Burkart's result enough to put him in the lead ahead of Kruuda by seven points, while Abbring dropped back to third now 12 points behind the leader. Weijs' win saw him rise from seventh to fourth ahead of the still fifth placed Slavov. COMPLETELY outclassed by the Super 2000 cars were the orthodox Group N cars, in which the very heavy Evo X of Armindo Araujo was pursued relentlessly by the Evo X Pirelli Star Driver headed by Hayden Paddon, the Impreza of Patrik Flodin and the Evo IX of guest driver Hermann Gassner. Araujo led all the way but Paddon impressed, this being the first important asphalt event in his career. Fifth place was Ott Tanak despite stopping on Day 1 with steering arm failure. Toshi Arai also stopped with gear selection problems on Day 1 as well. Fortunes were mixed for the PSD crews. Peter Horsey stopped to help when a car caught fire in front of him, only to leave his helmet at the scene of the incident and had to stop for the rest of Day 1. He then had a fire extinguisher empty itself inside his car and was stopped from carrying on, for the rest of Day 2! Alex Raschi stopped on the final day with transmission failure. Fire became a major issue on the event. Three Mitsubishi Lancer Evos were destroyed by fire (Florian Niegel, Michel Jourdain and non- championship driver Jasper van den Heuvel). Vd Heuvel's car was damaged when it hit a concrete barrier at the flying finish line and exploded when a differential unit punctured the fuel tank. The driver and co-driver Martine Kolman were evacuated urgently to hospital suffering burns. Araujo maintains his lead in the PCWRC still ahead of Flodin, Paddon and Arai, but Tanak has now risen to fifth, two PSD drivers now in the top five! PWRC Araujo maintains lead with win WRC GERMANY >> 39