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GP Week : Issue 102
Pirelli: Tanak takes the points Of the PSD drivers (who are eligible for PCWRC points), the driver who ended up best after Hayden Paddon’s problems was Ott Tanak. Alex Raschi got his best result of the year so far, finishing fourth in PCWRC and 26th overall. Peter Horsey crashed on Day 1 and officials stopped him from continuing, Nick Georgiou also went off but eventually finished ninth PCWRC.\par The Old Era is Ending Christian Loriaux in reflective mood before the Rallye de France. He spoke with Martin Holmes n 12 rallies have been provisionally listed for the 2011 IRC championship, including new events in Hungary and a new venue in Argentina, where it is to be based at the Patagonia city of Esquel. Last year the IRC event was run at Villa Carlos Paz, using many of the stages of the event which traditionally counted for the world championship. n Kris Meeke has been confirmed as the first rally driver of the BMW Mini, but no date has been given when this will be. No other drivers were named at this time. Meeke drove for Peugeot UK for two seasons, on 19 rallies on which he won five times. The Peugeot UK team hopes to continue into 2011. n Representatives of Rally Australia 2011 arrived in Strasbourg confirming that the event has moved location, further south. It will now be based at Coffs Harbour, a popular base for national championship events, which lies midway between Brisbane and Sydney on the coast. n Finally, plans have been formulated by the FIA for a Shoot Out to select the drivers who will be given a programme of world championship rallies in 2011, along the lines of the Pirelli Star Driver system. The Shoot Out will be run in conjunction with the Rally of Spain, using a single stage used by the world championship rally on the Friday, but run one day later. The stage will be mixed surface, asphalt and gravel. The organisation is in the hands of Alex Romani of the RACC, the help of Jan Sandstom who ran the two previous PSD Shoot Outs for the European region in Austria. Regional federations are responsible for selecting the relevant drivers and will provide the opportunities for their candidate to attend the event. One special change is that two of the candidate drivers must be women drivers, to be nominated by Michele Mouton’s FIA Women’s Commission. n FFSA (French federation) President Nicolas Deschaux confirmed that the agreement with Strasbourg to host the Rallye de France is for next year with an agreement to discuss the option for two further years after that. n Bryan Bouffier won the French championship (Grand National) category of the Rallye de France, in a Peugeot 207 S2000. Drivers contested the first 12 stages without the regulatory tyre constraints imposed on the WRC competitors, and in adverse conditions after all the WRC drivers had passed. Bouffier not only beat the WRC competitors in the series but his overall time would have put him less than a half minute behind the leading S2000 driver Henning Solberg. SNIPPETS FROM THE PADDOCK The Ford Focus World Rally Cars, like all the cars built to this formula, are living on borrowed time and the pace of recent developments reflects this. The last important improvement to the cars was the use of an electric water pump, in April 2009, which saved power. “A pretty small change, but every little helps.” No more Focus rally cars will probably be built, making the total number built at 97. The Focus World Rally Car arrived in 1999, replacing the make-shift Escort WRC and had two major revamps, in 2003 and then in 2006. These enabled the M-Sport design team to put a lot of theoretical improvements in to use, but there were a lot of things which were never possible to achieve: “I probably regret things we were devising in 2003/2004 when we worked on active suspension, active control transmission, ABS, electronic suspension and ride height control. There was some really interesting and complex stuff but then we couldn’t use it because the regulations changed. In those days such a lot was open. That was really cool but that it was all canned.” There were plans for a major new revised model in 2009, including important engine changes, but uncertainty about the rules and even for the future of the team, meant this never happened. The ideas are now being directed at the next World Rally Car: “Direct injection is quite a complex system and we’ve got a lot of work to do on that. Even if the permitted technology is pretty simple compared with old times, it is still‘best man wins’ and you’ve got to make the best job you can to be in front. “For that reason I think the future is still very interesting. For sure there are less electronics but it will be a new start – the cars will be exciting, they will be smaller so you make them wider, so they look more exciting and more aggressive like you’ve seen with the Super 2000. It will be interesting for everyone to see the new cars. So for that I think it is a good thing.” 48