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 111
WRC preview >> MARTIN HOLMES Rally Editor The FIA’s four day World Council consultation period for the proposed 2012 world championship calendar ended Friday evening (April 8) and the results are expected to be announced on Monday 11th. There is speculation that a proposal for a twelve round series agreed between the FIA President Jean Todt, World Rally Championship Commissions President Jarmo Mahonen and the Global Promoter North One Sport will be accepted. There is more at stake this year however with the usual rubber- stamping process of the proposals of committees. It is the first opportunity for the FIA President to have his personal thoughts about the future of the sport, while also considering the political role the WRC plays in the sport’s affairs. It seems there was to be a 13th round of the WRC until Japan, already absent for the 2011 series, asked to be allowed also to miss 2012 because of the country’s recent tragedies. Three events in the 2011 calender are absent in 2012 being Jordan, Italy and Australia and ironically, the first two will be the next two events in the 2011 calender. The proposed list throws up several issues. a) A concept of event rotation still continues, with Australia expected to alternate with New Zealand. b) There is only one new event on the series - Abu Dhabi. A commercial figurehead for the sport, replaces Jordan as the representative in the Middle East. c) There is a renewed emphasis on classic events as opposed to running modern events. Six of the 12 events proposed for 2012 were already present in the championship in the WRC’s beginning in 1973. Of the ten modern rallies which were first run in the new Millennium, only two (Germany and Mexico) are found in the 2012 calendar. None of the new strong economic countries (Brazil, Russia, India and China) are in the list, nor any of the world’s ten most highly populated countries. d) It seems that the Promoter’s wish for events to have contact with areas of large population has secured France’s place in the WRC, now that it has moved to the mainland, from Corsica. But has cost Italy its place on the calender which was planning to stay in Sardinia. e) There will be a rally in every continent except Africa. It has been without a rally since 2002. f ) At this time it is impossible to know to what extent there will be a required implementation of the FIA’s new event cross-border concept, aimed at bringing more countries into world championship activity whilst still limiting the number of individual events. The WRC calendar for 2012 tells us a lot more about the sport than simply what travel arrangements to make next year. The new FIA President Jean Todt, who personally co-drove to victory in world rallies in Europe, South America and Africa in the seventies, has already spoken of his ideals for the championship. These include a return to older styles of events. This also offers the first chance to see to what extent his wishes have been compromised by realities. Is the 2012 calendar settled? THE CIRCUS HEADS TO JORDAN ... This has been for some time the longest stage in the championship. It’s quite a unique stage because unlike other stages in the rally, there is roadside foliage. Latvala’s co -driver Miikka Anttila said "There is more greenery beside this stage than the rest of the rally put together. It means this is the only stage of the rally with blind corners, bends which you enter when you cannot see the exit. Also, it is the only stage of the rally that is flat." The loose gravel surfaces on the hard packed ground on all stages is expected to handicap the first cars through the morning stages. The first day’s running order draws upon current championship standings, but after Portugal Mikko Hirvonen and Sebastien Loeb are joint leaders. Under tie-deciding rules Hirvonen‘s victory in Sweden means he start’s in front of Loeb, notwithstanding that Loeb‘s win in Mexico earned him more championship points. These extreme road-cleaning conditions last year led to elaborate tactical manoeuvres which ultimately gave birth to a gentleman‘s agreement between Citroen and Ford about acceptable tactics in future. On a technical front, this will be the last time the engines of the New Generation World Rally Cars are free of homologation and sealing constraints before their designs are frozen by the FIA and specifications settled. 39