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GP Week : Issue 119
“It has been very satisfying when we have been able to get results with the cars that the works Subaru team did not manage to do, and this carried on until we got to the S14 in 2008, when we could do no better than them. We tried very hard with the S14, testing for many kilometres. That car was the only time I was personally hoping to drive on a rally but after testing decided I really could not go through with it. That car was awful to drive!” The old World Rally Car formula ended last year. Now we all waited to see how people would adjust to the smaller- engined cars in the world championship in 2011. Mads had already come to know the 2-litre normally aspirated Fiesta S2000 during 2010, in Germany and France. Mads: “Straightaway from the first test I did in Germany it was a nice car to drive. The Fiesta handling suits me very well, I always like a car that is responsive on the steering, a car in which a lot of things can happen straightaway. That was one of the biggest issues I had with the Subaru. I feel the Ford fits me and my driving style very well. I can understand why Henning Solberg also likes it a lot. Henning helped me when we made plans to rally the Fiesta in Germany and France. “ The Fiesta is not my only experience of Super 2000. I have also driven a Peugeot 207. When we went to PH Sport to do the test their car we had a big surprise. We had just finished our test but we were told to wait a while as Mr Loeb was due to arrive. Sebastien then arrived in his helicopter. Actually it was the first time Sebastien had driven an S2000 car and he let me sit alongside him. Very interesting. I could see how he drove on asphalt. “One of the things I noticed was the way he braked going into the corners. He did not use smooth lines like I expected. He was always placing the car in the middle of the road when he was braking, rather than braking in what I would imagine to be the smoothest line through the bend. The 207 had good handling, especially on asphalt, also on gravel.” Another day, another experience, another step towards the future which seems to be very bright for the long- haired lad from Moss. After a three-year absence, the Rallye Automobile Monte Carlo will be back in the FIA’s world rally championship calendar in 2012. The World Motor Sport Council declared that there will be 13 rounds in 2012 – one more than the provisional calendar published in mid April, with Italy and Monte Carlo back and the proposed event in Abu Dhabi absent. The removal of the UAE event means that there will be no Middle East event in 2012. There will be only three long-haul events (Mexico, Argentina and New Zealand) and an eight-week mid-season pause with no European round of the series. There is a traditionalist feeling with none of the recent newly-admitted events being included, and the season will finish in early November in Spain. Decisions were taken at the meeting regarding running orders on gravel events in 2012 for P1 and P2 drivers for Leg 1. On subsequent days the running orders will be in reverse. Current running order systems on asphalt events are not to be changed. Monte Carlo is Back! 2012 calendar released, running order rules revised Left: Ostberg at the age of 18 on his way to finishing second overall at the 2006 Rally Norway. Above: Ostberg at 19, taking first WRC points at Rally Finland 2007.