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GP Week : Issue 121
Skoda team driver Juho Hanninen won the SWRC category with ease, after all the other favoured drivers struck trouble. At the end of the event he was nearly five minutes ahead of his closest challenger, finishing eighth overall in the rally, and providing the first win for Skoda in the category in 2011. All 10 registered crews lined up for the Super 2000 world championship category, a series still difficult to follow as for some this was their third event of their permitted seven, for others only their second of the season, but no way was this an event for the favourites. Nasser Al Attiyah continued his devastatingly bad season with a protracted period of power steering delays, leading to his confirmation that this would be the final SWRC appearance by him in a Ford, before he moves on to a VW sponsored programme with Skoda. Then on the very first stage Martin Prokop had transmission trouble. And just when promisingly young Estonian driver Ott Tanak looked like he had victory assured he crashed. 18 year-old Karl Kruuda, who was lying third in the series after three results had to stop on Day 2 with suspension failure. Waiting for his chance was Hanninen who was gifted the lead by Tanak, followed by young Portugese driver Bernardo Sousa. Steady driving allowed Hungarian Frigyes Turan up to third, in front of Hermann Gassner who was delayed by a broken driveshaft. Eyvind Brynildsen stopped on day two with suspension failure. In the end all 10 except for Tanak qualified for championship points. In the Super 2000 series Hanninen now has 61 points, a lead of 11 points over Prokop with Sousa third seven points further behind and have each competed three of the four rounds held so far. Hanninen’s SWRC jaunt FIA sources confirm that active investigations are in hand to launch a new rally car formula for the start of the 2013 season. The cars will be based on the current two-wheel-drive R3 class cars, to which four-wheel drive transmission systems can be installed, in the same way that control supplier 4x4 systems are used in World Rally Car designs. The FIA is aware that it is still too early to know exactly the potential of the new R4 cars (Mitsubishi and Subaru) but have noted that there is uncertainty over the future availability of Mitsubishi cars, and in any case these cars are based on the use of 2-litre turbocharged engines. The plan is that 1.6 turbocharged direct injection engines must be used and based on smaller size cars than R4 cars and that the formula will provide more budget friendly cars than Super 2000 cars, which are equivalent in cost to full World Rally Cars. FIA launches new Turbo car formula WRC acropolis >>