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GP Week : Issue 124
VW’s candidate team driver Joonas Lindroos who had been invited to drive a VW sponsored Skoda Fabia S2000 on the forthcoming Neste Oil Rally Finland as an official ‘Guest’ championship driver, eligible to score SWRC points, has been de-selected. Lindroos. a member of a third generation Finnish rallying family, claimed that he had not realised that Guest driver status banned him from private pre-event testing, which negated the object of VW’s evaluation plans. He will therefore start the NORF as a non-championship driver, alongside Andreas Mikkelsen in the other VW team Skoda and PG Andersson (Impreza R4). M-SPORT has announced two extensions to the successful Fiesta rally car brand, fulfilling their intention of providing the current Fiesta model as a continuous sporting stepping stone from grass roots to World Rally Car level. In addition to the existing three Fiesta rally car models (the four wheel drive World Rally Car and normally aspirated Class 2 Super 2000, and the Class 6 two wheel drive R2), plans have now been made to make available a Class 1 new generation Super 2000 and a Class 9 R1 car. The first model is being labelled the ‘Regional Rally Car ’. This car will in fact be an existing World Rally Car model but marketed together with a kit which will downgrade the car from the WRC Class to Class 1, while the second car labelled ‘MS1’ represents a concept which enables the basic car to be converted in stages from national championship formulae through R1 and up to R2. FIA rules specify that the current World Rally Cars have first to be homologated as new generation Super 2000 cars before being up-rated to WRC status. In the case of Ford (and also the Citroen DS3) the procedure was carried out backwards, so that the base Super 2000 car could be approved in the best basic specification that would allow the required World Rally Car then to be homologated. In the RRC project the car supplied will be a current World Rally Car version from which the official kit of World Rally Car parts can be removed and replaced by standard S2000 parts, in the way the FIA originally planned the new formula. These parts include front bumper, rear aileron, brake air ducts, 30mm turbo restrictor. This year the sporting opportunities in FIA championship events of these cars is limited, but the cars are already widely available for use in national championship events where rules are defined by the relevant federations, and next year in FIA championship events. The MS1 project is much more wide -ranging. Currently a prototype is undergoing durability tests to identity what parts should be included in the FIA homologation to make the car suitable for both asphalt and gravel rallying under Class 1 rules form. No firm date is yet available for FIA R1 homologation. A wide range of engine options is being considered ranging from the basic 130 horsepower in R1 form up to the 170 in R2. Many basic specification alternatives including gear ratios and brakes as well as suspension modifications are under consideration, to make the Fiesta suitable for a wide range of sporting applications. At the moment the only homologated R1 car is the Renault Twingo. And finally, what is the reason why M-Sport propose their Class 1 car should be called Regional Rally Car, a working name used by FIA when they first conceived the original Super 2000 regulations? An M-Sport source said “it sounded nice, makes a clear distinction with World Rally Car. Nothing more to it than that!” M-Sport expands Fiesta Rally Car range Lindroos says Nooo ...