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GP Week : Issue 127
New transmissions for Ford This is how the then rally leader Sebastien Ogier put on a brave face about the antics of his teammate Sebastien Loeb, trying to outwit Ogier by going late into the time control before the final stage on the Friday. Loeb was hoping to force Ogier into an inconvenient lead at the end of the day. “I do not really know what happened to Loeb at the time control”, he joked. “I think that maybe Daniel (Elena, Loeb’s co-driver) is starting to get a bit old and has a problem reading his watch, and so was going a bit late into the control. We were right behind them, so we could see what they were doing.” Ogier was on top of the case, of the battle to prove he is superior to his teammate. He was already primed to lose time on the stage and, on account of Loeb’s ploy, now had to recalculate an increased delay, to make sure that Loeb was once again truly forced into the first running order position for the final day. Ogier’s retaliation, of course, just made Loeb more angry and Loeb’s speed on Day 3, when the crews were racing to the finish, said it all. Lesson 1: don’t mess with the champion, especially when for Loeb it is more important to finish ahead of Ogier even than protecting Citroen against the threat of Ford. And especially when the road surfaces on the final day turn out to be damp, and it is better to be running first ... There was a lot of curiosity about the R4 cars in Finland. PG Andersson drove the Tommi Makinen-prepared hatchback Impreza R4, while there were two Mitsubishi Evo X R4s, of Juha Salo and the Brazilian Paulo Nobre. This was the first time the two different types (which run in Class 2 alongside the lighter but normally- aspirated S2000 cars) had competed against each other. At pre-rally scrutineering, the Impreza weighed 1390, some 65kg or so less than the top running Impreza N4 (Class 3) cars. The team reckoned the weight could get down to 1350kg but still far over the minimum allowed weight for the category of 1300kg. Salo’s R4 also weighed in at 1390kg, and his was considerably heavier than the other top running N4 Evo Xs. The top running Evo X N4 cars of Michal Kosciuszko and Benito Guerra were 155-175kg heavier, but there was one completely inexplicable factor to all this. A black Evo X, entered as an old N4 car and driven by the PCWRC Guest driver Riku Tahko, weighed in at only 82kg more than Salo’s. This attracted curiosity from those at scrutineering, especially as the car carried bold R4 stickers – when it wasn’t an R4 at all. In the end the mystery was unsolved. Tahko crashed his mysterious car on Stage 4. Lighter weight Cars in Finland. The blind lead the way! WRC FINLAND >>