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GP Week : Issue 129
WRC SNIPPETS n Organisers of Rally GB, final round of the 2011 FIA World Rally Championship, have announced that spectators will be banned from watching the Power Stage, the televised final stage of the event, unless they have purchased a spectating ticket, value £99. n It is reported this will only be available on a first-come, first-served basis and subject to available space in the dedicated car park. This ticket, described as the “best value for money”, offers the chance to appear on television, allows access to other stages, comes with an exclusive 10 percent discount on official merchandise – and purchasers will have a promotional air freshener supplied! The communique also announces that live coverage of the Power Stage will be available for stay-at-home fans on ESPN, but not on a free-to-view station. The Power Stage will be run deep in the Epynt Ranges north of Brecon. n Entries for Rally Australia, have closed with 31crews, 27 of which were FIA Priority drivers and only seven Australian crews. In addition there is one entry from a New Zealand driver, Hayden Paddon. There are to be 13 World Rally Cars and 14 entries in the PCWRC, including two Australian Guest drivers. Top Australian entry is for Academy drivers Brendan Reeves who for this event will take over the PCWRC entry of the Anders Grondal team, but absent is the new FIA Pacific Cup champion Chris Atkinson. None of the top current Australian national championship drivers is taking part on the WRC event but some will compete in a national level event which will run on Days 1 and 2. Also absent from the event will be Mads Ostberg.. His place in the Stobart championship team for this event is taken over by Evgeniy Novikov. n Ukraine President Yevgeny Czerwonienko is reported to claim that the Carpathian mountain region has everything necessary to organise a round of the FIA’s world championship. He was speaking at the Alexandrov Rally based at Kosiv, Western Ukraine, close to the Romanian border. The event is dedicated to the memory of the late Andrey Alexandrov, who died four years ago on the Sliven Rally in Bulgaria. Earlier this year Ukraine hosted a round of the IRC series at Yalta in the south of the country. Urgent talks are being held next week at the FIA to analyse the performance capability of Group R4 cars, to bring this more in line with the performance of 2-litre normally aspirated S2000 cars, with which R4 cars are matched in their class. While recent rallies indicate that R4 cars are often more than a half second a kilometre faster than the old Class N4 version of the same car, this is still some way short compared with S2000 cars. The background to these talks is the fight to keep Mitsubishi Lancer and Subaru Impreza cars in a competitive position in international rally sport, and not suffer from an officially anticipated decline of these traditional turbo four- wheel drive cars. The proposed new Class R4T cars (the so-called ‘poor man’s S2000’) which are essentially to be four- wheel drive versions of the front-wheel drive R3T cars and enthusiastically supported by Citroen and Peugeot, are seen as another threat to Group N. Only Citroen and Peugeot have homologated R3T cars with full 1.6 litre engines. Mitsubishi Ralliart chief Mario Stagni says: “Mitsubishi is against the introduction of the new category. We prepared a kit for the new R4 with the aim to let the cars survive. The hope was to maintain stability in the rules for some years”. A spokesman representing Subaru said “R4T cars will be a threat if they are faster. It all depends on the details of the rules being discussed.” The FIA is meanwhile also pondering the viability of New Generation 1.6 turbo S2000 cars. Although these cars were expected to be the foundation of second-level regional competition, the cost of running these cars is very similar to running World Rally Cars. So far these cars are still banned from FIA’s regional rallies and the IRC. Mitsubishi and Subaru fight for Group N survival