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GP Week : Issue 132
WRC SNIPPETS n Ostberg struggles on. Mads’ father-manager Morten confirms that their Fiesta WRC team, which was forced to abandon plans to compete on Rally Australia will definitely take part in the following WRC round, the Rallye de France. He said “We are also working hard for Spain and Wales. Previously we had made Wales a priority rather than Spain, but we want to develop Mads’ tarmac experience and skills to the same level as on gravel in readiness for 2012. Spain is preferred as part of that plan, but we are still working hard also to be at Rally GB.” nDuetobeshownatthe Frankfurt Motor Show press day on 13 September is a mock-up of a projected version of a rally version of the Lotus Exige, aimed at homologation under class 4 (R-GT) rules. At this time no car has been accepted by the FIA under this category, which came into force at the start of the year. The Exige which has already been ralllied on national rallies in Spain by Sergio Vallejo does not comply with R-GT rules. Entry details for the Rallye de France, round 11 of the WRC, show three more names have been enlisted in the Academy category. In addition to the 15 remaining drivers who began their programme at the start of the season comes Sepp Wiegand, the driver who substituted for fellow German Christian Riedemann in Rally Deutschland, and two new names. These are Ashley Haig-Smith from South Africa and the Swiss Sylvain Droxler. There are 65 entries for the event, including 18 World Rally Cars and 10 SWRC drivers. This is the event that SWRC driver Karl Kruuda opted to miss, and instead the organisers have accepted Julien Maurin as a Guest SWRC driver. Entries of special French interest are Pierre Campana, the Mini WRC driver officially supported by the French federation, and the Touring Car driver Yvan Muller in a Peugeot S2000. Campana gained his second victory with a Mini John Cooper Works this weekend on the French championship Rallye Mont Blanc-Morzine. One is the IRC Canon Mecsek Rallye, the first time a rally in Hungar y has counted for a major international championship in memory. Although a long-established event run under the name Allianz Rally, this will be an asphalt event new to all the top IRC competitors. There are only four stage venues, with each stage used several times in varying configurations during the event. The event is based at Pecs, close to the border with Croatia and Serbia. The other is the Rally Principe de Asturias in north-west Spain, a round of the FIA’s European series. The reigning SWRC champion Xevi Pons leads many of the regular ERC contenders, including Luca Betti who is hoping to put the memory of his spectacular shakedown crash on the Barum Rally behind and try to catch the absent series points leader Luca Rossetti. Fiat driver Rossetti was busy last weekend winning the Italian championship Rally del Friuli. Under the leadership of businessman and former rally driver Scott Pedder Australia is redefining its national rally championship with two new directions. Firstly, following the example of the British series, by banning four-wheel drive and secondly by widening the style of its events. A Showcase single-venue event is being run at the Calder Park racetrack in Melbourne in 2012 as an example of how to break away from the current tightly formatted style of championship events. After a double series for two and for four-wheel-drive cars in 2012, the 44 year-old national series will cater only for two-wheel-drive cars in 2013. A new series dedicated to SUVs is also to be introduced. Announcing the changes just before Rally Australia, Pedder said that the rally gymkhana video star Ken Block “has shown there is huge interest in what I would call ‘urban’ rallying using a totally new rally environment combining a range of elements from concrete walls to junkyards, tarmac aprons, through tunnels and around car parks. We believe there needs to be a range of events (that includes) three-day endurance events, a tarmac rally, a rally in the snow or a desert based event along with the traditional forestry based rallies.” Regarding the move to ban existing Group N based cars, series co-ordinator Jon Thomson said “Most cars on Australian roads are two-wheel not four-wheel-drive and it is clearly wrong to embrace a formula where only two types of car, one of which will be disappearing as a new model, has a realistic chance of victory.” new challenges for Australian rallying wRc Academy expands IRc, ERc events clash with Rally oz