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GP Week : Issue 145
All the world championship teams have pledged support for the Fafe/ Lameirinha World Rally Sprint, to be held Saturday 24 March, five days before the start of Vodafone Rally de Portugal. This promotional event will be held in the north of the country, far from Algarve where the WRC event will be based, in a higher level of population than in the south of the country. The headquarters of the event will be in the centre of Fafe, while the course follows the stage used in the ‘80s. Some of the most spectacular and frightening images of rally crowds were seen on this stage, especially at the celebrated jump near the end of the stage. These images did much to alert authorities to the need for enhanced spectator control on rallies. Last year a most successful promotional pre-event display was held in the streets of Porto. NOVIKOV CRASHED ON WRONG ROAD! BRIEFS Fresh back from their frustrating rally in Mexico, Chris Atkinson’s co-driver Stephane Prevot has explained Novikov’s curious accident which led to a chain of events that ultimately caused Jari-Matti Latvala’s crash on the marathon Stage 22. “It was a stupid mistake by Evgeniy” , Prevot said. “When we had stopped because of suspension trouble, I went down the route to warn him that our car had stopped at a junction, and that seemed to have confused him. Chris had parked our car off route, on an access route at a junction. Evgeniy spotted our parked car, thought the rally route went down the access route, went off the road and drove through a fence.” That impact dislodged Evgeniy’s roof scoop, allowed dust to pour into the Fiesta – and the rest is well documented history! In one seemingly harmless misfortune, three Fiestas instead of one retired from the rally on the same stage. Atkinson and Prevot are now off to Rally Whangarei in New Zealand, where they are to drive a Skoda Fabia S2000 in the Asia-Pacific series. They are driving for the Indian MRF Racetorque team, which previously had run Mitsubishis. The team is based in Perth, Western Australia, now the home town of Alister McRae who was their team-mate at Proton last year. Prevot: “Chris only received the invitation to drive the Skoda as he was leaving to go to Mexico. Our car is a former Freddy Loix car, in the latest specification, and our MRF teammate Gaurav Gill has another Skoda.” WRC teams pledge Fafe entry Matthew Wilson has been told the earliest he should envisage a return to WRC competition is round five, Argentina (April 27-29). The current position with his ankle injury is that the leg is still in plaster, but he has already begun rehabilitation physiotherapy sessions. His ankle was dislocated and fractured in a jogging exercise in icy hill conditions close to his home in the North England Lake District. Meanwhile there is still no news about the future of the Go Fast sponsorship for the cars of Matthew and Henning Solberg. Henning’s entry in Mexico was withdrawn and his car driven by Ricardo Trivino instead and, although he has been entered, it is currently not certain whether Henning will be able to start in Portugal. Matthew out until Argentina at earliest 12 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: WRC >>> news