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GP Week : Issue 149
WRC >>> news Prodrive Mini driver Dani Sordo is to compete on the Tour de Corse (11-12 May, Round 4 of the IRC series) but hopes that the Prodrive team will be able to compete in the Acropolis Rally (25-27 May, Round 6 of the WRC) are fading fast. Mini project manager David Wilcock said “Corsica is a welcome opportunity for Dani and for us. The car will be a S2000 (30mm restrictor) version car, but at this time we do not know if it will be in 01A or (the uprated) 01B specification” . Wilcock confirms that Prodrive’s next Mini development phase is to make an 01B version Mini John Cooper Works available for customers in S2000 guise. Regarding the 01B version World Rally Car, Wilcock stated that he expects Armindo Araujo will have a full 0B version car in Acropolis, but it will “take a miracle” for Sordo to be there. The next WRC appearance for Minis is to be in Argentina, when Eliseo Salazar will drive a Prodrive prepared car alongside the Motorsport Italia cars of Araujo and Nobre. The chance to witness a head-to- head battle in Corsica between a world class driver in a 1.6 turbo against the best S2000 normally aspirated drivers will be fascinating to see. Sordo is hoping it will be possible to drive in New Zealand. 12 Championship Cars in the WRC The FIA has identified the events nominated by the various teams in the 2012 World Championship series for Manufacturers, and the arrangement is more complicated than ever! Basically there are eight different teams, with varying degrees of commitment to the series. Two teams (Citroen Total and Ford) count as Manufacturer teams (the old ‘M1’) and are committed to entering all 13 rounds with two cars. One team (M-sport) has entered a two-car WRC Team (‘M2’) which will enter all events. Four teams have entered one-car teams with reduced programs (Qatar with 12 events, Citroen Junior with eight events, and both Brazil and Adapta seven events only). And one team (Mini Portugal) has been registered with two cars on a non-scoring basis, as agreed in FIA’s special February championship rearrangement. There is therefore a total of 10 different cars which are eligible for manufacturers championship points at some time or other in the season, and two which carry the responsibilities of registration but without the various obligations. On the 13 rounds of the series, there will only be three (Argentina, Germany and France) in which all eligible entries will be allowed to score points. The FIA has stipulated that the originally proposed Mini team run by Prodrive will no longer be considered as a registered team but may keep the manufacturers’ points earned at the opening round, Monte Carlo. BRIEFLY Congratulations Fred Gallagher, former rally co-driver and Clerk of the Course of Wales Rally GB. 60 years old TODAY (16 April)! Last week the twice world champion Carlos Sainz celebrated his 50th birthday, having recently proved his continuing driving talent by winning the Historic car Classic Spanish Rally in a Porsche 911SC. Small detailed queries raised at the recent FIA inspection on the first R-GT (sports car) have delayed homologation for the Lotus Exige S, preventing the planned competition debut at Mille Miglia Rally. Plans are now being made for the debut at the all-asphalt Croatia Rally at Rijeka at the end of May, at the same time as the Acropolis Rally. Team director Claudio Berro confirms the homologation process is still ongoing and the team wants more time to test. There will be a strong three-way battle in the ERC Mille Miglia Rally (19-21 April) between Skoda driver Juho Hanninen, reigning Italian champion Paulo Andreucci (Peugeot) and the former Euro champion Fiesta driver Giandomenico Basso. Basso has the choice of a 1.6 turbo and a 2-litre aspirated car. Hanninen’s teammate Jan Kopecky, the European championship leader, does not start in Italy as he is competing instead at Rallye Sumava, a Czech championship event. 65 year-old former racing driver Dany Snobeck (Citroen C4 WRC) won the traditional French championship Lyon- Charbonnieres Rally being run for its 64th time. Paulo Nobre’s hard-pressed Mini John Cooper Works is to be reincarnated by a rebuild in time for the Acropolis Rally. Meanwhile Paulo is to drive the car that Armindo Araujo was using from Monte Carlo to Mexico in Argentina. SORDO FOR CORSICA BUT NOT ACROPOLIS 19 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: