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GP Week : Issue 152
WRC >>> news Round 4 of the IRC series, the Tour de Corse (11-12 May) sees the first head-to-head confrontation between two new top line new generation 1.6 turbo Super 2000 cars. The former World Rally Car Fiesta RRC of Mille Miglia winner Giandomenico Basso meets a Mini John Cooper Works S2000 driven by Dani Sordo. Prodrive have specially prepared for Sordo the car normally run by the French Drive-Pro team, now with all the 01B upgrades permitted under S2000 rules. Of the 48 crews on the entry list, another 20 are at the wheel of 2-litre Class 2 Super 2000 cars with another four Subarus in Class 2 R4 cars. These Subarus include Toshi Arai and Jarkko Nikara. The S2000 brigade include the new wide track Peugeot 207s of Bryan Bouffier, Mattieu Arzeno and Craig Breen which face the works Skoda of Jan Kopecky, the British importers’ car of Andreas Mikkelsen and the Germany team car of Sepp Wiegand. Only obvious top line absentees are Skoda team driver Juho Hanninen (concentrating this year on the FIA European series) and last year’s surprise winner Thierry Neuville (now a WRC regular). With the World Rally Cars excluded, by regulation, competitive cars in all other shapes and sizes are raring for the battle. Renault Sport has officially entered two turbocharged two-wheel drive Megane N4 cars, for development driver Manu Guigou and the popular veteran Francois Delecour in Class 3, Hondas, Renaults and Citroens fight out Class 5 and there is an official 193bhp 1600cc Twingo R2 Evo in Class 6. Peugeot Sport meanwhile are planning to demonstrate the new 208 R2 rally car at the event as an official course opening car driven by Stephane Sarrazin. It will be another classic Tour de Corse in the old traditions. After years of a route restricted by WRC regulations to the south of the island, the Tour de Corse will start in Ajaccio, finish in Bastia with a night halt also in Calvi, and for the first time in nearly 20 years the route goes to the Cap Corse in the far north of the island. Corsican confrontation at BRIEFLY » Former world championship PCWRC driver Patrik Flodin has delayed the start of his IRC programme on account of a broken collar bone. The Swedish driver’s intended programme this year was to start at the Tour de Corse, and then enter all the IRC events with the exception of Cyprus. “The accident happened on April 9 while I was jogging. Initial x-rays showed the bone was simply cracked. I had been resting for over a fortnight with my arm in a sling, and was at home last Friday night (April 27) when the bone completely collapsed without warning. I suddenly needed surgery. We decided last Sunday to cancel the entry at Tour de Corse and Mecsek Rally. I am now looking to start the IRC rally programme at Ypres at the end of June.” His programme is with a Hankook- sponsored 2-litre Fiesta S2000 run by the Petter Solberg team, which Solberg is privately continuing after the end of his Citroen WRC programme. » Notwithstanding high hopes expressed during Rally Argentina of him being ready to resume his driving career after his leg injury, M-Sport took a late decision not to enter Matthew Wilson in the Acropolis Rally (24-27 May) as the team were not confident that he would be fit enough. An entry has been made however for Wilson’s erstwhile Go-Fast teammate Henning Solberg, who has been missing from the WRC scene since Sweden. Henning said: “I hope I will be able to compete in Greece. I am busy working on it at the moment”. There is still no news whether the Go-Fast project will continue. There are three Mini WRCs (the Portugal team cars and the private entry from Qatari driver Abdulaziz Al-Kuwari) on the Acropolis entry list, but there is no entry directly from Prodrive. Peugeot have unveiled the 208 R2 rally as successor to the 205, 206 and 207 cars which have been supplied to professional and amateur rally competitors for nearly 30 years. This is the first of a series of 208 based competition models which will include a circuit racing version and is expected to culminate in September with the four wheel drive R5 (‘R4T’) model. The 185bhp 1.6 litre normally- aspirated 208 R2 is aimed at replacing the 200bhp 1.6 litre turbocharged 207 RC R3T model as a sporting car for privateers while the R5 model is being designed to replace the current 2-litre normally- aspirated S2000 model. The basic R2car is some 40km lighter than the 207 and has longer wheelbase. Ford, Renault, Citroen and Skoda all already have R2 models in rallying. Competition debut for the 208 R2 is the Ulster Rally in Britain in mid August. PEUGEOT LAUNCH THE 208 RALLY CARS 15 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: