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GP Week : Issue 154
WRC >>> NEWS Production Car championship leader Benito Guerra is planning a conservative approach to the Acropolis Rally.. “I really want to go out and push hard but I know I must not, I must always use my head. We have to use strategy and tactics in order to succeed in the PCWRC, and I really want to be the champion this year. “We were careful on our opening round (in the WRC round in Benito’s home country Mexico) and it paid off. That meant we went to the second round, Argentina, calm in our mind and another win was the result. In Greece it will again be a story of wait and see.” Guerra is driving for the Ralliart Italy team all the year, rather than renting a car from local teams as he has done in the past. “They are very professional people, not just the bosses but everyone working there. Our success so far has been very much down to the people in the team.” Guerra has already scored a 100% maximum score on the two of the six events he must contest this year, giving him 50 points, while Michal Kosciuszko, also being run by the Ralliart Italy team is lying second after a first, a second and a retirement. “On the stages we are absolute rivals – every evening we go out and eat together! Michal and I have a great relationship. I can honestly say that he must be my closest friend in the sport.” So more frustration looms ahead for Benito in Greece. “I have never done the event before and I know I must take no risks. Once again it will be wait and see, however frustrating that is!” at BRIEFLY » Wales Rally GB (13-16 September) has now finally confirmed its route, high on total distance (1601km, plus the pre-event 300km drive to the start) and short on total stage length (324km). Since provisional information was given to the teams in April, the route will not now include any stages in the Dovey (Dyfi) region of North Central Wales. The Ceremonial start will again be held in North Wales on the Thursday evening, with the Qualifying Stage the previous afternoon in South Wales . » The final round of the WRC this year is the Catalunya- Costa Daurada Rally, 8-11 November, later in the year than usual. Based again at Salou, the route this year features mixed surfaces stages and a superspecial on the seafront of Salou. This time, no night stages. » Congratulations! 1983 world rally champion Hannu Mikkola is to celebrate his 70th birthday on Thursday 24 May. Winner of 18 world rallies and countless more major rallies run before the championship started in 1973, one of his greatest achievements was winning the1000 Lakes Rally a record seven times. This is a feat which statistically stands unbeatable for at least another five years and probably a long time beyond! His Audi Quattro victory in Sweden 1981 was the first WRC event won by a four-wheel-drive car. » With clashing commitments to prepare for representing his country Qatar in the Olympic Games in the skeet shooting event, Nasser Al-Attiyah must miss Rally New Zealand. For this occasion his registered championship entry will be taken over by Thierry Neuville. Neuville normally drives for the Citroen Junior team, but New Zealand was not one of their nominated events. FRUSTRATED BENITO PLANS ACROPOLIS Two weeks after a most unpleasant accident on the Sulinger Land Rally in Germany, Dutch WRC driver Dennis Kuipers has finally been repatriated and returned home to Holland. He suffered two cracked vertebrae and a broken shoulder. He has been advised to rest for four months for the back to heal naturally, but the shoulder needed surgery. Dennis’ co-driver Kees Hagman suffered more severe injuries to his back and needed a series of operations. Dennis was driving a Group N Subaru Impreza which impacted a tree at an estimated 150-160kph. Only five weeks earlier he had finished sixth on the world championship Rally of Portugal in a Fiesta WRC. Curiously Dennis’ other Fiesta, a S2000, had been lent for the occasion to his Dutch rally rival Peter van Merksteijn Junior who retired earlier in the German event with a double puncture. Kuipers home after shunt Armindo Takes 01A to Greece It is finally decided, Armindo Araujo goes to the Acropolis Rally with the old 01A version Mini John Cooper Works WRC, not the new 01B version. The decision finally taken by WRC Team Mini Portugal was based on the team not having time to test the car in extreme conditions expected at the Acropolis due to the short time between events. Motorsport Italia Team manager Bruno de Pianto said “for us the difference in performance between the 01A and 01B was not great enough in Greece to warrant change to a specification in which we had no testing experience. The biggest advantage of the new spec. comes not so much in the improved performance but in the dust ingress protection. “The problem is that we have not had the chance to test these changes in the sort of temperatures expected in the Acropolis, maybe 15-20 degrees hotter than experienced in pre-event tests. We think the Mini is now reliable enough for us in the current specification. For this event we do not want to go with changes that have not fully tested.” De Pianto said that the equipment to convert the car to 01B standard is already available, and depending on the results in Greece will be fitted either for New Zealand or Finland. 14 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: