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GP Week : Issue 156
Hopes that Prodrive will take a second Mini to New Zealand have evaporated, but the entry for Dani Sordo is still confirmed, along with the two Minis run for the official Mini Portugal team. Prodrive officials had long hoped for a back-up entry, but work with Sordo continues. Team director Richard Taylor said: “This will be the same World Rally Car as used in Portugal. with a few extra improvements. It is disappointing not to have a back-up car, but a second entry has to be on a commercial basis.” New Zealand is perceived by Prodrive as a specially good opportunity for Sordo to show the potential pace of the Mini on gravel stages, after very confusing stage results on the debut of the 01B car (above) in Portugal. The official WRC Mini Portugal team will go to New Zealand with two cars in 01A specification. The team explained: “it was planned to use Armindo’s new car in New Zealand with the new specification modifications, but logistically everything changed because we had to change the cars around before Acropolis. It is hoped to start using 01B specification in Finland.” The rough and badly rutted roads on some stages in Finland accelerated the need for upgrades in the John Cooper Works rally car design. CITROENS DOMINATE JIM CLARK RALLY WRC >>> NEWS Citroen DS3 R3T cars dominated the fourth round of the British Rally Championship, limited to two-wheel drive cars, the first all-asphalt event in the series. After wins by Jarkko Nikara on the two short opening stages, run on roads through Duns, the Southern Scottish home town of the twice Formula 1 world champion, Keith Cronin (below) pulled ahead. Held around farms in the area using public roads uniquely closed in the British mainland, Irish driver Cronin was initially challenged by Nikara who then suffered gearbox problems and had to retire, then running comfortably in front of the Citroens of Tom Cave and Jonathan Greer. Cronin’s big problem on the first full day of the event was a broken brake bias bar and then on Day 2 he lost time with a spin and had more brake problems, and like all the top running drivers lost a lot of time on Stage 12 when sudden rain led to many tyre choice errors. Mark Donnelly, lying third in the early stages, was delayed by a broken engine sensor on his Clio R3. Highest placed non-Citroen had been the Renault Clio R3 of Peter Taylor in front of the highest R2 car, the Fiesta of Elfyn Evans, but then Taylor went off the road and Evans finished fourth overall. Niko-Pekka Nieminen crashed his Fiesta R2 heavily into trees on Stage 3 and his teammate Jussi Kumpumaki went off two stages from the finish. Three drivers are separated by just two points in the championship: Evans and Cave are equal at 60 points and Cronin is third with 58. NO SECOND PRODRIVE MINI FOR NZ 17 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: