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GP Week : Issue 158
Decisions taken at last week’s World Motor Sport Council meeting in Paris indicate that intentions to implement major changes in the WRC calendar have been deferred. The proposed calendar for the 2013 WRC lists all 13 rallies run in 2012, except that New Zealand has been replaced by Australia. There are to be no provisional event nominations as planned earlier, Other notably decisions taken at the council meeting were: n The number of WRC events planned for 2013 stays at 13, not reduced to 12. No dates for the events have been published, n NO new countries have been included, either confirmed or provisionally as originally proposed. n Any new candidate events, including Brazil and South Africa whose interests have already been recorded, must be held before the end of April 2013. n No decision was taken concerning the proposed merger of the ERC and IRC regional or associated championships, largely on account of the interests of Eurosport. Eurosport is already promoter of one FIA championship (WTCC), and have interests of two others – the WRC and the ERC/IRC. n Regarding WRC Promoter, it was confirmed there are three possible interested bodies, including Eurosport themselves and the Kagisomedia group in South Africa, who are already promoters of the proposed WRC candidate Rally of South Africa. One other unspecified group has expressed interest in full promotion work, and many bodies have expressed interest in certain aspects of promotion work. The WMSC was promised a decision at the September meeting, with the hope of earlier news before the end of July. n The famed letter to WRC organisers on 28 May (offering assured calendar status if immediate commitment to pay an extra Euros 100,000 registration was given) appears to have lapsed. No organiser has admitted unconditionally accepting the terms of the letter, after discovering major obstacles on legal grounds concerning indemnity and transferability rights of the agreement should a promoter demand. n Permission was given to go ahead with homologation of the Lotus Exige S, the first car eligible for the FIA's Class 4, R_ GT category. at BRIEFLY » 54 year-old Italian rally driver Gianfranco Cunico, best known as the winner of the 1993 world championship Sanremo Rally, was injured last week in a cycling accident. He has a broken arm and suffered injuries to his leg when he fell off the bike and hit a guard rail. Cunico continued to be active in rally driving up to the end of 2011, a season in which he won the national title for privateer drivers, narrowly beating Alessandro Perico. Speaking to friends, Gianfranco said it was bizarre that after a long career racing high powered competition rally cars, his worst accident and only serious injury should happen in this way. » One week after Rally NZ, Sebastien Loeb stops off in Los Angeles to drive a special DS3 ‘XL’ car at the famed X Games competition, a chance to compete again against his old WRC adversary Marcus Gronholm and other leading Global Rally Cross series drivers. The single seater DS3 features a similar specification to the WRC car except for special powertrain changes. Without the regulatory WRC turbo restrictor and benefitting from European rallycross knowledge, this car delivers 545bhp. » Jan Kopecky was declared winner of the Targa Florio Rally, which was shortened after the accident involving Craig Breen and Gareth Roberts, just 0.8 second ahead of fellow Skoda driver Andreas Mikkelsen, who had led nearly all the way till them. Third place went to the Fiesta 1.6 turbo car of Giandomenico Basso ahead of an off-form Paolo Andreucci. In an impressive second place in the two-wheel drive category, and ultimately in 11th place overall, was the British driver Harry Hunt in a Citroen DS3 R3 behind the similar car of Italian Simone Campedelli. » Instead of going to New Zealand, Mads Ostberg stayed in Sweden and Norway and won the Zero Rally for zero-emissions cars, at the wheel of a Tesler Roadster, with his fiancee Veronica Engan as codriver. REVOLUTION DEFERRED WRC >>> NEWS The FIA’s candidate world championship rally in South Africa is due to be held on August 16-18, based in Kwazulu Natal province, and centred on the port of Durban. This was the area used by the country’s earlier WRC candidate rally, then called the Zulu Rally, held in 2006. Now called Rally South Africa 2012, the route will be based in two areas, firstly in the Valley of a Thousand Hills (above) some 40km inland from Durban, then in Richmond forests south of Pietermaritzburg. Former co-driver and now event Chairman Steve Harding says: “The event uses many of the same areas and some of the same stages as Zulu 2006 but is probably closer in format to Zulu 2007. The candidate is only a two-day event, but the WRC is intended to include a third day, which includes some fantastic but very tricky sugar cane roads.” The first round of the South African national championship each year traditionally uses these roads on an event known as the Total Tour Natal, recently rebranded as the Total Rally. The candidate rally will have service parks in the Valley and at Richmond while for WRC these will become refuel halts and be replaced with service at a central service park alongside the Rally HQ at Moses Mabhida football stadium in Durban, in what is known as the People’s Park. The stadium itself will be used for an opening and closing ceremony and a SuperSpecial on the WRC event. RALLY SOUTH AFRICA TAKES SHAPE 16 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: