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GP Week : Issue 159
TOIVONEN IS BACK! Harri Toivonen, younger brother of the late Henri, is to make a rare appearance in a rally car this coming weekend at the San Crispino Rally, a gravel road round of the Italian championship based at the spectacular hillside city of Gubbio. 51 year-old Harri (left, with Jari-Matti Latvala) had a successful rally career in the ‘80s at the wheel of a wide variety of cars, and will be driving a Group N Mitsubishi Lancer on the event. He recently competed on the 2011 Rally Legend show in San Marino. POWDER FIRE! WRC >>> NEWS Skoda driver Juho Hanninen used the superior speed of his Skoda to beat the local Peugeot specialist Freddy Loix to win the all asphalt Ypres Rally, the first Finn to win this event for 28 years. Hanninen led from the second stage to the finish, seeing off the challenge of the IRC championship leader Andreas Mikkelsen who went off the road on Stage 5. Apart from Mikkelsen's best time on the opening stage, Hanninen or Loix won all the other stages between them. With Patrick Snijers finishing fourth overall in a Mini, behind Pieter Tsjoen's Peugeot, and Patrik Flodin sixth in a Fiesta, four different makes of car finishing in the top six. The event counted for both the ERC and the IRC: Hanninen has now pulled far ahead in the European series while Mikkelsen still holds the lead of the IRC notwithstanding his early retirement. The two-wheel-drive category was won by Martin Kangur's Honda R3, with four different types of car in as many places, and the IRC production category went to 2008 FIA Production world champion Andreas Aigner in a Subaru R4. British driver Harry Hunt now shares the lead in the IRC 2WD Cup along with Kangur while Aigner's second victory in the Production Cup puts him just ahead of Robert Consani. The event saw the first public appearance of the as yet un-homologated Lotus Exige S R-GT car, albeit as a course-opening zero car in the hands of Bernardo Sousa. Unusually, retirements were relatively few this year. Flodin, a first-timer at Ypres, broke a driveshaft and was delayed, while Craig Breen's accident and the close proximity of the IRC Targa Florio run in Sicily the previous weekend led to various top drivers having to miss or withdrawing from Ypres. As Skoda drivers fight to win titles in both the ERC and the IRC, came news that Skoda driver Hayden Paddon has now moved into the lead in the FIA's Super 2000 world series. 1 Hanninen/Markkula Skoda Fabia 2h.36m.52.7s. 2 Loix/Vanneste Peugeot 207 2h.37m.39.2s. 3 Tsjoen/Chevaillier Skoda Fabia 2h.39m.07.3s. While Hanninen was away winning in Ypres, his friend and teammate Jan Kopecky won the Hustopece championship rally in Czech Republic. On this event Skodas took the top three positions: the best placed Peugeot (Pavel Valousek) was only fourth, Kopecky has now won the last five Czech championship events. HANNINEN DOMINATES YPRES The final stage of Day 2 on Brother Rally New Zealand was interrupted when Ramona Karlsson's Power of Powder sponsored car suddenly caught fire on the stage and the crew had to stand at the side of the stage and watch as their car disappeared in front of them. Ramona: "We hit a bump but thought nothing of it. Then the car started to catch fire and the car suddenly got very much hotter, so my co-driver Miriam (Walfridsson) and I decided to abandon ship there and then, as we were still going along the stage. “We picked ourselves up and watched the now blazing car roll down the road into a bank and burn itself completely out." Ramona was surprisingly cheerful after wards: "At least I know the car was insured and I won't have to take the car back home ...!" Just in case there is any confusion, Power of Powder has no feminine connotation. Power of Powder is an industrial technique using powder. 15 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: