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GP Week : Issue 163
Initial details indicate the 2013 Rallye Automobile Monte Carlo will be at least four days long – or maybe five like this year. In any case, the total stage distance will exceed by at least 30km that of the 2012 edition. Uncertainty surrounds whether WRC rallies will again be compelled to run a Power Stage at the end of the event, in which case the event will extend from the planned finish on Saturday night, into Sunday. If this happens, the total stage distance will be 470km, compared with 433km in 2012. The 2013 route on the first two days in the Ardeche region is identical to 2012. The major change for Day 3 is the return of the Sisteron stage on the run from the upcountry base at Valence down to Monte Carlo, while there will be three passes over the Col de Turini on Day 4. The Sisteron stage has not been run since 2002, and over earlier years created endless legendary dramas because of its special nature. The large majority of the stage runs along a low-level valley, but towards the finish ascends steeply into the hills, and inevitably a quite different meteorological conditions. In 1983, the Lancia team installed a mid-stage tyre changing point for their drivers at the end of the stretch along the valley, and in 1994 (pictured) Michelin produced an extraordinary tyre especially for this stage, which they called the ‘Catamaran’. The date of the Rally is confirmed with the FIA at 16-20 January, the only WRC date in 2013 to be announced. WRC >>> NEWS MIKKELSEN EXTENDS IRC LEAD Skoda UK team driver Andreas Mikkelsen extended his lead in the IRC series after winning last week’s hot and dry Sibiu Rally in Romania, taking advantage of his number one running position to avoid the dust problems encountered by his rivals, especially on a 15km night gravel stage. After only three stages he was already more than a minute in front of Gergely Szabo (Skoda) who was one of many drivers to be delayed with punctures. He was then two minutes in front of SeppWiegand in the Skoda Deutschland car. Wiegand however stopped three stages before the end with shock absorber damage, so Mikkelsen finished over five minutes in front of Fiesta driver Patrik Flodin. Flodin lost time on Stage 2 with problems after a puncture, falling temporarily to last position and suffered more problems with power steering failure and a broken driveshaft. In a steady third position was the Peugeot driver Francois Delecour, who suffered shock aborbers problems. The two-wheel-drive category was won by Robert Corsani this time in a Clio R3 after Harry Hunt (DS3 R3T) was delayed with shock absorber failure and a broken brake pipe. The Production category was won by Vitaliy Pushkar in a Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X. United Business team driver Bernardo Sousa expects the Lotus Exige S, the world’s first R-GT rally car, will make its competition debut on the Madeira Rally, the ERC event which runs 28-29 July. “It will be a close thing, but we expect the homologation papers will arrive just in time to start the rally” , said Sousa. The car was due to reach Lisbon last Saturday (21 July) and then arrive by boat in Madeira today, in time for last minute tests before the event. Regarding recent reports, the Madeira resident added: “We have been worried by recent fires on the Island. No doubt some trees and telephone communications along the route will be burned, but we do not expect there will be any safety concerns that will stop the event being held.” The appearance of the Lotus is a major headline for the event, on account of a serious shortage of foreign entries this year. Only three non-Portuguese drivers are due to start, the leading ones being Juho Hanninen and Luca Betti. LOTUS ON ITS WAY FOUR/FIVE DAY MONTE CARLO? 14 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: