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GP Week : Issue 163
WRC >>> NEWS at BRIEFLY » Non Stop for Molly. Molly Taylor has had a busy time preparing for the forthcoming Neste Oil Rally Finland. In recent weeks she competed in the Geko Ypres Rally in Belgium, drove on the Rally del Casentino as zero car, travelled to Asiago at the Vittorio Caneva Rally School for two days of training at Asiago and competed on the Coppa Citta Lucca local zone championship rally. » The 2012 world championship Catalunya Rally, final round of the season (8-11 November) is to feature a ceremonial start in the Catalan capital city of Barcelona, before heading 100km southwards to the event headquarters at Salou. The official start will be the climax of a series of publicity activities in the Cathedral avenue in Barcelona, including the public starting-order selection process for the following day’s event and the official pre-event press conference. » Tom Damberg won the Historic Car Midnight Sun Rally in Sweden in a six-cylinder Volvo 164, after a mid-event exclusion of the earlier leader Tomas Norqvist (Volvo 240) for not slowing down at the end of a stage. Narrowly beaten in to second place on the final stage was Mats Jonsson at the wheel of a Toyota Celica Group 2 replica. Top seeded drivers were badly hampered by road cleaning problems at the start of the event though Porsche drivers Bjorn Waldegard and Stig Blomqvist fought back to fifth and sixth places by the finish. » Ostberg is Back Again! Eight days after doctors in Czech Republic diagnosed Mads Ostberg with a back broken in two place, he was in a rally car again, and winning the Estonia Rally! Happily the diagnosis after his Shakedown crash at the Bohemia Rally was wrong, and Ostberg’s team now think the injury had been incurred during a testing accident in Germany in 2008. Anyway, he won the excessively fast gravel rally by nearly a half minute from Citroen driver Thierry Neuville. The Estonia Rally is a good pre-event test for the forthcoming Neste Oil Rally Finland WRC event. Ostberg also won the event last year. Winner of the Historic car category on the event was Mads’ WRC colleague Jari-Matti Latvala in a Escort BDA, six minutes ahead of Valter Jensen in a Lancia 037. Production rescheduling has enforced a delay in the projected homologation of the Peugeot 208 R2, due to have made its competition debut on the all-asphalt British Championship Ulster Rally (17-18 August), two weeks after the Neste Oil Rally Finland. The car will however still appear on the event, running as a zero-car, as it did in Tour de Corse. The driver this time will be Craig Breen, winner of the event in 2010, co-driven by Paul Nagle. Homologation is now to be effected in October, and the car is due to appear again on the Sanremo IRC Rally in mid-October. Sales of the cars are scheduled for November, by which time the development team expect to have carried out 8000km of testing, of which Breen has the greatest experience so far. The front-wheel drive British championship has proved popular with French manufacturers. The Citroen DS3 R3T was debuted by Bryan Bouffier in Ulster in 2010 and the Sunseeker Rally saw the first run of the Renault Twingo Evo this year. VW Polo R history already! The annual San Marino-based Volkswagen- sponsored Rallylegend festival (11-14 October) has devised a way to defuse the ongoing debate concerning plans for the public presentation of the new VW Polo R WRC car. VW personnel had hoped the FIA would allow the car to run this year in pre-homologation status at the October Sardinia WRC Rally (October 18_21) as zero car, but there is no certainty that permission will be granted by the FIA. The plan now is to run the car one week earlier, as zero car at the historic car festival, which is outside the WRC’s jurisdiction! Regarding VW’s Sardinia hopes, the FIA has stated that the WRC Commission has discussed the possibility of the car running during the WRC event but no decisions have been made, saying “we allow them to do this only if the other manufactures approve it.” Enthusiasm from rival teams is expected to be luke-warm. M-Sport chief Malcolm Wilson said: “The matter was discussed at the WRC Commission in Paris (last) week. Volkswagen has been asked to formulate a proposal and once we are able to view that, then we will respond accordingly” . For VW there are two disadvantages to the San Marino idea. Fans throng the Rallylegend events to enjoy the nostalgic thrill of the old-timer cars, and fans of modern rally cars will be elsewhere in Italy at that time, because the Rallylegend is the same time as Sanremo’s IRC event. The earliest the Polo could be homologated is November 1, with January 1 2013 the final deadline in order to be ready for the 2013 season. VW is planning to use Rallylegends to highlight the 50th anniversary of a VW Beetle’s victory on the 1962 East African Safari Rally, an event which went on later to become an iconic round of the WRC. PEUGEOT 208 DELAYED “Dramatic” is the reaction of Proton Motorsport to the effect of the new rear sub-frames homologated for the Satria Neo S2000 cars on July 1. These were used for the first time on the recent APRC Malaysian Rally which their driver Alister McRae won outright, and which his teammate PG Andersson led for almost half the way. Proton go into the second half of the FIA’s SWRC season at Neste Oil Rally Finland confident that their drivers will now be fully competitive with the opposition. The three events tackled in the SWRC so far by their drivers this year have been marred by accidents and misfortunes. The advantage offered by the revised subframe is superior weight distribution, the chance to use more suitable springs and better car balance, an advantage on both asphalt and gravel. Notwithstanding McRae’s latest win, the last two events contested by the team have been disappointing. In Malaysia, Andersson stopped when leading the event with failure of a new wiring loom, while in New Zealand a series of misfortunes was crowned by a battery failure for McRae. Juha Salo is to drive for the team in two of the remaining four events of the 2012 SWRC. Note: the Proton team has nominated themselves as entrant, rather than their drivers, in the SWRC, enabling them to change drivers through the season, even though the only available championship points are for the individual drivers. REVISED PROTONS FOR SWRC 15 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: