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GP Week : Issue 165
WRC >>> NEWS REVOLUTION PLANNED FOR WRC The WRC Commission is recommending sweeping changes for the 2013 World Rally Championship, notably that manufacturers can revert to entering three rather than two car teams, and that the best two cars score championship points. Also recommended is a restructure of the WRC support championships. A division provisionally called WRC2 will be for four-wheel drive cars, replacing PCWRC and SWRC. A division called WRC3 is to be for two (front) wheel-drive cars, therefore excluding R-GT, and the Academy will be called WRC4. These changes are expected to be endorsed at the World Motor Sport Council meeting on 28 September. Looking further for ward, FIA officials are planning to reduce the overloaded number of categories of cars eligible to compete in championship rallies radically in 2015. Draft proposals are to cut the number of eligible categories from the current level of 23 groups of cars, divided into 11 official Classes (WRC and then 1-10), to 13 in 8 official Classes (no more Classes 1 (33mm restrictor 1.6 turbo S2000 cars, none of which have yet appeared), 7 and 8). The cuts will be achieved by ending the eligibility of all the cars homologated in the old Groups A and N, including Super 1600 cars, except for allowing the continuation of the traditional N4 cars. They plan also to end the eligibility of R4 cars and the Class 1 cars. The recent Rallye Deutschland saw a remarkable surge of activity among manufacturers in the market of producing competition rally cars. Ford’s newly homologated five- door Fiesta R1 1600cc car (the company’s second R1 model) made its debut appearance in Europe when it ran as a course car. This model (pictured above) had been seen on rallies in US since the middle of 2011, where FIA homologation is not required. It is intended to be an alternative model to their existing three-door Fiesta R1, a model already seen in action in the British championship. Both types of car are designed to be easily upgradable to R2 specification. Four manufacturers have now already homologated R1B (1400- 1600cc) rally cars in the FIA’s R1 category – Citroen DS3, Ford Fiesta, Renault Twingo and Toyota Vitz. Toyota also ran an example of their proposed 1300cc R1A version Yaris as zero car in Germany as well. On display in the service park was the Citroen DS3 R1, their 1.6 litre normally aspirated front- wheel drive version car, side by side with R3T version, so the only missing representative was Renault, already rejoicing from the category championship title in the British championship. Independently, the promoters of the national British championship have announced plans to admit future Group R models into their series in 2013, in the hope this will attract entries from Mini. Former WRC winning driver Philippe Bugalski has died, at the age of 49, reportedly from injuries suffered after falling from a tree. In his days in action, he won both Corsica and Catalunya in 1999, becoming the first driver to win a WRC event for Citroen and conversely the last driver to win a WRC event in either a two-wheel-drive or a non-turbocharged car. He took up rallying in 1982 in a VW before becoming a Renault driver, firstly with the dealer team from Chartres in an ungainly 21 Turbo, then with the official Diac team in a Clio in 1991, with Denis Giraudet as co-driver. Apart from 1992 and 1993 when he drove for Lancia, all his professional rally driving was with French teams. In 1994 he was back to Renault but suffered a serious accident in the Rallye Grasse-Alpin in 1995 when his co-driver Thierry Renaud died. He then teamed up with Jean-Paul Chiaroni and together they gained a long series of victories in France at the wheel of Clio Maxi and Maxi Megane cars, gaining the 2-litre French title in 1995. When Renault paused heir activities in 1998 he moved to Citroen, who were busy developing their Xsara Kit Car. He won the French title in 1998 through to 2000, the year the company began their four-wheel-drive, turbocharged Xsara T4 project. He was a Citroen team driver from 1998 through to 2003, and was teammate with Jesus Puras when the Xsara WRC began competition in Catalunya 2001. In 2001 he won Rallye Deutschland, the year the event was run as a world championship candidate event. Since his retirement from active competition in 2003, he has been fully active as the resident test driver for the Citroen World Championship Team and a major factor in the rally success story of the company and Sebastien Loeb. PHILIPPE BUGALSKI PASSES AWAY Image: Ridder Hopes that South Africa stood a chance of a position in the world rally championship have ended. The considered view of the trial event was catastrophic. The event which had so much promise, with the idyllically scenic location in the Valley of 1000 Hills, was slated in the local press as being the ‘Rally of 1000 Disasters.’ Terrible communications, (the winning driver Mark Cronje was quoted as saying it was worse than a club event), appalling route instructions, and safety issues ignored. A crew who had retired waited 11 hours to be rescued and meanwhile they were robbed by local people. RA tragedy for all sports fans concerned. News is still outstanding as to whether Brazil continues with plans themselves to run a WRC candidate event. End of the Springbok dream 15 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: