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GP Week : Issue 169
RALLY >>> NEWS LOEB TO GO PART-TIME WRC life will never be quite the same again. It was announced at the Paris Motor Show that Sebastien Loeb, quite the most successful driver the WRC has ever known, will not compete regularly in the world rally championship next year. Citroen has stated his plan is to contest “three or four” WRC events in 2013. After a slow start to his career, Sebastien started competing in WRC events seriously in 2001, first through the FIA Super 1600 Drivers’ Cup in 2001, then in World Rally Cars. In all his WRC career, he has only twice rallied cars other than Citroens. 32 year-old Mikko Hirvonen is thus to be the Citroen Abu Dhabi WRC rally team’s number one driver in 2013. After four seasons as number one driver at Ford, where he won 12 WRC events, Hirvonen left Ford to join Citroen for the 2012 season to become number two driver, replacing Sebastien Ogier. During 2012 Mikko has only beaten his team-mate on one occasion, but five times he finished second behind Loeb. He has won two non-championship events for Citroen during the season, the winter Finnskog Rally in Nor way and the Vosgien asphalt event (his first ever asphalt victory) in France. He was excluded on technical grounds from the Rally of Portugal seven hours after provisionally being declared the winner. He is currently the only driver in 2012 able to prevent Loeb from gaining a ninth world title. Citroen’s presence in the WC has been assured through a sponsorship agreement with Abu Dhabi. They plan a three-car team on each WRC event, with Abu Dhabi driver Khalid Al Qassimi assured of a drive on each event. There is no announcement who will drive on the events which Loeb does not enter. Citroen are considering entering the World Touring Car Championship in the future with Loeb as a driver ... Image: Ridder Peugeot’s presentation at the Paris Motor Show of a life-size concept version of their proposed 208 Type R5 car has finally brought the new long-awaited rally R5 formula into the public domain. The car represents the latest sporting endeavour of the highly respected manufacturer whose motorsport activities have been successful for a hundred years (see feature later in this issue). The Type R5 is a bold replacement project for the 207 Super 2000 which was one of the most successful competition models in recent motorsport history. Due to run for the first time in November 2012, an extensive test programme on asphalt and gravel surfaces is to be undertaken in order to define the specification for homologation in 2013, and then later to provide regular specification upgrades for customers. Peugeot’s parallel 208 R2 project is now up and running. After occasional recent test runs on events as zero car, homologation for the model is now due for in time for the Sanremo Rally, second weekend in October. M-Sport, meanwhile, have released an artist impression of how the new style Ford Fiesta car will look when modified under R5 rules. Hirvonen to lead Citroen WRC challenge PEUGEOT GROUP R5 GOES PUBLIC 14 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: