by clicking the arrows at the side of the page, or by using the toolbar.
by clicking anywhere on the page.
by dragging the page around when zoomed in.
by clicking anywhere on the page when zoomed in.
web sites or send emails by clicking on hyperlinks.
Email this page to a friend
Search this issue
Index - jump to page or section
Archive - view past issues
GP Week : Issue 171
RALLY >>> NEWS Fords clean up IRC/MERC rounds Within minutes of each other, two FIA regional rallies have been won by Ford Fiesta RRC cars. First of all Giandomenico Basso (above) drove his converted ex-Latvala WRC car to a comfortable win in the IRC Sanremo Rally. Then 25 minutes later, Nasser Al Attiyah brought his brand new purpose- built Fiesta RRC across the finish line to win the MERC Jordan Rally. Sanremo is traditionally one of the supreme tests of precision asphalt rallying, with the slightest error costing dear. Recently crowned European champion Juho Hanninen was entered on this event by the Skoda factory. He was lying fourth after the three opening stages. He then crashed spectacularly at night, rolling over a protection barrier, and landing on his wheels on the roof of a house below the road (above lower right). Disorientated, he tried to drive his car back to the road before his realised the enormity of his predicament! Basso meanwhile pulled away from the opposition, led by Hanninen’s teammate Jan Kopecky, while third was Peugeot driver Alessando Perico. Paulo Andreucci finished fifth, driving cautiously on the 44km ‘Ronde’ night-time stage with soft tyres, but this was enough to clinch his fifth national Italian rally title. Craig Breen made his return to Italy after his tragic accident in Sicily’s Targa Florio and finished an encouraging sixth, after delays with punctures. The rally saw the competition debut of the Peugeot 208 R2, in the hands of the French driver Bryan Bouffier, who won his class against opposition from Skoda, Renault and Citroen cars Al Attiyah (top right) made a triumphant return to rallying in a Ford when he led the Jordan Rally from the second stage to the finish, notwithstanding running first car on the road in very slippery gravel conditions. His Fiesta RRC headed a remarkable line-up of six turbocharged Regional Rally Cars, five being Fiestas and one Mini. The RRC cars took the top four places, with the top placed normally aspirated S2000 car being a Fiesta driven by Khalid Al Qassimi. Based at the Dead Sea and using the same stages as the recent world championship events in that region, Al Attiyah’s closest rival was Lebanese driver Roger Feghali with fellow Ford driver Yazeed Al Rajhi coming third. Al Attiyah held a lowly sixth place in the series after the first three rounds but his win has now put him equal second with Feghali and nine points behind the leader Al-Kuwari. Two MERC rounds remain to run, in Cyprus and then Dubai. BMW Mini has announced the end of financial support for the Mini WRC rally programme, which was channelled this year to enable the Portugal Mini team to contest the championship. Motorsport Italia, who have run the cars rallied by Armindo Araujo, Paolo Nobre and recently Chris Atkinson, will fulfil their agreements so that Nobre and Atkinson will compete on the two final rounds of the series, in Sardinia and Spain, and then cease activities. Prodrive, who have an ongoing development programme with the Mini John Cooper Works WRC and S2000 cars, have been assured a continuing supply of parts from the manufacturer, and BMW Motorsport has confirmed they will continue engine development. Prodrive meanwhile hope to have the chance to enter an official team in the WRC in 2012. They state they have a line up of engine, chassis and transmission updates ready to be introduced in the first quarter of 2013. The 2013 World Rally Championship will feature not only a change in the support championship network, featuring the four-wheel- drive and the two-wheel-drive categories (WRC2 and WRC3), but the traditional system of prior nomination of events has been abandoned. This year it will be necessary to register only a personal wish to be eligible for championship points (which in turn identifies which drivers must follow special regulations) but not declare on which events you will be eligible for points. All 13 world championship rallies in 2013 will thus be qualifying rounds for the WRC2 and WRC3, but drivers will be eligible to score points only in the first seven events they contest in the WRC2 and six in the WRC3. In the WRC2 the best six scores will count, and in the WRC3 the best five. At this time the FIA is investigating a system in which a registered driver can enter an event but not be eligible for points, but that system has not yet been defined. The Catalunya Rally in the second week of November will be the final event counting for the old SWRC and the PCWRC. BMW to end WRC support New WRC championship support system 14 GPWEEK.com // 14 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: