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GP Week : Issue 175
WRC >>> CATALUNYA With the manufacturers’ and drivers’ world titles, and also the Academy title already settled, Catalunya saw the two remaining support titles for Production Cars and Super 2000 being settled. The race to the Production title was essentially centred around the two Ralliart Italia cars driven by Benito Guerra and the Polish driver Michal Kosciuszko. Both drivers played a cautious game on the gravel stages on Day 1, where the Argentine driver Marcos Ligato went into the lead, followed by the Spaniard Yeray Lemes in front of Kosciuszko and then Guerra. The start of the asphalt stages brought out the worst of the Group N cars, with almost all the contenders suffering brake problems, Ligato losing eight minutes before repairs could be effected at ser vice. Kosciuszko then went off the road and this left Guerra with a four-minute lead in the category. Guerra (pictured above right) came home a very happy Mexican, well aware of the significance of this title on the sport in his country. A happy assurance was given by the FIA that they would award the two-wheel drive Cup to the British lady driver Louise Cook who had courageously entered the series with Ford Fiesta cars. The race to the Super 2000 world title centred on the anticipated battle between the private Ford driver Craig Breen and the Proton team driver Per-Gunnar Andersson, in that whichever driver beat the other could expect to be the champion. Andersson led after the first two stages but then on stage three he suffered a broken driveshaft, which dropped him not much more than a minute but it was enough. Breen (above) had the chance to control the event from that moment onwards, winning the category and the SWRC title. Seven drivers started as SWRC competitors, of which Oleksowicz and Guest driver Albert Llovera had retired with engine trouble and others lost time off the road. Hayden Paddon rounded off his season with a spate of fastest times in the category, after his excursion on Day 1. As usual the two non-championship VW team Skoda drivers Ogier and Mikkelsen promised a good result but this time they flattered only to deceive. Ogier retired with an engine failure and Mikkelsen missing most of Day 1 after he went off the road. End of the season, end of an era, there have been few occasions in the sport when the future seemed both promising yet unsettled. Telephone lines round the rally world are going to be red-hot in the next few weeks. In the Academy the last remaining title was for the winning co-driver, on account of the change of co-driver earlier in the season by the winning driver Elfyn Evans. This title went to the Spaniard Candido Carrera, co-driver for the Jose Suarez who won the category on the event. Evans had a poor event finishing third after delays from punctures, while second overall on the event was Pontus Tidemand who lost the lead when he also punctured. Tidemand's fellow Swede Fredrik Ahlin crashed heavily on Day 2 and was hospitalised with a broken rib. Production and Super 2000 settled 31 GPWEEK.com // 31 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: