World Rally Championship 2003 (1 Viewer)

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  • Thread Starter #21
    ++ [ originally posted by Paolo_Montero ] ++
    whatever happened to makkinen in his lancer?
    He has since moved to Subaru where he had a terrible 2002. I hope he has a better 2003 :)

    Mitsubishi messed up the Lancer and have opted to sit it out this year.
     

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    Ali

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    Baptism of Fire and Ice
    Sweden 30/01/2003 21:26:44
    When a former editor of Loaded joined the editorial crew of rallyXS magazine, they couldn't resist. Last year, they threw him in at the deep end - dressed in thermals, extra socks, fleeces and headgear so he would live to tell the tale. Yes, they packed him off to a bitterly cold, ultra-fast Sweden. By Derek Harbison...

    Let's get one thing straight: I know nothing about rallying. The last time I went to a rally it was to get a day off college and protest against government policy. Twenty years later, rallying has changed. Everyone's got a car, for one thing, and they don't seem to protest against anything - except the laws of physics and common sense.

    Such is my level of ignorance that the nice chaps at rallyXS decided I should stop annoying them around the office and see what all this World Rally Championship stuff is about. So I'm in Sweden, home of Sven-Goran Eriksson, Abba, Volvos and 1970s hardcore pornography. Oh, and safe driving.

    Karlstad, home of the Uddeholm Swedish Rally, is west of Stockholm - but it feels as if it's at the epicentre of the Arctic Circle. I keep expecting to see a polar bear sneak through the hotel lobby. It's proper winter here, of the kind you hardly ever get in England, and never in London. The snow is a couple of feet deep, there's a large minus in front of the temperature and we're getting ready to watch apparently sane men drive on hard ice and snow roads at 100mph plus.

    In Britain, if one person sees a snowflake on the Isle of Bute the whole transport system slides to a halt. Here in Sweden, they don't get going until they're up to their armpits in the stuff. Of course, if I tried to drive here I would slide off the road into a ditch even earlier than usual, but the locals have proper snow tyres with metal studs for extra grip.

    The WRCs go several steps better, sporting the kind of rubber and spiky metal arrangements that I've only ever seen in, er, specialist magazines.

    As soon as they start to move it is quite obvious why. Cars are not supposed to do this. John McIlroy, rallyXS writer, says he recently described this rally as a fantastic optical illusion: it looks completely insane and yet is one of the fastest rallies of the year. I take his word for it, but I still think they're nuts.

    Before we see any real action it's off to the Mitsubishi press conference, a very civilised and informal affair with nibbles and booze, and I can check out quite how insane these people are. A chat with Alister McRae reveals that he has a bad cold.

    He talks with the calm manner of someone about to go down to Tesco to get the shopping, rather than slide around at top speed along miles of what anyone else would call the worst road conditions in the world.

    Lovely guy, Alister, but I can't help noticing that the racing suits look like they're made of the same material used for straitjackets.

    I hook up with the guys from McKlein, the world's top rally photographers, to get the best view of the action. If anyone knows where to go and how to get there, it's them. It hadn't occurred to me that, unlike track racing, you can't just turn up and watch for the day.

    You have to turn up at a point on a stage, watch the cars go by, leg it back to your car and drive to another stage (while avoiding all the other traffic) to get there in time for the cars again. We'll probably do more miles than the rally cars this weekend. However, when we get to the first stage of the day the drive proves worth it.

    Luckily, I had been advised to stock up on proper clothing for the event: waterproof trousers, a good hat, gloves, fleece, extra socks, boots, jumpers, jacket etc. I look like the Michelin Man. Perhaps I'll meet a Pirelli girl and we can swap rubber stories. My wife bought me a pair of thermals that were described on the pack as "anti-bacterial", and I'm glad to be wearing them when the first car goes past.

    I'm with Bob McCaffrey and Reinhard Klein from McKlein, so I can sneak into the photographers' area. There are other sports that involve a ton of metal moving at stupid speeds, but only rallying lets people get incredibly close to said metal. Photographers get closer still.

    As Richard Burns' Peugeot slides around the corner it comes within inches of us, showering everyone with snow and ice. Half of me is totally exhilarated; the other half is wondering if my apparently impending death will cause an unseemly fight over my CD collection.

    However, all thoughts of rewriting my will are put on hold as the same thing happens again and again and again. More stages, more snow, more drivers tearing around a surface I can't even stand up on and coming so close I can smell their brake dust. After a while, I want to jump in and take part myself. Maybe I can buy a suitable car back in town, on expenses?

    Actually, I probably could - if only the expense account would wear it. The service area in the small town of Hagfors is full of this sort of stuff: stacks of tyres, car chassis, clothing - and mechanics who can build a full-spec WRC from scratch in what looks like 20 seconds. Luckily, there is another, less costly, option. I find a PlayStation 2 tent, and for half an hour I am a Norse Ice God, invulnerable to the huge crashes I appear to be having every few seconds.

    Now drinking and driving is bad, but driving and then drinking seems to be OK. And drinking while watching professionals driving would appear to be the law here. Everyone has a hip flask, cans of beer, bottles of vodka and God knows what else.

    At every stage, groups of people gather around campfires, drinking vast quantities and burning enormous sausages. In the evening fires dot the darkness, and the party really gets going when the cars rocket by, a riot of headlights and explosive gear changes.

    Everyone gets a cheer, though at the speed they're going in the darkness it's almost impossible to tell who's who. I figure it's rude not to join in and hook up with some fans at a bar made out of two huge tepees. Ari and Tomas are serving cold beer and hot moose. They've come 200 miles for the day, and they want Tommi Makinen to win.

    Come to think of it, everyone I meet is cheering on Tommi. Even I know he's out of it, that Marcus Gronholm is running away with the rally. What the hell. This is a purely social occasion, and they've been in the bar all day - or possibly all weekend.

    In this sport, the fans truly have a good time. You don't get rally hooligans - Swedes are just too polite for that - and if their favourite doesn't even finish, let alone win, it doesn't matter. It's total enjoyment. They've had a great time, eaten an entire herd of cattle, got spectacularly drunk and fallen over in the snow while watching some of the best drivers in the world doing the sort of thing that would get you and I locked up. What could be better?

    Well, I still don't know much about rallying, but I know I want to come again.

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    Ali

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  • Thread Starter #23
    Let there be snow. . .
    Sweden · 03/02/2003 16:16:26


    Just six weeks into 2003 and already we're preparing for the second round of the World Rally Championship, the Uddeholm Swedish Rally. It's a super-quick event where driver skill is at a premium.

    The weather here is crucial too, with the drivers actually wanting freezing temperatures and lots of snow and ice. If there is a thaw, the slushy mudfight that follows actually can slow the cars down.

    RALLY: Uddeholm Swedish Rally
    LOCATION: Rally HQ is in Karlstad, in the west of Sweden. The stages are run around the town of Hagfors, 80km north of Karlstad.
    TERRAIN: The Swedish Rally is the WRC's only true snow event. To get a purchase on the slippery surface the cars have skinny, studded tyres that bite into the ice and snow. The rally is also one of the fastest events of the year and the drivers 'lean' their cars into the snowbanks that line the stages to get the fastest possible line through the corners. But snow is by no means guaranteed and if stages turn into slushy gravel then the drivers have to balance between going flat out and conserving the studs in their tyres. If they lose studs, they lose grip and therefore lose time.

    Peugeot
    The fightback starts here. That was what Peugeot promised for this rally after yet another less-than-succsessful Monte outing last month. And the team has good reason to be optimistic for round two of the World Rally Championship.

    In Marcus Gronholm and Harri Rovanpera, they have proven Swedish Rally winners who were brought up on snow events. And Richard Burns has been banging in fastest stage times in Sweden for years – he just hasn't pulled it all together… yet.

    wrc.com prediction: Oh boy. We're all ready regretting sticking our neck out with these predictions, but here goes… Marcus will win the rally, while Richard and Harri will have ding-dong battle behind. Richard will pip Harri to a podium place.

    Ford
    The team will definitely be on a high after collecting 10 points in Monte Carlo. Markko Martin was quick all weekend, despite feeling quite ill. Francois drove like a veteran on the final day and was unlucky not to get sixth place from Cedric Robert.

    Experience will always be against Ford this season, and perhaps even more so in Sweden - Markko missed this event last year after stuffing his Focus into a snowbank during shakedown.

    wrc.com prediction: Francois – if he finishes - will pick up some manufacturers' points, while Markko will be fighting for a podium. Mikko Hirvonen should be more comfortable here than he was in Monte Carlo, but he should be on a fact-finding mission in Sweden rather than trying to set the rally on fire.

    Subaru
    Hmmm, interesting one this... Will Petter Solberg's and Tommi Makinen's double retirement from the Monte spur the team on to achieve success in Sweden? Or will it have shaken their confidence in the new car?

    The Subaru pair both need good results week to kick-start their 2003 campaigns. Tommi was the last non-Peugeot driver to win in Sweden – back in 1999 – and in fact has tasted the rather chilled winners' champagne a total of three times here. Could be one to watch this time out.

    Scottish footballers often say the noisiness and exuberance of the Tartan Army supporters can make them feel like there is an extra man on the pitch. If you translate that to rallying, Petter must find at least a couple of tenths every stage thanks to the thousands of Solberg fans who make the short trip across the border from Norway every year. They are noisy, colourful and despite being truly awful singers, they are a joy to behold.

    wrc.com prediction: We think Tommi will have the edge over Petter in this one – no particular reason, just a gut feeling. Tommi will be scrapping with Martin for a podium place.

    Hyundai
    Oh dear. Hyundai hasn't had the easiest of starts to their 2003 campaign – mostly to do with financial worries rather than on-stage performance. Drivers Freddy Loix and Armin Schwarz have not tested for Sweden and so will be on to their back foot before the rally has even begun.

    wrc.com prediction: We think Freddy Loix scoring a manufacturers' point or two will be the best the team can hope for in Sweden. We also hope we are wrong!

    Skoda
    It's difficult for Skoda at the moment. The team is developing its next World Rally Car – the Fabia WRC – so it must be tough juggling the progress of the new car with the immediate goal of making the Octavia more competitive right now.

    Didier Auriol doesn't expect too much from Sweden, and although Toni Gardemeister is quick here, there are plenty of other cars that are simply quicker.

    wrc.com prediction: Kenneth Eriksson was close to scoring points here last year but we reckon the likes of Jusso Pykalisto, Janne Tuohino and Daniel Carlsson will have more chance of getting drivers points than the Skoda drivers. The cars should get to the end of the rally, however, so a few more makes points won't be out of the question.

    Citroen
    Well, how do you follow up a complete lock out of the podium? Colin McRae and Carlos Sainz will be fast in Sweden, of that there is no doubt. The big question is whether or not the Xsara is fast on the snow.

    Colin reckons if it is a full snow rally, then he has a chance. The case for Carlos? Have a look at his recent record in Sweden: 1996 (2nd); 1997 (2nd); 1998 (2nd); 1999 (2nd); 2000 (retired); 2001 (3rd) and 2002 (3rd). Always the bridesmaid, never quite the bride. Seb Loeb is an interesting one too. He hasn't got the experience of this rally, and hasn't got much experience of snow in general, but could rattle the cages of his elders in Sweden if he can keep the car on the road.

    wrc.com prediction: Oooh, tough one this. Carlos will be the highest finisher, comfortably in the points. Colin and Sebastien will both be quick but encounter either a snowbank or mechanical glitches.

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    Ali

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  • Thread Starter #25
    I happen to get it on TV too :) It is absolutely fantastic :thumb:
     

    Tom

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    Oct 30, 2001
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    #27
    ++ [ originally posted by DaJuve ] ++

    He has since moved to Subaru where he had a terrible 2002. I hope he has a better 2003 :)

    Mitsubishi messed up the Lancer and have opted to sit it out this year.
    thanks :down:
     
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    Ali

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  • Thread Starter #28
    You are welcome. They'll be back next year though :)
     
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    Ali

    Ali

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    ++ [ originally posted by Weed Alien ] ++
    :irritate: all i see is 5 minutes of F1 crap in and 5 secs of Rally in Eurosport :groan:
    Weed ... If you get lucky once in a while Eurosport actually features rally for more than 5 minutes .... well it's a start :)
     
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    Ali

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  • Thread Starter #32
    All the way for the Subaru's here :)
     
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    Ali

    Ali

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    Makinen is drives for Subaru :D Go Subaru ..... :thumb: Solberg also drives a Subaru and he is the future replacement of Makinen.

    Don't be down Febrina coz Gronholm is a wizard when it comes to snow. However am sure the other players will come to fore in the coming rallies.
     
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    Ali

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    View from the stages: Sweden
    Sweden · 09/02/2003 20:43:47

    Stagemeister Jerry Williams give a spectator's eye view of this weekend's Uddelholm Swedish Rally.

    Friday: 08.30
    Stage One. Sweden positively glows in minus 10 degrees Centigrade. Yesterday at shakedown it was minus 24. At that level, your skin feels like Bacofoil.

    We penetrate a mega spot at the stage finish. Bjorn Waldegard, in a course car, says he's never seen so many spectators. Wood fires warm their hands while liberal doses of vodka generate inner temperature!

    Sebastien Loeb is first up, hugely fast, Xsara like a four-wheeled ballet dancer. Surely Frenchmen aren't supposed to be this quick on snow? Colin follows, seven seconds slower, confirming Seb's speed. Of the rest, only Ricky Burns and Gronholm get anywhere near Loeb's time.

    Friday: 12.00 noon
    The impressive service area at Hagfors is organised down to the last millimetre. When Petter Solberg leans on the barrier round Subaru's encampment for a chat with the massive crowd, he gets super-hero treatment.

    Friday: 14.28
    Stage 4. We're now into a "heatwave" at minus 5. Half of Sweden seems to have bunked off to watch here and behind the tree line on both sides of the track the lines of fans are solid, five deep. After a kilometre the crowd still hasn't thinned out.

    Hundreds of makeshift lunchtime barbies smoke the air and the whole area is a wall of sound. When Swedes have fun they make big noises, like herds of moose.

    We pitch up alongside a group ranging from mid-20s to 60 or so. They're entertaining, but too rat-arsed to read their watches properly. "Slow, slow," they chant as Carlos flies through the ridiculously quick left-hander in a blur. "Actually, he's nearly ten seconds up on Colin," I tell them. And he has caught out the marshals too, a couple having to take flying leaps into the roadside snow. The crowd loves it.

    Saturday: 11.24
    Stage 8. This is Fredriksberg, a hugely popular test and its narrow approach road is heading for gridlock. Thankfully, we squeeze through before complete seizure.

    A 600-yard stroll in takes you to a massively fast downhill left on ice, with cars then in view for a mile as they race round the lake. There's virtually no-one here.

    Across the lake, 10,000 fans cram into a well-known spot where they can see competitors loop past twice. When they roar in appreciation it's like hearing a football crowd in the distance. Marcus and CMac generate the most noise.

    Saturday: 14.37
    Stage 10. Gobsmacking stuff. We're just after "Colin's crest" on a long, segmented left-hander. On full snow it looks good for 20 mph or so. CMac gets a perfect semicircle line, kissing the left-hand snow bank on entry. Oh, and he's doing about 70 mph in fourth gear! Several hundred spectators go wild. As does Hirvonen, smacking the snow bank hard with his right rear wheel. Tommi and Richard are tidy.

    Judging from the bellows of another football-sized crowd over at Colin's Crest 400 yards back, Carlos and Toni Gardemeister make the best jumps. Two groups in the big crowd here scream what seem to be friendly insults at each other across the road with loudhailers.

    Sunday: 11.14
    Stage 15. We strike gold. Cars burst into view over a crest into a long, slightly curving stretch at absolutely flat chat, then scrabbling into a third gear left over the flying finish.

    There's a large contingent of blue-jacketed Subaru guests among the thick crowd. Their "shuttle bus" from the public car park three kilometres away is a train of farm carts towed by a giant tractor. Crazy stuff!

    On stage, Freddy Loix and Carlos Sainz are sideways across the crest, smacking the snowbanks but neither lifts a fraction at over 100 mph! Marcus, Markko and Tommi are frighteningly fast but once again, it's the Shock Jock who ices the cake, using all the road, visibly quicker than anyone.

    Thanks, Col. What a top finish to a great three days!

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    Turkey Preview: Kemer vs Kemer
    Turkey · 24/02/2003 16:19:47

    There's always a buzz when the WRC rolls into town for the first time – and this week's Rally of Turkey is no different. It's going to be bruising old battle and the winning car may not be necessarily be the quickest out there, just the one that can best adapt to the conditions. We take a look at how the top teams and their drivers are shaping up for the new event.

    Rally: The Rally of Turkey
    Location: The third round of the FIA World Rally Championship takes place in the mountains to the west of host town of Kemer, on Turkey's Mediterranean coast. It is the first of the WRC's long-haul rallies and as such no team has been allowed to test in Turkey before the event so the stages will be completely new to most of the WRC competitors. Also, it is the only round of the Junior World Rally Championship to take place outside of Europe.
    Terrain: It's a rough gravel event, with similarities to Cyprus and Greece, and it's quite slow – last year the winning average speed was 68km/h. The weather could be a significant factor in Turkey – much of the rally takes place above 1400 metres and some recent heavy snowfall has forced the organisers to alter the route slightly.

    Citroen: A helluva fight
    Expect one of the most intriguing inter-team battles of the season so far at Citroen for the Rally of Turkey. Monte Carlo was always going to be Sebsastien Loeb's chance to shine, in Sweden you would have expected Colin McRae to have the upper hand on such a specialised rally. Next up is Turkey – an event where if anything Seb has a slight advantage because he completed the recce and five stages of the rally last year.

    The pair shares the lead of championship, both are likely to be hindered by their road position on Friday so we reckon this tees up a helluva fight where the rising genius and the established star lock horns. Let battle commence.

    Oh, and to add extra frission, Carlos Sainz won't be there to just make up the numbers either… wrc.com prediction: Seb and Colin won't stay the distance, Carlos will be fighting for a podium.

    Peugeot: Burnsie beats Marcus
    Richard Burns will beat Marcus Gronholm on this rally. Now, that's' is a bold statement, which no doubt sets us up to be shot down in flames on Sunday afternoon, but we reckon that is just what will happen this weekend.

    Logic says Richard will struggle – he's got a new engineer for this rally, and Marcus has been faster than him on both events this season – but we reckon Richard has been hard on himself and we've got a sneaky feeling he'll be quicker than Marcus this time around.


    Just one problem for Burnsie though – Harri Rovanpera has got a better road position on Friday and will therefore could be the leading Peugeot driver this weekend.

    wrc.com prediction: Harri finishes in the top two, Burns will be fighting with Carlos for the final podium position.

    Ford: Markko delivers
    On paper things look good for Ford. Martin was quick on the rough gravel events last year and the Focus was always strong enough to get to the finish. He's not got the best road position on Friday, but then again he's certainly not got the worst. Ford had probably penciled in this rally at the start of the year where they could expect to be fighting for a podium if not a win, and Markko won't disappoint them.

    Team-mate Francois Duval has dropped co-driver Jean-Marc Fortin in favour of Bruno Thiry's navigator, Stephane Prevot. It will be tough for the pair to gel on a rally neither has experience of, but it's better learning it on a relatively slow rally where everyone in learning, rather than somewhere like Finland or Australia.


    Mikko Hirvonen, once again, should be concentrating on building up his experience, but if he is still in the rally by Sunday morning, it would be good to see him push just a little – he's got the car that can handle the punishment.

    wrc.com prediction: Markko will pip Richard and Carlos to second or third place, Francois will be in the top six.

    Subaru: Tommi on a roll
    It's difficult to see how this one will go. Tommi is definitely on a high following his second place in Sweden and Petter will be desperate to kick-start his 2003 season, but the 2003-spec Impreza hasn't rallied on gravel yet. Makinen and test driver Pasi Hagstrom were gravel testing in Spain last week, but how much that will help them specifically in Turkey remains to be seen.

    wrc.com prediction: Tommi and Petter will both be quick – but Tommi will nick it, maybe even with a podium place behind Rovanpera.

    Hyundai: Tough time in Turkey
    On the plus side, Hyundai won't be at the same kind of disadvantage that it was on the Monte Carlo and Swedish Rally, where money worries prevented drivers Armin Schwarz and Freddy Loix from testing for the first two rallies of the season. Because Turkey is classed as a long-haul event, no team has tested for this rough gravel rally. On the negative side, last season the engine in Hyundai Accent WRC3 didn't always have the grunt required to get it up steep inclines – something we can expect to see in abundance in Turkey.

    wrc.com prediction: We don't like saying this, but Freddy and Armin will do well to finish this event, never mind score some points.

    Skoda: Be there fighting
    Skoda should have every reason to feel confident about Turkey. The Octavia is a strong, strong car and Turkey is a rough, rough rally. If anyone can get to the finish drivers Toni Gardemeister and Didier Auriol should.

    wrc.com: Didier needs to 'have the feeling' – a quasi-mystical relationship he either has or doesn't have with his car – if he is to do well on a rally, and for that reason we reckon Toni will pip him to a points finish.

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    Febrina

    Senior Member
    Jul 17, 2002
    2,011
    #38
    ++ [ originally posted by DaJuve ] ++
    Turkey Preview: Kemer vs Kemer
    Turkey · 24/02/2003 16:19:47

    Citroen: A helluva fight
    Expect one of the most intriguing inter-team battles of the season so far at Citroen for the Rally of Turkey. Monte Carlo was always going to be Sebsastien Loeb's chance to shine, in Sweden you would have expected Colin McRae to have the upper hand on such a specialised rally. Next up is Turkey – an event where if anything Seb has a slight advantage because he completed the recce and five stages of the rally last year.

    The pair shares the lead of championship, both are likely to be hindered by their road position on Friday so we reckon this tees up a helluva fight where the rising genius and the established star lock horns. Let battle commence.

    Oh, and to add extra frission, Carlos Sainz won't be there to just make up the numbers either… wrc.com prediction: Seb and Colin won't stay the distance, Carlos will be fighting for a podium.

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    Woww...It's gonna be tough for Citroen :undecide: But at least Loeb has ever tried the track in Anatolia Rally....Hope he'll do the best for Citroen! :thumb:
    Go Xsara! :cool:
     
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    Ali

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    The Rally of Turkey has produced a sensational start as the leader board has changed at almost every 2 stages with massive changes running all through. The casualty list has been growing since day 1 proving the rough nature of this gravel event. Sadly for you Febrina Loeb lost his way and ran out of fuel, which led to his retirement. Other notable retirees include Solberg who broke his suspension while leading, other mechanical problems befell Rovanpera & Armin Schwarz who were also leading at the time of their retirement. Didier Auriol & Mirko Hirvonen also had to step down after their cars were battered by the rough terrain.
    On a positive note for you Febrina Carlos Sainz is leading by more than a minute as at SS14. I just hope Makinen gets into the top 3 – Quite unlikely though :down:
     

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