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There was a Skoda Fabia R5 1-2-3-4 result on the second round of the Finnish championship, the Itaralli at Joensuu. Eerik Pietarinen headed Teem Asunmaa, Nikolay Gryazin and Marko Manty. = = = =

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M-Sport had to shorten their pre-Mexico test (held in Spain) due to inclement weather. The effect of this is that Sebastian Ogier lost one day of testing and Teemu Suninen had no test at all. Elfyn Evans was unaffected. A team member was quoted as saying: “The importance of this test was debatable. The rally in Mexico is run at 30 degrees, last week’s test in Spain was not much over 10 degrees”. Nineteen-year old Tom Williams continues his international Fiesta R2T career in Mexico with the guarantee of 25 FIA championship points – if he finishes. He is the only WRC3 entry. Earlier this year he finished the Swedish, gaining a JWRC point, despite a delay after a roll, and the Sigsdal Rally in Norway. Following Pirelli’s impressive performance with their new WRC2 tyres in Sweden, DMack are introducing new WRC2 tyres, which are based on their 2017 WRC tyres, which feature run-flat technology. The main route change this year is in the opening Guanajuato super special in the underground part of the stage. This year the event’s opening stage has been lengthened to include two passes underground, in opposite directions, as well as extended overground stretches. The downtown stage in Leon, adjacent to the service park, has also been extended.   = = = = Sebastien Loeb has been quoted on a Spanish website suggesting that Citroen Racing’s decision to enter him in Mexico (the decision which cost Craig Breen the drive there) was down to a process of elimination. Bearing in mind the decision was taken that he should drive three events, Loeb suggested that he wanted to drive on a gravel event, but Portugal would have been very new for him and he did not want to enter Finland. His rallycross commitments eliminated many other options. As for available opportunities for other events, Germany was not an option as he would be on vacation. All in all, an intriguing insight into Citroen Racing’s championship strategy = = = = Severe wintry conditions has disrupted British motorsport. The opening round of the British Rally Championship, the Border Counties Rally (due to be based at the South Scotland town of Jedburgh, March 10-11) has been abandoned as all local forestry operations have been suspended. Earlier a poor level of entry in the BRC category had caused that part of the event to be shortened, from two days to one. There had been 28 BRC entries (with only seven R5 cars), while there were over 100 entries in the supporting categories. The Bovington Stages Rally in Dorset was also cancelled. = = = = WRC co-driver, Anders Jaeger, had his moment of fun when Andreas Mikkelsen co-drove for him on last weekend’s Norwegian national championship Numesdal Rally in an old Hyundai i20 R5. Together they finished 12th overall, out of 86 finishers, = = = = Meanwhile, Romanian resident Italian driver, Simone Tempestini, won the snowy German championship ADAC Saarland-Pfalz Rallye at St Wendel in a Citroen DS3 R5.

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