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The British federation has delayed releasing details of the route for October’s Wales Rally GB, pending resolution of the impasses with the FIA concerning details of the format of the Power Stage. There was a surprising rumour at the Corbeau Seats Rally at the weekend that the PowerStage had been planned to be the only occasion on the 2018 WRGB to use the opportunities offered by the new Closed Public Road legislation. This meant that the long awaited hope that the legislation would allow a series of substantially longer special stages must have been shelved earlier. No official comment on this subject has been issued. = = = = The Fiesta driving Heller brothers (pictured top) dominated the opening day of the Gran Premio de Conception in Chile, a candidate round for the FIA’s World Rally Championship. Observing the event, held one week before the WRC qualifying round in neighbouring Argentina, were Oliver Ciesla and Simon Larkin. Recently they were in Kenya observing the Safari Rally for the same purpose. = = = = Last weekend Hayden Paddon won the Otago Rally in his native New Zealand for the seventh time, fastest on all 17 stages in his special Hyundai i20 AP4+. = = = = Second round of the Czech national championship was the Rallye Sumava Klatovy, won by Jan Kopecky’s Skoda R5, ahead of Russian driver Alexey Lukyanuk’s Fiesta F5 and the Finn Juuso Norgren’s Skoda (pictured above). = = = = Yoann Bonauto scored the first outright rally win for the Citroen C3 R5 at the French championship Rallye Lyon-Charbonnieres, ahead of Jeremi Ancian’s Fiesta R5 and Bryan Bouffier’s Hyundai i20 R5. Reigning champion Bonato led from start to finish. = = = = Gaurav Gill told the celebrated Indian magazine Overdrive that his WRC programme this year in R5 cars will see him changing from the Skoda cars. No official news yet concerning this. = = = = Ken Block, the 50 year old North American motorsport showman, will return to the World Rally Championship four years after his last WRC race in Mexico, at this year’s Catalunya Rally. He will compete in a 2017 specification Fiesta WRC, after earlier entering selected events in his home country in an older generation Ford Escort RS Cosworth. Block said: “It takes a lot of effort and training to compete in the WRC, but I will try to do everything in a short period of time.” Block is known for the extravagant and creative decorations of its cars, and this year will be no different, with its Fiesta WRC adorned with a pattern of white, black and silver stripes. = = = = Hopes that Volkswagen’s Polo R5 would be homologated in time for the model to make its competition debut at the WRC Rally Deutschland have been dashed. “To homologate the Polo R5 on the 1st August (which would have been required), we would have had to submit the final registration documents to the FIA at the end of May. This is too early for us,” said VW Motorsport Director Sven Smeets. = = = = Citroen Racing plan rear axle modifications to their C3 WRC cars for the forthcoming run of gravel WRC rallies, starting in Argentina. Engineers at the team's Satory headquarters say it will improve performance across a wider range of conditions. Citroën Racing boss, Pierre Budar, explained: "The new rear axle geometry introduced for this rally aims to provide even more consistent handling, regardless of changes in the road surface, and therefore generate greater confidence for the drivers." = = = = The FIA International Court of Appeal in Paris on Friday 4th May will consider M-Sport’s appeal against the Decision not to award Power Stage points in Mexico to Sebastien Ogier.
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