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Weekend Rally Round-Up – February 10

Retired former Subaru, Ford and Citroen WRC driver, Mikko Hirvonen, won the Legend Boucles a Bastogne historic rally event in Belgium, heading a one-two-three result for Ford Escort RS1800 cars.

“Super happy to win. We had tough conditions this weekend and the car has been perfect on ice, slush, snow, wet tarmac and fog… Just found back a lot of great sensations. I’m not that rusty!” Hirvonen said.

“Mikko’s next old timer rally car venture is the Clonakilty Park Hotel St Patrick’s Day West Cork Rally in southern Ireland on March 16-17.

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More pressure on the Swedish organisers. Glenn Olsson, CEO of Rally Sweden, has recently spoken about the increasing challenges facing the only fully winter time World Rally Championship event.

On top of the constant need to adjust the route to guarantee satisfactory climatic conditions for the event, now comes the FIA demand for an increased number of stages which contain “arena areas”.

Sweden already has a limited number of such stages, most famously the Vargasen stage with its Colin’s Crest.

Olsson told local Swedish media: “We will replace the routes that have no arenas or areas of no great value for us in the route for the 2020 event”.

These must be proposed to the FIA by the end of April.

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Veteran Subaru driver, Toshi Arai (pictured), won the snowy asphalt Rally Tsumagoi, opening round of the 2019 All Jaan series, in Gumna Prefecture. He finished 10 seconds ahead of the earlier leader Takumi Kamada.

Run concurrently but to different vehicle rules was the Japan International Super Series event which attracted five entries, won by the Subaru of Yasushi Aoyama.

Third place in this category was the special turbocharged 4WD Toyota Vitz of New Zealander Mike Young, who in overall placings was sixth overall.

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Mads Ostberg humour seen on internet… “How does a rally driver show his appreciation for driving on beautiful snow-covered roads? By hugging the snow bank 😍😉”

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Oliver Solberg with mother Pernilla and father Petter at the premier.

Telling the story of the two year career of 17-year old rally driver Oliver Solberg, “Born2Win” is a film on public release in Norway.

This year Oliver has already won the Aluksne Rally in Latvia in a Volkswagen Polo GTI R5.

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Pedro Heller. Photo: Geoff Ridder

First round in the 2019 MSA British Rally Championship will be the one-day Cambrian Rally in North Wales on Saturday, February 16, using many of the stages in the region popularised by Rally GB.

It will be based at Llandudno with the central service park at Cerrigdrudion, on the A5 near the Clocaenog forest area.

Around 130 crews have been entered in the various categories. Top seeded entries are the two Fiesta driving Chilean brothers Pedro and Alberto Heller, followed by reigning champion Matt Edwards.

There will be no stretches of closed public roads on this event.

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Skoda Motorsport chief, Michal Hrabánek (above), has announced the company will focus on customer sport and competition in WRC 2 Pro in 2019.

Their customer program will have top priority in 2019. Reason to compete in the WRC 2 Pro category is to be closer to customers, get their feedback directly and collect experience to further develop the car.

Two cars will be entered on selected rounds of the WRC 2 Pro Championship, led by 18-year old Kalle Rovanperä, with Jan Kopecký on selected WRC events, as well as defending his Czech national title.

Other drivers will be elected according to circumstance.

Regarding the new version Fabia R5, homologation is planned for the middle of 2019. The date is not yet fixed for the debut in competition.

More rally news:

Windus Junior back for VRC campaign

Martin Holmes is widely considered as world rallying's most experienced, and most respected journalist. Martin covers the WRC, ERC and all major rally championships around the world.

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