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Jari-Matti Latvala’s co-driver, 45 year old Miikka Anttila, became the first person to compete in 200 World Rally Championship events when he started Rally Italia Sardinia. His WRC career began in 1999 alongside fellow Finn, Janne Tuohino, in a private Ford Escort WRC. He has won 17 WRC events and has a 30% podium rate. His partnership with Latvala began in 2003. Latvala himself has started 189 WRC events. = = = = Principle rally related decision announced at the FIA World Motor Sport Council meeting in Manila is that there will be changes in the running order rules for 2019, in that WRC Rally 2 top priority drivers will now run at the head of the Day 2 and 3 running orders. This is to reduce the unfairness of the effectively double penalty for drivers already penalised for missing stages, being then forced to run on gravel events where first running cars are further handicapped. In other events, homologated R4 Kit cars will immediately be eligible in regional rally championships, and changes will widen the scope of participation of locally homologated cars. = = = = Who is Ciamin? Sardinia was only the fourth event and Sardinia was only the second gravel event in a four-wheel drive car for 20-year old Nicolas Ciamin (pictured above). Hailing from Nice, Nicolas competed last year in the JWRC when he finished the series in second place behind Nil Solans (winning the JWRC category in Finland). This year he embarked on a dual parallel programme with a rear drive Abarth 124 Rally and a Hyundai i20 R5. His WRC2 programme is run by Stephane Sarrazin’s team. = = = = Neuville’s 0.7 second win in Sardinia equalled his winning margin last year in Argentina. Only twice have WRC margins been smaller: Ogier’s 0.2 win in Jordan 2011, and Gronholm’s 0.3 second win in New Zealand in 2007. = = = = The official Hyundai importers’ driver, Carlos Vieira, the reigning Portuguese national champion, suffered a heavy accident on the Portuguese championship Vidreiro Rally, based at Marinha Grande. His i20 R5 slid sideways into a tree and the driver suffered serious leg and internal injuries. His co-driver was uninjured. The event was won by Vieira’s team-mate Armindo Araujo. = = = = Weekend results: Czech Fiesta R5 driver Ondrej Bisaha won the INA Delta Rally in Croatia. Federico Vlilagra led at the end of day 1 on the Argentino championship Rally la Rioja ... While their sons had problems in Sardinia, the fathers had a good time back home in Japan. Toshi Arai won the gravel Montre Rally for his fourth consecutive time and leads the JRC points standings. Noriyuko Katsuta was second ... Fiesta driver Miguel Fuster won the Spanish championship Ourense Rally for the seventh time after Ivan Ares (Hyundai) punctured. Third place eventually went to the Suzuki of Joan Vinyes. Jose Suarez, maximum points scorer on the two previous rounds, retired after going off the road … There was another Hyundai success, this time at the Rallye Vosges Grand Est in Franc, where i20 R5s finished 1-2 in the hands of Bryan Bouffier and Quentin Giordano. = = = = The route for the Catalunya Rally, the penultimate round of the WRC series, shows that the popular downtown stage in Barcelona will be run again, after being dropped last year.
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