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Ford Focus WRC Driver.
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Official Site: http://www.rallynz.org.nz
Round 10 of the 2001 FIA World Rally Championship
20-23rd September 2001

- FIA Press Release
- Stage Itinerary
__________________________________________________________________


Official FIA Press Release
http://www.fia.com


Thursday, 20 September 2001

The world's top rally stars will fight for victory on some of the
finest roads in the world on the tenth round of this year's FIA World
Rally Championship, the Propecia Rally New Zealand, which starts in
earnest tomorrow morning. The country's smooth, flowing gravel stages
are regarded by many of the leading drivers as the most enjoyable in
the series. And with the first three drivers on the road - championship
leader Tommi Mäkinen, Colin McRae and Carlos Sainz - all striving to
notch up a record 24th win at this level, there should be a typically
close battle on the WRC's longest haul trip. Mäkinen will be doubly
keen to put his title bid back on track after an embarrassing early
retirement on the Rally Finland last month. Rally New Zealand is the
final appearance for the Lancer Evolution before a new World Rally
Car version makes its debut in Sanremo. Four-times champion Mäkinen
will hope that the proven package can help him to extend his six-point
cushion over nearest challenger McRae, and move Mitsubishi clear of
Ford in the manufacturers' series.

All of the front-running crews will have to watch later runners,
though, on stages that are expected to become clearer of loose gravel
with every passing car. Drivers like Marcus Grönholm (a winner in
Finland and sixth on the road) and Richard Burns (seventh) could
have a traction advantage over Mäkinen, McRae and Sainz. Away from
the action, rallying's top stars paid tribute to the victims of the
recent terrorist attacks in the United States at this evening's
ceremonial start in the centre of the New Zealand capital. Crews,
teams and officials observed two minutes of silence before the first
car drove over the start ramp.


FORD (1st - 66 points)

Technical: Ford's engineers report no major alterations to the
specifications of the Focus RS WRC01s for this event. The team continues
to investigate the engine failure that halted Carlos Sainz on the Safari
Rally - an ECU fault now seems the most likely cause.

Sporting: Carlos Sainz and Colin McRae are nominated for manufacturers'
points, with François Delecour aiming for drivers' points only.
Delecour's car will run in a special colour scheme as a mark of respect
to those killed in last week's terrorist attacks in the United States.

Quotes: Colin McRae said: "If it stays dry then there'll be problems
with the loose gravel, because it'll just get swept out of the way
and we'll have to try to follow the clean lines as best as possible.
But when we're second on the road we won't have much to go on! This
event, Australia and Great Britain are crucial for us in the championship,
because we still don't know much about the asphalt form for Sanremo or
Corsica."

Carlos Sainz said: "I think in some places this rally could be the
worst one ever for roads cleaning. Where the roads have been regraded
there is a lot of loose gravel and it will sweep clean even more than
it does in Australia. I wish we could find a solution to this situation."


MITSUBISHI (2nd - 66 points)

Technical: The Lancer Evolutions of Tommi Mäkinen, Freddy Loix and
Toni Gardemeister are unchanged in basic specification for this event,
which marks the final appearance of the Group A car before the Lancer
World Rally Car appears next month in Sanremo.

Sporting: Current world championship leader Tommi Mäkinen has never
won in New Zealand but the Finn will be aiming to break his duck to
restore his title bid after his early retirement on home soil. The
four-times champion is again joined in Mitsubishi's manufacturer
nominations by his countryman Toni Gardemeister. Belgian Freddy
Loix is thus able to score drivers' points only.

Quotes: Tommi Mäkinen said: "I'm not thinking too much about the
new car in Sanremo yet, although I did have the chance to test it
recently and it instantly had a good feeling. But I think we can get
a good result here too - running first on the road could be a big
problem for us but the current car's still strong enough here to
challenge."

Toni Gardemeister said: "I feel very relaxed about this rally. We
don't really have anything planned beyond this event so I can just
concentrate on doing as good a job as possible."


PEUGEOT (3rd - 39 points)

Technical: The three works Peugeot 206 WRCs feature few revisions
since Marcus Grönholm won last time out in Finland. The reigning
world champion has opted to switch to a five-speed gearbox, however,
leaving Harri Rovanperä and Didier Auriol to use the six-speed unit.

Sporting: Peugeot has nominated reigning world champion Marcus Grönholm
and 1994 title-holder Didier Auriol for manufacturers' points. The
third 206 WRC of Harri Rovanperä will be eligible for drivers' points
only.

Quotes: Marcus Gronholm said: "I'm quite confident about this rally. Of
course we had a good result in Finland - it was nice to win again and
I don't want to wait as long again! The car felt really good in the
shakedown - it felt quick and very easy to drive as well. I've chosen
the five-speed gearbox because sometimes in Finland I felt I was
changing too many gears, and also I think the five-speed unit maybe
has a slightly higher top speed. It's a very close thing between the
five- and six-speed 'boxes, but I thought I'd try it."

Didier Auriol said: "I'm looking forward to this rally. The stages
are good to drive and I've got quite a good record here. We had bad
luck in Finland and it's been a hard season so far so I'm hoping for
a clean run. If we get that, then I'm sure our times will be good
enough to challenge."


SUBARU (4th- 35 points)

Technical: Subaru's Impreza WRC2001s remain essentially unchanged
from their Rally Finland specification, although Richard Burns's example
is fitted with a revised airbox that is slightly lighter and gives a
little more power.

Sporting: Subaru has entered three Impreza WRC2001s in Finland. Richard
Burns and Petter Solberg will both be nominated for manufacturers'
points, while a late decision means that Japanese driver Toshihiro
Arai uses the third car instead of Markko Martin. The Estonian driver
completed the pre-event recce, however.

Quotes: Richard Burns said: "I've won here before and I'm pretty
confident,
even though it'll be tough. We know from Finland last month that the
car's performance is good on hard gravel surfaces and the tyres worked
well too. Road position will make a difference in places but we'll
just have to see how that develops."

Petter Solberg said: "I've got a good feeling here. The car felt
excellent at shakedown and the stages are really enjoyable to drive -
lots of flowing corners, tricky camber and with the loose gravel it
can be slippery too. I'm keeping the same approach as recent events -
I'm just intending to drive at my own pace and not get drawn into
thinking too much about the other guys."


SKODA (5th - 15 points)

Skoda has elected not to make the trip to New Zealand. The Czech team
has been concentrating on tweaking the Octavia WRCs for the forthcoming
asphalt events.


HYUNDAI (6th - 10 points)

Technical: Hyundai has made few changes to the Accent WRC2s beyond
the minor engine modifications that were introduced on the last round
in Finland.

Sporting: Hyundai is represented in New Zealand by its two regular
drivers - Kenneth Eriksson and Alister McRae. Eriksson (who won the
Rally New Zealand in 1997) takes a break after this event, since the
Swede will be replaced in Sanremo and Corsica by the team's asphalt
expert Piero Liatti.

Quotes: Alister McRae said: "We got a fastest time here last year,
the first for the Accent, and we'd obviously like a bit more of that
this time! I think there's good cause to be optimistic - the car's a
lot closer to the pace now than it was then, and we should have the
advantage of roads that have been cleaned by the front crews. If we
get a troublefree run then I'm sure we can fight for points."

Kenneth Eriksson said: "I love this event - the roads are great here,
with a good blend of twisty and flowing stages. The car's been
improving all the time and with the cleaning roads I think there's
potential for a good result."


CITROEN

Citroen's Xsara WRCs are not present in New Zealand, as the French
team prepares for its two outings in Sanremo and Corsica in October.
It recently gained approval from rival manufacturers to run FIA Super
1600 Cup leader Sebastien Loeb in a third Xsara WRC in Sanremo.


OTHER TEAMS

If, as expected, the stages are swept clear of loose gravel by the
leading crews, several World Rally Car drivers further down the order
could capitalise. Local driver and newly-crowned Australian champion
Possum Bourne uses a Subaru Impreza WRC, while British privateer Neil
Wearden will drive a Peugeot 206 WRC run by Italian team Grifone. In
the Group N category for more standard vehicles, reigning class champion
Manfred Stohl faces stiff competition from Argentine drivers Gabriel
Pozzo and Marcos Ligato.

The event also marks two significant car debuts in the world championship.
The latest Subaru Impreza STi appears in Group A form, driven by Bruce
Herbert, while Geof Argyle gives the Group A Mitsubishi Lancer E7 its
first outing in the series.


TYRE FACTS

Pirelli is supplying its teams with two types of tyre - the K (for
hard surfaces) and KM (for soft or sandy surfaces). Michelin is offering
two options - the ZA, for loose or damp top surfaces, and the Z, for
clear hard ground.

__________________________________________________________________


STAGE ITINERARY

GMT +12

Leg 1, Friday 21st September (440.49 km)

05:05 Start from Auckland
08:33 SS 1 Te Akau North 32.37km
10:41 SS 2 Maungatawhiri 6.52km
11:04 SS 3 Te Papatapu 1 16.75km
11:37 SS 4 Te Hutewai 11.32km
13:08 SS 5 Whaanga Coast 29.52km
13:51 SS 6 Te Papatapu 2 16.75km
14:35 End of Leg 1 in Raglan


Leg 2, Friday 21st September (668.55 km)

15:20 Start from Raglan
18:30 SS 7 Manukau Super 1 2.10km
18:45 SS 8 Manukau Super 2 2.10km
19:45 Rest halt in Auckland

Leg 2 cont.Saturday 22nd September

06:50 Start from Auckland
09:53 SS 9 Parahi / Ararua 59.00km
12:51 SS 10 Batley 19.82km
13:24 SS 11 Waipu Gorge 11.24km
13:42 SS 12 Brooks 16.03km
14:10 SS 13 Paparoa Station 11.64km
15:50 SS 14 Cassidy 21.64km
16:33 SS 15 Mititai 26.82km
17:16 SS 16 Takatoka 10.15km
17:41 End of leg 2 in Ruawai


Leg 3, Saturday 22nd September (581.10 km)

18:28 Start from Ruawai
21:30 Rest halt in Auckland

Leg 3 cont. Sunday 23rd September

06:30 Start from Auckland
08:38 SS 17 Otorohea Trig 5.50km
09:06 SS 18 Te Akau South 31.24km
11:14 SS 19 Ridge 1 8.53km
11:27 SS 20 Campbell 1 7.44km
11:45 SS 21 Ridge 2 8.53km
11:58 SS 22 Campbell 2 7.44km
12:41 SS 23 Fyfe 1 8.00km
12:54 SS 24 Fyfe 2 8.00km
13:07 SS 25 TV Special 3.00km
15:25 Finish of the rally in Manukau
 

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Formerly J-type
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Did anyone see Cody Crockers crash yesterday, he got it sideways, clipped a bank and then rolled about five times down the road.

He and his co-driver had to be taken off to hospital because of concussion.:eek:
 

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Ford Focus WRC Driver.
Joined
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761 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
priteshpatel99 said:

Yeah, I got to see the cars REALLY close up, loved the mags on the Peogought (Spelling:D ) - Even got Colin's signature!:D
What?!?! You got his signature?! Hmm.....ok then!
But I guess the good thing about the series when it comes to Australia is that the new Mitsubishi Evo's will be here!! OOOooeerr....hope they're as good as well as they're testing!

Oh...and it's spelt Peugoet! :D
 
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