Damage In Mexico Could Have An Effect On Rally NZ
DAMAGE IN MEXICO COULD HAVE AN EFFECT ON PROPECIA RALLY NEW ZEALAND
While the focus of the works World Rally Championship rally teams is very much on Mexico this weekend (underway overnight), team mechanics might be forgiven for casting a wary eye on Propecia Rally New Zealand in 4 weeks time with news that no less than four of the works cars were significantly damaged at shakedown for the Corona Rally Mexico.
New rules mean that engines are paired for two rallies in this year’s WRC and with Mexico and New Zealand almost exclusively gravel events separated by less than four weeks, it means the engines used at Mexico will also be used on New Zealand.
Sebastian Loeb’s Citroen and Jani Paasonen’s Skoda left shakedown on trailers while Mitsubishi driver Gilles Panizzi (not yet confirmed for NZ) and Loeb’s team-mat Francois Duval both suffered what appeared to be serious oil leaks triggered by hitting rocks cutting corners or striking dips in the road.
Mitsubishi was confident of repairing Panizzi’s sump and sumpguard. Citroen reserved judgement pending a thorough examination of both cars, but Skoda has already decided to change Paasonen's engine.
Another consideration for the teams is the fact that a change of engine between paired events is permissible however a time penalty will be incurred by the teams.
Propecia Rally New Zealand will commence on the evening of the 7th April with a Ceremonial Start at Waitemata Plaza Auckland City with the first day of racing being in the Kaipara Region on Friday 8 April with the cars remaining in Paparoa overnight. Saturday 9 April has the cars again racing in Kaipara before return to Auckland for the Manukau Super Special with the cars overnighting in Auckland. Sunday’s racing is in Raglan before a Ceremonial Finish back in Auckland City at Waitemata Plaza.
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