No Chinese travels for the IRC front-runners The last round of the 2007 Intercontinental Rally Challenge is based in Longyou, China, although neither Peugeot nor Abarth have decided to make the long trip out to this Chinese city which is ...
No Chinese travels for the IRC front-runners
The last round of the 2007 Intercontinental Rally Challenge is based in Longyou, China, although neither Peugeot nor Abarth have decided to make the long trip out to this Chinese city which is situated to the south of Shanghai. This year's IRC Drivers' and Manufacturers' crowns are consequently highly likely to become the property of Spain's Enrique Garcia Ojeda and Peugeot/BFGoodrich. The Rally China also counts towards the 2007 FIA Asia-Pacific Championship and the final clash between Subaru and Mitsubishi promises to be a particularly thrilling encounter.
Precious little is known about the Rally China which features as the ninth and final round of the 2007 Intercontinental Rally Challenge calendar. The event is based in Longyou which boasts a population of 500,000 and which is situated some 400km south of Shanghai, in the Zhejiang province. Zhejiang is famed for its tea.
The programme features 223km of competitive action, while Longyou will host the start ceremony and Friday evening's super-special. The stages themselves are very varied and range from the low-lying plains near Longyou to the narrower, twistier tests high in the nearby mountains (one of last year's mountain stages featured 50 hairpins in just 19 kilometres!). The rally ends in Longyou on Sunday afternoon.
The principal IRC runners have chosen not to make the trip out to China. Neither Peugeot Spain's Garcia Ojeda and Vouilloz nor the factory Abarth threesome (Navarra, Alen and Scandal) will be present. The top of the provisional IRC points tables is consequently highly unlikely to change, which means that the 2007 titles are more or less sure to go to Enrique Garcia Ojeda, BFGoodrich and Peugeot.
The Rally China is also the final qualifying round of the Asia-Pacific Rally Championship. Subaru's Cody Crocker only needs to line up for the start of the Chinese event to clinch the Drivers' title. The Australian driver won the 2006 event in torrential rain which transformed the gravel road network of the Zhejiang province into extremely slippery mud-baths.
On the other hand, the fight for the Manufacturers' APRC title has yet to be decided, with Subaru and Mitsubishi split by just two points. Mitsubishi will be able to count on the services of Finland's Jussi Valimäki, who recently secured his national title, and Japan's Taguchi, who recently won Group N and finished eight overall on the WRC's Rally Japan in October. BFGoodrich has no involvement in this series since both manufacturers run on rival