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Around the tracks 14 January 2011

CRAIG Lowndes leads a surprising Audi attack on the Bathurst 12-Hour race over easter with a pair of race-prepared R8 coupes. Rule changes for the endurance event at Mount Panorama have opened the event to sports cars and Audi has a pair of R8s coming from Europe - V8 Supercar racer Warren Luff will share with Lowndes - to take on the Porsche 911s that are expected to fight for victory.

THE struggling Australian Rally Championship is headed for a revamp and improvement to its relevance under new chairman Scott Pedder. The retired driver intends to make the series more appealing to carmakers from 2011 and move it away from the reliance on the Subaru WRX and Mitsubishi Evo contenders that dominate entry lists.

THE full-scale renewal of the V8 Supercars field will take place in 2013 when the category's Car of the Future will become compulsory. There was talked of an optional phase-in for the change in 2012 but V8 Supercars bosses now say the transitional year has been dumped in favour of a single switch at the start of 2013.

CITROEN stalwart Dani Sordo, who was superstar Sebastian Loeb's sidekick for five years at Citroen, is moving to Mini for this year's World Rally Championship. Mini is only planning a limited program against Ford and Citroen before a full-scale season in 2011, but has signed Sordo the Spaniard as lead driver alongside Chris Meeke of the UK.

FORMER champion Chad Reed made a tentative return to AMA Supercross racing in the USA last weekend riding a Honda for his own team for the first time. The Aussie was fifth at Anaheim Stadium in Los Angeles as Ryan Villopoto won on the Monster Kawasaki he used to ride.