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Madeira - 30 Jul-01 Aug 09

Posted: August 5, 2009 11:39 AM - 5051 Hits

Round 7 - 2009 Intercontinental Rally Challenge (IRC)

Kris Meeke/Paul Nagle score good points in Madeira

Posted: August 5, 2009 11:39 AM

The first visit to Madeira was always going to be difficult for Peugeot UK's Kris Meeke and Paul Nagle, due to the specialist nature of the rally.

However, the dynamic duo can hold their heads up high after securing a hard fought fifth place and four championship points. Kris Meeke now leads the IRC Driver's Standings by five points.

After Day 1's difficult stages and the challenge of mastering the fast and flowing Madeira roads. Kris and Paul started Day 2 in sixth place 4.1 seconds ahead of title rival Freddy Loix. With only six points separating the two drivers, it was important to maximise the points score from this rally.

The first challenge of the day was SS14 Paúl and this stage saw Luca Rossetti set the fastest time as he tried to maximise the gap between himself and Kris. Loix was second fastest closing up to Kris as he dropped to fourth fastest.

So as the crews left SS14 Basso still led Magalhaes by 15.5 seconds, Kris remained in sixth but now 4.7 seconds behind Rossetti and 3.6 seconds ahead of Loix.

The next stage was SS15 Ponta do Pargo and again Rossetti set the fastest time with Basso setting second fastest ahead of Magalhaes. Kris set the seventh fastest time behind Loix.

Rossetti was really pressing hard to distance himself from Kris and now had extended the gap to 8.4 seconds. Basso was still leading by 15.5 seconds and Loix was now only 2.7 seconds behind Kris.

The SS16 Lameiros stage was to play a big part on the overall outcome of the rally. Still pushing hard Rossetti ran wide in the stage and hit a wall causing the car to roll out of the rally. Both crew were all OK but with Rossetti out Kris moved into fifth place. Basso set the fastest time on the stage and Kris was also quicker than Loix.

Basso still led and increased his lead over Magalhães to 17.2 seconds. Kris also increased his lead over Loix to 6.5 seconds. The cars then headed for a quick refuel before moving onto the day's longest stage SS17 Chão de Lagoa, the last of the day's new stages.

SS17 Chão de Lagoa saw Basso set the fastest time increasing his lead to 17.4 seconds and Loix cutting Kris's lead to 4.9 seconds.

After SS17 the cars returned to Service and then headed back for the second run through the four morning stages.

SS18 Paúl 2 saw Nicola Vouilloz win his first stage ahead of team mate Freddy Loix. Basso spun on the stage and dropped to eighth fastest and his lead was cut to 8.9 seconds. Kris was third fastest just 0.6 seconds behind Loix.

Kris's lead over Loix was reduced again to 4.3 seconds as Loix pushed as hard as he could. It was lining up to be a repeat of their titanic fight in Ypres.

SS19 Ponta do Pargo 2 saw Magalhães win the stage and reduce Basso's lead to 8.3 seconds. Kris dropped time to Loix and his lead dropped to 2.9 seconds.

SS20 Lameiros 2 was the last stage before the final refuel and the last stage of the rally. Magalhães was fastest again as he tried to chase down Basso, reducing his lead to 7.8 seconds. Kris set third fastest time whist Loix slipped to sixth fastest.

At the end of the stage Kris had increased his lead over Loix to 8.3 seconds with just one stage to go.

The final stage SS21 was the stage for two great battles, Basso v Magalhães and Loix v Meeke. First out of the stage was Basso setting a time of 13:42.7s. Next was Magalhães who went faster by 4.1seconds but, it was not enough and Basso won the rally by just 3.5 seconds. The next battle, Kris set a time of 13:46.1s but Freddy could only manage 13:44.3s so Kris retained fifth place overall.

Basso takes victory in Madeira by 3.5 seconds

Posted: August 5, 2009 11:23 AM

Giandomenico Basso has won his third Rali Vinho Madeira for Abarth after a thrilling duel with local hero Bruno Magalhaes, which ended with just 3.5s between them after 21 stages. Basso joins two other men – Americo da Silva Nunes and Pierro Liatti – in the record books of three-time winners, and puts himself into contention for the 2009 Intercontinental Rally Challenge title.

"It was fast, nervous and exciting," said a clearly delighted Basso. "The team has been working hard and the car was strong. This event is very special to me, and to make my third win here after losing on the last stage last year is fantastic."

No less delighted to be runner-up against the IRC front-runners, Magalhaes was equally effusive. "It's a great honour for me to be able to perform so strongly among such great drivers," he said. "It was a long rally, very tense at the finish but second place really feels like a win to me."

It was championship leader Kris Meeke who took first blood in Madeira with a storming drive through the streets of Funchal to claim Thursday evening's superspecial by 0.9 seconds. Yet when the rally headed out into the green and mountainous roads around the island, Basso's experience paid off and he delivered a string of eight fastest stage times to go clear by the end of Leg 1.

That advantage was much-needed however, because Portuguese driver Bruno Magalhaes was within striking distance throughout in second place. When Basso hit gearbox problems he was forced to go slow, fearing a spin would prove costly without reverse gear, it allowed both Magalhaes and Meeke to take stage victories from him.

At the start of Day 2 Basso had a fresh gearbox on board his Grande Punto but it was his teammate Luca Rossetti who set the pace, running in fifth position and taking two stage wins. Then on SS16 Rossetti's run came to a dramatic halt as he crashed out, promoting Meeke to fifth.

Basso and Magalhaes then traded fastest stage times, although defending IRC champion Nicolas Vouilloz won SS18 to close up on third-place runner Alex Camacho after Basso lost 10 seconds with a spin. Nevertheless the positions were static even though the speed advantage ebbed and flowed from driver to driver.

"We started a little slow, though we were trying to go fast," said Vouilloz. "I'm not really happy about the weekend but the car was good today and we were able to drive to the maximum."

Thanks to a huge number of privately-entered 207 S2000s, Peugeot managed to fill eight of the top 10 positions. A rally-long duel between Meeke and Freddy Loix was one of the most entertaining battles that raged throughout the event for fifth place – and may well prove pivotal for the championship.

Going in to Madeira, Meeke held a six point advantage over Loix. The single point at stake in such a hard-fought series spurred a fantastic competition for fifth place, which Meeke ultimately won. Now the Briton has 34 points, Jan Kopecky has 29 and both Loix and Basso have 27.

"This is a very, very special rally," Meeke said. "To come here for the first time and win would be impossible, the top four guys were incredible and to be just over a minute behind after three hours is amazing. The points you win on a bad weekend are the ones that count the most."

For Loix, however, there was clear disappointment: "We hadn't made all our preparations before we came here so Day 1 was spent on the setup – and by the time we got that right everyone had gone!" he said. "We had to keep the pressure on Meeke but he did a great rally and that's another point to him."

Behind them came three more Peugeots – Miguel Nunes, Corrado Fontana and Michal Solowow respectively. The all-new Proton Satria Neo of Guy Wilks finished the event in 10th place overall, the team electing to focus on developing the car once it became clear that a points scoring result was not achievable.

Skoda also failed to increase its score in Madeira, despite the presence of Maurin in a Skoda Italia-prepared Fabia S2000. His challenge was thwarted on the road section to SS13 when, having lost his brakes, Maurin was powerless to avoid an accident which forced major repairs to be made overnight and restarting under superrally regulations well outside the points.

In the 2WD Cup Manuel Villa scored his second win of the season for Abarth in his Punto S1600. The Spaniard was able to contain the threat from his biggest rival in the series, Denis Millet's turbochared Peugeot 207, to take a resounding win.

Top Ten Finishers
1 Giandomenico Basso (I) Abarth Grande Punto S2000 3hrs 9m 55.4s
2 Bruno Magalhaes (P) Peugeot 207 S2000 +3.5s
3 Alex Camacho (P) Peugeot 207 S2000 +41.7s
4 Nicolas Vouilloz (F) Peugeot 207 S2000 +49.4s
5 Kris Meeke (GB) Peugeot 207 S2000 +1m 21.9s
6 Freddy Loix (B) Peugeot 207 S2000 +1m 28.4s
7 Miguel Nunes (P) Peugeot 207 S2000 +4m 57.9s
8 Corrado Fontana (I) Peugeot 207 S2000 +5m 50.6s
9 Michal Solowow (PL) Peugeot 207 S2000 +7m 29.9s
10 Guy Wilks (GB) Proton Satria Neo S2000 +10m 40.8s

Peugeot UK and Kris Meeke/Paul Nagle head for Madeira for the next round of the IRC

Posted: July 29, 2009 9:54 AM

The next round of the IRC will be held on the island of Madeira from 30th July until 1st August. The Rali Vinho Madeira is round seven of the intercontinental Rally Challenge (IRC) and could be one of the most fiercely contested rounds.

With a one point lead in the IRC driver's standings, Peugeot UK's Kris Meeke will face stiff competition from a total of 21 other S2000 drivers, including current Portuguese Rally Champion Bruno Magalhaes. Both drivers will be in Peugeot 207 S2000 entered by their respective importers. The last time the two drivers competed together in the Azores, it was Kris who came out on top.

The rally starts on Thursday 30th July at 17:03 (local time) with the ceremonial start and then a 2.18 km super special stage in Funchal. The crews will then contest over the next two days a further twenty all asphalt stages with a total stage distance of 302.98 km, before the rally ends on Saturday 1st August.

The driver holding second place in the driver's standings, Jan Kopecky will not be joining Kris in Madeira, neither will his Skoda team mate Juho Hanninen. The Skoda duo, however, will be back for the next round in Zlin, their home round.

IRC Countdown to Madeira

Posted: July 27, 2009 7:10 PM

More than 70 crews will contest the 50th running of Rali Vinho Madeira, round seven of the Intercontinental Rally Challenge, next week. The all-asphalt event starts on Thursday July 30 and draws to a close on Saturday August 1 and features a total of 21 stages.

The Funchal-based event is one of the most popular rallies in Europe, boasting a unique atmosphere and a huge contingent of fast and talented rally stars from Portugal to take on the rest of the world.

Entries closed on July 13 and contain a total of 21 crews in Super 2000 machinery. Overall fifty-three entries are from Portugal, including 39 from the island of Madeira, while 19 are of other nationalities, with nine coming from Italy, four from France and two from the United Kingdom, including Kris Meeke, the current leader of the IRC drivers’ standings, and the impressive new Proton driven by Guy Wilks.

Meeke's title lead remains just one point over Czech ace Jan Kopecky, but the works Skoda star won't be back out until next month on his home event, giving Meeke and Belgian title rival Freddy Loix the chance to maximise their scoring potential for Peugeot. With defending champion Nicolas Vouilloz of France and hard-charging Giandomenico Basso leading the way for Abarth, the stage is set for a thrilling event.

Of the local drivers expected to make an impression, youngsters Bruno Magalhaes, driving a Peugeot 207 S2000, and Bernardo Sousa, in an Abarth Grande Punto, are the two most likely to trouble the IRC front-runners.

Magalhaes is the current Portuguese champion while Sousa was born in Funchal, the capital of Madeira, and learned his trade competing on its demanding asphalt roads. He was a two-time winner of Madeira’s junior championship and claimed his first overall rally win on the island when he won the Rally Porto Santo Line in 2007.

Since then the 22-year-old has competed in the Production Car World Rally Championship and made his IRC debut in Portugal in May 2008. He will drive an Abarth Grande Punto Super 2000 for the Italian Procar team alongside co-driver Jorge Carvalho.

Sousa’s only other appearance in the IRC this year was on Sata Rally Azores in May when he finished tenth behind Magalhaes.

Another eagerly-anticipated performance will be that of 2008 IRC 2WD Champion Marco Cavigioli, who will return to the IRC in Madeira at the wheel of an Abarth Grande Punto S2000. With co-driver Enrico Cantoni alongside him, the talented Italian is keen to make a big splash on his asphalt outing.

The 2WD Cup is sure to provide fireworks in the Atlantic as well, with the return of two of the top contenders – Manuel Villa in his Fiat Punto S1600 and the remarkable turbocharged Peugeot 207 RC of Denis Milet – with both men determined to put a halt to Honda's recent run of form. They will take on a huge number of local stars in similar equipment in what will be another key battle to savour on the Rali Vinho Madeira.

ROSSETTI RETURNS TO THE IRC IN SECOND ABARTH ENTRY

Posted: July 24, 2009 5:33 PM

Luca Rossetti will return to the Intercontinental Rally Challenge later this month when he drives a second factory Abarth Grande Punto on Rali Vinho Madeira.

Italian Rossetti, 33, was given the name “Mr 100 Per Cent” for winning four IRC rounds in succession between 2007 and 2008. However, he has concentrated on the Italian Rally Championship since signing for Abarth for this season and has only made one appearance in the IRC in 2009, the Rallye Automobile Monte-Carlo back in January, when he was an early retirement after crashing. He will partner Giandomenico Basso in the Abarth line-up.

IMPRESSIVE ENTRY FOR IRC’S LATEST VISIT TO MADEIRA

Posted: July 24, 2009 5:32 PM

More than 70 crews will contest the 50th running of Rali Vinho Madeira, round seven of the Intercontinental Rally Challenge, next week. The all-asphalt event starts on Thursday July 30 and draws to a close on Saturday August 1 and features a total of 21 stages.

Entries closed on July 13 and contain a total of 21 crews in Super 2000 machinery. Overall fifty-three entries are from Portugal, including 39 from the island of Madeira, while 19 are of other nationalities, with nine coming from Italy, four from France and two from the United Kingdom, including Kris Meeke, the current leader of the IRC drivers’ standings, and the impressive new Proton driven by Guy Wilks.

Of the local drivers expected to make an impression, youngsters Bruno Magalhaes, driving a Peugeot 207 S2000, and Bernardo Sousa, in an Abarth Grande Punto, are the two most likely to trouble the IRC front-runners.

Entry List

Posted: July 24, 2009 5:32 PM

Regulations / Event Website / Details

Posted: January 1, 2009 12:01 AM






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