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Rally Sanremo (Italy) - 25-26 Sep 09

Posted: October 4, 2009 1:17 PM - 6451 Hits

Round 10 - 2009 Intercontinental Rally Challenge (IRC)

Sanremo victory crowns champion year for Meeke/Nagle

Posted: October 4, 2009 1:17 PM

Kris Meeke has claimed the 2009 Intercontinental Rally Challenge title in fine style, with victory on this weekend’s Rallye Sanremo.

The Peugeot UK driver fought back from fourth place overnight to take the lead on the final morning in the mountains on the Italian Riviera. Despite the pounding given to his brakes on the twisting asphalt stages, he prevailed for his fourth win of the season to become the first British driver to win the IRC.

“We never could have expected this to happen,” said a slightly disbelieving Meeke as he crossed the line. “There’s so many people I have to thank for the opportunity, I’m only one link in the chain and there’s a long chain of people who helped make it happen and without any one of the them the chain would have been broken.”

The rally began with Meeke just one point ahead of Czech ace Jan Kopecky in the works Skoda Fabia S2000. Kopecky got off to a flying start to win the first stage, but then crashed in the middle of the second stage and suffered irreparable suspension damage.

This left the way clear for a major battle for honours between two Italian drivers – the works Abarth Grande Punto S2000 of Luca Rossetti and the Peugeot 207 S2000 of Paolo Andreucci – while Meeke suffered from overheating brakes in fourth place.

At the overnight halt Andreucci held a slender advantage while Rossetti was unable to get the car handling how he wanted it to. At the start of the final day, however, Rossetti was far happier in his car while Andreucci’s Pirelli tyres – unique among the front-runners – struggled for grip and left him fighting a defensive battle for the rest of the rally.

Meeke, meanwhile, had started the second day in a champion’s style, winning the first stage by 10 seconds and the second stage by a further 8.3 seconds. On the final stage of the morning he lost 10 seconds after more brake trouble and a nervous time was had at the service halt.

“The opening night’s stages were interesting to say the least, then it all just clicked and I got a rhythm,” Meeke said. “The pacenotes were inch-perfect and I honestly couldn’t believe the times!

“I had a few troubles with the brakes on the second stage this morning,” he explained. “I was able to drain it while driving to the next stage, but I couldn’t put all the fluid back because of a defective pipe so we had next to no brakes at all – but fortunately it was short and up-hill!”

While Rossetti was able to regain ground on Meeke through the short stage, last year’s IRC champion Nicolas Vouilloz was unable to capitalise in his Peugeot Benelux-entered 207 S2000. A puncture on the first stage of the day cost him time that blunted his challenge for victory, and passed the initiative to team-mate Freddy Loix in their battle for third place in the overall points.

Both Vouilloz and Meeke recovered their earlier pace on the penultimate stage, however. Meeke extended his lead once again and Vouilloz reclaimed third position from the struggling Andreucci, but then lost ground to local man Roberto Travaglia who just edged him into fourth place at the finish by 0.4 seconds.

In a dramatic twist, Travaglia then incurred a 30 second time penalty on the road, dropping him to sixth and promoting Vouilloz back to the podium

Meeke/Nagle win Sanremo to claim IRC crown

Posted: September 28, 2009 3:01 PM

Kris Meeke has claimed the 2009 Intercontinental Rally Challenge title in fine style, with victory on this weekend’s Rallye Sanremo.

The Peugeot UK driver fought back from fourth place overnight to take the lead on the final morning in the mountains on the Italian Riviera. Despite the pounding given to his brakes on the twisting asphalt stages, he prevailed for his fourth win of the season to become the first British driver to win the IRC.

“We never could have expected this to happen,” said a slightly disbelieving Meeke as he crossed the line. “There’s so many people I have to thank for the opportunity, I’m only one link in the chain and there’s a long chain of people who helped make it happen and without any one of the them the chain would have been broken.”

The rally began with Meeke just one point ahead of Czech ace Jan Kopecky in the works Skoda Fabia S2000. Kopecky got off to a flying start to win the first stage, but then crashed in the middle of the second stage and suffered irreparable suspension damage.

This left the way clear for a major battle for honours between two Italian drivers – the works Abarth Grande Punto S2000 of Luca Rossetti and the Peugeot 207 S2000 of Paolo Andreucci – while Meeke suffered from overheating brakes in fourth place.

At the overnight halt Andreucci held a slender advantage while Rossetti was unable to get the car handling how he wanted it to. At the start of the final day, however, Rossetti was far happier in his car while Andreucci’s Pirelli tyres – unique among the front-runners – struggled for grip and left him fighting a defensive battle for the rest of the rally.

Meeke, meanwhile, had started the second day in a champion’s style, winning the first stage by 10 seconds and the second stage by a further 8.3 seconds. On the final stage of the morning he lost 10 seconds after more brake trouble and a nervous time was had at the service halt.

“The opening night’s stages were interesting to say the least, then it all just clicked and I got a rhythm,” Meeke said. “The pacenotes were inch-perfect and I honestly couldn’t believe the times!

“I had a few troubles with the brakes on the second stage this morning,” he explained. “I was able to drain it while driving to the next stage, but I couldn’t put all the fluid back because of a defective pipe so we had next to no brakes at all – but fortunately it was short and up-hill!”

While Rossetti was able to regain ground on Meeke through the short stage, last year’s IRC champion Nicolas Vouilloz was unable to capitalise in his Peugeot Benelux-entered 207 S2000. A puncture on the first stage of the day cost him time that blunted his challenge for victory, and passed the initiative to team-mate Freddy Loix in their battle for third place in the overall points.

Both Vouilloz and Meeke recovered their earlier pace on the penultimate stage, however. Meeke extended his lead once again and Vouilloz reclaimed third position from the struggling Andreucci, but then lost ground to local man Roberto Travaglia who just edged him into fourth place at the finish by 0.4 seconds.

In a dramatic twist, Travaglia then incurred a 30 second time penalty on the road, dropping him to sixth and promoting Vouilloz back to the podium

Results

Posted: September 28, 2009 3:00 PM

1 Kris Meeke (GB) Peugeot 207 S2000 – 2hrs 20m 3.5s
2 Luca Rossetti (I) Abarth Grande Punto S2000 – +15.7s
3 Nicolas Vouilloz (F) Peugeot 207 S2000 – +16.9s
4 Freddy Loix (B) Peugeot 207 S2000 – +19.8s
5 Paolo Andreucci (I) Peugeot 207 S2000 – +28.1s
6 Renato Travaglia (I) Peugeot 207 S2000 – +46.5s
7 Luca Cantamessa (I) Peugeot 207 S2000 – +1m 28.6s
8 Juho Hanninen (FIN) Skoda Fabia S2000 – +1m 41.8s

Duval returns to IRC with Abarth

Posted: September 20, 2009 11:17 AM

WRC event winner Francois Duval will return to the Intercontinental Rally Challenge on Rallye Sanremo in Italy next week and now wants to continue in the series next season.

Duval will pilot a works Abarth Grande Punto Super 2000 on the asphalt event, one of the most glamorous and prestigious rallies in Europe, which gets underway on the evening of Friday September 25.

"My goal is obviously to make the last two rallies this season and then find a good drive in the IRC next season," said Duval, 28.

Duval, from Belgium, is no stranger to the IRC and the Abarth Grande Punto. He sampled one on the Rally of Portugal IRC event in 2007 and appeared in a Skoda Fabia Super 2000 on the Belgium Ypres Rally in June, where he was an early retirement after going off the road.

"It will be a difficult rally with lots of competition but I am not about to repeat what happened in Ypres," said Duval.

Interwetten Racing Team will meet the creme de la creme of the S2000 elite

Posted: September 20, 2009 11:04 AM

In Spain Franz Wittmann missed one IRC point only by a hair’s breadth. With ninth place the young Lower Austrian nevertheless had reached his best IRC tarmac result so far and once more proven his talent. To repeat this feat in one week will be a much more difficult challenge for the Interwetten Racing Team. For no less than 24 S2000 teams are waiting at the “Rally Sanremo” – one more than at the “Barum”. But even though the stages are once more unchartered territory for Wittmann/Ettel, the Interwetten Racing Duo nevertheless approximately knows what they can expect.

“As far as I know the stages in Sanremo are very similar to the ones in Spain. The only difference being that they twist a bit more and therefore the speed isn’t as high. Which doesn’t make it easier for us since not only will the S2000 overpower us but the KitCars will be at an advantage, as well. Even if I repeat myself: to us the main focus is on getting to know the stages and the result is only secondary. In the race, of course, ambition sets in and in the end you fight for each place and try to leave the supposedly weaker cars in your wake”, explains Franz Wittmann.

The first day of the rally offers one speciality. After the start on Friday (September 26) at 18:00, three special stages are scheduled for the first turn. Three hours later these very three special stages will be completed in one turn as one stage. This equates to one special stage length of 44,00(!) kilometres, commencing at 22:43.

“That will definitely be extremely thrilling. But at least one can rehearse for this long special stage at racing speed through the ‘dressing rehearsal’ of the three short ones. I personally don’t have a problem with this since we also can be very fast in the night. If you find the rhythm the lighting conditions don’t matter”, says the Interwetten Racing driver.

Franz Wittmann is more worried about the number of special stages and the length of the rally. At nine special stages overall and almost 202 SS kilometres each mistake will be punished.

Wittmann: “Thus one can forget tactics. Only if you can go to the limit and sustain that speed will you be rewarded by a good result in the end.”

Timetable of the Rally Sanremo:

Friday, September 25
18:00 Ceremonial start Sanremo
18:59 SP 1 Picche 12,92 kilometres
19:21 SP 2 Fiori 17,50 kilometres
19:48 SP 3 Quadri 10,62 kilometres
22:43 SP 4 Cuori 44,00 kilometres

Saturday, September 26
09:28 SP 5 Tris I 27,82 kilometres
10:46 SP 6 Full I 28,94 kilometres
11:50 SP 7 Poker 3,23 kilometres
14:32 SP 8 Tris II 27,82 kilometres
15:50 SP 9 Full II 28,94 kilometres

Technical data of the Rally Sanremo:

Overall length: 506,10 kilometres
Thereof 15 special stages: 201,79 kilometres

Entry Lists

Posted: September 20, 2009 11:01 AM

BFGOODRICH HANDS CANTAMESSA IRC CHANCE

Posted: September 6, 2009 4:07 PM

Luca Cantamessa has been selected to pilot the BFGoodrich Drivers' Team entry on Rallye Sanremo, the penultimate round of the Intercontinental Rally Challenge on September 24-26.

Cantamessa was one of 31 Italian drivers who applied for the chance to contest his home event in a Kronos Racing-run Peugeot 207 Super 2000.

He was included on a shortlist of five candidates produced by his country's motorsport federation. A jury, consisting of representatives of BFGoodrich, Kronos, the federation and the Italian press, then awarded him eight votes, which was enough to beat Elvis Chentre and Alessandro Bettega - who scored seven and five votes respectively - to the prize drive.

"It's a dream come true for me," said Cantamessa, 39. "I am making my return to rallying after an eight-month absence and I couldn't be happier. I can't wait to work with Kronos Racing and get a chance to compete on BFGoodrich's competitive tyres."

Event Website / Details

Posted: January 1, 2009 12:01 AM






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