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Sardinia (Italy) - 5-6 Jun 10

Posted: June 10, 2010 8:45 AM - 6741 Hits

Round 5 - 2010 Intercontinental Rally Challenge (IRC)

Arminen wins Subaru Individual Award

Posted: June 10, 2010 8:45 AM

Teemu Arminen has become the latest winner of the Subaru Individual Award after finishing sixth overall on Rally d'Italia-Sardigna last weekend.

Driving a Tommi Makinen Racing-built Impreza WRX for the Italian Motoring Club team, Arminen impressed throughout the two-day gravel event, round five of the Intercontinental Rally Challenge.

Arminen, from Finland, and co-driver Tuomo Nikkola, ran in the top-five for much of the rally but decided to drop back in the closing stages in order to secure maximum points in the Italian Gravel Trophy, which was running alongside the main IRC event.

"This is a great result for me," said Arminen, who was more than one minute clear of fellow Subaru driver Luigi Ricci at the finish in Porto Cervo on Sunday evening.
"We started as fast as possible but when our competitors in the Italian Gravel Trophy crashed and had some problems we decided to take the double points by driving safely."

The Subaru Individual Award is presented on each of the 12 IRC rounds this year to the highest-placed Subaru finisher and demonstrates the support that Subaru will extend to its customer drivers in the IRC in 2010.

Swiss Olivier Burri (Monte Carlo), Juan San Martin (Curitiba), Gabriel Pozzo (Argentina) and Jose Barrios (Canary Islands) are the other Subaru Individual Award winners so far this season.

Over five million people watch IRC Sardinia on Eurosport

Posted: June 10, 2010 8:44 AM

A global reach of 5.2 million different viewers* watched Eurosport's coverage of a thrilling Rally d'Italia-Sardegna, round five of the Intercontinental Rally Challenge, last weekend (5-6 June).

Eurosport, Europe's largest television sports channel, showed two stages live on Saturday morning and two stages as they happened on Sunday morning. It also transmitted a round-up programme of all the action on Tuesday evening.

The rally, which was won by Finn Juho Hanninen in a Skoda Motorsport Fabia Super 2000, marked the first time the IRC had visited the picturesque Mediterranean island. The event was chosen for live coverage because of the spectacular countryside and breathtaking views.

In order to cover the two stages (Monte Grighine measured 28.66 kilometres, while Coiluna totalled 25.97 kilometres), Eurosport installed several stage-side cameras and also used a helicopter-mounted camera and several onboard cameras to provide the viewer with a complete picture of the dramatic action. Indeed, Eurosport's helicopter was following Kris Meeke, the defending IRC champion, when he suffered the spectacular crash that put him out of the rally while he was fighting for the lead on Sunday. The accident was shown live.

Winning co-driver Mikko Markkula said:
"Like always, the live coverage on Eurosport made a huge difference on this rally. It was a real good point."

*Sources: AGF/GfK, BARB, SKO, MMS, TNS-Gallup, Kantar Media, AGB NMR, Armadata/Gfk- AdvantEdge.

Wilks set for full recovery after Sardinia crash

Posted: June 8, 2010 2:09 PM

Guy Wilks is expected to make a full recovery after fracturing two vertebrae in an accident on the opening stage of the Rally d'Italia-Sardegna, Round 5 of the Intercontinental Rally Challenge.

The 29-year old Darlington driver was making the most of his favourable starting position of running seventh on the road, when a wrongly written pace note saw him slide off the road on a fast sixth-gear corner, 7kms into the stage.

His Škoda UK Motorsport Fabia S2000 left the road at high speed, flying down an incline and landing on a large boulder. The impact with the bottom front section of the car launched it into the air, before landing and careering through more rocky scrub, eventually coming to a halt 40 metres off the road.

Guy got out of the car unaided and immediately laid down on the ground to comfort his back, while his co-driver Phil Pugh, who was uninjured, telephoned the team to start the recovery process.

A medical helicopter arrived quickly to airlift Guy to the nearby town of Oristano, from where he was transferred the short distance to the San Martino Hospital by ambulance.

An x-ray of his lower back revealed that the first and second vertebrae are fractured, although there is no compression or complications.

Guy Wilks:
"We had a game plan to make the most of our good road position and push hard from the start. We arrived at an almost flat out left hand corner about seven kilometres into the stage and the pace note was wrong and we left the road at high speed.

"It's just one of those things and part of rallying. Perhaps if we weren't pushing so hard we might have got away with it, but that's a very big might. Everything felt so right. The car felt good, Phil was doing a great job on the notes and there was no reason not to push. It was a wrong pace note that ultimately caught us out, and it doesn't matter how well we were going up until then.

"I'm very annoyed to be lying in a hospital bed and looking at a hospital ceiling, and it's massively frustrating to be injured and not out there competing. It's a missed opportunity to score a good result and take home points - I know that, and I'm sorry for the team and everyone involved in the programme. But we'll be back to fight another day."

Robert Hazelwood, Director of Škoda UK said:
"We all know that these things can happen in rallying, especially when you're pushing hard and trying to win. We are pleased that the car withstood such a huge impact so well and that Phil was totally uninjured. Our thoughts are very much with Guy at the moment, and we wish him a quick and full recovery. I'd also like to pay tribute to the Rally d'Italia-Sardegna organisers and the medical staff in Oristano, who responded quickly and looked after Guy so well."

Wilks holds 3rd in IRC and returns home from Sardinia

Posted: June 8, 2010 2:07 PM

Guy Wilks received some good news at the end of Rally d'Italia-Sardegna, as hewas given the go-ahead to fly home on Monday (7 June) and had only dropped one place to 3rd in the Intercontinental Rally Challenge drivers' table - despite spending most of the event in the San Martino Hospital in Oristano, after fracturing two vertebrae in an accident on the opening stage.

In addition, Škoda Motorsport drivers Juho Hänninen and Jan Kopecký finished 1st and 3rd in Sardinia, ensuring that all three Fabia S2000 pilots continue to lock-out the top three positions in the drivers' standings, while Škoda continues to lead the manufacturers' championship.

Rally d'Italia-Sardegna proved to be an extremely difficult event, with half of the top 10 seeds failing to reach the finish. In addition to Guy, leading retirements included Sébastien Ogier (Peugeot 207 S2000 - engine), Kris Meeke and Franz Wittmann (Peugeot 207 S2000 - accidents) and Andreas Mikkelsen (Ford Fiesta S2000 - accident).

Guy will be flown home as scheduled tomorrow, on a direct charter flight from Olbia to Luton. He will then see a back specialist to assess his condition, before deciding what his next IRC event for Škoda UK Motorsport will be.

Co-driver Phil Pugh also flew home on Monday. He was uninjured in the accident and has been keeping Guy company in hospital. Indeed, every member of the Škoda UK Motorsport paid a personal visit to give Guy their best wishes.

The fact that Guy and Phil escaped from the high-speed accident, in which their Fabia S2000 left the road on a sixth-gear left hand corner and collided with large rocks, is a testimony to the strength of the Škoda and a tribute to the engineering excellence at Škoda Motorsport.

Guy Wilks:
"I'd like to thank the doctors and nurses at San Martino Hospital for taking such good care of me, and for all the good will messages I've received. I'm in good spirits, and looking forward to getting home, seeing a specialist and planning our next rally.

"Congratulations to Juho and Jan and the entire Škoda Motorsport team on another fantastic rally result. Rally d'Italia-Sardegna is a tough event, and together we have demonstrated both the speed and strength of the Fabia S2000!"

Kris Meeke / Paul Nagle Video Report

Posted: June 7, 2010 5:11 PM

Franz Wittmann - Retirement on SS 5 in Sardinia

Posted: June 7, 2010 4:46 PM

Franz Wittmann and Klaus Wicha seem to be pursued by bad luck. For two special stages the Interwetten Racing duo proved that one has to reckon with them on gravel. Then, at halftime of the fifth special stage (Gonnosnò, 14,53 kilometres), a right-left-combination became their undoing. Wittmann came out of the right turn too fast, hit a rock rear left and thereby destroyed his left rear tyre. Subsequently the Peugeot 207 S2000 slipped off the road and rolled over once – but driver and co remained unhurt.

Wittmann:
“I simply can’t explain why this happened since we didn’t have any problem at this spot the first time around. I think it was a mistake in the pace notes and we were that fateful bit too fast the second time round. This retirement obviously hurts a lot for up until this moment we were able to put our potential into action. Not only couldn’t we score any points but in the end we’re missing valuable kilometres which we would have needed so badly.”

The strong performance of the 26-year-old Lowwer Austrian can also be proven by figures. After three special stages the Interwetten-Racing driver had been in sensational sixth overall place. He only missed 2,2 seconds on fifth-placed Belgian Thierry Neuville (Peugeot 207 S2000).

„Unfortunately I can’t buy me anything for three good special stages. And it wouldn’t be sensible to pretend that nothing has happened. We’ll have to analyse this mistake meticulously so that it won’t happen again. That is the only way to improve step by step“, explains Wittmann.

Impressive performance by Andersson and JRM in Sardinia

Posted: June 7, 2010 1:51 PM

Driving a JRM Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X in this weekend’s Rally d’Italia Sardegna, Per-Gunnar (PG) Andersson and co-driver Anders Fredriksson fought back from 36th position following a first-stage puncture to an impressive seventh overall, before a problem with the car’s rear differential on stage 10 forced the Swedes into retirement with four stages to go. However, they proved that the JRM Evo was the quickest Group N car in the rally and was on the pace of many of the S2000 cars.

Having already recorded outright victories on snow, gravel and asphalt surfaces this season, JRM chose to enter the Sardinia-based event as part of its ongoing development programme for the Evolution X. With this in mind, Andersson was brought in by the team due to his experience of the island’s distinctive and technically demanding roads, his target to bring the JRM Mitsubishi home first of the Group N field and to see how the Lancer performed against the S2000 cars that are usually the regular front-runners.

The rally hosted round five of the IRC (Intercontinental Rally Challenge) and officially started on Friday in Cagliari. But, with the evening’s Super Special stage cancelled, the competition began on the first of Saturday’s six stages. Quickly becoming acclimatised to his new car, Andersson was soon on the pace, but just eight kilometres into the opening stage a rock lying in the road tore into the sidewall of the right-front tyre.

After sliding very wide at the next corner, Andersson and Fredriksson realised that with 20 km still to go they would have to stop and change the wheel and, when they eventually got to the end of the stage, they found they had lost over four minutes and dropped to 36th place.

Although not the start the team was looking for, the time loss did little to break Andersson’s stride and, for all the day’s remaining five stages, he proceeded to set the fastest Group N times. Such was their pace, Andersson and Fredriksson never set a stage time slower than 5th overall and, with one stage left before the overnight halt, they were now up to ninth place.

But with the top-ten finishers seeded in reverse order for Sunday, Andersson was mindful that by remaining in ninth he would have to run second on the road – not ideal in the dry and dusty conditions which had left a layer of fine gravel on the surface of the roads and making conditions extremely slippery.

Therefore, on the final stage of the day, Andersson pushed hard and made up a further two places, ending the day in seventh. He and Fredriksson were now second of the Group N runners, having consistently taken more than two-seconds a kilometer off the leading Subaru of Finnish crew Teemu Arminen and Tuomo Nikkola, the gap between them now one-minute and 45 seconds.

With the JRM Evo X running perfectly and, having perfected the car’s set-up by making fine adjustments at each of Saturday’s service halts, Andersson was confident that Sunday would see him achieve the team’s target of heading the Group N field. On the first stage of the day he took a stunning 56 seconds off the deficit and on the second a further 39, the gap now down to just 1.8 seconds.

Everything looked set for the JRM team to lead Group N and move up at least one place in the overall standings on SS10, but with two kilometres to go, Andersson heard a noise from the back of the car, signalling that all was not well with the rear differential. Although continuing at a slower pace, with one kilometre of the stage left, the car coasted to a halt with no drive. A disappointing end to what was a highly impressive performance.

After 13 stages, the final standings saw S2000 cars take the top five places, with Juha Hanninen and Mikko Markkula emerging as the eventual winners.

Team quotes

PG Andersson
“It took me a little time to get used to the Evolution X, but once I did it surprised me just how quick it was. Because of the engine’s torque and the car’s stability, you don't realise how fast you are going until you get to a corner. It was of course a shame about the puncture, but having climbed through the field and almost back to where we would have been, it was even more disappointing to have retired – especially as the car had ran perfectly up to then. I was impressed by the professionalism of the JRM team and thank them for the opportunity to be able to drive on this rally again.”

John Barnes – Team Manager
“We came to this event looking to be the quickest of the Group N cars and we certainly achieved that. Because we didn't make it to the finish it’s definitely a case of the result not reflecting the performance. PG and Anders were great to work with and we could not have asked for more. To climb from the back of the field and into the top ten on the first day is an impressive performance in anyone’s book. We learnt a lot from this event and were able to gather a great deal of information, so that’s another of our targets achieved.”

James Rumsey – Team Principal
“Obviously its disappointing not to finish on our first appearance in an IRC round, but at least we can take away the knowledge that our Mitsubishi is the most competitive of the Group N cars. I was pleased that our car ran faultlessly until the problem with the rear differential, so we must now look closely at what caused it, which of course is all part of the ongoing development programme.”

IRC GLORY FOR HANNINEN/MARKKULA AFTER DRAMA IN SARDINIA

Posted: June 7, 2010 1:47 PM

Juho Hanninen has strengthened his grip on the Intercontinental Rally Challenge drivers' title with his second victory of the season on Rally d'Italia-Sardegna today (Sunday). Driving a factory Skoda Motorsport-run Fabia, the Finn took a slender lead on the rally's ninth stage and pulled clear when Kris Meeke, his closest pursuer, crashed heavily on stage 10. The accident was captured live on Eurosport, which covered four stages of the sun-coated gravel event as they happened.

Hanninen's win means he has finished on the podium on all five rounds of the IRC so far this season and is now 11 points to the good in the battle for the coveted drivers' accolade. With team-mate Jan Kopecky taking third behind Peugeot driver Paolo Andreucci, Skoda now tops the manufacturers' table by 34 points.

Andreucci started Sunday's six stages 7.4s clear of fellow Peugeot runner Meeke, but lost more than 20 seconds with a sluggish run through the first Coiluna stage after opting to run a soft suspension set-up on his Peugeot Sport Italia 207, which resulted in a handling imbalance. After dropping to third, Andreucci moved to second when Meeke crashed. However, he then had to stave off Kopecky's advances over the final two runs. He prevailed by 2.6s after setting the fastest time on the last Monte Olia run.

Kopecky had been playing catch up after a moment on stage three when he inflicted sizable damage to his Fabia's front-right corner striking a rock, which necessitated a rapid overhaul in service by his mechanics.

Meeke was 3.6s behind Hanninen when he understeered off the road on a sweeping left-hand bend. His Peugeot UK 207 ended up on its side and would go no further. It was a disappointing end to an impressive drive by the defending IRC champion, who claimed two stage wins during the course of the event.

Thierry Neuville secured a notable fourth overall in his Team Peugeot Belgium-Luxembourg 207 on his first gravel event in a four-wheel drive car. It was also the first time the 21-year-old has finished an IRC round in three attempts having crashed out on his last two outings.

P-G Andersson had fought his way up to seventh place only for a transmission failure to ground his Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X two kilometres from the end of stage 10 when he was closing on sixth-placed Teemu Arminen for the honour of finishing as the leading driver in a conventional Group N car.

Arminen admitted to adopting a more cautious approach on Sunday in order to secure a finish in the Italian Gravel Rally Trophy, which rewarded double points in Sardinia. The Finn's conservatism in his Subaru Impreza ultimately let in Bruno Magalhaes for fifth overall, while Arminen clinched the Italian Gravel title with two rounds remaining when Mauro Trentin retired on the last stage.

Driving for Peugeot Sport Portugal, Magalhaes incurred 2m30s of time penalties for his late departure from midday service in Simaxis on Saturday while his mechanics rectified a major brake problem. He faced the prospect of carving through the loose surface gravel on day two by virtue of starting first on the road but drove without error to battle back to fifth place and maintain his 100 per cent scoring record.

Luigi Ricci recovered from a handful of punctures to claim seventh in his Impreza with Daniele Batistini landing the final IRC drivers' championship point in eighth overall.

Norwegian Andreas Mikkelsen, 20, restarted on Sunday after rolling into retirement on Saturday's first stage and set a succession of top five times in his M-Sport Ford Fiesta on his first of seven planned IRC appearances.

Burcu Cetinkaya also returned to action on Sunday following her retirement on Saturday when a wheel worked loose. The 29-year-old Peugeot Sport Turkey driver used the leg to gain more experience of her 207 S2000 and its Yokohama tyres.

Although his 207 was restored to full working order following his off on stage three on Saturday, Saudi Arabian Yazeed Al Rajhi elected not to take the restart. Sebastien Ogier failed to go beyond Saturday's first stage when his Peugeot's engine overheated.

Briton Harry Hunt secured the IRC 2WD Cup laurels on his return to the series for the first time since Rallye Automobile Monte-Carlo in January. Driving a Ford Fiesta R2, Hunt had trailed Estonian Kaspar Koitla but moved ahead when the Honda Civic Type R driver rolled on stage eight while leading comfortably. Colin R Smith made it a British one-two in his Civic, despite spending more than six minutes stuck on a bank on Saturday.

DRIVER QUOTES

Juho Hanninen (Finland), Skoda Fabia S2000, first overall:
"It's gone very well for me. I've never had to really go on full attack on this rally, which was a good thing because it would have been hard to find more pace on these difficult stages. There have been no mistakes all weekend and it's a very good result for the championship. I am not so confident for Tarmac so to win here is important for the rest of the season."

Paolo Andreucci (Italy), Peugeot 207 S2000, second overall:
"I did not expect this result so for that reason I am very happy. I had to drive very fast on that last stage but it was a fantastic fight. We did not have such a good start today but we improved. The car and my Pirelli tyres were very good."

Jan Kopecky (Czech Republic), Skoda Fabia S2000, third overall:
"I am pleased with this result for me and for Skoda. It was a good battle with Andreucci but I am not disappointed to have lost to him because he drove very well. If anything I am disappointed with myself for the mistake on Saturday."

Results

Posted: June 7, 2010 1:42 PM

1 Juho Hanninen/Mikko Markkula (Skoda Fabia S2000) 2h31m28.6s
2 Paolo Andreucci/Anna Andreucci (Peugeot 207 S2000) +35.6s
3 Jan Kopecky/Petr Stary (Skoda Fabia S2000) +38.2s
4 Thierry Neuville/Nicolas Klinger (Peugeot 207 S2000) +5m58.6s
5 Bruno Magalhaes/Carlos Magalhaes (Peugeot 207 S2000) +9m55.8s
6 Teemu Arminen/Tuomo Nikkola (Subaru Impreza WRX) +10m12.3s
7 Luigi Ricci/Maurizio Barone (Subaru Impreza WRX) +11m33.4s
8 Daniele Batistini/Carlo Pisano (Peugeot 207 S2000) +11m58.1s
9 Filippo Bordignon/Justin Bardini (Subaru Impreza WRX) +19m56.2s
10 Gianluca Linari/Andrea Cecchi (Subaru Impreza WRX) +21m07.0s

Full Results:

Twitter Feeds

Posted: June 4, 2010 1:25 PM



NEW STAR OGIER JOINS MEEKE AND NAGLE IN SARDINIA

Posted: June 3, 2010 12:37 PM

Sébastien Ogier, fresh from his maiden World Rally victory in Portugal, joins Peugeot UK’s IRC Champions Kris Meeke and Paul Nagle in Sardinia as Peugeot braces itself for a major battle on the gravel stages of Sardinia this weekend. Ogier will swap his Citroën C4 WRC car for a Peugeot 207 S2000, and lines up in Peugeot colours alongside Meeke and Nagle, Bruno Magalhaes, Franz Wittman, Thierry Neuville, Paulo Andreucci and the Turkish lady star Burcu Çetinkaya.

It’s the biggest Peugeot line-up this year, and is there to help Peugeot defend its manufacturers’ title in the face of strong opposition from Skoda’s Juho Hänninen, Jan Kopecky and Guy Wilks. And Meeke and Nagle need all the support they can in a very strong field, especially after the disappointments of Argentina and Canarias.

Co-driver Paul Nagle comments:
"We’ve simply got to get everything right in Sardinia. It’s the biggest field of the year so far. Along with the normal suspects we have P-G Andersson in a Mitsubishi and Andreas Mikkelsen in a Fiesta. We're looking for a good result this weekend. It's vital to our championship defence."

Ogier was last seen on an IRC event in Monte Carlo in January when he came agonizingly close to a back-to-back victory in the event. To have the new superstar of world rallying alongside him is a huge boost to driver Kris Meeke:
“Sébastien is a huge talent – anyone who can beat Loeb has got to be. It’s great to have him competing for Peugeot and sharing our area of the Service Park. With Séb on board we can pose a genuine challenge to the Skodas. We’ll have to work very hard indeed to beat them. But try and beat them we will, because that’s the best way to score points, not just in the drivers’ title race, but also for Peugeot in the manufacturers.”

The rally starts with a ceremony on Friday night, with 2 full days of action on Saturday and Sunday. Leg one on Saturday consists of six special stages. There will be two runs through the Monte Grighine stage, located to the east of Oristano and televised live on Eurosport, and two passes of the Gonnosno test to the south-east of the town, split by a remote service in Simaxis. Crews then head north to the classic Monte Lerno stage between the towns of Ozieri and Pattada, eventually reaching Olbia in the island's north-east for end of day service and overnight parc fermé.

Sunday morning's action takes competitors south of Olbia for two runs of the Coiluna stage split by the first pass of the Terranova stage and a regroup in Ala dei Sardi. Both Coiluna stages will be shown live on Eurosport. The second is followed by a service halt in Olbia before the two Monte Olia tests and a return to the Terranova stage. After a final service in Olbia, crews cross the finishing ramp in the exclusive Porto Cervo resort on Sunday evening.

No Sardinia run for Czech Prokop

Posted: June 3, 2010 11:22 AM

Martin Prokop won't be on the starting ramp when Rally d'Italia-Sardegna gets underway on Friday night, despite having planned to enter the Intercontinental Rally Challenge qualifier in his Ford Fiesta Super 2000.

Prokop's car required an engine rebuild following its last rally and the work couldn't be completed in time to enable the Czech to start the Olbia-based gravel event.

He said: "It's bad news because I like this rally having done it for the last five years and was looking forward to competing there again. Unfortunately we have a problem with the engine and there is nothing I can do."

Prokop could still take part in this year's IRC when the championship visits his home county for Barum Czech Rally Zlin from 27-29 August.

"It is not decided but I want to do more races and it is obviously a rally I would like to do so I hope to be there," added the 27-year-old.

Hanninen prepared for tough challenge

Posted: June 3, 2010 11:21 AM

Intercontinental Rally Challenge leader Juho Hanninen believes he has the pace to win Rally d'Italia-Sardegna this week but insists he won't be taking anything for granted, and not just because of the extra opposition he will face on the island-based event.

The factory Skoda Motorsport driver, currently seven points clear in the title race, says the demanding nature of the stages, four of which will be shown live on Eurosport, will make for a very tough rally.

"I don't know so much about the new stages but Sardinia is always demanding with hot weather and a lot of grip changes," said the Finn. "Sometimes you have a hard surface then in other places it is very sandy and quite slippery. It's also narrow so it's easy to make a mistake like hitting a rock by the side of the road."

Hanninen also pointed to the higher risk of punctures on the event due to the rough nature of some of the roads.

"It will be a risk but it doesn't help if you are thinking about getting a puncture all the time and trying to be more careful as it is easier to get the puncture at that moment by being too careful," he said.

Peugeot hopes Ogier will boost title push

Posted: June 3, 2010 10:29 AM

Peugeot Sport director Olivier Quesnel hopes the addition of Sebastien Ogier to its ranks on Rally d'Italia-Sardegna this week will help to revitalise the French make's bid for a fourth Intercontinental Rally Challenge manufacturers' title.

After the opening four rounds of this year's IRC, Peugeot trails Skoda by 31 points having taken one victory to the two scored by its rival. However, in terms of stages won, Skoda drivers have been fastest through 28 stages this season while Peugeot's representatives have triumphed on 25 occasions, proving Peugeot's 207 and Skoda's Fabia are evenly matched.

"For the drivers' title I am not anxious because I am sure Kris Meeke can do it again because the Peugeot is still a good car with a good performance," said Quesnel. "For the manufacturers' title Kris is a little bit alone because [the other Peugeot drivers] Bruno Magalhaes and Thierry Neuville are inexperienced in the IRC, so I don't have any problem to ask Ogier to come help Peugeot get the title again."

Ogier won Rallye Automobile Monte-Carlo in 2009 at the wheel of a 207 S2000, his first appearance in the IRC. Since then he has become established in the World Rally Championship and competes in Sardinia on the back of winning the WRC-counting Rally de Portugal recently.

JRM targets Group N success in Sardinia

Posted: June 2, 2010 10:35 AM

As announced a few weeks ago, JRM has entered leading Swedish driver Per-Gunnar (PG) Andersson in this weekend’s Rally d’Italia Sardegna as part of its ongoing development programme for the Group N Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X.

Taking place in Sardinia, the event represents round five of the IRC (Intercontinental Rally Challenge), a series which is now regarded as the most competitive in the world for Class R4 cars, the category for Super-2000 and Group N4 models.

The rally sees the first time JRM has entered a round of the IRC, whereas in contrast, it will be Andersson’s sixth visit, the previous five when he contested the World Rally Championship as a works driver for Suzuki.

The experienced Swede is therefore no stranger to the island’s distinctive gravel roads and, although having driven a Mitsubishi in last year’s Swedish Championship, this event will be his first in a JRM Evolution X - the car previously used by Jari Ketomaa to win the Vakunaa Rally in February and by Gwyndaf Evans to win the Pirelli Rally in April.

As is the norm in the IRC, the works S2000 cars have held the upper hand when it comes to performance and results this season. However, the JRM team is eager to see how its Mitsubishi matches up to these and the other Group N entries taking part this weekend.

The event headquarters and main service area are located in Olbia, with the start and opening Super Special stage taking place on Friday in Cagliari. Saturday sees six stages, followed by a further six on Sunday, the total of which provides a competitive distance of 219 kilometres.

Andersson will be partnered by his regular co-driver and fellow countryman Anders Fredriksson, the Swedish pair seeded number five on the entry list.

Team quotes

PG Andersson
“I was delighted when JRM asked me to drive one of their cars in Sardinia. It’s both an honour and an opportunity. I last drove this rally in 2008 and I hope my experience will make a difference, especially as I am expecting the roads to be in better condition without the WRC cars this time. I will be testing the JRM Mitsubishi this week and I am sure that it won't take long to get used to it, especially as it's a car which has already had success this year.”

John Barnes – Team Manager
“Although we are going to this event with an open mind as far as results are concerned, our aim is to be the best of the Group N field. However, it will also be interesting to see how our car performs against the Super 2000 entries. Either way, we face some stiff opposition, so a good result of any kind will represent a success for us.”

James Rumsey – Team Principal
“We have already shown that our cars can be successful on any surface, having won in Finland on snow and in the UK on gravel and tarmac. We are therefore looking for new challenges and we see Sardinia and the IRC as the next stage in the development of the Evo X and, added to this, it allows us to show-case our cars to a wider and more international audience.”

Seeded Entry List Available

Posted: May 31, 2010 11:50 AM

TV Times (including Live Stages)

Posted: May 31, 2010 11:47 AM

Saturday 5 June
07:30-08:45: SS2 (Monte Grighine 1), LIVE Eurosport and Eurosport Asia-Pacific
11:00-12:00: SS4 (Monte Grighine 2), LIVE Eurosport and Eurosport Asia-Pacific

Sunday 6 June
07:30-08:45: SS8 (Coiluna 1), LIVE Eurosport and Eurosport Asia-Pacific
10:45-11:45: SS10 (Coiluna 2), LIVE Eurosport and Eurosport Asia-Pacific

Monday 7 June
19:00-20:00: Live Sunday stage repeated, Eurosport Asia-Pacific

Tuesday 8 June
22:30-23:00: Rally review, Eurosport and Eurosport Asia-Pacific

Wednesday 9 June
11:00-11:30: Rally review, Eurosport2

Saturday 12 June
08:00-10:30: Rally review, Eurosport2

In Sardinia, Franz Wittmann/Klaus Wicha will face the fiercest competition so far this year

Posted: May 31, 2010 11:13 AM

In Sardinia, Franz Wittmann/Klaus Wicha will face the fiercest competition so far this year Franz Wittmann and Klaus Wicha can hardly wait. For the first time this season they will be able to show their forte on gravel. And it is a premiere to boot: the Interwetten Racing-duo has never yet completed a pure gravel rally in the Peugeot S2000. Following the very ambitious performances this IRC season which unfortunately weren’t rewarded by points, Franz Wittmann now wants to do his all in Sardinia to finally score in the IRC overall ranking.

Wittmann:
“I am really looking forward to this since gravel is my favourite surface. Despite all the euphoria one still mustn’t forget that we didn’t find the opportunity for a day of testing, once more. And in the fight for points we will face 16 very strong opponents who will also be competing in an S2000. But this challenge only spurs us on more.”

Thus the tactics of the Lower Austrian, who due to regulation will take up the rally as second car with his starting number nine, are obvious.

“When there are an Ogier, Hanninen, Meeke, Andersson or Andreucci on the entry list one can’t simply wait and see what will happen. We will very actively fight for our chance and try to put what we’ve learned so far into action to the best of our abilities”, explains the Interwetten-Racing driver.

The ceremonial start of the “Rally d’Italia Sardegna 2010” will take place on June 4 at 20.00 in Cagliari. The restart of the rally will be even there on June 5 at 06.10. Scheduled are 12 special stages with a length of 218,70 kilometres. The overall length of the pure gravel rally measures 985,60 kilometres since the special stages are spread over almost the entire second-largest Mediterranean isle. The finishing line will be crossed on June 6 at 19.00 in Porto Cervo at the Costa Smeralda.

Wilks/Pugh target more IRC points for Škoda UK in Sardinia

Posted: May 28, 2010 1:09 PM

Having finished the last three rounds of the Intercontinental Rally Challenge on the podium, Guy Wilks is hoping to continue his excellent run of success when he contests Round 5 of the series, Rally d'Italia-Sardegna (4-6 June), in his Škoda UK Motorsport Fabia S2000. Great performances in Brazil (2nd), Argentina (2nd) and Gran Canarias (3rd), and a 100% finishing record in his Fabia S2000, sees the 29-year old Darlington driver tied for 2nd with Jan Kopecký in the drivers' table, while Guy has also helped Škoda establish a healthy 31 point lead in the Manufacturers' standings. Rally d'Italia-Sardegna is a notoriously fast and difficult event, yet Guy is confident he can produce another good result on what is expected to be the most competitive IRC rally of the year so far.

Guy has contested Rally d'Italia-Sardegna three times before, as part of his FIA Junior World Rally Championship programmes. He finished 2nd in class in 2004 and was leading the J-WRC category by over two minutes when a split oil cooler stopped him in 2006, while mechanical problems forced him to finish under Superally rules in 2005. Whilst he knows the style of the Sardinian stages well, much of this year's route is new - with the stages to the south never run before and new sections added to the traditional stages in the north.

Co-driven by Phil Pugh, this will be the first time Guy has contested Rally d'Italia-Sardegna in a powerful four-wheel drive car - and he'll also be driving a different Fabia S2000 to the one he's rallied in so far this season. Having left the team's workshop on February 10 to compete in Argentina, Brazil and Gran Canarias, Guy's rally car finally returned to base on May 17. Whilst Škoda UK Motorsport could have fully rebuilt it in time, the team has elected to run Guy in a ‘fresher' Fabia S2000 - the same car as Jan Kopecký has driven in two rounds of the 2010 Italian Rally Championship (Rally 1000 Miglia and Rally Adriatico) in fact. The car will be prepared to Guy's specific requirements and a 50km pre-event test is planned in Sardinia for Monday (31 June).

Rally d'Italia-Sardegna looks set to be the most exciting IRC event of the season so far, having attracted a star-studded international entry. The top three drivers in the series - Juho Hänninen (Finland), Guy and Kopecký (Czech Rep) - will all drive Škoda Fabia S2000s, Sébastien Ogier (France), four-time Italian rally champion Paolo Andreucci, Kris Meeke (UK), Bruno Magalhães (Portugal) and one of rallying's top female drivers Burcu Cetinkaya (Turkey) will all drive Peugeot 207 S2000s, double Junior World Rally Champion P-G Andersson (Sweden) will drive a Gp N Mitsubishi, while Andreas Mikkelsen (Norway) and Giuseppe Dettori, who leads a large group of Sardinian drivers, will compete in M-Sport Ford Fiesta S2000s.

Guy Wilks:
"Rally d'Italia-Sardegna has been a good event for us before in terms of pace, although we've also had a bit of bad luck with mechanical problems. The event can be quite tough on the car. You have to be very precise where you position the car on the road because there can be some large rocks just off the line. The roads really are carved around the landscape and rocks protrude out of the road where you least expect them - and where you don't want them. So you have to be mindful of that and take caution.

"The stages are very narrow in places, but fast and sometimes quite rough. It's not a rally where you can go blasting around carefree and try and set fastest stage time after fastest stage time, because you won't get away with it. You have to use your head to make sure you keep yourself in the game by steering clear of punctures and maintaining car reliability.

"The opening 28 kilometre stage will be very interesting. You have to get out of bed early and go for it on an opening stage like that; you can't sit back and relax, because you can lose so much time on such a long stage and spend the rest of the event trying to fight back. You can't afford to do that on a round of the IRC, because the competition is intense.

"I'm quite comfortable with what we've achieved in the previous rounds of the IRC. We've remained in our comfort zone and not really stuck our neck out, but now is the time to start doing so if we want to win a rally. We need to push that little extra bit to start winning rallies and maintain our challenge in the series.

"We've got some bankers in the form of three podiums and we'd like to think that come the time we're looking at our best seven results to count, our sixth place finish in Monte Carlo will be a dropped score. We have three good scores in our back pocket thanks to our podiums in Brazil, Argentina and Gran Canarias, so it's a great position to build from."

Rally d'Italia-Sardegna is the home event for Škoda UK Motorsport team manager Pierfrancesco Zanchi and his Oleggio Castello-based squad. He has done the event once as a driver (lying 2nd in Gp N to Gigi Galli in 2004 before breaking the steering rack) and three times (2006-'08) as a team principal - so knows the event extremely well.

There is one change to the Škoda UK Motorsport team line-up in Sardinia. Chief mechanic David Pelliccoili made a commitment to work at the Le Mans 24 Hour race before the IRC programme was confirmed, so in his absence he will be replaced by Marco Raele, who worked on Guy's Fabia S2000 on Rallye Monte Carlo.

Pierfrancesco Zanchi:
"Rally d'Italia-Sardegna is a special event for everyone involved in this project and we really want to do well. We have a good history of competing on the island, and whilst many of the stages are new to us all, we have a very good feeling. It is going to be a tough event and faster this year than before, but we have prepared very well and hope to fight for another place on the podium."

Rally d'Italia-Sardegna begins on Friday 4 June with a ceremonial start in Cagliari at 20.00.
Saturday's opening leg, which features six stages - including two runs over Monte Grighine which, at 17.8 miles (28.66kms), is the longest of the rally - takes the rally north, via service in Simaxis (near Oristano, halfway up the west coast) to the overnight halt in Olbia, in the north-east of the Italian island. It's a long day, with crews on the move from 06.10 until 21.00.

The second and final day of action takes place on Sunday 6 June, with a further three stages run twice; including the 16.13 mile (25.97km) Coiluna test. A sting in the tail comes in the form of the final three stages, totalling 25.73 miles (41.42kms), which are run without service. The rally finishes in Porto Cervo, near Olbia, at 19.00, after 12 stages and 135.9 miles (218.7kms) of competition.

RALLY D'ITALIA-SARDEGNA PREVIEW

Posted: May 28, 2010 11:44 AM

THE CHALLENGE
The Intercontinental Rally Challenge makes its first visit to Sardinia next week for round five of the 12-event series. After switching to asphalt for Rally Islas Canarias in late April, crews return to gravel for the island-based contest, which previously ran as part of the World Rally Championship before joining the IRC for 2010.

Following its groundbreaking coverage of Rallye Automobile Monte-Carlo in January, Eurosport will show four stages of the Olbia-based event as they happen. With upwards of 10 drivers capable of challenging for victory, viewers of Europe's largest television sports channel, plus those fans watching on the stages, are braced for an epic battle for glory.

While part of the route used for the WRC qualifier remains, organisers have made several changes to the itinerary, including a ceremonial start in the capital Cagliari, in the south of the island, and new stages based around the town of Oristano to the west.

Leg one consists of six special stages. There will be two runs through the Monte Grighine stage, located to the east of Oristano and televised live on Eurosport, and two passes of the Gonnosno test to the south-east of the town, split by a remote service in Simaxis. Crews then head north to the classic Monte Lerno stage between the towns of Ozieri and Pattada, eventually reaching Olbia in the island's north-east for end of day service and overnight parc ferme.

Sunday morning's action takes competitors south of Olbia for two runs of the Coiluna stage split by the first of pass of the Terranova stage and a regroup in Ala dei Sardi. Both Coiluna stages will be shown live on Eurosport. The second is followed by a service halt in Olbia before the two Monte Olia tests and a return to the Terranova stage. After a final service in Olbia, crews cross the finishing ramp in the exclusive Porto Cervo resort on Sunday evening.

The stages in Sardinia are characterised by their challenging and varied nature. Although they are predominantly fast and narrow, the terrain is a mixture of flat open areas and undulating tracks through woodland with water splashes and spectacular jumps thrown in for good measure. Ordinarily the surface is hard with rock-strewn sections commonplace, while ruts will often form after the first pass. Some parts of the route are on softer ground, which has been damaged by recent heavy rainfall and has required the organisers to carry out essential repair work.

As with most gravel rallies, road position can have a major bearing on the result due to the effect of cleaning the course of loose-surface gravel. In a change to the format used on other rounds of the IRC, organisers in Sardinia will run the top ten crews in reverse order of their competition numbers for Saturday's opening leg in two-minute intervals. The remainder of the field will start in number order, albeit with a one-minute gap. On Sunday, the leading ten runners will start in reverse order in two-minute intervals, with the remaining competitors running in rally order separated by one-minute gaps.

THE COMPETITORS
Juho Hanninen has opened up a seven-point lead in the drivers' table following his run to second place on Rally Islas Canarias last month. He will start Rally d'Italia-Sardegna on the back of competing on Portugal's round of the World Rally Championship, which he used to acclimatise to driving on gravel again. The Finn won the IRC's last gravel round, taking his Skoda Fabia S2000 to victory on Rally Argentina in March and has established a reputation as a loose-surface specialist.

Jan Kopecky's first place last time out in Gran Canaria promoted the Czech to joint second with Guy Wilks in the championship standings. Like team-mate Hanninen, Kopecký has rallied in Sardinia before but admitted after round two of the IRC in Brazil, where he finished a distant fourth, that he still needs to improve his form on gravel.

Guy Wilks is due to start the rally on the back of a test on the island, which is scheduled to take place on Monday (31 May). The Skoda UK Motorsport pilot has yet to take a win this season but has the pace to mount the top step of the podium in his Fabia S2000. While Wilks hasn't competed in anger since capturing third place in the Canary Islands, his navigator, Phil Pugh, was victorious on the most recent round of the Chinese Rally Championship.

Kris Meeke, the defending IRC champion, prepared for Rally d'Italia-Sardegna with a test southern France recently. Although he reported having improved the set-up of his Peugeot UK-backed 207, the Northern Irishman insists he won't go all out for victory, despite needing to narrow the gap to title leader Hanninen, preferring instead to secure a podium place. Meeke has previous experience in Sardinia and won the first gravel event of the IRC season in Brazil in early March.

Peugeot Sport Portugal's Bruno Magalhaes is another driver hoping to use a pre-event test to bolster his chances of success in Sardinia. The three-time Portuguese champion, who has scored on every round of the year so far, is unlikely to enter the next rally of the series in Belgium so will be determined to put on a strong showing on his first visit to the island next week.

Sebastien Ogier's last appearance in the IRC was on Rallye Automobile Monte-Carlo in January where he was challenging for victory only for alternator failure to force him out on the final night. Since then he has focussed on his world championship campaign with the Citroen Junior Team. Ogier has been called up to help reignite Peugeot's bid for a fourth manufacturers' crown and assist Meeke's efforts to get his drivers' title defence back on track.

Leading the Peugeot Sport Italia challenge is four-time national champion Paolo Andreucci. At 45, the Italian is one of the oldest drivers in the field but is still more than capable of running at the front in his 207, despite conceding that it will be a tall order to beat the IRC regulars.

Andreas Mikkelsen begins his seven-event IRC campaign in Sardinia at the wheel of an M-Sport-run Ford Fiesta S2000. The 20-year-old Norwegian is highly regarded while the Fiesta has already proven to be a winner in the IRC, thanks to Mikko Hirvonen's efforts on the Monte Carlo Rally.

P-G Andersson's conventional Group N Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X might not have the beating of the Super 2000 machines but the Swede, who is armed with previous Sardinia knowledge, is a huge talent and has the ability to fight for a top six finish.

Thierry Neuville began his IRC bid in Gran Canaria last month and showed plenty of promise before he crashed out on the penultimate stage. Fellow Peugeot 207 driver Franz Wittmann also failed to go the distance on the island rally when he too crashed. The Austrian has been plotting his revenge in his Interwetten Racing-run machine ever since.

Burcu Cetinkaya recruited Sebastien Ogier to help her preparations for her expansive IRC campaign, which kicks off in Sardinia. As well as advising the Peugeot Sport Turkey driver on set-up, Ogier also got behind the wheel of Cetinkaya's 207 to offer her a few driving tips.

Sardinia marks the return of former champion Marco Cavigioli to the IRC 2WD Cup ranks, although the Italian has yet to firm up his choice of car. Britons Harry Hunt and Colin R Smith will drive a Ford Fiesta R2 and Honda Civic Type R respectively and will be looking to build up their experience of IRC competition.

THE EXPECTATIONS
P-G Andersson (Sweden), Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X:
"I like the event because you have a mix of fast and twisty narrow sections. But to beat the Super 2000 cars in my Group N car will be too much to ask. We are 200kgs heavier, we have to brake earlier for the corners and the brakes are a lower specification so the main target will just be to win Group N."

Paolo Andreucci (Italy), Peugeot 207 S2000:
"It's going to be very tough as there will be so many good drivers. I've driven the Peugeot 207 S2000 for a year and half now, and even though it's not the newest S2000 car out there, it is still very competitive. It's also one of the most reliable cars I have ever driven. I feel very happy: it's a real privilege to be competing at this level."

Juho Hanninen (Finland), Skoda Fabia S2000:
"I need to win because we have some Tarmac rallies to come and winning those will definitely be more difficult for me. But at the same time it will not be easy in Sardinia because the entry is strong and I know Sebastien Ogier will be very fast and he only has to think about winning the rally, not the championship. The idea is to drive for victory but it will be stupid to take any risks."

Andreucci prepared for tough fight with IRC regulars

Posted: May 27, 2010 11:20 AM

Paolo Andreucci fears that his knowledge of the stages won't be enough to stave off the threat posed by the Intercontinental Rally Challenge regulars on Rally d'Italia-Sardegna next week.

Andreucci will drive a Peugeot Sport Italia 207 Super 2000 on the gravel event, round five of the 12-event IRC series, where his main opposition will include factory Skoda drivers Juho Hanninen and Jan Kopecky, plus fellow Peugeot runners Kris Meeke and Sebastien Ogier.

"I'm really excited by this rally, but I know that it's going to be very tough as there will be so many good drivers," said the four-time Italian rally champion, who will be starting his first IRC event of 2010. "For me, to be honest, I think a podium will be difficult. But I would like to finish in the top five though and that is what I will be aiming for."

The 45-year-old continued: "I know some of the stages well and some I don't know at all. The stages I know I like a lot: they are very tricky though, because there are lots of little things that can catch you out. I've done the [Sardinia-based] Costa Smeralda Rally every year, but I haven't done the WRC event stages since 2004, when I did the rally in a Super 1600 Punto."

Pugh ready for Sardinia after China rally win

Posted: May 27, 2010 11:19 AM

Phil Pugh took a break from his co-driving duties alongside Guy Wilks in the Intercontinental Rally Challenge to win the latest round of the Chinese championship, which he said was the perfect preparation for Rally d'Italia-Sardegna next week.

Pugh partnered fellow Briton Mark Higgins to victory on the Jiangning Rally in a Ralliart Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX. After returning to his home in Wales, Pugh said the trip to the Far East had been extremely beneficial.

"It was the first time I had done a rally in China and it was my first time with Mark so there was a lot to take on board," said Pugh. "Not only was it a good feeling to win but it's definitely made me more on the ball for Sardinia because there was some good competition out in China and Mark uses a different pacenote system to Guy."

Pugh will be reunited with Wilks on the fifth round of the IRC in Sardinia. Before the event gets underway on 4 June, Wilks and Pugh will undertake a test on Monday (31 May) in their Skoda UK Motorsport Fabia S2000.

Big champions at the start of the Rally d’Italia Sardegna

Posted: May 26, 2010 12:30 PM

Sebastien Ogier, Paolo Andreucci, Kris Meeke, Jan Kopecky, Guy Wilks, Nicolas Vouilloz e Freddy Loix have already made their entries.

Rally d’Italia Sardegna 2010 is keeping on to receive many new entries. Some of these entries regarding leading figure as the one of the 26 years old French driver Sebastien Ogier, winner of the Rally of Montecarlo in 2009 and big protagonist of WRC 2010. This french promising boy of the Rally Racing, reached the second place in the last valid WRC race, the New Zeland Rally 2010 and he will be at the Start of the fifth date of IRC, scheduled in Sardinia from 4th to 6th June, driving a Peugeot 207 S2000. Always on a 207 S200 the French manufacture will line up with him at the start, the Scottish Kris Meeke, winner of the IRC in 2009, the Italian champion Paolo Andreucci, which knows very well the dirt Sardinian roads and the 29 years old Turkish driver girl Burcu Cetinkaya. The present leader of the IRC, the Finnish Juho Hanninen, the Czech Jan Kopecky, the Welsh Guy Wilks, the French Nicolas Vouilloz, the Belgian Freddy Loix and the Spanish Alberto Hevia , have already made official their presences driving the Skoda Fabia S2000.

The official MSport’s Ford Fiesta S2000 will be driven by the young Norwegian Andreas Mikkelsen.

Also Giuseppe Dettori, which leads a large group of Sardinian drivers, will compete on a Ford Fiesta S2000 managed by Pro Race. Also the entry of the twice champion Junior PG Andersson has been reported: the 30 years old swedish driver will race for the first time on a Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X managed by the british JRM team.

The new Proton Satria Neo S2000 will make one’s debut in Ypres at the end of June.

Ogier to make IRC return in Sardinia

Posted: May 20, 2010 8:50 PM

Sebastien Ogier will make his return to the Intercontinental Rally Challenge when he contests Rally d'Italia-Sardegna next month. 

Ogier, who was victorious on his IRC debut on Rallye Automobile Monte-Carlo last season, will drive a Peugeot 207 Super 2000 on the demanding gravel event, which is based in Olbia from 4-6 June. 

It will mark the Frenchman's second appearance in the IRC in 2010 after he entered Rallye Automobile Monte-Carlo for a second time back in January, only to retire on the final night while he was firmly in contention for a repeat victory. 

Ogier is no stranger to the Sardinian stages, having contested the island's world championship qualifier back in 2008 en route to winning the Junior world title that season. 

In addition to Ogier, the Peugeot challenge in Sardinia will also be boosted by Paolo Andreucci. The four-time Italian champion will drive a similar 207 S2000 and will start as one of the pre-event favourites. 

Format change for Rallye Sanremo

Posted: May 17, 2010 12:06 PM

Rallye Sanremo will feature asphalt stages only when it runs as round 10 of the Intercontinental Rally Challenge from 23-25 September

The organisers, Automobile Club Sanremo (ACS), had planned to run a mixture of asphalt and gravel stages but cost implications have forced them to stick to an all-Tarmac format for the 52nd running of the famous rally.

Sergio Maiga, the ACS president, said:
“Maybe we could have carried out the idea to bring Rallye Sanremo back to [the gravel stages of] Siena, but in order to do that we would have been obliged to reduce costs in sectors like safety, where we are not willing to accept any compromise.

“Furthermore we wouldn’t be able to solve any of the economic problems that a race, like the one we had in mind, would have entailed for the teams that will take part in the event and, even more, for the several private drivers that are always showing their affection to our race.

“A leg on gravel and another one on asphalt would have made necessary a change of car set-up during the race and therefore an increase in costs.”

IRC regulars excited by Sardinia TV coverage

Posted: May 14, 2010 1:21 PM

Competitors from the Intercontinental Rally Challenge have revealed their delight at the news that Eurosport will show four stages of Rally d'Italia-Sardegna live.

Europe's largest television sports channel will screen approximately six hours of coverage from the gravel-based event, which runs from 4-6 June, including live footage of the Monte Grighine stages on Saturday and the Coiluna tests on Sunday.

Paul Nagle, who co-drove Kris Meeke to the IRC title in 2009, said:
"It's not only good news for the event but also for the IRC and everyone involved. Eurosport's onboard camera footage is brilliant for the fans watching at home and gives them a real hands-on experience of what it's like to take part in an IRC rally."

Franz Wittmann, who drives an Interwetten Racing-run Peugeot 207 in the IRC, said:
"The Eurosport coverage is one of the main reasons why my sponsor can justify bringing money into rallying. It's also the best way to bring the sport to the people."

PG Andersson to compete in Sardinia in JRM Evo X

Posted: May 12, 2010 10:44 PM

Following the recent announcement that Keith Cronin will drive one of its Group N Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution Xs in next month’s Donegal Rally, JRM has this week confirmed that it will continue its programme to promote its cars by entering two more rallies in the next few weeks.

Having recorded its first outright victory in the Dulux Trade MSA British Rally Championship on last month’s Pirelli Rally, JRM has entered Gwyndaf Evans in round three of the UK series, the Jim Clark Rally. Having scored a win on gravel, the team has admitted that it would now like to achieve the same success on asphalt in order to show that its cars are competitive on both surfaces.

Evans, who will again be partnered by co-driver Chris Patterson, is currently lying fourth in the driver’s championship, whilst JRM jointly lead the team’s championship.

“Having won last time out I am really pleased to be getting the chance to compete again”, said Evans. “I fully understand that JRM’s BRC programme is being carried out on an event-by-event basis. So to have been entered for half of the championship’s six rounds so far is a real bonus and I shall do all I can to deliver another good result for the team.”

The experienced Welshman will use the right-hand-drive car that was campaigned in 2009 by Evolution Challenge prize-winner David Bogie, as Evans’ Pirelli winning LHD Evo will be on its way to the Rally d’Italia Sardegna to be driven by top Swedish driver Per-Gunnar Andersson. “I was delighted to be asked to drive for JRM”, said Andersson. “I drove an Evolution IX in the Swedish Championship last year and won a number of events outright. I therefore know a bit about driving Mitsubishis and Group N and it will be good to see how this car performs in an IRC round. I’m looking forward to it!”

The Sardinian event will see the first time that a JRM Evo X has taken part in a round of the IRC (Intercontinental Rally Challenge) and the team is interested to see how it’s Mitsubishi compares, not just against other Group N cars, but S2000 cars as well. Andersson will be co-driven by fellow countryman Anders Fredriksson.

“Entering these two events and the Donegal Rally is all part of our promotional campaign to showcase our cars in countries where there is potential to sell new Group N Lancers and Ralliart parts”, explains Operations Manager for JRM John Barnes. “At the moment we don't have plans for any more events, but it is a case of seeing how each one goes and then making decisions from there.”

The Jim Clark Rally starts and finishes in Kelso and takes place on closed public roads in Berwickshire on 28-29 May. The Rally d’Italia Sardegna is an all-gravel event held entirely on the Island of Sardinia from 4-6 June.

IRC RALLY D'ITALIA-SARDEGNA TO RECEIVE LIVE TELEVISION COVERAGE
TVTimes

Posted: May 12, 2010 2:15 PM

Four stages of IRC event produced live
Extensive coverage on Eurosport

The fifth round of the Intercontinental Rally Challenge, Rally d'Italia-Sardegna, will receive extensive live television coverage when it runs on the Mediterranean island from 4-6 June.

IRC promoter Eurosport Events will produce four stages of the gravel event live, including both runs through the Monte Grighine stage on Saturday 5 June and the two passes of the Coiluna stage on Sunday 6 June.

Eurosport, Europe's largest television sports channel, has further underlined its commitment to the IRC by confirming it will show four stages of Rally d'Italia-Sardegna on a live basis. With a highlight programme also planned for Tuesday 8 June, Eurosport's coverage of the rally will total six hours.

"Monte Carlo was always going to be the first of several IRC rallies broadcast live this year. Now, we're delighted to confirm live production for the Rally d'Italia-Sardegna," said Géraldine Filiol, Eurosport Event's Managing Director. "With some spectacular countryside and challenging stages, plus the participation of all the top IRC drivers, this rally promises a breathtakingly close competition for spectators on site and for TV viewers at home. Rally fans will be able to enjoy the action directly as it happens thanks to a strong coverage, including live broadcasts on Eurosport and on Eurosport Asia-Pacific, complemented by coverage on eurosport.com websites."

Rally d'Italia-Sardegna is a new addition to the IRC schedule in 2010. Based in the town of Olbia in the north-east of the Italian island, the action will get underway with a ceremonial start in the capital, Cagliari, on the evening of Friday 4 June. Saturday's opening leg, which features six stages, is based around the town of Oristano before crews reach Olbia on Saturday evening ahead of the final six stages on Sunday. The total competitive distance will be 218 kilometres.

Eurosport's LIVE TV coverage of Rally d'Italia-Sardegna:
(Irish Time)

Saturday 5 June
07:30hrs-08:45hrs: LIVE Stage 2: Monte Grighine 1 (27.80 kilometres)
11:00hrs-12:00hrs: LIVE Stage 4: Monte Grighine 2

Sunday 6 June
07:30hrs-08:45hrs: LIVE Stage 8: Coiluna 1 (26.00 kilometres)
10:45hrs-11:45hrs: LIVE Stage 10: Coiluna 2

Tuesday 8 June
22:30hrs-23:00hrs: Rally highlights

Wilks set for Rally d'Italia-Sardegna run

Posted: May 7, 2010 12:44 PM

Skoda UK Motorsport has confirmed it will enter Guy Wilks and co-driver Phil Pugh on Rally d'Italia-Sardegna next month.

The Italian-run team is entering the British pair on seven rounds of this year's Intercontinental Rally Challenge in a Fabia Super 2000.

Wilks said:
"We've got to push for a win in Sardinia where I know we can be competitive. We've got a bit of a breather now before Sardinia, so we aim to make the most of that time to prepare well. I know in myself that I and the Fabia can gel a little bit better and better results can come. That's what we're aiming for."

Wilks his currently equal second in the IRC drivers' standings following his third consecutive podium finish of the season on Rally Islas Canarias last weekend

Event Website / Details

Posted: January 1, 2010 12:01 AM






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