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Rally Islas Canarias (Spain) - 14-16 Apr 11

Posted: September 13, 2011 11:20 AM - 4885 Hits

Round 2 - 2011 Intercontinental Rally Challenge (IRC)

MIKKELSEN HITS THE TARGET IN GRAN CANARIAS

Posted: September 13, 2011 11:20 AM

Škoda UK Motorsport’s Andreas Mikkelsen achieved exactly what he set out to do on the Rally Islas Canarias Trofeo El Corte Inglés – and that was to enjoy a completely trouble-free run in his Fabia S2000 and finish in the Intercontinental Rally Challenge (IRC) points. Co-driven by Ola Fløene, Andreas finished a solid 6th overall after a faultless drive.

It was a fantastic rally for Škoda Motorsport, which finished the event in 1st and 2nd positions for the second year running. In an exciting final stage showdown, IRC champion Juho Hänninen beat his team-mate, and last year’s rally winner, Jan Kopecký to win by just 1.5 seconds.

On his first attempt at the Rally Islas Canarias, Andreas drove hard but took no risks as he guided his Fabia S2000 over the fast and twisty mountain asphalt roads. Conditions were largely dry and sunny, although thick fog and drizzle made conditions tricky on the night stage on Friday. Unfortunately, the second night stage was cancelled for safety reasons, as there were too many spectators in SS8, which was a disappointment for everyone – and not least Andreas, who had just moved up into 5th position.

As the top four crews set an incredibly fast pace, Andreas resisted the temptation to throw caution to the wind and chase after them, and instead stuck to the team’s strategy of taking no risks. His intelligent and precision driving was rewarded with a valuable points-scoring result.

Andreas:
“Our goal was to come here and finish in the points and that is exactly what we have achieved, so I am very happy. We could have pushed harder, but it would have meant taking a few risks and we did not come here to do that. Our IRC campaign is up and running, we have good points on the board and we leave here with a very good foundation on which to build our championship campaign on.

“My Fabia S2000 was perfect this weekend and I’d like to thank the team for making sure it ran like clockwork. It’s been a fantastic rally for the Škoda brand, and congratulations to Juho [Hänninen], Jan [Kopecký] and everyone at Škoda Motorsport on a great one-two result.”

The next round of the IRC is the Tour de Corse (13-15 May).

STRONG FINISH IN DIFFICULT CANARIAS RALLY FOR PEUGEOT UK'S GUY WILKS & PHIL PUGH

Posted: September 13, 2011 11:17 AM

A strong finish in last weekend’s Rally Islas Canarias saw Peugeot UK’s Guy Wilks set two fastest times and score good points towards this year’s championship.

The start of the rally could not have been better for Guy. He quickly mastered the twisty go-kart circuit which made up this year’s first stage of the rally, setting the fastest time and taking the overall lead of the rally. A difficult run through the second stage saw Guy drop time to the rally leaders and drop to fifth place overall. A strong fight back on the third stage resulted in Guy and Phil setting the fastest stage time again in their Peugeot 207 S2000.

Stage four, the re-run of stage two was, again, not kind to Guy and Phil who dropped time to the rally leaders. “I lost confidence because the car was sliding at the rear and I couldn’t commit in the fast corners,” said Guy.

The resulting loss of time and a range of difficult conditions, including both fog and damp patches on the remaining stages, saw Guy and Phil finish the first day of the rally in seventh place overall.

With only four stages facing the crews before the end of the rally’s final day, Guy and Phil would need to drive their Peugeot 207 S2000 as fast as they could. A good run through the day’s first stage saw Guy move up from seventh to sixth and close the gap to fifth place to just 1.1s. A strong run through the next stage, which resulted in the third fastest time, saw the Peugeot UK 207 S2000 move into fifth place overall. Now in fifth, Guy and Phil set another strong time in the penultimate stage and moved three seconds ahead of sixth place, Skoda UK’s Andreas Mikkelsen. With just one more stage to run, securing fifth place overall was the best the Peugeot UK crew could expect.

At the end of the stage, Guy and Phil did more than enough as they finished 7.3s ahead of sixth place Andreas Mikkelsen and secured fifth place and became the second highest placed Peugeot 207 S2000. Like Guy, Monte Carlo winner and leader of the IRC drivers’ championship, Bryan Bouffier also had a difficult rally in his Peugeot 207 S2000, finishing in seventh place. The accolade of top placed Peugeot 207 S2000, however, went to Guy and Phil’s team mate, Peugeot Belgium-Luxembourg’s Thierry Neuville who finished in a well deserved third place overall.

“We lost our chance to win the rally on day one on the Gran Canaria stage which we did twice,” said Guy. “It featured two sections that were very fast with a sequence of flat-out sixth gear corners. Everywhere else, my Peugeot 207 S2000 performed perfectly but it tended to move about a lot more through the very fast sections. We had opted not to widen the track of the car which would have helped make the car more stable. It was a choice we made, and it’s a shame.”

THRILLING CANARIAS VICTORY FOR IRC CHAMPION HANNINEN

Posted: September 13, 2011 11:13 AM

Defending Intercontinental Rally Challenge champion Juho Hanninen has moved to the top of the IRC drivers’ standings with a sensational victory on a thrilling Rally Islas Canarias El Corte Ingles, the second round of the 12-event series, today (Saturday).

Hanninen, at the wheel of a Skoda Motorsport Fabia, started the second day of the all-asphalt rally in third overall, albeit a scant 8.6s behind team-mate Jan Kopecky as nine seconds covered the top four drivers. Despite going fastest on Saturday’s opener, Hanninen remained in third as Thierry Neuville shot ahead of Kopecky into the lead.

But when Neuville lost vital seconds on the next stage, Hanninen took a second successive fastest time and powered into first place. With Kopecky 0.1s behind starting the final two stages, the battle of victory remained tightly poised only for Hanninen to open up a slender advantage that he would never relinquish by winning the penultimate stage.

Hanninen’s success, which marked his first IRC victory on asphalt, puts him joint top with Freddy Loix, who finished fourth, on the list of all-time IRC event winners with six victories. It was also Skoda’s first win of 2011, the Czech manufacturer’s 110th year of motorsport participation and means Skoda now heads the makes’ classification ahead of Peugeot.

Kopecky made it a Skoda Fabia one-two and suggested he could have repeated his Rally Islas Canarias win from 2010 had his pacenotes been more precise, particularly on Saturday’s first stage when he lost the lead of the rally he had held since stage two.

Neuville claimed a hugely impressive third place in his Team Peugeot Belgium-Luxembourg 207 S2000, his first IRC event with new co-driver Nicolas Gilsoul. The 22-year-old from Belgium reported losing precious ground on stage 10 after partly wearing out his tyres on the previous run in the high ambient temperatures. As well as causing his car to understeer, Neuville reckoned they contributed to his spin on a hairpin right.

However, it was Neuville’s best performance in the IRC so far and earned him the prestigious Colin McRae IRC Flat Out Trophy. Awarded in memory of the late rally legend, the accolade is presented on all rounds of the IRC to the driver who best embodies the spirit of the former world champion.

Loix was the highest-placed Canarias rookie in fourth. The BFO Skoda driver was in the fight for victory until he lost time on Friday’s final test when his Fabia’s side windows misted up and restricted his vision.

Guy Wilks was one of four drivers to hold the lead of the rally but dropped out of contention with a slow time through stage two on Friday, which he said was caused by a lack of confidence in the set-up of his Peugeot UK 207. He started Saturday in seventh after a spin on Friday’s final stage but fought back up to fifth with a series of impressive times.

Andreas Mikkelsen started the event under orders from his Skoda UK Motorsport team to reach the finish following his crash on the season-opening Rallye Monte-Carlo. Although his approach masked his outright speed, he was nevertheless satisfied to have achieved his pre-rally aim. Finishing sixth overall he received a further boost when he was able to fend off Rallye Monte-Carlo winner Bryan Bouffier after a close battle.

Bouffier, who started the event at the top of the IRC drivers’ standings, was never 100 per cent confident with the handling of his Peugeot France 207 and his lack of knowledge of the island’s demanding and abrasive stages held him back. However, his haul of six points means he remains firmly in contention for the IRC drivers’ title.

Bruno Magalhaes also lacked confidence at the wheel of his Peugeot Sport Portugal 207, a legacy of the high-speed crash he suffered on Rallye Monte-Carlo. However, the IRC event winner reached the finish in a solid eighth overall.

Giandomencio Basso bagged PROTON’s first points of the season in ninth overall on his debut with the Malaysian squad. Toni Gardemeister, making his debut for his own TGS Worldwide team, claimed the final drivers’ point in his Skoda, which he was using in competition for the first time.

PG Andersson dropped out of contention in the second PROTON when he suffered two punctures in the same stage on Friday. He soldiered to the finish in 16th overall, scoring more manufacturer points for his employer.

Joan Vinyes won the IRC 2WD Cup following a dominant display over Suzuki team-mate Gorka Antxustegi. Angel Marrero was third to bag top IRC 2WD Cup manufacturer points for Honda. Defending IRC 2WD Cup champion Harry Hunt recovered to sixth after being delayed by a fuel pump fault and a puncture. He finished one place ahead of former IRC drivers’ champion Enrique Garcia Ojeda in an M-Sport Ford Fiesta R2.

Canary Islander Jose Barrios claimed IRC Production Cup success in his Subaru Impreza after Gustavo Sosa retired his Ralliart Mitsubishi Lancer.

Huge crowds flocked to the stages to the extent Friday’s final test had to be cancelled due to concerns over spectator safety and their vociferous support was widely praised by the leading IRC crews

DRIVER QUOTES
Juho Hanninen (Finland), Skoda Fabia S2000, first overall:
“It has taken a long time but finally, without any snow or nothing like that, I have won my first Tarmac rally and of course I am happy with that but also because it was a big fight for the whole rally. You really needed to keep your concentration on this rally because nobody was making mistakes.”

Jan Kopecky (Czech Republic), Skoda Fabia S2000, second overall:
“It was a nice battle until the end. Juho was flying and was lucky on the second to last stage because he hit a barrier with the back of his car pushing so hard. My pacenotes were not good on this rally in places and I think I lost first place because of this but Juho deserved to win.”

Thierry Neuville (Belgium), Peugeot 207 S2000, third overall:
“Juho and Jan were in the end too fast but we tried to follow, enjoyed it and learned a lot. Sometimes I was never sure if I could go on the same the pace but now I am sure. I only need some more tests with the car and then it will be perfect. This is really good for the future.”

Results

Posted: September 13, 2011 11:12 AM

1 Juho Hanninen (FIN)/Mikko Markkula (FIN) Skoda Fabia S2000 1h40m38.1s
2 Jan Kopecky (CZE)/Petr Stary (CZE) Skoda Fabia S2000 +1.5s
3 Thierry Neuville (BEL)/Nicolas Gilsoul (BEL) Peugeot 207 S2000 +8.2s
4 Freddy Loix (BEL)/Frederic Miclotte (BEL) Skoda Fabia S2000 +16.7s
5 Guy Wilks (GBR)/Phil Pugh (GBR) Peugeot 207 S2000 +48.3s
6 Andreas Mikkelsen (NOR)/Ola Floene (NOR) Skoda Fabia S2000 +55.6s
7 Bryan Bouffier (FRA)/Xavier Panseri (FRA) Peugeot 207 S2000 +1m00.6s
8 Bruno Magalhaes (POR)/Paulo Grave (POR) Peugeot 207 S2000 +1m49.8s
9 Giandomenico Basso (ITA)/Mitia Dotta (ITA) PROTON Satria Neo S2000 +2m37.8s
10 Toni Gardemeister (FIN)/Tapio Suominen (FIN) Skoda Fabia S2000 +2m38.2s

IRC Production Cup:
Jose Barrios (ESP)/Amaranto Martel (ESP) Subaru Impreza WRX

IRC 2WD Cup:
Joan Vinyes (ESP)/Jordi Mercader (ESP) Suzuki Swift S1600

Proton: Rally Islas Canarias El Corte Ingles preview

Posted: April 13, 2011 1:25 PM

Following its victorious double podium on the opening FIA Asia-Pacific Rally Championship round in Malaysia earlier this month, the PROTON Motorsports team returns to the Intercontinental Rally Challenge in Gran Canaria later this week.

This week’s Rally Islas Canarias El Corte Ingles will mark two-time FIA European Rally Champion Giandomencio Basso’s debut with the Malaysian manufacturer. And there couldn’t be a better time for the Italian rally star to be stepping aboard the Satria Neo S2000 following the team’s recent first and third on the Malaysian Rally.

The Satria Neo S2000 has undergone significant changes from last season and the Far Eastern outing was the first event for the new specification machine – and it proved unbeatable in the heat and humidity of the typically tough APRC opener.

The PROTON Motorsports team is aware that the IRC represents tougher competition, with the cream of Super 2000 rally cars and drivers descending on the Spanish island, which lies just 100 kilometres off the coast of Africa. This second round of the IRC is a step into the unknown for the Satria Neo S2000, Basso and his PROTON team-mate, double Junior World Rally Champion Per-Gunnar (P-G) Andersson. The two drivers have not competed there before and will be faced with a demanding second round of the IRC.

The Las Palmas-based event is packed into a near non-stop 24 hours of rallying, with the day one stages running into the night, followed by an early start the next morning. The pace through the smooth, but undulating asphalt stages will be fast and furious on the island.

As well as this being Basso’s debut event with the team, it will also be Andersson’s first time in the car on a pure asphalt rally. The Swede’s pedigree on sealed surface is beyond doubt, however, after he finished seventh on his debut in a Ford Focus RS WRC on last year’s World Rally Championship-qualifying Bulgaria Rally. Andersson’s last rally outing was even more impressive – he led the WRC opening Rally Sweden in February. Both drivers will be searching for solid points finishes on IRC round two later this week.

Quotes:

P-G Andersson said:
“The team is really pleased with the way the car is working after the changes we have made, so I’m looking forward to the event. Again, it’s been a little while since I was competing, my last event was on the snow of Rally Sweden where I finished seventh. The snow at home is quite different to what we’re going out to this week, though. I’ve heard a little bit about the stages, not too much. I hear they are quite fast, but undulating, we’ll see what happens. I like driving on asphalt and I have good confidence that the team has worked hard to make the car as competitive as we all want it to be, certainly Chris [Atkinson’s] win in Malaysia last week seems like a big step in the right direction. As well as that, having somebody with Giandomenico Basso’s ability on asphalt is going to help the team. He knows plenty about how to make the car work on this surface, so if we can get near to his times then we’re going to be happy.”

Giandomenico Basso said:
“I have not competed on this round of the IRC before, but I do have good memories of the IRC in Spain – I won the Rallye Principe de Asturias in 2008. This is a new challenge for me. I had a good test with the PROTON at home in Italy earlier this year. Since then, the team have made some changes with the car and I’m really looking forward to trying them before the start of the event. It’s good to be out competing again in the IRC, it’s a very strong championship and this week’s second round will, I’m sure, be a tough challenge.”

Chris Mellors (team principal) said:
“Having seen the way the suspension changes improved the car on gravel, when we won last time out in Malaysia last month, we’re looking for a similar improvement with the car on asphalt. Due to time restrictions, we haven’t been able to run an extensive pre-event test, but both Giandomencio and P-G will get a full day tomorrow (Monday) to drive the car and establish their set-up for the event. As you can imagine, coming off the back of the result in the Asia-Pacific Rally Championship, the team is really upbeat, but at the same time we have to remember that we haven’t been to this event before and we haven’t run the car in this new configuration on asphalt either. This weekend is going to be a very interesting one for us, but we know what our expectations are: getting both cars to the finish in the points would provide us with some very valuable data.”

MIKKELSEN’S 24-HOUR ISLAND POINTS MISSION

Posted: April 13, 2011 1:22 PM

In a script that could have come straight out of Jack Bauer’s CTU filing cabinet, Škoda UK Motorsport’s Andreas Mikkelsen will have just 24 hours in his Fabia S2000 to score Intercontinental Rally Challenge (IRC) points – for that’s how long this year’s Rally Islas Canarias Trofeo El Corte Inglés will play out, over the fast and twisty mountain roads above Las Palmas.

The all-action IRC Round 2 will see 12 stages and 118.42 miles (190.59kms) completed in a breathtakingly short space of time. A six hour overnight halt, a power-steering testing stagearound the Gran Karting Club and night stages in the hills will combine to make this a challenge befitting the event’s 35th anniversary.

It’s been 12 weeks since the opening round of the IRC in Monte Carlo, and Andreas has filled the time wisely. He’s travelled to Austria, Edinburgh and Chamoinix with the FIA Institute Young Driver Excellence Academy; driven former world number one golfer Nick Faldo and models Yasmin and Amber Le Bon around the Goodwood Forest Rally Stage; spent a week in Italy learning the technical intricacies of the Fabia S2000; won the Ronde De La Giraglia test rally in Corsica and took second place on the Rally dell’Adriatico (the opening round of the Italian Gravel Rally Championship).

His co-driver Ola Fløene has been busy too, going with Andreas to Goodwood, Italy and Corsica, spectating on Rally Sweden and Rally Finnskog (the opening round of the Norwegian Rally Championship), preparing his stock car for its next race and hand-feeding a baby deer, saving it from a very harsh Norwegian winter after it was abandoned by its mother.

Reunited in their Škoda UK Motorsport Fabia S2000, this will be the first time Andreas and Ola have contested the Rally Islas Canarias Trofeo El Corte Inglés. They are familiar with Spanish asphalt rallies, however, having twice contested the Spanish round of the FIA World Rally Championship on the mainland, finishing a points-scoring 8th in 2008, after making their debut there the year before. Gran Canarias shares an abrasive, grippy asphalt surface with those roads in Catalunya and are also very smooth, fast and flowing in places. Andreas will arrive on the Spanish holiday island of Gran Canarias with business in mind, and a clear business plan of recording a points-scoring finish.

Andreas:
“I’ve never rallied on Gran Canarias before, but I hear it’s like a typical Spanish asphalt rally – and I have experience on this type of abrasive asphalt, having done the World Rally Championship event in Catalunya twice.

“I’m pleased there will be night stages, because we will be ready for them having recently done a practice rally in Corsica. I feel very comfortable driving at night; in Corsica we were just as quick in the dark as we were during the day, so for sure these will be important stages for us. It will also be fun to rally on a kart track. Ola and I used to go and race karts just about every weekend we weren’t rallying and have been to almost every rental kart track in the UK, but we have never been around one in the same car before!

“Gran Canarias will be where our IRC campaign starts, so for us it’s important we leave the island with good points on the table. That will be our plan before we arrive and we’ll be sticking to it throughout the event. Results-wise, a finish in the points is what we’re aiming for.”

Rally Islas Canarias Trofeo El Corte Inglés begins with a ceremonial start at the Parque Santa Catalina, in the heart of Las Palmas, at 20.30 on Thursday 14 April, although the action doesn’t get underway until the following afternoon. Leg 1 on Friday 15 April contains eight special stages – including two runs at the Santa Lucia which, at 15.26 miles (24.57 kms) is the longest of the event – totaling 72.58 miles (116.81 kms); 63% of the competitive distance. It will be 00.50 before the first car checks into overnight parc ferme, and after a short rest the first car will begin Leg 2 on Saturday 16 April at 07.30. The final day contains two stages, San Mateo 14.55 miles (23.42 kms) and Artenara 8.37 miles (13.47kms) in the morning, which are repeated in the afternoon. The overall competitive distance after 12 stages is 118.42 miles (190.59 kms), and the finish is back in Las Palmas at just after 14.00.

PEUGEOT UK'S IRC CAMPAIGN HEADS FOR THE SUNSHINE ISLAND OF GRAN CANARIA

Posted: April 13, 2011 1:19 PM

The Spanish island of Gran Canaria will play host to the second round of this year’s Intercontinental Rally Challenge (IRC). Peugeot UK’s Guy Wilks and Phil Pugh will be aiming to improve on their third place position achieved at the IRC’s opening round in Monte Carlo.

As the highest placed UK team, Peugeot UK has spent the time since the last rally testing and further improving its Peugeot 207 S2000, ready for the fast mountain roads of Gran Canaria. The special nature of the roads on the island makes the stages more like a race track with wide, fast-flowing corners and very high grip levels.

“The stages are very fast, you don’t always think of the Canaries as being a mountainous landscape, they go uphill and downhill very quickly, they are very smooth, very nice and require you to be brave if you want to be fast” says Guy Wilks.

The success and publicity generated by the team through its participation in the IRC has also resulted in a new sponsor signing up with the team for 2011. Clarion will now become the team’s new main sponsor and, therefore, Guy and Phil’s 207 S2000 will be sporting a new livery. Clarion joins the team’s other sponsors, Evolution Power Tools and Total Oil.

After the fantastic performance in their first rally for Peugeot UK in Monte Carlo, where they achieved a well deserved third place podium position, Peugeot UK’s dynamic duo will start the Canarias rally as one of the favourites to occupy the top step of the podium when the rally finishes on Saturday.

“Last year, this rally was new to me but it didn’t take me long to settle in, ” recalls Guy. “This time round, though, I won’t be able to profit too much from that experience because the route has changed significantly. That said, the lie of the land will be the same, you need to refrain from cutting corners and your lines have to be absolutely perfect. I think good pace during the night-time stages will be important to win this rally.”

Since the Monte Carlo rally, Guy and Phil have been testing extensively to increase further their understanding and speed of the Peugeot UK 207 S2000. The hard work also doesn’t even stop after the rally as both Guy and Phil will be jetting off for another test programme as soon as the rally finishes.

This year’s Rally Islas Canarias El Corte Ingles will have a changed format from last year and now includes two night stages on Friday night. In total, the rally will feature twelve special stages over a total distance of 190.59 kilometres.

The 35th Rally Islas Canarias begins with the Ceremonial Start on Thursday 14th April before the teams tackle the first stages on Friday. With the change in format, the first day of rallying kicks off on Friday when a total of eight stages will be contested, totalling 313.29 km, of which 116.81 km will be on timed special stages. The first stage starts at 13:48hrs with the rally halting for the night around 00:50hrs on Saturday morning.

Day 2: Saturday provides the crews with a total of four stages, totalling 73.78km, but the crews will have to cover a further 164.40 km just to get to the stages. The Saturday stages are run twice, two in the morning and two in the afternoon, before the rally finishes on Saturday afternoon. By the end of the rally, Guy and Phil’s Peugeot 207 S2000 will have covered a total distance of 668.28 km and tackled 190.59 km of special stages.

A total of 12 S2000 cars and drivers will join Guy and Phil in their Peugeot 207 S2000 and the 22 other cars signed up for this year's event. A total of ten manufacturers will be represented across all the classes, with six Peugeot 207 S2000s battling for a Peugeot victory.

IRC STARS TO SHOW SUPPORT FOR JAPAN IN GRAN CANARIA / Drivers, co-drivers and teams to enter charity beach run

Posted: April 13, 2011 12:37 PM

The Intercontinental Rally Challenge will show its support to the people of Japan when the series resumes on Rally Islas Canarias El Corte Ingles this week (14-16 April).

IRC promoter Eurosport Events has been working in partnership with the local event organiser to arrange a charity run, which will be open to all drivers, co-drivers, teams, media representatives and members of the public. It will take place on the morning of Friday 15 April.

All participants will be asked to make a minimum donation of five Euros to enter the run, which will take place on the Las Canteras beach over a distance of 500 metres. The beach is located a short walk from the rally’s permanent service park in Las Palmas and the runners will be flagged away at 10:00hrs local time.

Prior to the run taking place, all competing crews will assemble for a group photograph, where they will display a large banner featuring the words ‘Save Japan’. The photograph will take place on Playa Las Canteras at 09:45hrs on Friday.

All cars contesting the event will carry windscreen strips displaying a Japanese flag and the ‘Save Japan’ message.

“Every member of the IRC community has been deeply saddened by the events in Japan during the last month and all our thoughts remain with the Japanese people at this time,” said Xavier Gavory, the IRC General Co-ordinator. “With this initiative, we want to show our support and our full solidarity to Japan.”

Rally Islas Canarias forms round two of the 12-event IRC season. The event includes 12 all-asphalt stages over a competitive distance of 190.59 kilometres. Stage one, based at the Gran Karting Club in the south of the island, gets underway at 13:48hrs local time.

Canarias a step into the unknown for ace Pons

Posted: March 24, 2011 2:50 PM

Xevi Pons will enter an Intercontinental Rally Challenge round in a Super 2000 car for the first time when he contests Rally Islas Canarias El Corte Ingles next month in what his team manager Luis Moya has said will be a step into the unknown.

The 31-year-old Pons will drive an M-Sport Ford Fiesta S2000 for the Nupel Estrella Galicia squad, which is managed by Moya, a multiple rally-winning co-driver. Although Pons will be focusing on the Spanish championship, which is running in tandem with the IRC qualifier, the Spaniard will nevertheless be eligible for IRC points.

“We won’t know for another two weeks when we have our first Spanish championship event what our level will be against the other drivers from Spain and with our new tyres,” said Moya. “And for the IRC we really don’t know all the drivers yet so it is difficult to say how Xevi will do.”

Moya continued: “It can rain on the rally but normally it doesn’t, which makes it quite a simple rally in terms of the tyres and set-up but strong in terms of the competition.”

The Nupel team has a proven track record on Rally Islas Canarias. When the event was included on the IRC schedule for the first time last season, Sergio Vallejo finished eighth overall in a Fiesta S2000 while Yeray Lemes took the IRC 2WD Cup honours in an M-Sport Ford Fiesta R2.

Rally Islas Canarias runs from 14-16 April and counts as round two of the 12-event IRC season.

Kopecky backs Rally Islas Canarias night stages

Posted: March 1, 2011 11:26 AM

Jan Kopecky has backed plans by the Rally Islas Canarias El Corte Ingles organisers to include night stages on the itinerary for round two of the Intercontinental Rally Challenge.

Skoda Motorsport driver Kopecky won the asphalt event last year on its first inclusion on the IRC schedule. Organisers have timetabled two stages to run under the cover of darkness at 22:16hrs and 22:49hrs on Friday 15 April. Kopecky, who hails from Czech Republic, says the initiative will be a hit with the drivers and fans alike.

“It’s a good thing and will make the rally quite interesting,” said the 29-year-old Kopecky.
“For drivers and for spectators this will be something different and I imagine a lot of the spectators will stay on for the night because the two night stages are run again the next day. It will be a huge celebration for the fans and a great atmosphere I am sure.”

Kopecky, runner-up in the IRC for the past two seasons, is due to take part in a Skoda Fabia Super 2000 although his participation remains subject to confirmation by Skoda Motorsport.

Night stages for Rally Islas Canarias

Posted: February 18, 2011 9:32 AM

Rally Islas Canarias El Corte Ingles will feature night stages when it hosts the second round of the Intercontinental Rally Challenge in April.

The event, which is based on the Spanish island of Gran Canaria, will take place from 14-16 April. To accommodate the night-time runs, organisers have made several changes to the event itinerary with day one’s action getting underway on Friday at 13:00hrs local time and not finishing until the early hours of Saturday morning (16 April).

Crews and their teams will then get a short rest before the rally continues at 07:30hrs on Saturday. The finish is scheduled for 14:30hrs later that day.

In total the rally will feature 12 special stages with a competitive distance of 190.59 kilometres.

The bulk of the stages on Friday 15 April will focus on the south of the island initially before crews head to the north of the island for the two night stages, Valleseco and Tejeda, which start at 22:16hrs and 22:49hrs respectively.

Sunday’s stages are based in the north of the island and are the same as those used on Friday night, albeit run in reverse.

Former champion targets IRC return

Posted: February 3, 2011 11:46 AM

Enrique Garcia Ojeda, the inaugural Intercontinental Rally Challenge champion in 2007, is targeting a return to the series on Rally Islas Canarias El Corte Ingles in April.

The 41-year-old Spaniard, who took the IRC crown at the wheel of a Peugeot 207 Super 2000 on the back of six podium finishes, hopes a strong performance on the Gran Canaria-based event will lead to more appearances in the IRC in 2011.

He said:
“I want to be present on Rally Islas Canarias. I believe that it would be a good opportunity for me to enjoy driving a Super 2000 car again on an event that I know well.”

Garcia Ojeda, who became Spanish Tarmac champion the year after his success in the IRC, continued:
“For us to be in Canarias and get a good result would help us to be present in other IRC events this year.”

No decision has been taken on what car Garcia Ojeda will drive on the island asphalt event, which runs from 14-16 April.

Event Website / Details

Posted: January 2, 1990 3:01 PM

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