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Spain (P S A) - 8-11 Nov 12

Posted: November 11, 2012 8:20 PM - 6088 Hits

Round 13 - 2012 World Rally Championship
P - Production World Rally Championship
S - S2000 Championship
A - WRC Academy

Craig Breen wins Super 2000 World Rally Championship

Posted: November 11, 2012 8:20 PM

rish Rally driver, Craig Breen has clinched the SWRC (Super 2000 World Rally Championship) in heroic style today on the final day of World Rally Spain. In doing so Breen secures consecutive world rally titles after winning the inaugural FIA WRC Academy Championship twelve months ago. The twenty-two year old suffered the severest blow of his career in June when his best friend and former co-driver, Gareth Roberts, was killed in an accident on IRC Rally, Targa Florio.

The Waterford driver made a comeback on World Rally Finland in August and on the closing three SWRC rounds (Wales Rally Gb, World Rally France and World Rally Spain) of the season stamped his authority on the championship claiming a hat trick of wins. This weekend he also completes World Rally Spain in 6th overall, equalling Sebastien Ogier’s record of the highest overall finish of an S2000 car in the 2012 World Rally Championship.

After taking a commanding advantage on day one which saw the Ford driver hold an overnight lead of 3 minutes 41 seconds, Breen adopted a marking tactic over the Saturday and Sunday stages. Controlling from the front, the Irish driver kept his arch rival, Swede, P-G Andersson at arm’s length covering every attack while preserving his car all the way through to a flourishing finish. At the conclusion of the eighteenth and final stage, a euphoric Breen was overcome with joy for winning the title but also reflected on the huge loss during the summer,
“Incredible, I can’t believe it, you know I’ve had questions about if I’m making the correct decision. But for reasons I can’t explain that wanted me to get back in a rally car immediately, and I think this confirms it all. You know, we were meant to be here, we were meant to win this title and I’m so happy to have pulled it off.”

The final round in the 2012 World Rally Championship was played out around the holiday resort of Salou, on Spain’s Costa Brava. The season ending event held an extra twist being the only dual surface rally of gravel (day one) and asphalt (Day two & three) as the Super 2000 World Rally Championship went all the way to the wire.

The finale to the SWRC category had a three way battle forecast between championship leader, Craig Breen (93 points) from Ireland, P-G Andersson (91 points) from Sweden and Yazeed Al Rajhi (73 points) from Saudi Arabia.

Al Rajhi’s position in third, having a 20 point deficit to overcome really saw the showdown of Ford driver Breen and Proton ace Andersson, the two most successful drivers in the competition to date. Breen, moved up to compete in the SWRC this season after winning the inaugural FIA WRC Academy Championship twelve months ago. Thirty-two year old Andersson is a seasoned campaigner and is a two time former winner of the Junior World Rally Championship and the lead driver for Proton Motorsport.

The opening day of World Rally Spain was based on gravel with six stages but the predominant feature being rain had made the surface conditions treacherous. Initially in the morning Andersson set the pace opening a gap of 16 seconds over Craig by the end of stage two. The highlight of the first day in Salou was the 44 km’s of the Terra Alta special stage. The first major incident of the weekend happened early on the first run when Andersson’s Proton broke a driveshaft. By the end of the stage the Swede’s lead had vanished as Breen turned a sixteen second deficit into a 1 minute 9 second lead.

In the afternoon as the action resumed with stage 4, Andersson cut Craig’s lead to 55 seconds but again the rerun of Terra Alta would define the rally. Early in the test the Proton driver hit a bank damaging his steering. Breen at the wheel of his Ford Fiesta S2000 on the other hand had a perfect drive and by the end of day held an advantage of 3m41.5s.

On Friday evening Breen said,
“Today was just incredibly difficult, the hardest conditions I’ve ever driven in, so I’m very relieved to be here,” said Irishman, who is partnered by fellow Irishman Paul Nagle. “The conditions were changing at every corner and it’s impossible to try and push in those kind of conditions.”

World Rally Spain is the only dual surface event within the World Rally Championship and for day two the event reverted to tarmac. With a commanding lead, Craig adopted a covering approach to each of the day’s six stages, keeping one eye on the road ahead and the other on Andersson’s stage times. A trouble free run helped the former WRC Academy Champion to a controlled drive and by Saturday evening his lead was 3 minutes 19 seconds.

At the end of day Breen said,
“I’ve been coasting around and if I could go any slower I would,” said the 22-year-old. “Everything has gone according to plan today and although it’s been hairy out there on the stages we’ve been taking things very carefully. There’s quite a bit of pressure not to make a mistake and every little noise makes me panic that there might be something wrong. Now I just need to keep my fingers crossed we can get to the finish with no problems.”

Sunday the final day, to complete the event in prefect cemetery the eighteen stage rally rounded off with another six stages. Breen resumed his ULTRA cautious drive over the morning loop by dropping 37 seconds as he continued his precautionary surge to the finish line. Reaching midday service his lead stood at 2 min 42 sec but with only 46 km’s the end was in sight.

Over those closing three stages Andersson continued to narrow the gap as Breen slowed to all but a crawl. But the Irish driver’s happiness and relief bubbled to the surface as he reached the end of the final stage, when he knew he had clinched the championship,
“I really couldn’t have done this without everybody’s support and good wishes so I’d like to take this moment to thank each and everyone of you. It’s the perfect attribute to Gareth too and I am so happy to have won this title for him.”


Posted: November 11, 2012 8:19 PM


Posted: November 8, 2012 4:09 PM

A new challenge awaits the WRC Academy for this week’s season finale as crews prepare for the only mixed surface event of the six-round series that uses Pirelli as the championship’s sole tyre supplier.

Based on the Costa Daurada in Spain’s Tarragona region, this year’s Rally de Espana will challenge the crews with a unique blend of both gravel and asphalt speed tests. The biggest challenge will be on Friday with the 44.02km Terra Alta special stage: a test that includes no less than three surface changes. The cars will then be re-prepared to full gravel specification for the final day of competition. Twelve special stages will form the closing round to this year’s championship and Pirelli will be on hand to supply the crews with its highly competitive RX5 and RE7 asphalt tyres as well as the K4 tyres on gravel – which the crews have used all year. The Rally de Espana presents a unique opportunity for Pirelli to showcase the full range of tyres that have been seen in action throughout the season.

The RX family of tyres is among the most versatile in Pirelli’s competition range thanks to a lightly grooved tread pattern, a square profile and a particularly rigid structure. These characteristics help steering precision and provide a rapid response, while maintaining the strength and durability to cope with prolonged high speeds and longer stages. The RX5 will be used in dry conditions with the RE7 available in the event of cold and damp conditions.

Pirelli has developed a version of the K4 gravel tyre specifically to suit the Ford Fiesta R2 that is used exclusively on the championship, in 175/70-15 K4 size. Based on the vastly successful Scorpion cover that was used on the World Rally Championship from 2008-2010, the K4 WRC Academy tyre is lighter than the Scorpion with a focus on performance as well as outright durability.

Following an outstanding season in the WRC Academy including a hat-trick of victories, former Pirelli UK Star Driver Elfyn Evans was declared the championship winner at last month’s Rally de France. The 23-year-old Welshman’s 50-point lead has meant it is mathematically impossible for any of the other crews to overhaul Evans with just one round remaining.

Underlining the success of the prestigious Pirelli Star Driver programme, former Pirelli-backed driver Brendan Reeves lies second. The 23-year-old Australian has proved himself as one of the championship’s most consistent drivers having finished in the top five on every round this season.

Following a season-best second place at the recent Rallye de France, Spaniard Jose Suarez is only two points adrift of second-placed Reeves. Eager to clinch the covetered runner-up spot, Suarez will be targeting a podium result ahead of Reeves.

Tied in fourth place is Scottish driver John MacCrone and Swede Pontus Tidemand, withboth crews 15 points behind local driver Suarez.

Pirelli’s Motorsport Director Paul Hembery commented:
“The WRC Academy championship winner may have already been decided but the fight for the runner-up spot is shaping up to be an exciting battle. Both the unexpected weather and the mixed road surfaces in Spain could provide a sting in the tail for the competitors at next weekend’s season finale. Rally de Espana usually takes place earlier in the season where dry weather is more common but as this year’s event is taking place in November, we could expect to see some rain and cooler temperatures. The mix of surfaces will also place an extra demand of the drivers as well as the tyres, because crews will have little time to adapt to the road surfaces and set-ups required. Making the right choices will be essential in order to make the most of the proven performance and durability of both the asphalt and gravel tyres we will bring to Spain. Finally, I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate Elfyn Evans on winning this year’s championship with one round remaining. He is an exceptionally competent and consistent driver who has a bright future ahead of him. As a former Pirelli Star Driver in the UK, he is the perfect example of a young rally talent who has been able to break onto the world scene with the backing of Pirelli, like so many before him.”

Novikov And Prokop Join Forces With DMACK In Spain

Posted: October 29, 2012 8:09 AM

DMACK will run its asphalt tyres on a world rally car in the FIA World Rally Championship for the first time next month at Rally de Espana. Evgeny Novikov and Martin Prokop will both drive DMACK liveried Ford Fiesta RS WRC cars on the final round of the series which features both gravel and asphalt special stages.

The rally will be the eighth WRC event in the 2012 season where competitors in world rally cars have used DMACK tyres. The move is in line with DMACK’s season-long plan to further develop its products using the ultra-challenging conditions of the world’s top rally series.

The manufacturer’s best result came in Argentina when Prokop finished fourth overall using DMACK’s DMG+ gravel tyre. However, in Spain’s opening day, Novikov and Prokop will both use the evolution DMG+2 which has a more closed tread pattern and took Prokop to eighth overall on last weekend’s Rally d’Italia.

They will switch to the DMT-RC for days two and three of the event which features asphalt stages. Both Fiestas will be run by Autotek Motorsport.

DMACK will continue its 2013 development with a two-day test in Spain immediately after Rally de Espana and a second winter tyre test in Finland during November.

Dick Cormack, DMACK motorsport director, said:
“It’s important for DMACK to evaluate its performance using the best possible cars, and the events which deliver the greatest challenge. We’ve equipped world rally cars on over half of the rallies this season and it’s given us vital feedback for next year’s range. We are constantly improving, have made significant steps in performance and see competing at the top level of motorsport key to our development.”

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