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Tour de Corse (France) - 17-18 May 13

Posted: May 17, 2013 9:19 AM - 3352 Hits

Round 5 - 2013 European Rally Championship (ERC)

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First stage each day (Corsica is one hour ahead of Ireland / UK)
Times are Ireland/UK
SS1 - Fri - 06:45
SS7 - Sat - 09:48

Back to the ERC for Breen/Nagle

Posted: May 15, 2013 8:58 PM

The European Rally Championship moves back to the sealed surface of tarmac for round five next weekend as the championship travels to the Mediterranean Island of Corsica for the 56th running of the Tour de Corse. For Peugeot Rally Academy number one driver Craig Breen had a brief interlude two weeks ago as he tackled the Rally of the Lakes on home soil but now it’s back to championship duties for the twenty three year old. It will be Craig’s first event of the season that he has first-hand knowledge as twelve months ago Breen partnered by the late Gareth Roberts piloted their Sainteloc Peugeot 207 S2000 to 6th overall on the event that is more affectionately known as the ‘Rally of One Thousand Corners’.

This year over the opening four events in the ERC Breen has shown the hallmarks of his driving talent. After being announced as the new Peugeot Rally Academy works driver in late January, Breen has taken to his new position in his stride and currently sits in second place in the championship with 88 points.

Before jetting off to the Med, Craig said,
“After our brief but very enjoyable outing at the Rally of the Lakes it’s back to the ERC and championship duties. For the first time this year this is a rally I’ve competed on before. Last year we finished 6th on what was over second rally working with Sainteloc Racing. I’m sure the knowledge and of course the notes from twelve months ago will play a part as we prepare prior to the event. The rally is on my favoured surface of tarmac but it’s very specialised. The special stages are narrow with corner after corner, so it’s important to make a good recce and then trust your pacenotes.”

Craig will face a stiff challenge on the Mediterranean Island with all his usual championship rivals and some more added to the mix. Jan Kopecký from Czech Republic, is the top seed driving a ŠKODA Motorsport Fabia Super 2000, Kopecký will be followed through Friday’s opening six stages Breen. François Delecour the seasoned campaigner completes the top three and will drive a similar Peugeot 207 Super 2000 to that of the Irish driver.

Brazil World Rally Team’s Daniel Oliveira is the fourth seed in his Ford Fiesta Regional Rally Car with Bryan Bouffier fifth in a Delta Rally entered 207 S2000. Jérémi Ancian (Peugeot Rally Academy) and team mate of Breen goes sixth with Formula One race winner Robert Kubica seventh in a Citroën DS3 RRC.

Le Mans 24 Hours regular Stéphane Sarrazin goes eighth in a First Motorsport MINI John Cooper Works with Corsican hero Jean-Mathieu Leandri ninth and Lorenzo Bertelli – who is making his ERC debut – 10th in a Fiesta S2000.

The Ceremonial start of the 56th Tour de Corse And will take place on Thursday evening 20:30hrs at the Calvi Citadelle, then the action begins on Friday morning as the crews tackle six stages. The opening leg is based around the town of Corte before the overnight halt in Ajaccio to the south. Saturday’s action starts and finishes in Ajaccio with five stages. With an overall distance of 929.55 kilometres, Tour de Corse is a tough test for both car and crew.

EVENT PREVIEW

Posted: May 13, 2013 12:03 PM

There will be serious competition ahead on round five of the FIA European Rally Championship as two Formula One racers line up for an event steeped in tradition and challenging in the extreme.

Shown live on Eurosport and France 3 Corsica, Giru di Corsica-Tour de Corse is one of the most legendary rallies in existence with a demanding route around the picturesque Mediterranean island from 16-18 May.

Of the impressive 58-car entry – the event’s largest for five years – Robert Kubica and Stéphane Sarrazin are among the standout drivers in their turbocharged Regional Rally Cars.

Kubica, who has started 76 grands prix, is demonstrating his formidable talent and determination in this year’s ERC as he recovers to full fitness following a rally crash in 2011. Despite his limited knowledge of the sport, the Polish ace has led both ERC rallies he’s started to date in his Citroën DS3 RRC and has a tally of 15 stage wins to his name.

Sarrazin, who raced just once in Formula One in 1999 but has a strong record of success in the Le Mans 24 Hours, is making his ERC debut on Tour de Corse in a MINI John Cooper Works that he will drive for the first time during a test on Monday. While Sarrazin has previous experience of the asphalt rally – three times in competition and once as a zero car driver in 2012 – Kubica is a Corsica novice so will be building his experience from the first of 11 stages next Friday morning.

Twists and turns all the way
Affectionately known as the ‘Rally of 10,000 Corners’ due to the proliferation of twists and turns on challenging mountain roads, the event starts in the tranquil setting of Calvi, on Corsica’s northwest coast, on the evening of Thursday 16 May. From there, crews tackle six stages on Friday’s opening leg around the town of Corte before the overnight halt in Ajaccio to the south. Saturday’s action starts and finishes in Ajaccio with five stages prior to the finish in the town that evening. With an overall distance of 929.55 kilometres, Tour de Corse is a tough test for both car and crew.

But it’s not just the constant cornering that makes Tour de Corse such a challenge: the bulk of the route runs over narrow mountain passes lined with unforgiving rock faces on one side of the road and steep drops on the other. The stages climb and fall and while most roads in Corsica have been resurfaced over the years, there are some sections on bumpy and broken asphalt.

Serious competition ahead
With 23 cars eligible for the headlining Super 2000 category, the competition on the 56th running of Tour de Corse will be intense. In addition to Robert Kubica and Stéphane Sarrazin, a host of star drivers will be in the battle for victory on the fearsome island roads. Jan Kopecký is the ERC’s man of the moment with three wins out of three starts this year for ŠKODA Motorsport. Renowned as an asphalt specialist, Kopecký produced one of the drives of his career in Corsica in 2012 as he closed on eventual winner Dani Sordo, who piloted the same MINI that Sarrazin will use this year.

Other firm favourites for Corsica glory include one-time Rallye Monte-Carlo victor Bryan Bouffier, rallying legend François Delecour and Peugeot Rally Academy’s rising star Craig Breen. Daniel Oliveira will fly the colours of the Brazil World Rally Team on his Fiesta, while highly-rated Frenchman Jérémi Ancian is the reigning Peugeot 207 one-make champion in his homeland.

Jean-Mathieu Leandri is the highest-seeded Corsican driver while fellow islander Jean-Dominique Mattei will be back in action 12 months after fire destroyed his car on this event. Meanwhile, Antonín Tlus?ák will front the GPD Mit Metal Racing Team’s challenge for the prestigious European Rally Championship for Teams.

As well as the battle for overall glory, the ERC Production Car Cup and ERC 2WD Championship will be closely fought, while the ERC Ladies’ Trophy will also be hotly contested. Among those chasing ERC Production Cup honours are Subaru Impreza drivers Andreas Aigner and Marco Tempestini, Mitsubishi Lancer runner Jaroslav Orskák and Team Renault Sport Technologies duo Germain Bonnefis and Robert Consani.

Kornel Lukacs, Vasily Gryazin, Slawomir Ogryzek, plus leading ladies Ekaterina Stratieva and Molly Taylor will be in contention for ERC 2WD laurels but will face strong opposition from top local drivers Pierre-Antoine Guglielmi and Petru-Antoine Boschetti.

Q&A: STEPHANE SARRAZIN
Top circuit racer on his rallying return in the ERC

How did the agreement to drive the MINI come together?
“It was quite late. I was racing in Spa when I got a call from Willy Collignon from First Motorsport, who I know from when we won the French championship together in 2004. I had to get permission from Toyota, which I will drive for in the Le Mans 24 Hours. It has been a very quick experience but a very positive one because I like these very tricky roads with not a lot of straight lines, only corners. I have a very good car and a very good team so I hope I can do something good.”

What experience do you have of the MINI?
“I have none but I will drive the car on Monday for the first time. It is only one day but it is good enough to learn the car.”

Last year you drove the Peugeot 208 R2 as the zero car on Tour de Corse. Will that help you next week?
“It will help a lot because I did the full rally distance and the recce last year. Even though I was in the zero car, I pushed like I was doing the rally. It was a very good help for me, it was perfect, although I obviously didn’t know then that I would be doing the rally again in a car that can win.”

What’s your aim for the rally?
“I’m going for the win. The last rally I did was the French championship Rallye du Mont-Blanc last year in a Peugeot 207. I won the rally and I have been in Corsica with Subaru three times and finished eighth, sixth and fourth. The car I have won the rally last year so I have no excuse although it will be difficult against drivers like Robert Kubica and Jan Kopecký. He has very good experience here and is fast everywhere. It will be a very good fight.”

How difficult is it to switch from racing to rallying?
“They are so different. An LMP1 car or an LMP2 car are very close but this is day and night. I have experience of both and I am doing a lot of tests with Michelin in rallying so I am quite regular although maybe it can be a bit difficult with the pacenotes at the beginning. But I plan to push myself and be on the pace.”

As a driver what is the biggest challenge you face on the rally?
“It’s to avoid touching any concrete on the side of the road. It’s so narrow, with narrow bridges and it’s easy to touch a wheel, make a small mistake and have a very big effect. There are also some old roads that are very bumpy, it’s a very particular and difficult rally.”

FIVE FACTS

    * It will take approximately 70 expert personnel to enable Eurosport Events to broadcast four stages live from Giru di Corsica-Tour de Corse
    * Eighteen different nationalities will be represented on this year’s rally with Molly Taylor travelling from Australia and Daniel Oliveira jetting in from Brazil to take part
    * Corsica is big on mountains with 20 summits more than 2000 metres high. Monte Cinto is the highest at 2706 metres
    * François Delecour triumphed on the rally in 1993 and will be among the favourites for victory this year. Twenty years earlier, ERC General Co-ordinator Jean-Pierre Nicolas took the win
    * Wild boar and cheeses made from goat or sheep milk are popular among Corsicans, while Cap Corse is a favourite aperitif

Seeded Entry List

Posted: May 8, 2013 10:47 PM

STUNNING TOUR DE CORSE ENTRY UNDERLINES CONTINUED ERC RISE

Posted: May 8, 2013 11:40 AM

The FIA European Rally Championship continues to go from strength to strength with a star-studded entry list for round five, Tour de Corse.

Fifty-eight registrations have been accepted for the island classic from 16-18 May, with rally crews from 18 different countries and 32 undertaking ERC campaigns. The entry is the event’s highest since 2008 and demonstrates the continued rise in popularity of the ERC, revamped by new promoter Eurosport Events.

Twenty-three Super 2000 cars will be in action on the 56th running of the legendary rally – which will be shown live on television channels Eurosport and France 3 Corsica – with as many as 10 drivers ranked as contenders for the coveted victory.

They include Formula One race winner Robert Kubica, ERC title leader Jan Kopecký, one-time Rallye Monte-Carlo victor Bryan Bouffier, rallying legend François Delecour, rising star Craig Breen and Le Mans 24 Hours racer Stéphane Sarrazin.

François Ribeiro, Motorsport Development Director of Eurosport Events, said:
“The entry is not just big in terms of the number of cars, it’s also big in terms of the quality of the drivers in action. We expect a very open battle for victory with up to 10 drivers capable of winning. It’s also going to be a tremendous spectacle for the fans watching on television with four stages produced for live broadcast by Eurosport Events.”

As well as the battle for overall glory, the ERC Production Car Cup and ERC 2WD Championship will be closely fought, while the ERC Ladies’ Trophy will be hotly contested. Among those chasing ERC Production Cup honours are Subaru Impreza drivers Andreas Aigner and Marco Tempestini, Mitsubishi Lancer runner Jaroslav Orskák and Team Renault Sport Technologies duo Germain Bonnefis and Robert Consani. Meanwhile Kornel Lukacs, Vasily Gryazin, Slawomir Ogryzek, plus leading ladies Ekaterina Stratieva and Molly Taylor will be in contention for ERC 2WD laurels.

Giru di Corsica-Tour de Corse is affectionately known as the ‘Rally of 10,000 Corners’ due to the frequency of twists and turns on the demanding asphalt stages. It begins in the coastal town of Calvi on 16 May and finishes in Ajaccio two days later via service halts in Corte.

Website / Details

Posted: May 3, 2013 12:35 PM

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