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Rallye International du Valais (Switzerland) - 7-9 Nov 13

Posted: January 29, 2014 4:05 PM - 2971 Hits

Round 13 - 2013 European Rally Championship (ERC)

It’s a season wrap for Irish Rally driver Craig Breen - 3rd for Breen on ERC Season Finale

Posted: January 29, 2014 4:05 PM

Peugeot Rally Academy’s Craig Breen has clinched his fifth ERC podium of the year on the season ending Rallye du Valais when he and his Belgium co driver Lara Vanneste claimed 3rd place today in Switzerland.

This result looked very unlikely after an unfortunate mistake by Vanneste leading to a two minute time penalty (Day-One) and a broken powersteerng during Day-Two of the event. BUT Breen and Vanneste showed their supreme class over today’s final eight stages to leap from 8th in the morning to take the podium place by the rally finish.

At the finish Breen said, “I’m delighted to be finish on the podium after our problems. I really wanted to win this event but yet again it wasn’t to be. I’m most happy with our pace over today’s stages and the highlight came on stage 14 (Les Cols 37 km’s, longest stage of the event).”

On stage 14 Craig set the fastest time beating Esapekka Lappi (second fastest) by 29.4 seconds.

Breen then went on to say, “This year has been one of learning and for sure I’ve learned a lot. It seems a long time ago now that I started out in Latvia in February. There was a great start to the championship campaign but it has been difficult over the season half of the season. I was hoping to get that elusive win here in Switzerland this weekend but it was no to be, however I’m happy to claim my fifth podium finish of the year and that’s a good way to finish the year. The year does not finish here as I’ve some more testing with the Peugeot 208 T16 as we continue to work on getting it ready for the 2014 season.”

JETSETTER LAPPI FLIES TO GLORY ON SWISS ERC FINALE

Posted: January 29, 2014 4:02 PM

The all-action 2013 FIA European Rally Championship reached its climax in Switzerland this afternoon with rising star Esapekka Lappi underlining his huge potential by winning an action-packed Rallye International du Valais alongside co-driver Janne Ferm.

Lappi began Saturday’s final leg – the longest of the rally at 146.30 kilometres – with an advantage of 43.7s over Andreas Aigner. Although Aigner trimmed Lappi’s lead to 35.7s when the ŠKODA Motorsport ace overshot a junction this morning, the Finn’s tenure of top spot was never truly threatened and he cemented his second ERC victory by going fastest of all on the final stage in his Michelin-shod Fabia Super 2000.

“It's been quite a good two weeks,” said Lappi, who won the China Rally Longyou six days ago. “I never believed I would win here and this is absolutely fantastic. For sure it's special on Tarmac, my first proper win. It's very good to end the season like this. We're improving on Tarmac and this is good for next season. The plan for next year is to do some races with ŠKODA. I have a contract with them and the ERC would be a good option.”

Florian Gonon secured ERC Production Car Cup honours after fellow Subaru Impreza R4 STI driver Aigner crashed out one kilometre from the start of stage 14. Sylvain Michel clinched the ERC 2WD spoils in a Citroën DS3 R3T by overhauling Laurent Reuche on the final stage when the two-time Valais winner’s Renault Clio R3 developed an engine fault. Ekaterina Stratieva won the ERC Ladies’ Trophy, while there were strong performances from GPD Mit Metal Racing Team and Team Renault Sport Technologies.

While Lappi shone out front, Aigner was also hugely impressive in his production-based Subaru. The Austrian was second overall when he hit trouble. While he and driver Barbara Watzl were uninjured, their Yokohama-shod car suffered extensive damage and they retired. Watzl’s non-finish means Aigner’s former navigator Jürgen Heigl wins the ERC Production Car Cup for Co-drivers*.

“We said we would try today because Andi is already the Production champion,” explained Aigner’s team boss Manfred Stohl. “We never give up but finally luck was not on our side. It’s very disappointing because it was a great performance by them.”

With Aigner out, Olivier Burri moved into second place with Vasily Gryazin climbing to third. Unfortunately for Russian teenager Gryazin, a crash close to the start of stage 15 left his Ford Fiesta S2000 sporting damage to the rear. Although Burri began the final two stages more than one minute clear of Craig Breen, an engine misfire robbed his Fiesta RRC of vital power. But the eight-time Valais winner held on to the runner-up spot albeit by a significantly reduced margin of eight seconds following a tense finale. “It was getting worse and worse on the last two stages,” said Burri. “I don’t know if we would have finished if we had another stage.”

For Breen, his capture of the final podium spot marked a reversal of fortune after a time penalty and broken powersteering added more than three minutes to his total time and dropped him out of contention for victory. His failure to score the 27 points needed to overhaul Bryan Bouffier in the battle to finish runner-up to champion Jan Kopecký in the final standings* means he settles for third in the overall classification.

“Third place is not what I came here for or hoped for before the rally,” said Breen. “It’s not an improvement from the beginning of the season but taking everything into account it’s not so bad.”

Peugeot Rally Academy team-mate Jérémi Ancian was saddled by four minutes of penalty but fought back from this setback and a puncture on stage 14, which he stopped to change, to snatch fourth spot from Jaroslav Orsák on the last stage. Ancian scored a total of seven stage wins in his 207 Super 2000, including both runs through the new Verbier stage today. His battling performance earned him the prestigious Colin McRae ERC Flat Out Trophy.

Orsák, meanwhile, marked his first ERC appearance in a Fabia S2000 and his comeback from injury with fifth place and a stage win for GPD Mit Metal Racing Team. Nicolas Althaus finished sixth with Gonon seventh and Pascal Perroud eighth after a minor off-road excursion. Behind ERC 2WD winner Sylvain Michel in ninth, Romain Salinas came home a highly creditable 10th overall on his ERC debut for Team Renault Sport Technologies. Stéphane Lefebvre was leading the R2 category when he retired with engine failure on his Peugeot 208.

The 2014 ERC season begins in Austria with the 31 Int. Jännerrallye, Oberösterreich from 3-5 January followed by Rally Liep?ja in Latvia from 31 January-2 February.

Results

Posted: January 29, 2014 3:56 PM

1 Esapekka Lappi (FIN)/Janne Ferm (FIN) ŠKODA Fabia S2000 3h13m42.8s
2 Olivier Burri (CHE)/André Saucy (CHE) Ford Fiesta RRC +3m28.2s
3 Craig Breen (IRL)/Lara Vanneste (BEL) Peugeot 207 S2000 +3m36.2s
4 Jérémi Ancian (FRA)/Olivier Vitrani (FRA) Peugeot 207 S2000 +6m21.1s
5 Jaroslav Orsák (CZE)/Lukáš Kostka (CZE) ŠKODA Fabia S2000 +6m26.7s
6 Nicolas Althaus (CHE)/Alain Ioset (CHE) Peugeot 207 S2000 +6m42.9s
7 Florian Gonon (CHE)/Michel Horgnies (CHE) Subaru Impreza R4 STI +7m57.7s
8 Pascal Perroud (CHE)/Quentin Marchand (CHE) Peugeot 207 S2000 +13m59.9s
9 Sylvain Michel (CHE)/Sandra Arlettaz (CHE) Citroën DS3 R3T +13m17.7s
10 Romain Salinas (FRA)/Benjamin Micheli (FRA) Renault Mégane R.S. N4 +14m12.4s

ERC Production Car Cup:
Florian Gonon (CHE)/Michel Horgnies (CHE) Subaru Impreza R4 STI

ERC 2WD Championship:
Sylvain Michel (CHE)/Sandra Arlettaz (CHE) Citroën DS3 R3T

Colin McRae ERC Flat Out Trophy:
Jérémi Ancian (FRA)

RALLY LEADERS
SS1: Jérémi Ancian and Craig Breen
SS2: Craig Breen
SS3: Andreas Aigner
SS4-SS18: Esapekka Lappi

Breen’s Final Foray of 2013 ERC Season

Posted: November 4, 2013 11:19 AM

Peugeot Rally Academy’s Craig Breen brings his 2013 European Rally Championship (ERC) campaign to a close next weekend (Nov 7/9) in Switzerland on Rallye International du Valais. Breen’s first year as a Peugeot works driver has been one of learning new events and developing the new Peugeot 208 T16.

The Irish driver had a very successful opening part to 2013 recording podium finishes in Latvia, the Canaries, and the Azores which elevated him to second place in the championship standings. But below pare results in Poland and last time out in Sanremo has seen him drop to third position behind Bryan Bouffier with the final round to contest. There is still an opportunity for Craig to reclaim runner-up spot but it will require a top finish in Switzerland.

For the final event of the season Craig is partnered again by Lara Vanneste and the Irish/Belgium crew are seeded number one for the rally. The eighteen stage tarmac event is based in the south west of Switzerland, with the special stage action being based around the town of Sion for leg-one Thursday and leg-two Friday. For leg-three and the final eight stages the focus moves to the town of Martigny.

Craig:
“2013 has been a year of development for me both in terms of fitting into a new team with the Peugeot Rally Academy and taking on the role as a works driver for the first time. It has been a year of learning, education and gaining knowledge. I’ve split my driving time between competing within the ERC and testing the 208 T16. Rally du Valais will be my sixth new event this season. I was very pleased with how the opening half of the season progressed and to be in runner-up position was very rewarding for the amount of effort the whole team putt in. I can’t say that however about the second half of the campaign. Again the effort was been there but sometimes the results haven’t gone our way. I’ve been frustrated with both results from Poland and Sanremo and I want to end the season on a high in Switzerland. As always I’ve put in a really big effort in my preparation for this event and I really hope this will materialise into a good result by the end of the rally.”

ALL EYES ON BREEN AHEAD OF VALAIS 2013 ERC FINALE

Posted: November 1, 2013 10:12 AM

The focus will be on Craig Breen when the 2013 FIA European Rally Championship concludes in Switzerland next week as he attempts to land the coveted runner-up spot in the final standings.

Peugeot Rally Academy ace Breen starts Rallye International du Valais on 7 November 26 points behind Bryan Bouffier in the race to finish second to ERC champion Jan Kopecký*.

With Bouffier not able to compete in Switzerland after he was unable to secure the necessary funding, Breen can demote his French rival to third place if he wins the mainly asphalt-based event, which runs between Sion and Martigny.

Rallye International du Valais features 18 stages over a competitive distance of 287.84 kilometres. More than 70 crews are expected to take part on the event, which also counts as the final round of the Swiss championship. *Subject to confirmation of the results by the FIA

Rally Guide / Regulations / Details

Posted: September 12, 2013 4:32 PM

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