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Rally Principe de Asturias (Spain) - 10-12 Sep 09

Posted: September 14, 2009 3:08 PM - 5544 Hits

Round 9 - 2009 Intercontinental Rally Challenge (IRC)

Peugeot takes third IRC Manufacturers title in Spain

Posted: September 14, 2009 3:08 PM

Peugeot has taken its third Intercontinental Rally Challenge Manufacturers title in succession following Round 9 of this year's IRC Series, the Rally Principe de Asturias in Spain.

A points total of 109 means no other manufacturer can now catch the Peugeot team.

And Kris Meeke and Paul Nagle, the Peugeot UK crew, retained their lead in the Drivers' competition, eventually finishing second despite losing time to a puncture on Day One.

Kris and Paul went into the event with a 3-point lead in the drivers' championship in the IRC Series. Their big rival for the title was Skoda's Jan Kopecky, who was the eventual winner.

There were six rounds on the final day, beginning with Stage 10, fought out in the very early dawn. Kris set fastest time, closing the gap on Freddy Loix to just 7.4 seconds, but ominously Jan Kopecky went ahead of his fellow Skoda driver Alberto Hevia to pressure overnight leader Giandomenico Basso, 12.1 seconds ahead.

Kopecky takes victory on Rally Principe de Asturias

Posted: September 14, 2009 3:01 PM

Skoda Motorsport’s Czech star Jan Kopecky took victory with a measured performance on the Rally Principe de Asturias, his second consecutive win on the 2009 Intercontinental Rally Challenge trail. In a fast and furious two days on the roads around host city Oviedo, Kopecky maintained a consistent pace while other leading contenders endured drama upon drama to claim a hugely popular win and close to within one point of championship leader Kris Meeke.

Peugeot UK ace Meeke suffered a puncture on the first day which, in a hugely competitive field, plunged him down to 16th place overall. Despite fighting back into the points positions, it took similar misfortunes to befall several rivals to get him back into contention. Finally, Peugeot Benelux driver and defending IRC champion Nicolas Vouilloz incurred a time penalty after the final stage – allowing Meeke through to claim second place and thereby retain his series lead by a single point.

Vouilloz, one of the star performers of the rally, won six of the 15 stages across the two days of the event, but was another driver whose push for victory was blunted by a puncture. Similarly afflicted was the home town hero Alberto Hevia, returning to top-flight competition after an enforced break through lack of funds, who led the opening stages of the event at the wheel of his privately-entered Skoda Fabia.

There was disappointment for Abarth on the IRC's Spanish outing. Local man Miguel Fuster, drafted in to the squad for this event, crashed out on SS4 while the first day’s action the field was led by the Grande Punto of team leader Giandomenico Basso.

Basso, who won the event in 2008, held a commanding lead until SS12 when he spun off the road and his reverse gear failed. With no spectators in that section of the stage to help him, the Italian dropped out of contention and surrendered any mathematical chance of a shot at the IRC title.

Thus the championship battle rests between Meeke and Kopecky, who head towards the final two events separated by just one point. On the basis of their performances this weekend it would in fact be Kopecky leading the way towards the Rally Sanremo later this month, as Meeke finished the final stage in Asturias in third place on the road.

Nevertheless when second-place driver Vouilloz was hit with a time penalty for leaving the final service after his allotted time, Meeke was elevated to the runner-up position, claiming two extra points with the result that he keeps his place at the top of the points table.

“At the start of Day 2 we were in seventh and, with everyone running at the same pace, it looked like that would be the maximum we could score,” Meeke said. “But today’s been incredible – so many of the guys have had the same sort of problem that we had and in the end we’ve come through.”

Rally winner Kopecky clearly took all the goings-on in his stride, and counted his blessings not to have suffered any of the incidents that befell so many of his rivals. “Winning last time on the Barum Czech Rally Zlin was important because it was my home event, but winning here on my first visit is just as special,” he said.

“I always planned to take it steady on this event, to get to the finish without a problem, because it’s really hard to make the time back if you get a puncture or anything. We didn’t make any mistakes and that’s got a lot to do with the quality of the pacenotes.”

Millet wins round 9 of IRC 2WD Cup
While there were no challengers from Honda, Skoda or Volkswagen in Asturias, the battle for honours in the 2WD Cup proved tense and extremely competitive between the two men at the top of the points table.

Ultimately Frenchman Denis Millet prevailed at the helm of his unique turbocharged Peugeot 207 RC, increasing his lead over Abarth-mounted Italian Manuel Villa. Villa, with two victories to his credit this season, pushed hard to regain ground lost to Millet in recent rounds. In the opening stages the lead passed between the pair like a pendulum but Millet built a 30-second cushion to end the opening day.

At the start of Day 2, Villa pressed hard to eat into that advantage, but then lost time with an incident with two stages left to run, allowing Millet to take his second win of the season.


Posted: September 14, 2009 2:59 PM

01. Jan Kopecky/Petr Stary CZ Skoda Fabia S2000 2:41:51,3 hrs.
02. Kris Meeke/Paul Nagle GB Peugeot 207 S2000 +2:46,9 min.
03. Nicolas Vouilloz/Nicolas Klinger FRA Peugeot 207 S2000 +2:49,5 min.
04. Freddy Loix/Frederic Miclotte BEL Peugeot 207 S2000 +2:58,9 min.
05. Corrado Fontana/Carlo Cassina ITA Peugeot 207 S2000 +3:45,0 min.
06. Alberto Hevia/Alberto Iglesias SPA Skoda Fabi S2000 +4:27,2 min.
07. Michal Solowow/Maciej Baran PL Peugeot 207 S2000 +5:58,0 min.
08. Giandomenico Basso/Mitioa Dotta ITA Fiat Punto S2000 +7:03,8 min.
09. Franz Wittmann/Bernhard Ettel AUT Mitsubishi Lancer EvoIX +9:26,3 min.
10. Joan Vinyes/Jordi Mercader AND Renault Clio R3 +10:04,0 min.

Full Results and News:

IRC ready for Asturias showdown

Posted: September 11, 2009 4:10 PM

The Intercontinental Rally Challenge is counting down to its ninth round of the season, the Rally Principe de Asturias, this weekend (10-12 September). The Spanish asphalt event, based in the city of Oviedo, promises mouthwatering action in the title race between the four drivers jostling for overall honours and another hard-fought encounter in the 2WD Cup.

Britain’s Kris Meeke currently leads the 2009 IRC drivers’ standings after a hat-trick of victories in Brazil, the Azores and Ypres earlier on in the year. Nevertheless the Peugeot UK driver’s margin has been whittled down by two victories for works Skoda Motorsport driver Jan Kopecky in Russia and his home event, the Barum Czech Rally Zlin, and now only three points separate the two aces.

Behind them in the title race lie the hugely experienced and extremely consistent Freddy Loix with his Benelux-entered Peugeot and the works Abarth team leader Giandomenico Basso – who are tied in third place some 15 points off Meeke’s lead. For all the contenders, a classic IRC season is set to continue when the starting flag drops in Oviedo.

“It was fantastic for me, for my co-driver Petr Stary and the whole team to win on home ground in the Czech Republic,” said Kopecky. “If I have the chance to win the IRC drivers’ title it would be unbelievable, although Kris is still going to be strong everywhere. If I get the chance to take the battle to the end then I will, this year has been fantastic for us so far.”

The capital of the Principality of Asturias, and well-known as the hometown of double Formula One world champion Fernando Alonso, Oviedo also plays host to what remains the longest-standing motor sport passion of Spanish fans: flat-out asphalt rallying. This evening the ceremonial start will take place in the city centre where only last week Alonso performed a Formula One demonstration for his fans.

The 46th Rally Principe de Asturias will run in two legs across two-days with 15 special stages totalling a competitive distance of 254km. Starting early on the morning of Friday 11 September, there will be nine stages in the opening leg, with a further 6 stages taking the event to a finish on Saturday afternoon.

As well as the main contenders for the championship there is huge strength and depth throughout the field. Guy Wilks returns with the Proton Satria Neo that starred on its Ypres debut and scored points in its second appearance in Russia, while Ralliart is represented not only by regular IRC star Franz Wittmann but also a team of four new Evo X machines from the RMC Motorsport outfit. Frenchman Julien Maurin returns to the fray in his Skoda Fabia S2000 and a similar car is entered for local hero Alberto Hevia, a previous winner of the event and a serious challenger for victory.

Millet leads Villa in 2WD Cup
    In the 2WD Cup the two main protagonists of the year line up in Oviedo ready to continue a hugely entertaining duel. Frenchman Denis Millet’s turbocharged Peugeot has taken the series lead from the Abarth of Italy’s Manuel Villa, after the latter missed the last round in the Czech Republic. Villa will be anxious to try and take back his points lead in the Rally Principe de Asturias, adding further drama and spectacle to the event.    

Kris Meeke/Paul Nagle head for Spain for the next round of the IRC

Posted: September 11, 2009 3:47 PM

The next round of the IRC will be the Rally Principe de Asturias based around Oviedo in Northern Spain and the capital of the Region of Asturias.

The Rally Principe de Asturias is round eight of the Intercontinental Rally Challenge (IRC) and will see Peugeot UK's Kris Meeke go head-to-head again with Skoda's Jan Kopecky.

With a three point lead in the IRC driver's standings over Kopecky, the name of the game for Peugeot UK's Kris Meeke is to secure as many points as possible. The twisty nature of the Spanish roads should suit the Peugeot UK crew and their Peugeot 207 S2000, but they will face stiff competition from the other S2000 regulars.

The rally starts today at 20:30 (local time) with the ceremonial start. Then the crews will contest over the next two days a further fifteen all-asphalt stages with a total stage distance of 253.72 km, before the rally ends on Saturday 12th September.


Posted: September 6, 2009 3:58 PM

Spanish asphalt ace Miguel Fuster will partner Giandomenico Basso in the works Abarth line-up on Rally Principe de Asturias from September 10-12.

Fuster, who finished fifth overall on the Intercontinental Rally Challenge event last season at the wheel of a Fiat Auto Espana-run Grande Punto Super 2000, is a former Spanish champion. Jose Vincente Medina will co-drive

Franz Wittmann/Bernhard Ettel will have to deal with twelve S2000 cars at their sixth IRC assignment

Posted: September 4, 2009 9:17 AM

The “Barum-Rally” is a thing of the past for Franz Wittmann/Bernhard Ettel except for the positive aspects well remembered. For the sixth assignment is already awaiting the Interwetten Racing duo at the “Rally Principe de Asturias” from September 10 to 12. Just like in the Czech Republic the surface will once more be tarmac which obviously favours the S2000s rather than Wittmann’s Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX. Therefore the number of twelve overwhelmingly more powerful opponents will be more than just a challenge.

“Naturally, I don’t know the courses round Oviedo and with only two turns at the recce we will have to be extremely focused. All I know is that the special stages are very wide and the grip is very high. This favours the S2000s. But we will, of course, give our best – and one has already seen several times in the course of the season that constancy can pay off in the end”, explains Franz Wittmann.

And in opposition to the Way of St James, which leads past Oviedo and where “the journey ist the reward”, the Interwetten Racing Team still wants one or more prestigious successes in their learning year. The Lower Austrian has already been well noted with his sixth place on the Azores and place five at the Rally Russia and currently takes eleventh overall place in the IRC intermediate standings with seven points. He is only one point behind the top 10.

“But we won’t be distracted by this game of numbers. At the beginning of the season we had a strategy which still is valid. Each top result confirms our work – and the accounts will be settled at the end of the season”, says Wittmann. In order to get into the mood for the run on the Iberian Peninsula, Franz Wittmann will fetch his father‘s original Quattro from the garage on the weekend in order to compete at the “Rallye di Vienna” on September 5. The hot seat will be occupied by the managing director of the Bezirksjournal, Fritz Dungl. The route will take them from the start on the Wilheminenberg (09.00) over downtown Vienna to the finishing line at the Riesenrad (18.00).

Wittmann: “This is, of course, less about seconds but rather an advertisment for rally sports by letting the spectators feel the emotions.”

Entry List

Posted: September 4, 2009 9:16 AM

Event Website / Regulations / Timetable /Details

Posted: January 1, 2009 12:01 AM

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