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Rally Islas Canarias - 28 Apr-1 May 10

Posted: May 23, 2010 12:28 PM - 8109 Hits

Round 4 - 2010 Intercontinental Rally Challenge (IRC)

  • Jan Kopecky/Petr Stary win as Skoda take 2nd 1-2-3 result

Photo: IRC

Short Video Clip of BarryMotorsport

Posted: May 23, 2010 12:27 PM

Magalhaes satisfied with Canarias performance

Posted: May 7, 2010 12:48 PM

Bruno Magalhaes says he was satisfied with his run to fifth overall on Rally Islas Canarias last week, a result that extends his point-scoring sequence to four consecutive Intercontinental Rally Challenge events.

Magalhaes was fourth heading into the final stage of the event but fell behind the rapid Kris Meeke at the completion of the test. However, the result was enough to elevate him to fifth in the IRC drivers' standings, two points behind defending champion Meeke.

"Of course I scored points but more important for me is that I proved I can fight with the faster guys," said the 29-year-old, who reported losing time early on the rally with a transmission glitch. "My car is not perfect yet because we completely destroyed the tyres on the long stage but I am satisfied with this result."

Magalhaes will return to IRC action on Rally d'Italia-Sardegna next month in his Peugeot Sport Portugal 207.

Barrios claims Subaru Individual Award

Posted: May 7, 2010 12:47 PM

Jose Barrios has become the latest winner of the Subaru Individual Award.

The Spaniard landed the accolade following a strong performance on Rally Islas Canarias, round four of the Intercontinental Rally Challenge, in his Impreza WRX last weekend.

Barrios, the only Subaru Impreza driver in action on the demanding island event, took on a host of Mitsubishi Lancer-mounted pilots and finished up as the second-best Group N finisher in ninth overall.

The Subaru Individual Award is presented on each of the 12 IRC rounds this year to the highest-placed Subaru finisher and demonstrates the support that Subaru will extend to its customer drivers in the IRC in 2010.

Swiss Olivier Burri (Monte Carlo), Juan San Martin (Curitiba) and Gabriel Pozzo (Argentina) are the other Subaru Individual Award winners so far this season.

In Car

Posted: May 5, 2010 1:44 PM

Barry Motorsport Video Report

Posted: May 5, 2010 1:43 PM

Peugeot UK (Meeke/Nagle) Video Reports

Posted: May 5, 2010 1:39 PM

Barry/Brady Fight On To Finish

Posted: May 5, 2010 1:31 PM

Irish rally driver, Daniel Barry and co-driver Martin Brady, finished their first attempt at the Rally Islas Canarias despite their continuing mechanical problems.

The Mitsubishi Evo9 was plagued throughout the event with overheating problems in the soaring Canaria heat, forcing Barry to resort to stopping mid stage allowing the car to cool, as well as running with out the anti-lag system.

“It looks like it’s the head gasket that’s caused the problem,” said the 25-year-old. “I’m a bit gutted because we’re having to drive through the stages with no anti-lag, which is costing us about a minute each time. We try to keep the car as cool as we can and although it’s a bit soulless we can’t do much about it.” Daniel is known for his dogged determination, an refused to give up, “I just wont give up, its not in me”, he said, “we have come a long way, spent a lot of our own money and that of sponsors, so I owe it to them to do the best I can. It also makes sense to learn as much as I can while I’m here, and we have has such a good reception from the people of Canaria that I will keep going until the car stops”.

Continual driving without the anti-lag system bought on further problems on the final loop of 3 stages when the differential broke on the 25km long penultimate stage. “The noise was awful”, said co-driver Martin Brady, “it would have been so easy to have called it a day after the weekend we had endured, but we were so close to the end we just had to keep on going. We were 14th IRC finisher, so we came away with something!”

The event was won by Jan Kopecky driving a Skoda Super2000 car, with Brits Guy Wilks & Kris Meeke in 3rd and 4th places respectively. Finn, Juho Hanninen leads the IRC after the 4th event.

Daniel and Martin also plan to compete on the following IRC rounds: Geko Ypres Rally (June), Barum Czech Rally Zlin (August), Rallye SanRemo (Septmber), RAC MSA Rally of Scotland (October).

More Details:


Posted: May 5, 2010 1:18 PM

The Peugeot UK pair in their 207 S2000 were leading the rally, the fourth round of the IRC Series, when they punctured on Stage 8, losing one and three-quarter minutes. They battled back on Day Two to finish fourth, after Bruno Magalhaes lost time on the final stage, and eventually finished 1 minute 5.5 seconds behind rally winner Jan Kopecky after winning 9 of the 14 completed stages. Juho Hanninen leads the IRC Championship with 32 points: Meeke, the defending champion, has 15.

"Punctures happen" said co-driver Paul Nagle, "and sure it was something more than disappointing. It means we must get a decent podium finish at least in Sardinia, or Juho is going to move out of sight."

"We're going testing in the Alps where there is some ground not unlike the gravel we can expect in Sardinia" said Meeke. "The opposition is truly tough this year, probably the toughest in any season since the IRC began, and we can't leave anything to chance."

Rally d'Italia Sardegna runs from 4-6 June.


Posted: May 5, 2010 1:13 PM

Guy Wilks and co-driver Phil Pugh scored a sensational third consecutive podium finish in the 2010 Intercontinental Rally Challenge after coming home 3rd on the Rally Islas Canarias 'Trofeo El Corte Ingles' – which finished in Las Palmas on Sunday (1 May).

Guy was driving the same Škoda UK Motorsport Fabia S2000 in which he’d finished 2nd in on Rally Brazil and Rally Argentina. Having been shipped to Gran Canarias directly from South America, only a limited amount of time was available to change the car from gravel to asphalt specification – performed by the team’s skilled mechanics in the service bays of a Škoda retailer in Las Palmas.

On his first full asphalt rally in the Fabia S2000, the 29-year old Darlington driver set top five stage times throughout the high speed, two-day, 15 special stage event to stay 2nd in the drivers’ standings.

It was also another fantastic event for Škoda, which scored its second consecutive one-two-three IRC finish. Having achieved its first international rally podium lock-out on Rally Argentina, the Czech brand did it again in Gran Canarias. This time the three top Fabia S2000 drivers came home in a different order, with Jan Kopecký finishing 9.1 seconds ahead of Škoda Motorsport team-mate Juho Hänninen, and Guy a further 27.3 seconds behind. The result allows Škoda to extend its lead in the IRC manufacturers’ table to 31 points.

Third was just reward for a fantastic Škoda UK Motorsport effort, as the team had to overcome the disadvantage of not being able to test on the Spanish holiday island before the event began. The stages presented a great challenge, as the wide twisty mountain roads were incredibly fast – with several tests completed at an average speed of around 100kph.

Car set-up was vital to give the Fabia S2000 the necessary high-speed grip levels required on the many long corners and to help preserve tyre wear, and whilst he experimented with different suspension settings throughout the event, Guy drove a faultless rally – pushing hard when the car was at its best on Day 2 and driving intelligently when the mechanical grip was not so good in the middle section of Day 1.

Having completed Day 1 in 3rd place, Guy kept the pressure on Kopecký and Hänninen by pushing hard over the final day’s six stages. Guy made sure he was best-placed to benefit from any potential mishaps ahead, and despite a furious pace until the very end, the three Škoda drivers reached the finish in Las Palmas in the same 1-2-3 order they’d started the final day. Such is the competitiveness of the IRC, Kopecký is the fourth driver in four rallies to win a round of the series this year.

The decision to add Rally Islas Canarias to its IRC plans has been a good one, as Škoda UK Motorsport maintains its 100% points-scoring finishing record with its third podium in three events.

Guy Wilks:
“Three IRC podiums in a row for Škoda UK Motorsport and the second consecutive all- Škoda podium is a great achievement, and we are all very happy.

“It hasn’t been an easy event for us. We lost a chunk of time on day one trying things out on the car and we were a lot closer to the pace on day two. With Jan and Juho ahead, and only an all- Škoda podium to lose, there wasn’t a good enough reason to throw caution to the wind and really push on the final day, but we were happy to finish at the pace we did.

“It’s been a hectic start to the season, with this rally added to the schedule and the rally car coming straight here from South America. Preparation time has been limited, so we couldn’t test in Gran Canaria before the event. Sometimes you have to dig really deep, work hard and fight for every second – and this has been one of those rallies.

“We’ve got a little bit of a breather now before our next rally in Sardinia, so we aim to make the most of that time to prepare well for the next round of the IRC. I know in myself that I and the Fabia can gel a little bit better and better results can come. I know we can push for the rally win, absolutely, and that’s what we’re aiming for.”

The next round of the Intercontinental Rally Challenge is the Rally d'Italia Sardegna (4-6 June).

Franz Wittmann/Klaus Wicha - Retirement on SS 11 of Rally Islas Canarias

Posted: May 5, 2010 1:09 PM

“Labour Day” unfortunately only lasted for about 30 kilometres for Franz Wittmann and Klaus Wicha (Peugeot 207 S2000). Two kilometres prior to the end of the eleventh special stage things quickly turned bad. During a left turn the right rear tyre broke off. This spelled a premature end to the second season’s assignment for the Interwetten Racing-duo.

“Perhaps we were a bit too fast since we obviously underestimated this turn to some extent. We hit a rock with our right rear tyre. The suspension couldn’t withstand it and the tyre broke off. It is a real pity since each and every racing kilometre here would have helped us enormously.”

It would even have been possible to score points. After the Lower Austrian had regained the top-10 position on the first stage of the second day he had only been a bit over ten seconds behind ninth-placed Spaniard Ruben Garcia (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X). Additionally, local hero Sergio Vallejo (Ford Fiesta S2000), lying in eighth place, had a lot of problems.

“Any speculation is obviously obsolete now. I only hope that luck will be on our side in the future, as well. Now it’s one month until the Rally Sardinia. We’ll have to use this time and prepare ourselves perfectly. There are already several ideas in my mind on how to improve ourselves. Now I’ll try to realise them”, says the confident Interwetten Racing-driver.


Posted: May 5, 2010 12:58 PM

Second podium lock-out for Skoda as Hanninen maintains title lead Huge crowds flock to the stages for thrilling IRC qualifier

Jan Kopecky has secured his first victory of the Intercontinental Rally Challenge season following a tense finish to Rally Islas Canarias today (Saturday). Kopecky moved in front when Kris Meeke suffered a puncture on Friday's penultimate stage, but then had to stave off pressure from Skoda Motorsport team-mate Juho Hanninen, who closed to within 9.1 seconds of the Czech driver at the finish in Las Palmas.

Kopecky, who becomes the fourth different winner in as many rounds, moves to equal second with Guy Wilks in the championship standings, seven points behind Hanninen. Defending IRC champion Meeke fell from first to sixth after his puncture but battled back to fourth at the wheel of his Peugeot 207. He is now clear in fourth in the drivers' table.

Fastest on four stages, Kopecky conceded at the finish that he wouldn't have caught Meeke had it not been for the Northern Irishman's puncture, such was the Peugeot UK driver's pace on the challenging asphalt roads of Gran Canaria. Kopecky had to make it through the opening loop of stages on Saturday with no working handbrake but otherwise reported no major problems on his way to the third victory of his IRC career.

Hanninen is more at home on gravel but impressed throughout the all-asphalt island rally to keep within touching distance of Kopecky, who is regarded as a Tarmac specialist. Hanninen's fourth podium finish of the season enabled him to extend his title advantage by two points. The Finn said he had been too aggressive on his tyres on Friday so tried to drive more smoothly on day two in order to preserve his car's rubber.

Guy Wilks continued his point-scoring sequence at the wheel of his Skoda UK Motorsport-run Fabia. Apart from a loss of brakes and a split airbox on Friday, the Briton's only cause for complaint concerned the handling of his car, which he spent the duration of the rally trying to adapt to his liking. He said he had virtually achieved that objective at the finish.

Bruno Magalhaes was on course for fourth place in his Peugeot Sport Portugal 207 only to slip behind Meeke on the final stage when he offered to ease off to help Meeke. The three-time Portuguese champion was challenging for a podium place when he was slowed by a front-left driveshaft failure on Friday morning. The 29-year-old also lost time when his car suffered excessive tyre wear on Saturday's two 25.26-kilometre runs.

Meeke's tally of nine stage wins did little to cheer the Northern Irishman, who was seemingly heading for his second victory of the season with a 17.9-second lead when disaster struck on Friday. Meeke's puncture was caused by a suspension bolt piercing a hole in his Peugeot's front-left wheel over a compression, the legacy of running what his team described as an "aggressive set-up" to keep the rival Skoda Fabias at bay. Meeke reported discovering a crack in the front-right wheel as well following the ill-fated eighth stage.

After picking up a puncture in virtually identical circumstances to Meeke, Thierry Neuville was in seventh overall and heading for his first IRC points in his Team Peugeot Belgium-Luxembourg 207 when he slid into a rock and broke his car's front-left suspension with one stage left to run.

His misfortune elevated Ralliart Mitsubishi Lancer driver Ruben Gracia into seventh place behind countryman Alberto Hevia, who complained of excessive understeer after hardening up his Fabia's shock absorbers. Gracia was the leading runner in a conventional Group N machine.

Sergio Vallejo started leg two in seventh overall but had to drive for much of Saturday's leg with no working powersteering in his M-Sport Ford Fiesta S2000. As a result he slipped to eighth but was sufficiently in front of Jose Barrios, the top Subaru Impreza finisher in ninth.

Franz Wittmann was in 10th overall when he carried too much speed into a left-hand bend approximately two kilometres from the end of stage 11, struck a rock and tore the right-rear wheel off his Interwetten Racing Peugeot 207. The Austrian had been unhappy with his performance, despite not reporting any issues with his car or its set-up.

Daniel Oliveira also failed to go the distance, dropping out of 11th place when his 207 suffered an engine failure on Saturday morning. The Brazilian had been playing catch up after going off on Friday's first stage before spinning and getting momentarily stuck on the second run.

Yeray Lemes won the IRC 2WD Cup by almost two minutes in his Ford Fiesta R2 in an impressive 10th overall. Enrique Cruz finished second in a similar car.

Irish privateer Daniel Barry was the last of 14 finishers eligible for IRC points. Barry's Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX had been plagued by an overheating problem throughout the event, which caused him to run without anti-lag for much of the rally. He also reported stopping on several stages on Friday to let his faltering car cool down.

Photos & Video Clips

Posted: May 5, 2010 12:57 PM


Posted: May 5, 2010 12:55 PM

1 Jan Kopecky/Petr Stary (Skoda Fabia S2000) +2h12m27.4s
2 Juho Hanninen/Mikko Markkula (Skoda Fabia S2000) +9.1s
3 Guy Wilks/Phil Pugh (Skoda Fabia S2000) +36.4s
4 Kris Meeke/Paul Nagle (Peugeot 207 S2000) +1m05.5s
5 Bruno Magalhaes/Carlos Magalhaes (Peugeot 207 S2000) +1m17.8s
6 Alberto Hevia/Alberto Iglesias (Skoda Fabia S2000) +2m25.1s
7 Ruben Gracia/Diego Sanjuan (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X) +10m06.5s
8 Sergio Vallejo/Diego Vallejo (Ford Fiesta S2000) +12m49.7s
9 Jose Barrios/Eloy Rivero (Subaru Impreza N15) +13m12.8s
10 Yeray Lemes/Rogelio Penate (Ford Fiesta R2) +14m12.4s

Twitter Feeds

Posted: April 29, 2010 4:18 PM


Posted: April 29, 2010 4:07 PM

The sunshine island of Gran Canaria has joined the 2010 IRC calendar after the loss of the Asturias rally on mainland Spain in September.

With only a short break for the teams after the two rallies based in South America, it was full steam ahead to get the cars prepared for the first all-tarmac rally of this year's IRC. With the recent travel issues due to the Icelandic volcano, many teams have had major challenges just to get team personnel, equipment and cars out to Gran Canaria.

Peugeot UK, however, decided to go out early to test on the fast, smooth mountain roads which will make up the fifteen stages of the 34th Rally Islas Canarias. 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.

Both Kris and Co-driver Paul Nagle spent Monday testing their Peugeot 207 S2000 on a special test stage in the hills near the island's capital Las Palmas. The test provided the team and Kris with the opportunity to fine tune the set up of their Peugeot 207 and get accustomed to the type of roads, ready for the start of the rally on Friday.

After Monday's test Kris and Paul then got on with the job of creating the all-important pace notes which they will use during the rally. To do this they are allowed to drive each of the special stages a maximum of three times, no faster than 80 km/h and write down detailed notes about each corner and any hazards etc. Paul will then use these notes during the rally to guide Kris through each stage as quickly as possible. Unlike a racing driver on a race track, a rally crew is not allowed to practice on the actual rally stages so the only prior knowledge comes from experience of an event or their pace notes.

The 34th Rally Islas Canarias begins with the Ceremonial Start in Las Palmas tonight before the crews tackle the first stages on Saturday. On the first day, a total of 382.81 km will be covered by the crews, of which 137.25 km will be on timed special stages. The first stage starts at 9 am on Saturday morning with the rally halting for the night around 8:30 pm. A total of nine stages will make up Day 1 with the first three stages run twice. The longest stage is 29.95 km - the longest of the rally - and will be run only once.

Day 2, Sunday provides the crews with a total of six stages, totalling 84.34 km, but the crews will have to cover a further 203.24 km just to get to the stages. The Sunday stages are run twice, three in the morning and three in the afternoon, before the rally finishes on Sunday afternoon. By the end of the rally, Kris's Peugeot 207 S2000 will have covered a total distance of 670.39 km and tackled 221.59 km of special stages.

After the disappointment of Argentina, Kris and Paul are ready and focused on getting back into their winning ways. As this rally did not feature in last year's IRC, it will be the most open of the season so far. None of the IRC's leading drivers have driven this event before.

Kris, who is currently lying in fourth place in the drivers' standing after just three rounds, said:
"It's going to be a very open rally because, apart from the local drivers, nobody has done this event before so nobody will have an edge. That will make it really interesting and a hard one to call in terms of the result."

"It's also going to be much the same as we experienced last year on some of the island events on the IRC: there are guys that always compete in their local Championships, and when you're going to compete on a very small island, there's not that many roads. It's quite clear that those guys will know their roads very well, but we're happy to go and to focus mainly on our IRC rivals. Obviously the local guys may come into contention, but it's up to us to try to steer that to our advantage."

Kris continues regarding the stages:
"I think the road offers very, very good grip even when it's raining, and though the forecast seems to be bone-dry, I know the island can create its own sort of climate and it can get quite misty with the odd spot of rain here and there in the mountains, so even if it does get quite humid, I know there's a lot of grip there in the asphalt. There's not a lot of cutting off the edge of the road like other events - I think all 4 wheels have to be on the asphalt all the time, and it's very close to what we would call a circuit-type event, though every corner will be different."

A total of ten S2000 cars and drivers will join Kris in his Peugeot 207 S2000 and the 49 other cars signed up for this year's event. A total of thirteen manufacturers will be represented across all the classes, with six Peugeot 207 S2000s battling for a Peugeot victory.

Video Clips - Peugeot Sport Test

Posted: April 28, 2010 12:32 PM

Franz Wittmann/Klaus Wicha want to play a part in the fight for points on Gran Canary right from the beginning

Posted: April 27, 2010 12:57 PM

Franz Wittmann and Klaus Wicha (Peugeot 207 S2000) are currently in the best of moods. Following the victory at the Vogelsberg-Rallye, a run to the German Rally Championship, last weekend, the Interwetten Racing-duo wants to turn the positive experience and the testing results into a countable result at the “34th Rally Islas Canarias” and perhaps even cause a surprise.

“It is surely going to be very thrilling. There are seven, eight teams competing at this IRC-run that could win anytime. Therefore it is very important to quickly find the rhythm. For I am convinced that the gaps will be minimal here. A small mistake and you’re thrown far back. We are not only highly motivated but will also be extremely focused on our performance.”

Regarding the second season’s assignment by Franz Wittmann in the IRC, the main focus at the Vogelsberg-Rallye had been on the tyres. The tarmac courses on the Spanish holiday island are characterised by a very rough, grippy tarmac.

“Therefore we only used two sets of tyres at the DRM-run in order to simulate the strong abrasion. That worked out very well. I think I can now primarily work on my line and I’m extremely looking forward to this experience”, explains the Interwetten-Racing driver.

The only Austrian currently active in international rallying on the highest level is getting a better and better grip on the Peugeot 207 S2000. Even though Wittmann is still convinced that he only taps 50 to 60 percent of the Peugeot’s achievement potential.

“This is obviously due to the fact that we are probably the very S2000 team in the IRC that has the least testing kilometres to its account. And only permanent testing or rallies allow you to take yourself and the car to the very limit. But we are on the right way.”

The ceremonial start of the “34th Rally Islas Canarias” will take place on April 29 at 20.30 on the Plaza de Canarias in Las Palmas. The rally will start on April 30 at 08.00 at Santa Catalina Park (service¬ park). Scheduled are 15 special stages with a length of 221,59 kilometres. The overall length of the 100 % tarmac rally measures 670,39 kilometres. The finishing line will be crossed once more at the Santa Catalina Park of Las Palmas on May 1 at 16.10. The time difference to CET measures -1 hour.


Posted: April 27, 2010 12:38 PM

Guy Wilks might have been grounded by volcanic ash for much of his journey back to the UK from a recent rally test in Italy, but the Škoda UK Motorsport driver is aiming to fly high again when he tackles Round 4 of the Intercontinental Rally Challenge, the Rally Islas Canarias 'Trofeo El Corte Ingles' (28 April-1 May).

Guy was testing his Fabia S2000 in the mountains above Sanremo when British air space shut down last week. Quick thinking, a car journey from Italy to France, an internal Air France flight to Orly, three trains and a lot of running between ticket desks got Guy home.

Contingency plans have been put in place to get Guy and co-driver Phil Pugh to Gran Canarias by land and sea, but it looks like they’ll be able to fly directly from the UK as originally planned.

The Spanish island of Gran Canarias is located in the Atlantic Ocean about 93 miles (150kms) off the north-western coast of Africa and about 838 miles (1350kms) from Europe. Average daytime temperatures at this time of year are around 21°C (70°F), so Guy is expecting this to be his first dry asphalt rally in the Fabia S2000. He has also never contested the event before, so a good recce and a perfect car set-up will be essential if Guy is to score a hat-trick of consecutive IRC podium finishes, as the event promises to be extremely fast and furious.

Guy arrives in Gran Canarias lying 2nd in the IRC drivers’ table. His aim is clear – try to score as many points as possible and maintain his title challenge, whilst doing all he can to help Škoda strengthen its lead in the manufacturers’ standings.

With so many things new to Guy, his task won’t be easy – especially as the event, which is also a round of the FIA European Cup and Spanish Rally Championship, and has attracted a host of top Super 2000 cars and some local asphalt specialist drivers. In addition to the Škoda UK Motorsport entry, there will be three more Fabia S2000s, driven by Škoda Motorsport pilots Juho Hänninen and Jan Kopecký and Spanish asphalt expert Alberto Hevia. Kris Meeke, Bruno Magalhães, Franz Wittmann, Thierry Neuville and Daniel Oliveira, together with local drivers David Perez and Jonathan Perez,will all drive Peugeot 207 S2000s, while two M-Sport Ford Fiesta S2000s will be driven by Alvaro Muniz and Sergio Vallejo.

Guy Wilks:
“With three strong points-scoring rallies under our belt and a good test in Italy, I’m a lot more comfortable with the Fabia S2000. We’ve worked hard as a team to find a good set-up for what we expect to be the first dry asphalt rally I’ve ever done in a Škoda, and the car is more suited to my wants and needs now.

“They’ll be a lot of strong competition in Gran Canaria, but I’m confident that we can go there and challenge for fastest stage times and try to finish on the podium again.”

Rally Islas Canarias begins at 20.30 GMT on Thursday 29 April with a ceremonial start at the Parque Santa Catalina in Las Palmas. A physically demanding +12 hour day follows on Friday 30 April, when crews tackle nine all-asphalt stages totalling 85.28 miles (137.25kms). Three stages are tackled between service halts at the Santa Catalina Park, while the penultimate stage of Day 1, Ingenio (SS8), is, at 18.61 miles (29.95kms), the longest stage of the rally.

Day 2 contains a further six stages totalling 52.4 miles (84.34kms). All sections of the stages on Saturday 1 May would have been run the previous day, albeit in the opposition direction – including the longest stage of the day, the 15.7 mile (25.26km) Telde stage, which is attempted twice (SS11 and 14) and uses all-but 3 miles (1.8kms) of the Ingenio test.

After all 15 asphalt stages totalling 137.76 miles (221.59kms) have been completed, the rally is scheduled to finish on Saturday in Las Palmes at 15.47.

TV Times

Posted: April 27, 2010 11:21 AM

Friday 30 April
22:00-22:25: Day one highlights delayed (Eurosport)

Saturday 1 May
07:30-08:00: Day one highlights repeated (Eurosport)
22:00-22:30: Day two highlights delayed (Eurosport)
23:30-00:00: Day one highlights repeated (Eurosport Asia-Pacific)

Sunday 2 May
00:00-01:30: Day two highlights repeated (Eurosport Asia-Pacific) 23:00-23:30: Magazine (Eurosport)

Monday 3 May
03:30-04:00: Magazine repeated (Eurosport Asia-Pacific)

Tuesday 4 May
05:30-06:00: Magazine repeated (Eurosport Asia-Pacific)

All Times Irish (GMT)


Posted: April 27, 2010 11:18 AM

Following the Intercontinental Rally Challenge's action-packed double-header in South America last month, the series returns to European soil from 29 April-1 May with its first visit to the Canary Islands for the fourth round of what is already shaping up to be an exhilarating title battle.

With three different drivers tasting outright success so far this season, the chances of a fourth name being added to the winners' list looks highly likely, especially given the competitive nature of the entries, with Czech Republic's Tarmac ace Jan Kopecky, Britain's Guy Wilks, Portugal's Bruno Magalhaes and Spaniard Alberto Hevia among those firmly in contention to record their first victories of 2010.

Although the asphalt event is a mainstay of the Spanish championship, having run for 33 years, it has never featured on the IRC before now. Despite being a late addition to the schedule after Spain's intended IRC counter, Rally Principe de Asturias, ran into financial difficulties, the event is widely regarded for its strong organisation.

It's also a tough proposition for the crews with the stages a mixture of undulating roads and narrow and fast sections. Based on the island of Gran Canaria, the archipelago's third largest island, the most notable feature of the stages, however, is the abrasive surface, which is partly constructed from a volcanic laver. It means grip levels are high and in the event of rain will remain constant, although tyre wear can be at a premium.

With the stages frequently climbing and descending, drivers have to pay close attention to the speed they carry and the line they take for each corner to ensure optimum momentum is maintained at all times. That also puts the onus on a precise car set-up and pacenote preparation.

Unlike the majority of Tarmac rallies in mainland Europe, the nature of the roads on Gran Canaria means corner cutting is far less prevalent. Because less gravel is being dragged onto the stages, road position is less of a factor than on other asphalt events, when running further down the order can prove to be a disadvantage. The likelihood of punctures is also lessened.

Friday morning's stages are located west of the permanent service park in Las Palmas, Gran Canaria's capital with the late afternoon tests taking place in the south. Saturday's action uses some of Friday's stages, albeit run in reverse.

Located approximately 100 kilometres off the Moroccan coast, the Canary Islands enjoy warm, sunny weather. Although cloudy patches are being forecast in the build-up to the rally, rain is not expected.  

  Juho Hanninen might top the IRC drivers' standings after three events but the Finn is the first to admit that preserving his title advantage will be a tall order beyond Rally Islas Canarias. Hanninen, from Finland, is a famed gravel specialist and concedes that he won't have the pace to challenge for victory on the island contest. The 28-year-old's preparations weren't helped by the fact he was forced to miss a planned pre-event test in Czech Republic due to the recent Europe-wide flight disruption, although the Rally Argentina winner will get to sample his Skoda Fabia Super 2000 during a short test on Monday (April 26).

Unlike Hanninen, Guy Wilks did enjoy an extensive pre-rally test in northern Italy earlier this month. However, his return journey to his native United Kingdom was severely disrupted by the flight restrictions and meant he had to take two trains to reach his home in County Durham after his intended return flight was cancelled. Wilks is currently second in the drivers' standings and confident he can overhaul Hanninen at the top of the table.

Jan Kopecky is due to head to Gran Canaria on the back of contesting Rally 1000 Miglia, which forms the opening rounds of the European and Italian championships this weekend. The Czech has won twice on asphalt at IRC level and was victorious when the series last included a round on Spanish soil in September 2009. To help Kopecky emulate that success, the factory Skoda Motorsport team has sent two Tarmac-spec Fabias to Gran Canaria for his and team-mate Hanninen's use instead of converting the cars campaigned in South America for asphalt running.

Alberto Hevia was Kopecky's main rival for honours in Spain last season and the 35-year-old Spaniard will again provide formidable opposition during his seasonal IRC appearance at the wheel of a Fabia S2000.

Defending IRC champion Kris Meeke posted his second retirement of the season in Argentina so will be hoping for better fortune in Gran Canaria. Meeke has sought advice from his friend Dani Sordo, a frontrunner in the World Rally Championship and a former Canarias regular, about the characteristics of Gran Canaria's challenging roads. Meeke will be back behind the wheel of the Peugeot UK-backed 207 S2000 he used on January's Rallye Automobile Monte-Carlo, while new team-mate Thierry Neuville, who begins his six-event IRC campaign in a second Kronos Racing-run 207, will use the car Meeke piloted in Brazil and Argentina.

Bruno Magalhaes hopes his return to European soil will kick-start his IRC bid after he admitted to struggling for pace and confidence on the opening three rounds in his Peugeot Portugal-supported 207. Although the three-time Portuguese champion has never competed on Gran Canaria before, his co-driver Carlos Magalhaes partnered Miguel Campos to victory on the island in 2003.

Stohl Racing's Daniel Oliveira can also count on the services of a former winning co-driver in the shape of Carlos del Barrio, who won on the island alongside Jesus Puras in 1997 and 2002. Oliveira, who drives a Peugeot 207, is embarking on his second asphalt rally.

Franz Wittmann skipped the South America double-header last month but returns to IRC duty two weeks after winning the German championship-counting Hessen Rallye Vogelsberg in his Interwetten Racing Peugeot 207 S2000. The Austrian impressed on the season-opening Rallye Automobile Monte-Carlo before an off put him out on the final night of the event.

Irishman Daniel Barry returns to IRC action in his Ralliart Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX following a promising showing on his series debut in Monte Carlo earlier this season. Jonathan Perez has the latest Evolution X model at his disposal, while Jose Barrios is the top Subaru runner in his Impreza.

Four Ford Fiesta drivers will fight it out for IRC 2WD Cup glory on Rally Islas Canarias, with Yeray Lemes expected to lead the charge in his R2-specification example. The local driver has experience at world championship level and has been tipped as one of Spain's most promising drivers for the future.  

  Juho Hanninen (Finland), Skoda Fabia S2000: "It's going to be very tough because there will be lots of good Tarmac drivers fighting for the victory, and Tarmac is never easy for me. Because of this there's no point trying to beat them and risk a mistake, so I will be going there with the aim of being relaxed and trying to get some points."

Guy Wilks (United Kingdom), Skoda Fabia S2000: "I don't know what to expect before the recce but, as a driver, I'm comfortable in that situation because it's been that way many times before. We had a good test but now we've got to fine-tune the car to the abrasive road surface."

Thierry Neuville (Belgium), Peugeot 207 S2000: "The most important thing is to get the experience because this is only the second time I have done the IRC in a Peugeot 207. I don't feel any pressure at the moment but I want that to change because I want to be in a fight this season."

Seeded Entry List Available

Posted: April 22, 2010 9:18 PM

4 Kris Meeke/Paul Nagle
15 Daniel Barry/Martin Brady

Full Entry list on:

List of Unseeded List of Entries available

Posted: April 21, 2010 8:13 AM

List of Unseeded/ Registered Entries available under:
Documents for Drivers > Registered on the Event Website:

Canarias entry important for IRC title hopes, says Skoda UK

Posted: April 1, 2010 3:35 PM

Skoda UK Motorsport team manager Pierfrancesco Zanchi has said entering Rally Islas Canarias later this month is important if Guy Wilks is going to maintain his bid for the Intercontinental Rally Challenge title.

Wilks is second in the IRC drivers' standings after scoring a brace of podium finishes on last month's double-header in South America. Earlier this week, his team confirmed it would be entering a Fabia S2000 for Wilks and regular co-driver Phil Pugh.

Zanchi said:
"We have made a good start to the IRC and after three strong points-scoring finishes we are second in the drivers' standings. When Rally Islas Canarias was announced as the fourth round of the series, we felt it important for us to contest it as it will enable us to try and maintain our strong championship position and stay in the game."

Strong interest in Rally Islas Canarias

Posted: March 25, 2010 2:12 PM

Rally Islas Canarias, which last week was confirmed as a new addition to the Intercontinental Rally Challenge calendar, is set to attract a strong entry when it runs for a 34th time from 29 April-1 May.

In addition to a host of local drivers and those who will travel from the Spanish mainland, Peugeot UK has confirmed it will send a 207 Super 2000 for its defending IRC champions Kris Meeke and Paul Nagle, while Irishmen Daniel Barry and Martin Brady are planning to take part in the same Mitsubishi Lancer they used on Rallye Automobile Monte-Carlo in January.

Skoda Motorsport has also confirmed that it will contest the fourth round of the IRC series with regular pilots Jan Kopecky and Juho Hanninen, who heads the IRC drivers' table by five points.

Kopecky said:
"I prefer to drive on asphalt so I am looking forward to doing this rally. I think it can be very good for me."

Several IRC 2WD Cup crews have also expressed an interest in competing on the famous asphalt rally, which is based on the island of Gran Canaria.

Daniel Barry to Enter Rally Islas Canarias

Posted: March 25, 2010 2:11 PM

Daniel Barry/Martin Brady's next IRC round will be the Rally Islas Canarias

Rally Islas Canarias replaces Rally Principe de Asturias on IRC

Posted: March 19, 2010 4:00 PM

Eurosport Events, the promoter of the Intercontinental Rally Challenge, has today announced that Rally Islas Canarias 'Trofeo El Corte Ingles' will replace Rally Principe de Asturias on the 2010 IRC schedule.

The event will become the fourth round of the 12-event IRC series and take place from 28 April-1 May.

A one-year agreement has been reached between Eurosport Events and the Canarias Sport Club with an option for a two-year extension.

Confirmation of Rally Islas Canarias' inclusion in the IRC is the result of a successful collaboration between Eurosport Events and Real Federacion Espanola de Automovilismo. This was instigated after the organisers of Rally Principe de Asturias decided they could not honour the terms of their agreement with Eurosport Events and declared they would no longer host the IRC round, which had been due to run from 9-11 September.

Marcello Lotti, the General Manager of the IRC, said:
"We are grateful to President Carlos Gracia Fuertes, of Real Federacion Espanola de Automovilismo, who supported the IRC in finding a quick and solid alternative solution after Rally Principe de Asturias encountered financial issues. Rally Islas Canarias enjoys a good reputation and benefits from a strong organisational background. We are hopeful this partnership will not be a one-off experience."

Rally Islas Canarias is an all-tarmac event and is one of the most famous rounds of the Spanish asphalt championship. The rally organisers are making special arrangements for IRC international regular teams to transport their cars and equipment to the event.

Event Website

Posted: March 19, 2010 3:59 PM

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