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Tour de Corse (France) - (NEW DATE) 12-14 May 11

Posted: January 26, 2013 5:42 PM - 7282 Hits

Round 3 - 2011 Intercontinental Rally Challenge (IRC)


Posted: January 26, 2013 5:42 PM

Pirelli has claimed a one-two finish in the fiercely contested two-wheel drive class of the Tour de Corse: the legendary rally that forms the third round of the Intercontinental Rally Challenge this year. Local driver Pierre-Antoine Guglielmi won the category, ahead of Italian driver Stefano Albertini.

Driving a Renault Clio R3, Guglielmi took the lead of the category on the opening day. He ended up an excellent 12th overall ahead of several more powerful cars, after three days and 14 stages totalling 320 competitive kilometres.

Albertini, the winner of the Italian Renault Clio Trophy last year, finished 16th overall in his new Renault Megane RS, which is enjoying its debut season in 2011 together with Pirelli: the official supplier to Renault’s factory rally programmes and one-make series.

Guglielmi made no mistakes throughout the all-asphalt event, which took in stages around Calvi and Corte as well as the famous stages close to Ajaccio that have been used in recent years. The talented Corsican, who has won several national rallies but never up to now claimed his class on the Tour de Corse, commented:
“It’s been a fantastic rally and I’ve really enjoyed it. The tyres really helped me to be competitive: I found that they were up to temperature very quickly and this meant that I could push hard from the very beginning of each stage.”

Albertini also complimented the Pirelli PZero rubber, which has been developed with the same technology that has powered Pirelli to 181 World Rally Championship victories and 25 titles.

“It was a very tricky rally as we had a few problems but it was also a great experience for me,” said Albertini. “The tyres performed very consistently throughout the whole of the event, and even though I am still learning the car they gave me a lot of confidence on very varied surfaces, which form some of the most challenging stages in the world.”

Both Renault drivers used Pirelli’s RX tyres: a tried and trusted product that is fitted in 17-inch size to the Clio and 18-inch to the Megane, designed to provide maximum traction and grip on dry asphalt.

Pirelli’s Motorsport Director Paul Hembery commented: “Congratulations to Pierre-Antoine Guglielmi and Stefano Albertini, who performed brilliantly using our tyres on stages that have formed part of rally legend. Their domination of the two-wheel drive class underlines the performance not only of our tyres but also of Renault, whom we are very pleased to have as a partner. While we are now in Formula One, our passion for rallying remains undiminished, which is why we are particularly pleased to seal this two-wheel drive victory.”


Posted: January 26, 2013 5:34 PM

Thierry Neuville has claimed his maiden victory in the Intercontinental Rally Challenge after winning Tour de Corse-E.Leclerc, which finished in Ajaccio this evening (Saturday).

Co-driven by Nicolas Gilsoul in a Team Peugeot Belgium-Luxembourg 207 Super 2000, Neuville belied his 22 years to triumph on one of the world’s most legendary and demanding events, billed locally as the Return of the Myth.

In the process he becomes the youngest winner in the five-year history of the IRC, beating the record set by Anton Alen, who was 24 when he won Rally Russia in 2007.

Neuville started day three, the longest of the asphalt rally at 138.44 kilometres, with an overnight advantage of 23.4s. Although he dropped precious seconds on the opening stage after reporting a slight lack of handling precision due to his decision to carry two spare tyres, he hit back with the fastest time on the next three sun-baked stages, which was enough to put him out of reach of the chasing pack.

Jan Kopecky narrowed Neuville’s lead to 14.5s after winning Saturday’s first stage, by making the most of the smoother and wider roads on day three, as well as benefitting from changes to his car’s rear differential settings and overall balance. Although he posted a series of top two stage times thereafter he wasn’t able to dislodge Neuville from first place and took the runner-up spot for the second rally in a row in his Skoda Motorsport Fabia S2000.

Freddy Loix finished third in his BFO Skoda Rally Team Fabia to move five points clear in the race for the IRC drivers’ title. However, the Belgian conceded that he didn’t have the “right feeling” with his car to challenge for a seventh IRC career victory.

In fact Loix had trailed Andreas Mikkelsen in fourth place, only for the young Norwegian to pick up a front-right puncture on stage 12 and drop more than three minutes after delays replacing the damaged tyre, which promoted Loix to third as a result.

Mikkelsen, whose Skoda UK Motorsport mechanics had completed an extensive overhaul of his Fabia at midday service including fitting a replacement gearbox, driveshafts, propshaft and steering following a torque link bolt failure on stage 10, was on course for his first podium of 2011 had he not hit trouble.

“I’ve never been so disappointed on a rally as I am now,” said the 21-year-old, who eventually took sixth place by winning the event-closing special stage. “We were taking the same lines as before and driving at the same speed. Suddenly I could feel there was no air in the front-right tyre [even though] we hadn’t hit anything.”

Peugeot France’s Bryan Bouffier, who briefly led on Friday morning only to drop back with a puncture, began the final day in sixth overall but fought his way to fourth with a succession of impressive stage times. However, his challenge came unstuck when he crashed out on the final stage.

Pierre Campana set the second fastest time on Saturday’s opening test in his Munaretto Peugeot. But after losing ground on the next stage with an intercom glitch, the Corsican elected to focus on preserving a strong finish on his home rally, rather than risk going off the road on his first appearance in the IRC in a Super 2000 car. However, a front-right puncture five kilometres into the final stage looked to have scuppered those hopes. But with Bouffier crashing, Campana was able to clinch a hugely impressive fourth.

Frenchman Julien Maurin overcame brake and tyre wear problems to secure his first IRC points aboard his M-Sport Ford Fiesta S2000 in a strong seventh overall. Brake problems also slowed Bruno Magalhaes on day two but the Peugeot Sport Portugal ace was able to improve his confidence behind the wheel as the event progressed to clinch a solid fifth.

Finn Toni Gardemeister, in a TGS Worldwide Skoda Fabia, scored points for the third event running in eighth, having spent much of the event experimenting with different set-up options. The Finn had to limp through the final stage with a broken gearbox. Patrik Sandell took ninth on his IRC debut with Skoda Sweden with Corsican Jean-Mathieu Leandri fighting back from a front-right puncture on stage nine to clinch the final point.

Sandell, a favourite for a podium finish before the start, was never able to find an optimum set-up although his efforts weren’t helped by a broken rear differential on Saturday morning. He also admitted to struggling to adapt to the tight and twisty Corsican stages. He started the final day in 11th but snatched two championship points.

Toshi Arai brought Subaru’s R4-specification Impreza to the finish in 13th overall on its first competitive outing. Florian Gonon landed IRC Production Cup honours in his N4 Impreza with Corsican Pierre-Antoine Guglielmi winning the IRC 2WD Cup in a Clio R3.

Guy Wilks slid off the road from third overall on Saturday’s second stage, where the Peugeot UK driver remained stranded. Saudi Arabian Yazeed Al Rajhi, in a Kronos Racing 207, finished an encouraging 14th on only his third asphalt rally.


Thierry Neuville (Belgium), Peugeot 207 S2000, first overall:
“This is an incredible result after such a long rally. I never imagined I could win in the IRC so soon and never dreamed that I would win here in Corsica. But Nicolas and I have done a great job together and the car has always been good. I’m very happy.”

Jan Kopecky (Czech Republic), Skoda Fabia S2000, second overall:
“Of course I am happy to be on the podium because that’s good for the championship. It’s been a difficult rally and I was not always happy with the set-up. But I am pleased to be at the finish.”

Freddy Loix (Belgium), Skoda Fabia S2000, third overall:
“The others were too quick for me so I played the championship card this weekend. I don’t know why but I did not have the right feeling on this rally. It was nothing wrong with the car but I couldn’t battle for the win.”


Posted: January 26, 2013 5:27 PM

1 Thierry Neuville (BEL)/Nicolas Gilsoul (BEL) Peugeot 207 S2000 3h20m51.0s
2 Jan Kopecky (CZE)/Petr Stary (CZE) Skoda Fabia S2000 +15.5s
3 Freddy Loix (BEL)/Frederic Miclotte (BEL) Skoda Fabia S2000 +1m02.6s
4 Pierre Campana (FRA)/Sabrina de Castelli (FRA) Peugeot 207 S2000 +3m59.1s
5 Bruno Magalhaes (POR)/Paulo Grave (POR) Peugeot 207 S2000 +4m28.2s
6 Andreas Mikkelsen (NOR)/Ola Floene (NOR) Skoda Fabia S2000 +4m30.1s
7 Julien Maurin (FRA)/Olivier Ural (FRA) M-Sport Ford Fiesta S2000 +4m33.3s
8 Toni Gardemeister (FIN)/Tapio Suominen (FIN) Skoda Fabia S2000 +6m33.3s
9 Patrik Sandell (SW)/Staffan Parmander (SWE) Skoda Fabia S2000 +8m28.8s
10 Jean-Mathieu Leandri (FRA)/Pierre Marien Leonardi (FRA) Peugeot 207 S2000 +9m41.5s

IRC Production Cup: Florian Gonon (SUI)/Sandra Arlettaz (SUI) Subaru Impreza WRX
IRC 2WD Cup: Pierre-Antoine Guglielmi (FRA)/Jean-Francois Porcu (FRA) Renault Clio R3


Posted: May 13, 2011 8:44 AM

Just under a month after their last rally in Grand Canaria, Peugeot UK’s Guy Wilks and Phil Pugh will resume their IRC campaign today on the Mediterranean island of Corsica.

The rally known by fans as the Rally of 10,000 Corners due to the abundance of twists and turns on the island’s challenging mountain roads joins the IRC for the first time in 2011.

The rally will start in the town of Calvi on Corsica’s northwest coast at 13:00hrs local time today and will include fourteen tarmac special stages over a competitive distance of 320 kilometres.

Today, Guy and Phil will contest two runs over the 27.53-km Le Fangu-Notre Dame de la Serra stage, which winds around the Calvi Coast and is the longest of the event. After an overnight halt in Calvi, they will then head to stages around Corte on Friday with three repeated stage runs split by service halts at the town’s aerodrome. The final day’s action on Saturday consists of three repeated stages and runs around Ajaccio in the south west of the island where the first car is due to finish at approximately 21:35hrs local time.

The first Tour de Corse rally took place in 1956 and it quickly established itself as one of the world’s most iconic rallies. It has over the years, however, developed a fearsome reputation with drivers and co-drivers as the stages are narrow and lined with unforgiving rock faces on one side and steep drops on the other.

Guy and Phil will be starting the rally with the aim to score good championship points and put their Peugeot 207 S2000 onto the top step of the podium, repeating the historic successes of Bruno Saby in a Peugeot 205 T16 in 1986 and the legendary Gilles Panizzi who won the rally in a Peugeot 206 WRC in 2000 and 2002.

“I’ve already visited Corsica, so I have a little knowledge of what the roads are like,” said Guy Wilks. “This will only be my third outing in the Peugeot 207 S2000. However, thanks to the Rally Gran Canaria and also to my test programme, I have learned a great deal about how to drive the car on asphalt. I’ve made progress, which is why I am feeling quietly confident.”

A total of 56 crews will set off at the start of the rally today. Peugeot will have a strong presence at the front of the rally as Ari Vatanen will be driving the “zero” car a Peugeot 207 RC Rallye with his son Max sitting alongside him.

The 1981 World Championship-winning Finn has made an indelible mark on Peugeot’s motor sport history. Peugeot and Ari Vatanen have enjoyed close bonds for many years, and their record together includes four Paris-Dakar wins, a Pikes Peak win, and a long list of World Rally Championship successes, including his memorable fight-back to claim the 1985 Rallye Monte-Carlo.

Miss France (Laury Thilleman) will also be flying the flag for Peugeot as she gets a taste of the event in the “00” car, a Peugeot RCZ.


Posted: May 11, 2011 9:52 PM

In Mladá Boleslav, Six Škoda Fabia Super 2000s in total are going to appear on the start line of the Corsica Rally (12-14 May, 2011), the third event of this year's IRC series. Besides Kopecký (Škoda Motorsport), Loix (Škoda Belgium) and Mikkelsen (Škoda UK) in factory cars, IRC will see Patrick Sandell's premiere with a private Fabia (Škoda Sweden) and Toni Gardemeister with another private car, both of the latter two being supported by Škoda importers in their respective countries. Jean-François Succi will also privately-entered a Fabia Super 2000. Škoda currently leads the IRC Manufacturers rankings.

Broken down to fourteen stages (321 kilometres) and extending over three days, this asphalt rally will surely test the resistance and preparedness of both the drivers and their teams who will have to move all their equipment to a different service park each day. Moreover, this logistics challenge will combine with the event's competition programme scheduled from early mornings till late evenings. The Corsica Rally is getting back to its roots - its route goes throughout the island.

Commenting on the upcoming event, Jan Kopecký of Škoda Motorsport (factory team) says:
“This rally will certainly not be an easy one, mainly because IRC events are usually simpler in terms of logistics. Furthermore, the programme extends from early mornings till late evenings, and the whole team will have to keep moving all the time. All that will have an impact on our performance, because we won't do much sleeping. I appeared in Corsica in the past, but this year's rally is completely different as far as the composition of the respective stages is concerned, and includes combinations of fast flat asphalt and old broken surface. Furthermore, the event takes place in mountains where the drivers can't see through bends, and so the quality of our preparation will be an important factor. However, we are determined to do our best – we put in a great performance in the Canary Islands, and we want to carry on going and move up the championship rankings”.

After the first two IRC events, Škoda tops the Manufacturers rankings, while Juho Hänninen dominates the Drivers rankings. Freddy Loix is third overall, Jan Kopecký is fifth.

iRally Tour De Corse Video Preview

Posted: May 11, 2011 7:51 PM

Tour de Corse zero car for legend Vatanen

Posted: May 9, 2011 7:29 PM

The 61-year-old from Finland, who won the world rally title in 1981 and claimed four victories on the gruelling Dakar Rally, will drive a Peugeot 207 RC Rallye.

His son, Max, will navigate over the 14 stages that make up the third round of the Intercontinental Rally Challenge.

Their job is to complete a final check of the stages and any potential hazards a few moments ahead of the first competing cars.

Peugeot France and the company’s network of French dealers were responsible for securing the services of the Vatanens.


Posted: May 8, 2011 2:28 PM

Corsican rally star Pierre Campana is preparing himself for a career-defining participation in the legendary Tour de Corse next month. Campana is jointly leading the Intercontinental Rally Challenge (IRC) 2WD Cup after a stunning performance at the Monte-Carlo rally back in January, but Tour de Corse will offer Pierre the opportunity to showcase his rally talents on home soil once again with a view to taking his career to the next level.

Four Questions to Pierre Campana

Pierre, what are your feelings about taking part in this year’s Tour de Corse?
“I am extremely excited and proud to be participating in this year’s Tour de Corse. Coming from Corsica, it is an amazing experience to drive in front of a home crowd and I remember it well from taking part in the event back in 2008. I have matured a lot as a driver since then so I will be much better prepared this time around. That is not to say it will be easy because Tour de Corse is a very tough challenge, but I am really looking forward to it, especially because this year’s format is so reminiscent of old times.”

What are your objectives for the rally?
“The main objective for this rally will simply be to do as best as I can. I hope that a successful event at Tour de Corse will unlock my situation for the rest of the year and lead to the next chapter of my career. I am very humbled to have the chance to take part in the event but my goal is obviously to fight for a good result to prove my ability in this tough environment. Peugeot Sport is keeping a close eye on my progress as well, which gives me extra responsibility, and the massive audience watching on Eurosport will also be front of my mind. I can’t wait.”

How did the opportunity come about?
“The result at Monte Carlo certainly helped people look at me in a fresh light and to help me find a way of taking part in Tour de Corse. There are also a lot of people in Corsica who have contributed greatly to making this happen. I have also been in close collaboration with my management at Quadra Sports to move things forward. I have a close affinity with the Munaretto team and they have done a great job to prepare the S2000 Peugeot 207, which is equipped with Michelin tyres. We have also been working alongside VP Racing fuel, who have developed an excellent and competitive fuel for us. I also have the support of two partners, Quotidia and Perin, who have helped me for Tour de Corse, so I will be doing all I can to reward their fantastic co-operation with a great result.”

How do you hope this event will help further your career?
“Tour de Corse is a tremendous event not only in terms of the challenges it presents competitors but also for the exposure that is generated through Eurosport and other media. It is undoubtedly the highlight of my season, being my home event, but it is also a unique opportunity for me to display my talents and to show people what I am capable of. I saw the positive feedback that came from my result at Monte-Carlo so I hope for the same sort of reaction from Tour de Corse. Such comments make me really convinced I am a good driver so if I can have another solid weekend, I am hopeful it will lead to even more positive things in the future. If I can show people what I can achieve here, it will surely give them the feeling of trust and faith in my talents that I have in myself.”


Posted: May 8, 2011 1:20 PM

Just under a month after the thrilling four-way battle for victory on Rally Islas Canarias El Corte Ingles electrified fans around the world, the chase for Intercontinental Rally Challenge glory resumes on the Mediterranean island of Corsica from 12-14 May with a live television spectacular.

Eurosport, Europe’s leading sports entertainment group and host broadcaster of the IRC, will broadcast six stages of Tour de Corse-E.Leclerc live to more than 123 million homes across 59 countries in Europe. There will also be coverage on Eurosport Asia-Pacific, Eurosportnews and Eurosport Player, the online simulcast service providing live and on demand access to Eurosport’s channels.

France 3 Corsica-Via Stella will also provide live coverage of the six stages, while several other television channels around the world will show highlights or delayed footage of the thrilling stage action.

Affectionately known as the Rally of 10,000 Corners due to the proliferation of twists and turns on challenging mountain roads, the legendary event will reflect its original spirit with stages spread over a larger area of the picturesque French island than in recent years, when it joins the IRC for the first time in 2011. The claim of the rally his year expresses this spirit, “the Return of the Myth”.

Starting in the town of Calvi on Corsica’s north west coast at 13:00hrs local time on Thursday 12 May, the event will include 14 all-asphalt special stages over a competitive distance of 320 kilometres.

Thursday’s itinerary features two runs over the 27.53-kilometre Le Fangu-Notre Dame de la Serra stage, which straddles the Calvi Coast and is the longest of the event. From the overnight halt in Calvi, crews head to stages around Corte on Friday 13 May with three repeated tests split by service halts at the town’s aerodrome. The final day’s action on Saturday 14 May again consists of three repeated stages and runs around Ajaccio in the south west of the island where the first car is due to finish at approximately 21:35hrs.

The first Tour de Corse took place in 1956 and it wasn’t long before the event became one of the world’s most iconic, albeit challenging rallies. It developed a fearsome reputation as drivers negotiated narrow mountain roads in high-powered cars, lined with unforgiving rock faces on one side of the road or steep drops on the other.

It was also an extreme test of endurance with the route covering significant parts of the island in a 25-hour stretch. In more recent times organisers have settled for a more compact and sedate route based around Ajaccio. However, the task facing drivers has not diminished and this year’s event, the 54th running, is likely to be one of the highlights of the IRC calendar.

Although the bulk of the competitors will have some knowledge of the Corsican roads, most stage layouts are unchartered territory for IRC regulars with several classic tests from yesteryear returning to the itinerary including the Barchetta and Bocognano runs. However, most of the island’s undulating roads have undergone resurfacing over the years, which has eradicated much of the broken and bumpy asphalt that was once synonymous with the rally.

While hot and sunny weather is expected for the duration of the event, the island’s climate can be changeable, particularly in mountainous areas. This can make tyre choice a lottery in the event of rainfall during a stage.

All drivers will be in contention for the prestigious Colin McRae IRC Flat Out Trophy, which is awarded on all rounds of the IRC to the driver whose performance best embodies the spirit of the rally legend, a two-time Tour de Corse winner.


After finishing a close second to fellow Skoda Motorsport driver Juho Hanninen on the last IRC round, Jan Kopecky will be looking to make the most of his team-mate’s absence in Corsica having gone almost 13 months without a win in the IRC.

Hanninen is not planning to defend his IRC title in 2011 despite topping drivers’ classification after two events, handing Kopecky the task of upholding Skoda honour on the Mediterranean event.

Like Kopecky, Freddy Loix was also a contender for victory on Rally Islas Canarias. The Belgian BFO Skoda driver knows that a first win of 2011 would propel him to the top of the drivers’ classification following his run to second overall on Rallye Monte-Carlo in January.

Thierry Neuville arrives in Corsica on a high following his impressive podium finish on round two where he narrowly missed out on winning in his Team Peugeot Belgium-Luxembourg 207. The 22-year-old was one of the revelations in the Canary Islands and starts the Tour de Corse on the back of a successful test with Peugeot Sport in France last month.

Guy Wilks, whose Peugeot UK 207 is run by the same Kronos Racing organisation responsible for Neuville’s car, has the pace to win in the IRC but was restricted to fifth overall on Rally Islas Canarias where he complained of a lack of stability in high-speed corners. Like Neuville, Wilks also tested in France in preparation for the island rally.

Bryan Bouffier, the current French rally champion, began his IRC bid with Peugeot France with victory on Rallye Monte-Carlo. On the last round in Canary Islands, however, he was never quite satisfied with the handling of his car, nor of his own performance behind the wheel. While he has never competed in Corsica before, Bouffier is more than capable of fighting for first place.

Norway’s Andreas Mikkelsen has more recent knowledge of Corsica’s demanding roads than the many of his rivals after contesting a regional rally on the island back in March. The Skoda UK Motorsport driver claimed a comfortable victory on the event and also scored a confidence-boosting sixth on round two of the IRC following his early retirement from Rallye Monte-Carlo.

Bruno Magalhaes will be a contender for a strong haul of points in his Peugeot Sport Portugal 207. However, it won’t be an easy task for the talented 30-year-old from Lisbon who has never rallied in Corsica before and won’t get the opportunity for a pre-event test.

One driver with plenty of Corsica experience is Pierre Campana, who hails from Corte. Campana, the joint leader of the IRC 2WD Cup following his victory in Monte-Carlo, steps up to Super 2000 technology for his home rally when he will drive a 207 for the Italian Munaretto squad.

Patrik Sandell begins his seven-event IRC programme in a Skoda Sweden Fabia. The 29-year-old has previous experience of competing on the island from his stint in the World Rally Championship where he won the Junior title in 2006. Sandell, who will be co-driven by Staffan Parmander, also has good knowledge of driving Skodas, something he has done since 2010.

Toni Gardemeister is doubling up as a team boss in the IRC this season at the wheel of a Fabia S2000, which he took to 10th overall on Rally Islas Canarias. The Finn was a regular on the event when it formed part of the world championship.

Other Super 2000 drivers in action include Massimiliano Settembrini (Peugeot 207), Julien Maurin (M-Sport Ford Fiesta) and Pascal Lescloupe, who will drive an Abarth Grande Punto.

Subaru will debut its R4-specification Impreza in the IRC on Tour de Corse. Driven by veteran Japanese Toshi Arai, the car has been designed to narrow the performance gap between pacesetting Super 2000 cars and Group N production models.

IRC Production Cup

Florian Gonon, who won the inaugural IRC Production Cup event on Rallye Monte-Carlo in January, returns to the series in his Subaru Impreza. The Swiss will face opposition from several Ralliart Mitsubishi Lancer drivers including Jean-Marc Sanchez and Irishman Eamonn Boland.


The IRC 2WD Cup entry is bulging with quality and quantity with 31 runners competing in the two-wheel drive class in Corsica. Harry Hunt, the defending IRC 2WD Cup champion, heads the entry and will face strong opposition from Stefano Albertini, Eric Mauffrey, plus Honda Civic Type R driver Martin Kangur.


Miss France, Laury Thilleman, will lead the field over the opening stages of Tour de Corse-E.Leclerc. The 19-year-old will be a passenger in one of the Peugeot RCZ course cars. She said: “I like extreme sports but for motorsport it will be the first time in Corsica. I’m really happy to be opening the rally.”

Bryan Bouffier (France), Peugeot 207 S2000:
“Apart from two days of tests a few years ago I have no knowledge of the stages. For sure it will be very nice rally and a close battle with the front guys. I hope to be among them and because I will be in France I will be a little bit more motivated.”

Pierre Campana (France), Peugeot 207 S2000:
“I am extremely excited and proud to be participating in this year’s Tour de Corse. Coming from Corsica, it is an amazing experience to drive in front of a home crowd and I remember it well from taking part in the event back in 2008.”

Patrik Sandell (Sweden), Skoda Fabia S2000:
“My two best results last year were on Tarmac so I will push for a podium in Corsica as it will be important to score as many points as possible on my first event. I know there will be lots of others who are also fast on Tarmac but I am confident.”

Sandell guns for debut IRC podium

Posted: May 8, 2011 12:19 PM

Patrik Sandell will target a podium finish when he makes his Intercontinental Rally Challenge debut on Tour de Corse-E.Leclerc next week in a Skoda Sweden-supported Fabia Super 2000.

The 29-year-old from Ostersund in Sweden will contest seven rounds of the IRC this season alongside experienced co-driver Staffan Parmander. He says a podium finish will be the perfect way to start his campaign.

“My two best results last year were on Tarmac so I will push for a podium in Corsica,” said Sandell. “I know there will be lots of other drivers who are also fast on Tarmac but I am confident.”

Sandell prepared for his IRC debut with a test and an outing on Rally Presov in Slovakia. Although the former Junior world champion reported that his test was a success, his rally was hampered when he picked up two front punctures on the same stage and lost eight minutes in the process.

Stohl: Corsica will be an extended test for Subaru R4

Posted: May 8, 2011 12:18 PM

Manfred Stohl, whose Stohl Racing team will be responsible for running Subaru’s Intercontinental Rally Challenge campaign in 2011, says Tour de Corse-E.Leclerc will be used as an extended test session for the Japanese manufacturer.

Subaru is fielding an all-new R4-specification Impreza WRX STI for Toshi Arai on the island rally, one of six IRC events it will tackle this season in conjunction with tyre firm Yokohama.

“We are just at the first step with this project and it’s much too early to expect our car to fight with the Super 2000 cars,” said Stohl. “The rally will be a test for us and the aim will be to get to the finish without any technical problems.”

Arai was due to arrive at Stohl’s Austrian base on Wednesday where he will undertake a test before heading to Corsica, where round three of the IRC will take place from 12-14 May.

Subaru’s IRC bid will be run in partnership with tyre firm Yokohama, which is providing its Advan tyres for the project.

Peugeot's Bouffier motivated for Corsica

Posted: May 8, 2011 12:17 PM

Bryan Bouffier says competing on French soil will make him even more motivated when he resumes his bid for Intercontinental Rally Challenge glory on Tour de Corse-E.Leclerc next week.

The Rallye Monte-Carlo winner, currently two points adrift of Juho Hanninen in the race for the 2011 drivers’ title, will contest the all-asphalt event in a Peugeot France 207 Super 2000 alongside co-driver Xavier Panseri.

He said:
“I will try to drive in the same way as I do on every rally. Okay I will be in France so I will be a little bit more motivated but on each race I am always motivated. It won’t change anything.”

Thirty-two-year-old Bouffier has never rallied in Corsica before but has some experience of the island’s demanding roads when former Peugeot Sport competitions boss and current IRC Motorsport Development Manager Jean-Pierre Nicolas invited him to test for Peugeot on the island a few years ago.

Seeded Entry List

Posted: May 8, 2011 12:16 PM

Eurosport’s LIVE TV coverage of Tour de Corse:

Posted: April 13, 2011 3:23 PM

All Times UK/Irish - Please check TV listing for confirmation

Thursday 12 May:
24:00-24:30: Highlights of day 1 (Eurosport)

Friday 13 May:
08:00-09:00: LIVE SS3 Erbajolo-Pont d’Altiani (Eurosport)
11:00-12:00: LIVE SS5 Taverna-Pont de Castirla (Eurosport 2)
16:30-17:00: LIVE SS8 Erbajolo-Pont d’Altiani (Eurosport Player)

Saturday 14 May:
08:00-09:00: LIVE SS9 Sarrola-Plage du Liamone (Eurosport)
14:00-15:00: LIVE SS12 Marato-Acqua Doria (Eurosport 2)
19:00-20:00: LIVE SS14 Sarrola-Plage du Liamone (Eurosport)

Sunday 15 May:
22:00-22:30: Magazine – Rally Review (Eurosport)

“The Return of the Myth” with live television coverage on Eurosport

Posted: April 13, 2011 3:23 PM

Bryan Bouffier, Laury Thilleman and Christian Leca helped launch the Tour de Corse

Tour de Corse organiser the ASACC and Eurosport Events, the promoter of the Intercontinental Rally Challenge, have unveiled exciting details of the 2011 Tour de Corse – E.Leclerc, round three of the IRC, which will take place from 12-14 May.

Affectionately known as the Rally of 10,000 Corners due to the proliferation of twists and turns on challenging mountain roads, the legendary event will return to its original spirit, as it will be run around the picturesque Mediterranean island and will benefit from live television coverage.

The all-new route, which was presented in Paris yesterday (Thursday), will consist of 14 special stages over a competitive distance of 320 kilometres. The 2011 Tour de Corse will start in the town of Calvi on Corsica’s north west coast on Thursday 12 May. Friday’s action will be based around the town of Corte with the final day’s competition on Saturday 14 May run around Ajaccio in the south west of the island. A detailed itinerary is available on the event's website at www.asacc.fr.

Christian Leca, the President of the Tour de Corse organiser ASACC, said: “After two years of absence from the international scene, the Tour de Corse comes back in the best way by joining the IRC calendar to build again the mythical trio of Monte Carlo, Corsica and Sanremo. The itinerary going from Calvi, through Corte to Ajaccio will contribute to renew a real boost in the popularity of this legendary event, to which the local communities and the private partners, being local or national, have brought a strong support.”

The Tour de Corse will benefit from unique international media coverage including live broadcasts of six stages on Eurosport’s network that will reach over 123 million homes across 59 countries in Europe, on Eurosport 2 and on Eurosport Asia-Pacific. This will be complemented by comprehensive coverage on Eurosportnews and the eurosport.com websites.

“We are very happy to welcome the Tour de Corse, an iconic name in the motorsport world, which decided like Rallye Monte-Carlo, to join the IRC. In close co-ordination with the ASACC organisers, we have decided to set up an ambitious live production plan that will allow viewing fans to enjoy the action directly as it happens, with the beautiful Corsican countryside as a background,” said Geraldine Filiol, the Managing Director of Eurosport Events.

A number of personalities attended the presentation in Paris: among them, Bryan Bouffier the current leader of the IRC drivers’ standings and winner of the 2011 Rallye Monte-Carlo, as well as Miss France, Laury Thilleman, who will open the road of the Tour de Corse as co-driver of a Peugeot RCZ.

Campana targets S2000 run in Corsica

Posted: March 31, 2011 3:18 PM

Pierre Campana, the current leader of the IRC 2WD Cup, hopes that his success on a national rally in Italy last weekend will lead to an entry on May’s Tour de Corse, round three of the Intercontinental Rally Challenge.

Campana, who hails from the Corsican town of Corte, was the top finisher in a Super 2000 machine on the Ronde del Grifo in Italy last Sunday, finishing fifth overall.

The 25-year-old, who was driving a Peugeot 207 for the Italian Munaretto squad, could have challenged for victory on the four-stage rally but lost some 50 seconds stuck behind a slower car on the first stage.

He is now working hard to secure the funding necessary to contest his home round of the IRC on 12-14 May, once again at the wheel of a Super 2000 car.

“To finish the event as the top S2000 car for a second year running is a great achievement,” said Campana. “I was happy to have this experience and to get some competitive running behind me. I am working hard with my management on a project for the future, which I hope to be able to confirm in the coming weeks.”


Posted: March 1, 2011 10:32 AM

Andreas Mikkelsen and co-driver Ola Fløene will contest the Ronde De La Giraglia (5-6 March), a national rally on the island of Corsica, in their Škoda UK Motorsport Fabia S2000, as an asphalt test for the forthcoming rounds of the Intercontinental Rally Challenge (IRC).

With nine out of 12 IRC rallies taking place on asphalt this year, the team is keen to purposefully fill the gap between now and Round 2 of the series, Rally Islas Canarias El Corte Ingles, which takes place between 14-16 April.

The Ronde De La Giraglia is based in Bastia, on the northeast coast of the picturesque Mediterranean island. The rally contains 10 stages – two on Day 1 repeated three times and two more on Day 2 attempted twice. The second day contains the longest stage of the event, the 15.78 mile (25.4km) Minerbio-Pino test.

These stages to the north of the island are some distance from the Ajaccio region, where Round 3 of the IRC, Tour de Corse (13-15 May) will take place, yet they offer an excellent opportunity to test on asphalt under rally competition conditions.

“I’ve rallied in Corsica twice before, in 2007 and ’08 in the WRC. It’s quite abrasive asphalt, so a very good place to test for Gran Canarias. I got a lot of test miles in the Fabia S2000 before the season started, so I feel comfortable in the car, and to get more competition miles on a proper rally before the next round of the IRC will be really good.”

New Date:

Posted: January 20, 2011 5:18 PM

Rally will now take place a week later that originally scheduled:
New Date 13-15 May 11


Event Website / Details

Posted: January 2, 1990 3:02 PM

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