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Sanremo (Italy) - 23-24 Sep 11

Posted: December 17, 2011 12:49 PM - 5179 Hits

Round 10 - 2011 Intercontinental Rally Challenge (IRC)

PROTON: Rallye Sanremo review

Posted: December 17, 2011 12:49 PM

PROTON Motorsports team principal Chris Mellors says Rallye Sanremo, which ended in Italy last night, represents the Satria Neo S2000’s most competitive outing in the Intercontinental Rally Challenge to date.

PROTON driver Giandomenico Basso was running at the front of the field from the start of one of the season’s most popular – and competitive – events on Friday afternoon. The double FIA European Rally Champion’s time on the opener was just 7.6 seconds off the fastest time on the twisty roads high in the Ligurian Alps. On stage two he lowered that gap to just 2.8 seconds – and beat current IRC series leader Jan Kopecky’s factory Skoda on the Bajardo test.

Basso remained in the thick of the fight until the fearsome 44-kilometre Ronde stage late in Friday night. Basso didn’t hear a pace note call from his co-driver Mitia Dotta and they went off the road at a junction, damaging the right side of the PROTON. They lost four minutes getting through the stage, dropping out of the top 10 for the first time on the final asphalt rally of the IRC season.

With the car fixed, Basso was immediately back in the grove the next morning and began reeling those ahead of him in. By the end of the event, he was back in the top 10 after further demonstrating the pace of the PROTON on one of the twistiest and toughest rallies of the season.

Basso’s team-mate Chris Atkinson retired early in the event with an electrical issue on his Satria Neo S2000.

Buoyed by the speed shown in Sanremo, the team heads east for the next round of the FIA Asia-Pacific Rally Championship, Rally Hokkaido, which starts on Friday (September 30).


Giandomenico Basso said:
“Apart from the problem we had on the dark stage, this rally was very good for the team. We have made good progress with the car again. On Friday afternoon we were right there and able to make some very good stage times. We got back to the top 10 after the problem, which was good, but we could have finished higher up.”

Chris Atkinson said:
“It was a huge disappointment to stop early in the event. We’d had a good test, the recce had gone well and we were really looking forward to the rally. Unfortunately, this is the sport times. Fortunately for me and the team, we don’t have time to dwell on this: it’s straight on to Japan for Rally Hokkaido for all of us.”

Chris Mellors (team principal) said:
“This was undoubtedly one of our strongest events from a pace perspective. As Chris [Atkinson] has said, losing his car so early was very disappointing and very frustrating. I’m very confident he would have gone really well on this event – especially given the pace Giandomenico was showing. It’s that speed which is the real positive for us here in Italy. We’ve been analysing the split times and the data from the car and we can see the work we’ve done on the engine is really paying dividends. On uphill sections, where we would possibly have dropped time on previous rallies, we’re right there with the rest of them. Compared with 12 months ago, we have come a very, very long way with this car and that’s testament to the effort from the team in Malaysia and the guys back at base in the UK. Everybody works 24/7 for us and when you have moments like the second stage – when he was a couple of seconds off fastest – it’s some payback for that effort. We’re not there yet, but we’re getting very close now.”

Thrilling battle sees Andreas score in Sanremo

Posted: December 17, 2011 12:46 PM

A delighted Andreas Mikkelsen said that finishing 2nd on the Sanremo Rally, an event he expected to be his least favourable in this year’s Intercontinental Rally Challenge, was “like a win” after he scored a sensational result in his ŠKODA UK Motorsport Fabia S2000. Co-driven by Ola Fløene, a relaxed Andreas led the rally three times, set four fastest stage times and came within 1.5 seconds of winning one of the world’s classic asphalt rallies.

The technical stages, situated high in the mountains above the Italian Riviera, are well known by many drivers – but not Andreas, who had only started the Sanremo Rally once before. Having led the last three rounds of the IRC, Andreas arrived in Sanremo on top form – and immediately continued that excellent run by setting fastest time on the opening stage. He remained at the top of the leaderboard for most of the Day 1, courtesy of four fastest stage times over the opening six stages. The battle was extremely close, and Andreas’ 4.5 second lead after SS6 was to be the largest of the entire event.

The final stage of Day 1 was the longest of the rally, with the 27.34 mile (44km) Ronde stage (SS7) tackled at night. The 22-year old FIA Institute Young Driver Excellence Academy pilot completed it in 29mins 42.9secs, despite a close encounter with the local wildlife. Andreas went into the overnight halt 2.7 seconds behind Freddy Loix (ŠKODA) – a perfect position in which to monitor his rival’s progress, as Loix started Day 2 one car ahead and first on the road.

The final day of the rally witnessed a three-way battle for the lead, with Andreas returning to the top of the leaderboard on the opening stage (SS8). Loix crashed out on SS11, leaving just 0.3 seconds separating Andreas and Thierry Neuville as they entered the final stage (SS13).

Andreas gave it everything, setting a time 9.1 seconds quicker than he’d had on his first run through the same stage to score a magnificent 2nd place finish – just 1.5 seconds behind Neuville after nearly 2 hours and 20 minutes of flat-out competition.

“I’m really happy with our performance and result here in Sanremo. At the start of the season I expected this would be my weakest rally, because the stages are so well known by many drivers and the roads are very technical. To be able to lead the event for such a long time and to fight for victory against Tarmac experts like Freddy Loix and Thierry Neuville is far more than I was expecting – and to finish second in Sanremo is like a win for me.

“The whole team has done a fantastic job this weekend and the performance has been there since the start. We’re looking forward to our home event in Scotland next, which should be one of our strongest events.”

The rewards for scoring a good result on the RACMSA Rally of Scotland (7-9 October) are high, as the event operates a 1.5 co-efficient points scoring system.


Posted: December 17, 2011 12:45 PM

Rally star Pierre Campana endured a weekend to forget at Rallye Sanremo after a series of technical issues hampered his progress from the very opening loop of the event. The Corsican ace battled valiantly in spite of the many challenges that presented themselves over the two-day rally to claim eighth place after the 13 special stages.

The dramas began on the third stage of the opening loop on Friday following two competitive opening stages, as his car developed an engine sensor fault which forced his engine engineers to make changes at the first service. Unfortunately, further problems related to the engine resulted in a difficult second loop, which was made worse with a broken gear lever during the fifth stage.

Pierre had aimed to use the final Friday stage, the 44km Ronde, to make up valuable time. He was performing extremely well, on the pace of the front-runners at the 30km split, but an inexplicable puncture slowed him significantly towards the end of the stage and prevented him from making up the lost time.

Saturday saw much of the same frustration with the car suffering engine misfires throughout the morning, which necessitated substantial work from the team during the lunchtime service. The team did a fantastic job in a bid to cure the problems but there were still issues that stopped Pierre from working his usual Sanremo magic. It has been a tough two days for Pierre, his co-driver Sabrina de Castelli and the Munaretto team, but Pierre hopes to turn this disappointment and frustration into positives at next weekend’s World Rally Championship event in France.

Pierre Campana said:
“What a tough Sanremo rally for us all! It seems that no matter what we did, there was no improvement, so actually to finish the event in eighth is a big achievement in itself. I must thank the Munaretto guys who worked so hard and remained committed to resolving our issues right to the end. Things started to go wrong from the third stage when we had an engine sensor fault but then got worse during the day with the snapped gear lever in SS5 and most frustratingly the puncture in SS7. We were running strongly and right on the sort of pace I expected to be at when out of nowhere we picked up a puncture. There seemed to be no reason for it, but it is typical of the weekend we have had. Today was tough from start to finish and I can only thank everyone involved for persevering. Thanks also to my sponsors Perin for their backing this weekend, as well as Sparco, VP Racing and the entire Munaretto team. I hope we’ll have the opportunity to come back fighting at an IRC event in the not too distant future. Finally, I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate Peugeot on a tremendous victory today.”

Posted: December 17, 2011 12:42 PM


Posted: December 16, 2011 6:44 PM

Thierry Neuville has won Rallye Sanremo following a thrilling finish to the Intercontinental Rally Challenge round on the Italian Riviera this afternoon. Driving a Team Peugeot Belgium-Luxembourg 207 Super 2000, Neuville surged ahead on the demanding asphalt event with one stage remaining, having cancelled out an overnight deficit of 16.6s.

By going fastest on the final test, Neuville and co-driver Nicolas Gilsoul did just enough to beat SKODA UK Motorsport pair Andreas Mikkelsen and Ola Floene for their second IRC victory of 2011 and ensure Peugeot’s capture of the IRC’s trio of classic events, Rallye Monte-Carlo, Tour de Corse and now Rallye Sanremo.

Furthermore, it was the fourth time in 2011 that a round of the all-action IRC has been decided by a margin of less than two seconds following close finishes in Canary Islands, Czech Republic and Hungary earlier in the year. Neuville’s success has also underlined the pace of Peugeot’s 207 Super 2000, which has led the way on the demanding narrow and twisty roads in the hills overlooking the Mediterranean Sea for a third year in succession.

Freddy Loix had started the second day of the rally leading by 2.7s having moved ahead of Mikkelsen after winning Friday’s night stage in his BFO-SKODA Rally Team Fabia. Mikkelsen, who had led from the opening stage on Friday, reclaimed top spot on Saturday’s first test when Loix made his characteristic slow start.

Mikkelsen remained in front until Loix retook the lead after going fastest two stages later. He started stage 11 a mere 2.5s in front only to crash on a fast downhill section approximately halfway through the test, fortunately without injury to neither he nor co-driver Frederic Miclotte. With his car blocking the narrow road, organisers were forced to cancel the stage.

Neuville, 23, won the penultimate run, one of four stage wins during the final day, to start the final test 0.3s ahead of Mikkelsen. Despite a determined charge, the 22-year-old Norwegian was unable to land his maiden IRC victory, having led for much of the event.

Loix, whose efforts earned him the prestigious Coilin McRae IRC Flat Out Trophy, could have moved to the top of the IRC standings if he’d claimed maximum points and rival Jan Kopecky remained in fifth place, having been unable to replicate the pace that has carried him to back-to-back victories in Czech Republic and Hungary. As it is, by inheriting fourth, Kopecky’s comfortable lead remains intact heading to the penultimate round in Scotland next month.

Bruno Magalhaes rounded out his 2011 IRC campaign with a strong fifth place for Peugeot Sport Portugal. Aside from a handful of set-up issues and a lack of brakes on Friday’s night stage little troubled the multiple Portuguese champion, who set a number of competitive times in his 207.

M-Sport Ford Fiesta S2000 driver Umberto Scandola began day two as the leading Italian but a steering problem on stage 10 dropped him to seventh overall behind countryman Alessandro Perico in a privateer Peugeot.

Pierre Campana’s bid to emulate the fourth-place finish he recorded on Tour de Corse-E.Leclerc was hampered by a plethora of mechanical problems, which required the fitting of a new loom and injection rack at midday service. He took eighth.

Toni Gardemeister extended his point-scoring run in this year’s IRC to eight events after the Finn brought his TGS Worldwide Fabia home in ninth position. It was the first time he’d finished Rallye Sanremo in five attempts.

Factory PROTON driver Giandomenico Basso had been in the fight for a top finish but a spin on stage five and an off-road moment on the night stage when his intercom failed and he couldn’t hear the instructions of his co-driver Mitia Dotta, dropped him out of contention. Alternator problems on Saturday morning caused further frustration but he fought back to deny Swiss Peugeot privateer Gregoire Hotz the final point on the very last stage.

Peugeot UK’s Guy Wilks crashed out on Friday’s first test. Australian Chris Atkinson also failed to complete the opening run when his PROTON Motorsports’ Satria Neo stopped with a suspected electrical failure. Karl Kruuda retired on Friday’s night stage when a loss of brakes resulted in him sliding into a wall and breaking his Fabia’s front-right wheel.

IRC Production Cup
Florian Gonon claimed his third victory in the inaugural IRC Production Cup after heading home Italian Ralliart Mitsubishi Lancer driver Marco Cavigioli by a comfortable margin. Gonon, driving a Subaru Impreza, was fastest in the category on all but one stage. Irishman Eamonn Boland was third with Corrado Perino fourth. Johan Heloise failed to finish.

Davide Medici secured his maiden win in the IRC 2WD Cup after seeing off the challenge of fellow Italian Stefano Albertini, who last ground with set-up issues on the final day. Pierre-Antoine Guglielmi, the winner of the IRC 2WD Cup in Corsica earlier this season, finished third with Roberto Vescovi taking fourth. Honda’s challenge unravelled when Sandro Sottile crashed on stage four and Martin Kangur retired following a spate of mechanical problems on Friday’s final three stages. Harry Hunt, the defending IRC 2WD Cup champion, battled back from a tough opening day to claim ninth with Elwis Chentre 10th in a SKODA Fabia R2. Michele Tassone was the leading Abarth finisher.


Thierry Neuville (Belgium), Peugeot 207 S2000, first overall:
“I was flat out on that last stage, it was incredible and I can’t believe the result. I pushed really hard, it was such a nice battle over the weekend, so intensive because the IRC is such a competitive championship. The car felt good, I am so happy. I hope this win won’t be the last for me.”

Andreas Mikkelsen (Norway), SKODA Fabia S2000, second overall:
“I was right on the limit, we tried but it wasn’t enough. But I have to be happy with this result because I certainly did expect to be fighting with Freddy, Thierry and Bryan before the start.”

Bryan Bouffier (France), Peugeot 207 S2000, third overall:
“This is not the best result for me because I would have preferred to have fought for the victory. But it’s a good result for Peugeot with two cars on the podium. Thierry did the perfect race.”


Posted: December 16, 2011 6:38 PM

1 Thierry Neuville/Nicolas Gilsoul (Peugeot 207 S2000) 2h19m57.8s
2 Andreas Mikkelsen/Ola Fløene (ŠKODA Fabia S2000) +1.5s
3 Bryan Bouffier/Xavier Panseri (Peugeot 207 S2000) +16.0s
4 Jan Kopeckyý/Petr Starý (ŠKODA Fabia S2000) +1m09.1s
5 Bruno Magalhães/Paulo Grave (Peugeot 207 S2000) +1m26.0s
6 Alessandro Perico/Fabrizio Carrara (Peugeot 207 S2000) +3m47.8s
7 Umberto Scandola/Guido D’Amore (M-Sport Ford Fiesta S2000) +4m05.9s
8 Pierre Campana/Sabrina de Castelli (Peugeot 207 S2000) +4m28.0s
9 Toni Gardemeister/Tapio Suominen (ŠKODA Fabia S2000) +5m24.1s
10 Giandomenico Basso/Mitia Dotta (PROTON Satria Neo S2000) +7m26.9s

IRC Production Cup:
Florian Gonon (SUI)/Sandra Arlettaz (SUI) Subaru Impreza WRX

IRC 2WD Cup:
Davide Medici (ITA)/Daniele De Luis (ITA) Renault Clio S1600

Rally Radio
Rally Radio - All Links
First stage each day: (Times are Irish/UK)
SS1 Fri - 12:54
SS8 Sat - 09:16

Video: Freddy Loix off

Posted: December 16, 2011 6:36 PM

Video Previews:

Posted: September 23, 2011 9:24 AM


Posted: September 19, 2011 11:44 AM

Rally star of the moment Pierre Campana is aiming to make his mark on this weekend’s Rallye Sanremo as he aims for a top five finish with the Italian Munaretto team and his Michelin-shod Peugeot 207 S2000.

Campana is in the middle of an action-packed rally campaign dividing his time between selected events in the World Rally Championship and Intercontinental Rally Challenge, but this weekend’s focus is very much on Sanremo, round nine of this year’s IRC series.

The 26-year-old Corsican is no stranger to the Sanremo event, having taken victory in the 2WD category back at the 2009 event, and hopes to put that experience to good use this weekend. Campana has already contested two of this year’s IRC events, taking an impressive 2WD win at Monte-Carlo in January and fourth overall in his home event, Tour de Corse, in May. Those one-off appearances were impressive enough to see Campana retain third place on the 2WD classification and a solid place on the overall IRC standings heading into Sanremo.

Campana’s long-serving co-driver Sabrina de Castelli will be partnering with him once again as the pair look to add another positive result to their ever improving CVs. Campana is fortunate enough to benefit not only from the support of the Munaretto team, but also tyre suppliers Michelin, as well as VP Racing fuel, Sparco and personal backing from Italian firm Perin, while Peugeot Sport will also be keeping a watchful eye over proceedings.

Pierre Campana commented:
“I am in the middle of a very exciting period of rallying that will have a big impact on the future direction of my career. I am fortunate to be able to participate in both WRC and IRC events this season, championships that hold equal importance to me. It will be nice to be back behind the wheel of the Peugeot 207 S2000 at Sanremo, a great event that brings back great memories for me from when I won in 2WD in 2009. The Munaretto team is a great group of professionals to work with and we always seem to bring the best out of each other, so my target for this weekend is to finish in the top five. I think that is a realistic target given our performance at Tour de Corse. I am extremely grateful to Munaretto for this opportunity and to Michelin with whom I have built up a great technical relationship. It is thanks also to the support from VP Racing Fuel, Sparco and my sponsors Perin that I am able to compete this weekend. Together, we will be ready to face any challenges with the usual professional approach and stage-by-stage to extract the full performance out of the package.”

Andreas on a night vision mission in Sanremo

Posted: September 19, 2011 11:43 AM

With perfect young night driving vision, Andreas Mikkelsen adores rallying in the dark – so even without much experience of the Sanremo Rally (22-24 September), the 22-year old ŠKODA UK Motorsport Fabia S2000 driver is aiming for a good result on the event, thanks, in part, to a planned attack over the long 27.34 mile (44km) Ronde stage which takes place at night.

Run on switchback mountain roads high above the Italian Riviera, the Sanremo Rally is steeped in history. Many drivers know the twisty asphalt stages very well, but Andreas has only attempted the event once before.

Together with co-driver by Ola Fløene, the FIA Institute Young Driver Excellence Academy driver arrives in Sanremo on top form, having led the previous three rounds of the Intercontinental Rally Challenge (IRC). Following the Mecsek Rallye in Hungary, he’s also extended his record number of stage wins this season to 22.

The Sanremo Rally might not be too familiar to Andreas, but ŠKODA UK Motorsport brings a lot of experience with it to the event – not least in the form of its team co-ordinator, Dario D’Esposito. He has contested the event 15 times as a co-driver, finishing a career best 2nd overall in 2006 with Andrea Aghini. He has also done many regional events in the area and lives in the village of Colle San Bartolomeo – between SS9 and 10 on this year’s route!

“Sanremo is a classic rally with a lot of history. It’s sometimes harder for me on those type of rallies, because other competitors have done them many more times than I have and they know the roads so well. But it all adds to the challenge for me and, as we saw at the Barum Rally, some drivers have done rallies a lot and I can still be on the pace. Everything is possible!

“There are some fantastic rally roads around Sanremo and I’m looking forward to the really long night stage in particular because I enjoy driving in the dark and that one stage could decide the outcome of the rally. It will be a big challenge for sure, and I have a good opportunity there.

“We’ve had the pace to fight at the top in the last three rounds of the IRC, so that is the aim in Sanremo as well.”

The Sanremo Rally starts on Friday 23 September at 13.20. Leg 1 is similar to last year’s route and contains seven stages totaling 72.13 miles (116.09kms). Three stages (Coldirodi, Bajardo and Bignone) will run in the afternoon, the same three are repeated in late afternoon after a service half in Sanremo and then the day ends with the challenging Ronde stage at night, which is a amalgamation of all three stages and link sections. With the first car not scheduled to enter overnight parc ferme until 00.41, it will be a long and demanding first day.

Leg 2 begins at 09.01 on Saturday 24 September and contains three classic Sanremo stages (Colle Langan, Passo Teglia and Colle d’Oggia). The first two could be particularly demanding, as there is only a short 2.53 mile (4.08km) road section between them, allowing very little time to adjust tyre pressures, change wheels or make emergency repairs. The stage loop totals 34.07 miles (54.84kms) and it’s repeated in the afternoon before the ceremonial finish in Sanremo at 18.30.

Eurosport will broadcast edited highlights of the event, so please check below and TV listings for details.

PROTON Motorsports Preview / Chris Atkinson return to IRC

Posted: September 17, 2011 8:52 PM

PROTON Motosports driver Chris Atkinson will return to the Intercontinental Rally Challenge for next week’s Rallye Sanremo as preparation for what could be the biggest moment of the Australian’s rally career one week later.

Atkinson has dominated this year’s FIA Asia-Pacific Rally Championship, winning three from four rounds of the series, and is well placed to seal the FIA title for the Malaysian manufacturer on the Rally Hokkaido, which starts in Japan on September 30. Next week’s Rallye Sanremo will be the perfect opportunity for the Queenslander to hone his competitive instinct.

PROTON Motorsports’ regular driver Giandomenico Basso will partner Atkinson in Sanremo.

Rallye Sanremo will be Atkinson’s second IRC outing of the year and, after a season of travelling around the Asia-Pacific region, racing through the Ligurian Alps will feel like home for the Monaco-based driver. Atkinson and Basso will make a formidable team for the next IRC round, with double FIA European Rally Champion Basso a former winner of his home round of the series.

As has often been the case in teaming up an IRC programme with its FIA APRC commitments, the PROTON Motorsports team will be doing plenty of travelling in the next month. Hours after crossing the finish line in Sanremo, the team will be packing up and flying east for Hokkaido. And on the completion of the Japanese event complete, PROTON will return to Europe for Rally of Scotland, meaning three rallies on two continents in three weeks.

The team will test in Italy early next week, finalising the set up for the two Satria Neo S2000s ahead of the final asphalt round of the 2011 IRC.

Chris Atkinson said:
“It’s great to be back in the IRC again. I’ve done the recce for this event before, but never competed in Sanremo. It’s fair to say that this is one of the events I’ve always wanted to do: it’s one of the classics and a really tough event. From what I remember some of the stages can be quite technical and then there’s the night stage, which is going to be a big challenge. I haven’t competed for a while now, so I’m really keen to get back in the car, especially on asphalt as I haven’t driven on that surface since January. Competing in Sanremo will definitely help me for the following week in Japan. There’s nothing like time in the car to keep you sharp. The competition in IRC will be really tough as usual. Those boys have been out racing pretty much every other week and that really gets you on the ball as a driver. I’m pretty fortunate having a team-mate like Giandomenico [Basso], he’s got plenty of knowledge on setting the car up on these roads and for tyre choice if the weather closes in.”

Giandomenico Basso said:
“I love this rally. It’s a rally that I’ve done plenty of times before and I’ve got some good memories from Sanremo. I’ve won it before and I nearly won there last year as well. I love the long stages; I’ve always liked long stages as you really have to think a lot about the car and the tyres over the whole stage – it’s not like the short stages where you just go. There’s a really special atmosphere to Sanremo; it’s a great place to be in a rally car. This is a rally where experience definitely helps and you need to concentrate very hard because of all the corners. It’s a really technical event that is not easy to master; you have to be really on top of the car. The speeds are not that fast and that makes it more demanding, physically and mentally. Then of course you have the long stage at night, which is a really tough test for everyone. It’s a great rally and this week we want to see our guests from Malaysia encouraged by what they see.”

Chris Mellors (team principal) said:
“Rallye Sanremo really is one of the great events of the season. The fans out there are incredible, so passionate and so dedicated to their sport, it’s a pleasure to go and compete in an atmosphere like that. We’ve had a season of highs and lows so far and the issues we had on the previous IRC round in Hungary were really quite strange, certainly nothing we’d experienced before. We put that behind us and move on. It is a very busy time coming for the team, with three events in quick succession – those rallies bring plenty of opportunity – and even more air miles!”


Posted: September 17, 2011 8:24 PM

A thrilling contest is in store when Rallye Sanremo hosts the final all-asphalt event of the 2011 Intercontinental Rally Challenge season next week.

Based in the Italian Riviera town on the shoreline of the Mediterranean Sea, the event is a modern-day classic with the dramatic action contained within a 29-hour window on the tricky and narrow mountain roads of Italy’s Liguria province overlooking Sanremo.

An established and popular fixture on the IRC calendar, Rallye Sanremo hosted one of four IRC pilot events in 2006 before becoming a founding round of the first IRC season in 2007.

Friday’s (23 September) itinerary features seven stages over a competitive distance of 116.09 kilometres with the first stage, Coldirodi, getting underway shortly before 14:00hrs local time. Following two more stages crews return to Sanremo for the seafront service before tackling a further three runs, including repeats of Coldirodi and Bignone.

After a three-hour regroup and service in Sanremo – famed for its casino, delightful bars and tempting restaurants – the challenge intensifies with the Ronde stage, a 44-kilometre ultimate test of car and crew, which is effectively an amalgamation of the Coldirodi, Apricale and Bignone tests. Run at night, the route is often subjected to changeable weather conditions with rain a constant menace, meaning tyre choice is crucial for recording a top stage time.

The action resumes on Saturday morning (24 September) with two loops of three stages in the hills of Langan, Teglio and D’oggia totalling 109.68 competitive kilometres and split by a service halt in Sanremo. The first crew is due to reach final service and the finish in Sanremo at 18:13hrs local time on Saturday.

The Rallye Sanremo stages are characterised by fast and flowing sections, frequent changes of rhythm, and blind and open corners with rapid climbs and descents commonplace. The ability to find the optimum ‘racing’ line and maintain a high level of speed are essential for recording competitive stage times.

Road surfaces are predominantly smooth, albeit with some sections of broken asphalt. The tests on day two are known for providing better grip than on day one. The undulating nature of the roads places a great strain on the cars with the engine, transmission and brakes all being subjected to heavy punishment.

In addition to the main IRC, Rallye Sanremo forms the ninth rounds of the IRC Production Cup and the IRC 2WD Cup. However, the event no longer forms part of the Italian Rally Championship schedule as part of a rotation system.

All crews competing on Rallye Sanremo will be eligible for the Colin McRae IRC Flat Out Trophy, which is presented to the driver whose performance best embodies the spirit of the rallying legend. A panel of experts consisting of the IRC’s Motorsport Development Manager Jean-Pierre Nicolas, Gilbert Roy, the Director of Editorial and Programme Development at Eurosport Events, and Jim McRae, Colin’s father, choose the winner on each round of the IRC.

Sixteen Super 2000 cars will do battle on Rallye Sanremo with title chasers Bryan Bouffier, Juho Hanninen, Jan Kopecky, Freddy Loix, Andreas Mikkelsen and Thierry Neuville all appearing on the entry list. However, Hanninen’s participation has still to be confirmed by his SKODA Motorsport team due to his other commitments with the Czech manufacturer.

If the Finn, the defending IRC champion, does skip the event then team-mates Kopecky and Loix are likely to capitalise. Kopecky opened up a 17-point lead in the IRC standings with victory on the last round, the Canon Mecsek Rallye in Hungary, while Loix is well-placed in the title reckoning when dropped scores are considered.

IRC rules allow drivers to count their best seven scores only. Having finished in the points on seven events this year, Kopecky will have to begin dropping scores from now on. Loix, meanwhile, has only scored on six rounds so far.

Thierry Neuville heads the Peugeot challenge in his Team Peugeot Belgium-Luxembourg 207 and is full of confidence following his second place finish in Hungary earlier this month. With previous Sanremo experience – plus a test near the rally route on Monday – to count on, Neuville has high hopes of claiming his second win of the season.

Bryan Bouffier will be one of several Peugeot runners determined to do likewise. The Peugeot France ace won January’s Rallye Monte-Carlo and has the ability to replicate that form in Italy. Peugeot UK triumphed in Sanremo with Kris Meeke in 2009 and would relish a repeat success with Guy Wilks, who replaced Meeke in the squad for the 2011 season. Peugeot Sport Portugal’s Bruno Magalhaes will also be a contender.

Pierre Campana will make his IRC return in Sanremo at the wheel of the Munaretto-run Peugeot 207 he took to fourth overall on May’s Tour de Corse-E.Leclerc. The French ace has a strong record in Sanremo having won the IRC 2WD Cup class there in 2009.

Max Settembrini is also back on IRC duty for the first time since Corsica. Like Campana, the Italian veteran will be at the wheel of a 207, which is also the car of choice of Swiss Gregoire Hotz, a newcomer to the IRC in 2011, and Italian Alessandro Perico, a former Sanremo winner.

PROTON Motorsports has made a tweak to its line-up with Australian Chris Atkinson being drafted in to replace Swede PG Andersson. Atkinson, who is based over the border in nearby Monte Carlo, took part on the IRC season-opener in the principality with PROTON and has achieved considerable success this season with the Malaysian manufacturer in the Asia Pacific championship. Italian Giandomenico Basso, another former Sanremo winner, pilots the team’s second Satria Neo S2000 and will be out to impress.

TGS Worldwide’s Toni Gardemeister has been a model of consistency this season, scoring points on all seven rounds he’s contested so far in his Fabia S2000. The Finn has a prior knowledge of the Sanremo stages and plenty of speed to match. Rising Italian star Umberto Scandola was quick in Sanremo last season and will be a threat again this year in his M-Sport Ford Fiesta S2000.

IRC Production Cup
Swiss Florian Gonon returns to IRC Production Cup action bidding for his third win in his Subaru Impreza. With a 25-point margin over his closest rivals, Gonon could strengthen his grip on the inaugural IRC Production Cup title with a strong result in Sanremo. Italian Marco Cavigioli will have other ideas in his Ralliart Mitsubishi Lancer as he looks to make the most of the momentum generated by contesting the last two events. Johan Heloise, from France, will pilot an Impreza for Top Run Motorsport of Italy, while Irishman Eamonn Boland and Italian Corrado Perino complete the competitive entry in their Lancers.

The big guns of the IRC 2WD Cup will be out in force on Rallye Sanremo with defending champion Harry Hunt, current title leader Jean-Michel Raoux, and Sandro Sottile, who won the IRC 2WD Cup section in Sanremo last season in his Honda Civic Type R, all competing. Stefano Albertini, the category winner on the last two rounds in Czech Republic and Hungary, will be capable of running at the front, as will Honda driver Martin Kangur and Italian Elwis Chentre, who switches to a SKODA Fabia R2. Belgian Cedric Cherain and Frenchman Mathieu Arzeno will also be quick as will Pierre-Antoine Guglielmi, who won the IRC 2WD Cup section in Corsica back in May.

Giandomenico Basso (Italy), PROTON Satria Neo S2000:
“It’s a rally where experience definitely helps and you need to concentrate very hard because of all the corners. It’s a really technical event that is not easy to master: you have to be really on top of the car. The speeds are not that fast and that makes it more demanding, physically and mentally. Then of course you have the long stage at night, which is a really tough test for everyone.”

Andreas Mikkelsen (Norway), SKODA UK Motorsport Fabia S2000:
“Sanremo is a classic rally with a lot of history. There are some fantastic rally roads around Sanremo and I’m looking forward to the really long night stage in particular because I enjoy driving in the dark and that one stage could decide the outcome of the rally. It will be a big challenge for sure, and I have a good opportunity.”

Thierry Neuville (Belgium), Team Peugeot Belgium-Luxembourg 207 S2000:
“It’s quite a difficult rally with some really narrow roads, just wide enough for one car. It means you have to be very precise with your pacenotes, particularly for the night stage, which has a great atmosphere. The rain can be a factor and when it rained last year we saw that the local drivers had the best knowledge and made the right tyre choices. But I know the roads and I know I can be competitive and challenge for a podium.”


Posted: September 17, 2011 8:20 PM

Times (Irish/UK)

Friday 23 September:
22:00hrs-22:30hrs: Day one highlights (Eurosport, Eurosport Asia-Pacific)

Saturday 24 September:
05:45hrs-06:15hrs: Day one highlights repeated (Eurosport Asia-Pacific)
07:30hrs-08:00hrs: Day one highlights repeated (Eurosport)
21:30hrs-22:00hrs: Day one highlights repeated (Eurosport Asia-Pacific)
22:00hrs-22:30hrs: Day two highlights (Eurosport, Eurosport Asia-Pacific)

Sunday 25 September:
05:30hrs-06:00hrs: Day two highlights repeated (Eurosport Asia-Pacific)
22:00hrs-22:30hrs: Rally Review (Eurosport)

Monday 26 September:
02:15hrs-02:45hrs: Rally Review repeated (Eurosport Asia-Pacific)
12:00hrs-12:30hrs: Rally Review repeated (Eurosport 2)

Tuesday 27 September:
14:30hrs-15:00hrs: Rally Review repeated (Eurosport Asia-Pacific)
24:45hrs-25:15hrs: Rally Review repeated (Eurosport Asia-Pacific)

Wednesday 28 September:
07:00hrs-07:30hrs: Rally Review repeated (Eurosport Asia-Pacific)

Seeded Entry List

Posted: September 17, 2011 7:36 PM


Posted: September 8, 2011 10:26 AM

Pierre Campana’s extraordinary 2011 rally campaign continues its relentless pace as the Corsican star is set to take part in Rallye San Remo, round nine of the Intercontinental Rally Challenge, later this month.

Campana has already competed in two IRC events this season, having won the 2WD category of the Monte-Carlo rally back in January, and having stormed to fourth overall in his home event Tour de Corse in May. As a result of the Monte-Carlo result, Pierre still lies third in the 2WD classification, while the twelve points he attained at Tour de Corse see him in the top half of the overall IRC standings in spite of not participating in most of the events.

For San Remo, Pierre will be reunited with the Italian Munaretto team, for whom the event will be a home rally, and the Michelin-shod Peugeot 207 S2000 with which he and co-driver Sabrina de Castelli performed so competitively during Tour de Corse earlier in the year. Pierre’s star has truly been on the rise this season and this event will give the 26-year-old another opportunity to show why he is the genuine article.

Rallye San Remo is a competitive asphalt event with all the action packaged into a narrow 23 hour window, putting an intense focus on team and car performance. Narrow, undulating roads characterise the rally, creating a fast and flowing series of 13 stages with rapid climbs and descents. Pierre is no stranger to the challenges that San Remo will present, having taken a supreme victory in the 2WD class at the 2009 event, again with the Munaretto squad. Following his impressive fourth place at Tour de Corse, Pierre’s aims for this year’s San Remo rally will be higher as he targets a top five place overall.

Pierre Campana:
“I am looking forward to reacquainting myself with the Peugeot 207 S2000 and the Munaretto team who we shared some very positive results with earlier this year. It has been a very busy and highly enjoyable year for me and I am pleased to have the opportunity to take part at San Remo; it is a fantastic event, full of character and challenges that I remember fondly from 2009 when I took part and took the 2WD win. Like at Tour de Corse, I appreciate that Peugeot Sport will be keeping an eye on our progress and I welcome their guidance. It will be good to continue my working relationship with Michelin and having their competitive tyres beneath me. I would also like to say thanks to Perin, who are giving me such vital support for this event, just as they did at Tour de Corse, as well as VP Racing and Sparco. It is very much a team effort, and they all play a key role in our success. We performed well at Tour de Corse so I think we would be realistic in our objectives to target a top five result overall at San Remo.”

Event Website / Details

Posted: January 2, 1990 3:04 PM

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