45e Rally Principe de Asturias

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45e Rally Principe de Asturias

Berichtdoor Sportiva-Italia » Ma Sep 14, 2009 14:06

Bron: Italiaspeed.com

Succesvolle laatste dag van Rally Principe de Asturias voor Basso

Giandomenico Basso haalde wat schade in op de laatste dag van de 45e Rally Principe de Asturias, waarmee hij een nipte voorsprong kreeg op de Skoda's. De eerste special stages werden door Basso gewonnen, maar later moest hij genoegen nemen met een tweede en zelfs derde plaats, maar uiteindelijk wist hij, door pech bij de Skoda's, zich naar een overwinning te rijden:

Giandomenico Basso goes into the final day of the 46th Rally Principe de Asturias, the ninth round of the Intercontinental Rally Challenge (IRC) with a slender lead at the front after a fast and furious final few stages that saw the factory Abarth pilot wrest the advantage away from the Skoda drivers. Basso – who won this event in 2008 – will set off this morning into the second leg's final loop of six stages with an 8.2 second advantage over local hero Alberto Hevia’s Skoda Fabia S2000.
The Italian was in the thick of action all through yesterday' opening leg, never posting a time outside the top-three, and starting off on the short SS1 first thing in morning with second quickest time. Second quickest on SS2 however bumped him down a place to third overall although a third fastest scratch time on SS3 saw him back into second place as the Peugeots in particular see-sawed on the time sheets following issues with the Super 2000 207s that saw then collecting punctures. Third quickest for Basso on SS4 dropped him back down to third overall. Basso went third fastest on SS5 to hold station before posting his first fastest time of the day on SS6, although it still kept him in third place.

Afbeelding Afbeelding

The experienced Italian turned in another fastest time on SS7 and this dramatically handed him the rally lead, and while SS8 was cancelled, third fastest on the last stage of the day (SS9) saw Basso go into overnight parc ferme with 8.2 seconds in hand over Hevia. Hevia, returning to top-flight competition after almost a full year out, has been a revelation throughout the weekend and was Basso's key challenger for the rally lead all day. However the Skoda driver struggled with mechanical difficulties in the last two stages of the day and this helped Basso cement his advantage. Winning day one also helped Basso in his push for FIA European Rally Championship points as these are handed down at the end of each day to the top-three registered drivers in the order of 3-2-1 points and with Corrado Fontana (Peugeot) squeezing ahead of championship points leader Michael Solowow (Peugeot) it means Basso chips two points off the Pole's advantage.
Basso's team mate for the event, Miguel Fuster, who had been drafted into the factory squad for this rally to provide his local knowledge and experience (he is a former two-time Spanish Rally Champion and Abarth Grande Punto regular) had little luck on the opening leg. He had settled in nicely with sixth quickest time on the first stage, but on SS2 he suffered brake failure on the stage which ran from Pajonal through Carbayín to La Rasa and he crashed, blocking the stage which was cancelled. Fuster's departure left Basso as the only Abarth Grande Punto S2000 still remaining in the rally.

In third place overnight and closing in fast on the top two is the factory Skoda of Czech driver Jan Kopecký, who needs to maximise his points haul in Asturias as 2009 IRC title rival Kris Meeke struggles to win back time lost to a puncture in his Peugeot UK-entered 207 S2000. The gap between the two men is down to three points after Kopecky’s rapturous home victory in the Czech Republic last month, and both Basso and Freddy Loix remain in striking distance of the title as well.
Fontana holds fourth place overall at the overnight halt after the Proton of Guy Wilks suffered a transmission problem at the start of SS9 and picked up a puncture while driving through the stage. Meanwhile both of the Benelux Peugeots of Loix and defending IRC champion Nicolas Vouilloz have joined Meeke in being slowed by punctures. The final IRC points-winning position is also held by a Peugeot driver at the overnight halt, as Solowow chases the top men.

Afbeelding Afbeelding Afbeelding

In the IRC 2WD Cup, Denis Millet has consolidated his early lead to stand 36.8 seconds clear of title rival Fiat Punto S1600 driver Manuel Villa but the end of the first leg, bolstering Peugeot's chances in the manufacturers' standings. Millet drew first blood on SS1, taking the stage by 9.3 seconds from his Italian rival. On SS2 the stage-blocking accident of Fuster ensured that neither driver could post a time, then on SS3 Villa blasted back to take the lead by 1.4 seconds. Millet then went through SS4 a full 16 seconds quicker than Villa, who responded by taking almost 5 seconds out of the Frenchman’s advantage on SS5 and clawing back a further 1.8 seconds on SS6 and then 1.3 seconds on SS7. SS8 was cancelled but on the final stage of the day, SS6, Millet went through a disheartening 20.5 seconds faster than Villa to extend his advantage to more than half a minute.
Six more special stages will form today’s closing day before the surviving crews return to the host city of Oviedo at 16:00 CET.

46th Rally Principe de Asturias - provisional positions at the end of Leg 1:

1 Basso (I) – Abarth - +1hr 40m 15.9s
2 Hevia (E) – Skoda – +8.2s
3 Kopecky (CZ) – Skoda - +10.4s
4 Fontana (I) – Peugeot - +2m 15.3s
5 Vouilloz (F) – Peugeot - +2m 27.3s
6 Loix (B) – Peugeot - +2m 50.0s
7 Meeke (UK) – Peugeot - +3m 2.9s
8 Solowow (PL) – Peugeot - +4m 9.3s
I ragazzi strani che romani!
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Berichtdoor Sportiva-Italia » Ma Sep 14, 2009 14:11

Update 13-09-2009

Abarth kon helaas niet de overwinning pakken, nadat de Abarth van Basso spinde en niet meer in de goede richting kon komen, door een defecte achteruitversnelling en het gebrek aan toeschouwers op dat punt. Hierdoor verloren ze vijf kostbare minuten en zagen ze de overwinning in rook opgaan:

Abarth’s challenge to win the 46th Rally Principe de Asturias evaporated on the second stage of the final leg after Giandomenico Basso spun, and lacking any reverse gear or spectators to help him, the rally leader and his co-driver Mitia Dotta lost more than five minutes as they struggled to manoeuvre the Abarth Grande Punto S2000 back onto the course. It was a bitter blow for the Italian factory team as Basso had started the second leg at the top of the leaderboard after a hard-fought opening day and he had maintained his slender advantage through the first two stages of the day and just four remained when he spun.
It ended any lingering hopes of sealing the Intercontinental Rally Challenge (IRC) title as well as dealing a blow to his chances of securing the FIA European Rally Championship (ERC) crown, as he dropped crucial points into the lap of title rival Michal Solowow, although the damage in this respect was more limited.

Basso had started yesterday’s second and final six-stage leg with an 8.2-second advantage over local hero Alberto Hevia’s private Skoda Fabia S2000 after the opening day’s nine stages that had seen the Peugeot runners plagued by tyre failures. Basso started day two as he had day one, posting second-fastest time on the opening 11.81 km stage of the stage of the day, SS10, and with Hevia, who this weekend was returning to rallying after a year on the sidelines, turning in a relatively slow time, the Skoda of Jan Kopecky moved into second place overall with Basso extending his cushion to 12.1 seconds. On the next test, the 21.37 km-long SS11, the highly experienced Italian again went second-quickest and chipped out his advantage to 12.4 seconds over the factory Skoda driver.
However it all went wrong for Basso of the third stage of the day (SS12, 11.96 km) when he spun and was unable to get the car going again under its own power after the reverse gear refused to engage. With no spectators in that section of the stage to help him, it was down to Basso and co-driver Dotta to lift and push the car out of trouble before strapping in and completing the stage.


It was all the more agonising as the same problem had beset his victory on the 50th Rali Vinho Madeira last month, when the rapid Italian had been forced to drive cautiously and allow local ace Bruno Magalhaes to close up for a sensationally close finish. That time Basso had emerged to win, this time it cost him 7 minutes and 22.6 seconds to the stage winner and plunged him down the leaderboard into eighth place. Basso was soon back in the fray and he had the small consolation of posting the second-quickest time on the penultimate stage of the day (SS14), the second loop of the leg’s opening test, SS10, and then setting the fastest time overall on the final stage of the rally (SS15), which was the second time the crews went through the test where he had his lead-costing spin earlier in the day.
Basso had in fact been carrying the whole Abarth challenge on his shoulders into the final day as his team mate for the event, Miguel Fuster, who had been especially drafted into the factory squad to provide local knowledge and experience (he is a former two-time Spanish Rally Champion and Abarth Grande Punto regular) went out early on Friday’s opening leg. Fuster suffered brake failure on SS2, which ran from Pajonal through Carbayín to La Rasa, and crashed out, blocking the stage which was immediately cancelled. Fuster's departure had left Basso as the only Abarth Grande Punto S2000 in the rally.

There was even more bad news in the IRC 2WD Cup as victory went to championship leader Denis Millet, the Frenchman in the process building his lead over Fiat Punto S1600 pilot Manuel Villa to five points with just two rounds remaining. The two drivers had traded fastest times all through the first leg although after the Italian lost more than 20 seconds on the final stage of the day, meaning that Millet had gone into yesterday’s second leg with a useful 36.8 seconds advantage. Villa worked hard to pull back the time deficit throughout Saturday morning, but an incident at the start of the final loop of three stages cost him precious minutes and ensured that Millet had enough in hand to contain the threat.
Following Basso’s problems it was left to Skoda Motorsport ace Jan Kopecky to complete back-to-back victories on the IRC series trail. The Czech driver ran out the closing stages to complete a solid victory on the Oviedo-based event from the Peugeot 207 S2000s of Nicolas Vouilloz and Kris Meeke.
Fourth and fifth places fell to two more Peugeot drivers – the Benelux entry of Freddy Loix and the privateer car of Corrado Fontana. With Solowow finishing in seventh place, Peugeot claimed five of the eight points-scoring positions to increase its manufacturers’ championship advantage. From Basso’s perspective finishing behind Solowow also cost him precious points in his duel challenge for the ERC title. ERC points are awarded at the end of each leg to the top-three registered runners in the scale of 3-2-1 and with Basso coming out on top on the first day he had chipped two points off Solowow who had gone into the rally as the ERC leader with a 4-point cushion thanks to winning the ERC class on the Barum Czech Rally Zlín last month. However Basso eventually finished behind the Pole yesterday who departed having extended his title advantage very slightly from 4 to 5 points, after he collected 11 points to Basso's 10 points, although there was some consolation that Fontana took the biggest helping of points (15) in the ERC category and thus limited the damage. The next round of the ERC is the Rally ELPA which clashes with the next IRC event, the Rallye Sanremo, and Abarth rally fans will now hope that the Scorpion factory team will release Basso to the private Spanish d’Ambra team, with which he has been contesting non-clashing rounds, as the prestigious European title is still a very realistic prospect.

Yesterday also saw Peugeot raise its manufacturers’ point tally to a total of 109 points and with two rounds remaining the French brand is now out of reach of its rivals. Peugeot has claimed both the drivers' and the manufacturers' titles every year since 2007. Despite increased competition from new cars this year such as the Skoda Fabia S2000 and Proton Satria Neo S2000 - as well as the pace of long-time rival Abarth - the 207 S2000 cars has come out on top once again.

IRC Round 9, 46th Rally Principe de Asturias, Oviedo, Spain – provisional results

1 Kopecky (CZ) – Skoda – 2hrs 41m 51.3s
2 Meeke (UK) – Peugeot - +2m 46.9s
3 Vouilloz (F) – Peugeot - +2m 49.5s*
4 Loix (B) – Peugeot - +2m 58.9s
5 Fontana (I) – Peugeot - +3m 45.0s
6 Hevia (E) – Skoda –+4m 27.2s
7 Solowow (PL) – Peugeot - +5m 58.0s
8 Basso (I) – Abarth – +7m 3.8s

*40s penalty applied for late departure from service

IRC 2WD Cup Round 9, Rally Principe de Asturias, Oviedo, Spain – provisional results

1 Millet (F) – Peugeot – 2hrs 58m 12.7s
2 Villa (I) – Fiat – +7m 26.2
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