Aabrth's gevecht om de IRC titel vervaagt in Sanremo
De Abarth Grande Punto's hebben zoals bekend moeite om met name de Peugeot's van zich af te houden, maar met de nieuwe verbrede Abarth Grande Punto's kon het Abarth team weer lichtjes inlopen.
Helaas sloeg het noodlot toe in de 52e Sanremo rally: Basso had kans om de overwinning te pakken, maar differentieel problemen gooiden roet in het eten, terwijl teamgenoot Rossetti door een lekke band het stokje nie tkon overnemen. De Peugeot's en Skoda's waren te sterk en die waren ook de winnaars, terwijl het Abarth team genoegen moest nemen met een 5e en 6e plaats. Hierdoor wordt het erg moeilijkhet IRC kampioenschap te winnen. Peugeot staat vijf punten hoger dan Abarth in het merken kampioenschap. Bij de rijders is Andreucci (Peugeot) de koploper met 50 punten, gevolgd door Rossetti met 45 punten:
There was real agony for Giandomenico Basso during the closing stages of the 52nd Rallye Sanremo today as differential problems ended his chances of victory while his Scorpion team mate Luca Rossetti slipped down the order with a puncture on the penultimate stage.
While Basso, the overnight leader, wasn't able to repeat his win of 2008, instead it was left to Paolo Andreucci to claim victory on the prestigious rally which took place on the testing mountain roads of northern Italy’s Imperia province on Friday and Saturday. Driving a Peugeot Italia-backed 207 Super 2000, the 45-year-old took a lead he would never relinquish on Saturday’s opening stage. Basso, at the wheel of his factory Abarth Grande Punto, had lost his overnight lead on the first stage of today with an incorrect tyre choice but he put Andreucci under intense pressure all day and began the final loop of three stages just 0.9s behind his countryman and Italian Rally Championship (CIR) rival. However, a differential fault on stage 10 dropped Basso to an eventual seventh place and allowed Andreucci to cruise home in first place. The result also enabled Andreucci to strengthen his grip on the CIR.
After Luca Rossetti, in the second works Abarth Grande Punto S2000, lost time with a slow front-right puncture on the penultimate stage and fell to fifth overall, Juho Hänninen, chasing Intercontinental Rally Challenge (IRC) points, inherited second place in his Škoda Motorsport Fabia S2000. It was the ninth time this season that the 29-year-old Finn had finished on the podium although the result wasn’t quite enough for Hänninen to be crowned the 2010 IRC drivers’ champion. Rossetti however was still able to finish second in the CIR points and limit the damage: he is now 5 points behind Andreucci. Abarth also suffered, it came into the rally leading the CIR manufacturers' points standings and departed with a 5 point deficit to Peugeot.
Of the other two Abarth Grande Punto S2000s in the rally, Renato Travaglia, on his return to the Scorpion brand, was 11th in his Island Motorsport run car (also a new wide body version), 3 minutes and 11.8 seconds adrift of the winner, while Manuel Villa was 24th in his private entry. Two places behind Villa, Andrea Nucita was the clear winner of the Trofeo Abarth 500 at the wheel of his Abarth 500 R3T.
With two IRC events left in Scotland and Cyprus, Hänninen’s Škoda team-mate Jan Kopecký can still theoretically snatch the crown if he wins the last two rallies and Hänninen doesn’t finish second in either of them under the dropped-score system. However, Škoda’s plans for the remaining two rounds of the series have yet to be finalised.
Hänninen’s drive to second place meant he was chosen as the latest recipient of the Colin McRae IRC Flat Out Trophy by a judging panel consisting of Colin’s father Jim McRae, Eurosport’s Gilbert Roy and Jean-Pierre Nicolas, the IRC’s Motorsport Development Manager. They agreed Hänninen’s spectacular performance, which included two outright stage victories, had best embodied the spirit of the rallying legend, who was victorious in Sanremo on two occasions during his career. Peugeot UK’s Kris Meeke, the outgoing IRC champion and last year’s Sanremo winner, thought he’d done enough for third place only for Freddy Loix, in the third factory Fabia, to beat his time on the final stage and take third place by 4.2 seconds. Bryan Bouffier dropped out of fifth place when he picked up a front-left puncture on stage eight and lost more than three minutes after initially attempting to drive through the test with the flat tyre before stopping to change. He eventually made it home in 12th.
Guy Wilks started day two in 12th overall after losing time on Friday’s final test by selecting a wet weather tyre in the mistaken belief that the road would be damper than it was. However, the Škoda UK Motorsport driver’s challenge ended after seven kilometres of Saturday’s first stage when he slid into a low wall and damaged the left-rear corner of his Fabia S2000 to the extent he was unable to continue. Behind the unfortunate Basso, Thierry Neuville landed the final IRC drivers’ point in his Team Peugeot Belgium-Luxembourg 207 following a mature drive, which culminated in him demoting Italian veteran Gianfranco Cunico on the final stage. Cunico won in Sanremo in 1993 and admitted he is still acclimatising to his 207, which he was using for a second time. Peugeot Sport Portugal’s Bruno Magalhães completed the top 10 on his return to the IRC after missing the last round in Czech Republic. With limited experience of the various tyre compounds available to him, it was a strong performance by the 30-year-old. Local hero Sandro Sottile won the IRC 2WD Cup in his Honda Civic Type-R, while Briton Harry Hunt bagged his second points of the season in seventh place in his Fiesta R2.
52nd Rallye Sanremo, Final Classification: 1. Andreucci-Andreussi (Peugeot 207 S2000) in 2 hr 35’32”5; 2. Hanninen-Markkula (Skoda Fabia S2000) + 4”4; 3. Loix-Miclotte (Skoda Fabia S2000) + 34”1; 4. Meeke-Nagle (Peugeot 207 S2000) + 38”3; 5. Rossetti-Chiarcossi (Abarth Grande Punto S2000) + 1’21”0; 6. Kopecky-Stary (Skoda Fabia S2000) + 1’59”9; 6. Basso-Dotta (Abarth Grande Punto S2000) + 2’17”9.
Italian Rally Championship, Drivers' (after 6 rounds): 1. Andreucci (Peugeot) 50; 2. Rossetti (Abarth) 45; 3. Basso (Abarth) 34; 4. Kopecky (Skoda) 30; 5. Travaglia (Abarth e Peugeot) 21.
Italian Rally Championship, Manufacturers' (after 6 rounds): 1. Peugeot 77; 2. Abarth 72; 3. Skoda 39; 4. Ford 16.
Trofeo Abarth 500 Rally Selenia, Overall: 1. Vescovi 50; 2. Costenaro 38; 3. Nucita 34; 4. Maurino 25; 4. 5. Defilippi 20; 6. Vergnano 18; 7. Cinotto 14; 8. Bertelli 2; Under 25: 1. Costenaro 46; 2. Nucita 40; 3. Cinotto e Defilippi 24; 5. Bertelli 4; Under 23: 1. Costenaro 46; 2. Nucita 40; 3. Defilippi 24; 4. Bertelli 5.
Nieuws, uitslagen e.d. m.b.t. rally's.
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