Video Courtesy : Best-of-Rally Live! powered by Michelin
Peugeot wore a huge grin on its face (if it could) after having won three of the most famous events in the Intercontinental Rally Challenge calendar this year. Thierry Neuville driving the Peugeot 207 S2000 with co-driver Nicolas Gilsoul took the win on September 24th, 2011 after having been through the 13 grueling stages of Rallye Sanremo which included the 44km Ronde stage that is run at night. The win ensured Peugeot’s capture of the IRC’s trio of classic events, Rallye Monte-Carlo, Tour de Corse and now Rallye Sanremo.
The prestigious Colin McRae IRC Flat Out Trophy was awarded to Loix Freddy in a Skoda Fabia S2000. Florian Gonon won the IRC Production Cup in his Subaru Impreza with Davide Medici taking IRC 2WD Cup honours for the first time.
Peugeot’s Bryan Bouffier’s won the January’s Rallye Monte-Carlo and in May the Tour de Corse in May was won by Thierry Neuville.
“It really wasn’t easy,” said Thierry at the finish. “Last night, I dropped something like 15 seconds because of a brake problem. Thankfully, the balance of my Peugeot 207 S2000 was as near to perfect as it could be and I was able to keep up the chase by pushing it to its limits.”
Thierry Neuville and Nicolas Gilsoul were effectively fastest over four of the five stages contested in the course of Leg 2, and this allowed them to gradually bridge the gap that separated them from the lead with one stage remaining. They eventually went on to take the win, 1.5s clear of Andreas Mikkelsen who was driving the Skoda Fabia S2000 with Floene Ola.
More on Rallye Sanremo
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.
The Ronde stage, a 44-kilometre ultimate test of car and crew, 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 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.
About the IRC
Created in 2007, the Intercontinental Rally Challenge is an international rally series authorised by
the FIA and promoted by Eurosport Events. Now in its fifth season, the series is designed to bring rallying to a larger audience through a unique television, internet and mobile package.
The 2011 IRC season features 11 rounds comprising a mix of well-established events and exciting new rallies. This season includes three new additions to the calendar and visits to previously unchartered territories: France, Ukraine and Hungary. Eight rounds take place on asphalt, two on gravel and one on a combination of the two surfaces. The IRC is designed not only to showcase these unique events through the use of innovative LIVE television coverage, but also to provide manufacturers with an accessible promotional platform for customer competition.
Professional drivers up and coming talents, amateurs and privateers participate in the Intercontinental Rally Challenge titles, in the main IRC category, the IRC 2WD Cup and the new-for-2011 IRC Production Cup. The IRC in partnership with Colin McRae Vision, the charity established in memory of the rally legend will present the Colin McRae IRC Flat Out Trophy to the driver whose performance best embodies the spirit of the rallying legend. Colin McRae Vision will support initiatives and other good causes close to IRC events.
More pictures from the event. Head to http://www.ircseries.com/ for more.