Canarias - After SS12: Kopecky still charging in Gran Canaria

Kopecký isn’t about to give up on chasing his second victory


By Franck Drui

17 March 2012 - 13:20
Canarias - After SS12: Kopecky (...)

After SS10: Mikkelsen fastest, Gassner Jr crashes

Andreas Mikkelsen has shot back into the lead of Rally Islas Canarias El Corte Inglés by winning Saturday’s first test, the 13.28-kilometre Maspalomas stage.

The reigning Intercontinental Rally Challenge champion was 3.1s quicker than overnight leader Jan Kopecký, also in a ŠKODA Fabia Super 2000, to move 1.9s ahead in the overall classification.

“It was a good push, on the limit sometimes, it’s a good fight,” said Mikkelsen.

Kopecký said: “I have to say it was quite quick. In the recce I said it would be a fast stage but it was actually more quick than I thought.”

While Luis Monzón completed the stage without issue with the third fastest time in his Peugeot 207 S2000, Hermann Gassner Jr was less fortunate, crashing his Red Bull Team Fabia and inflicting substantial damage to the left-rear corner.

Fellow German Sepp Wiegand, who was running behind Gassner Jr on the road, said: “I think he went off, there was left-rear damage and he’s out. I’m really sorry because it was a nice fight and we are fighting together. He’s okay, he stands out of the car.”

Maspalomas is an all-new stage for 2012 and is described as been fast and flowing with a big drop in one section.

Optimistic pacenote caused Gassner Jr crash, says boss

Hermann Gassner Jr’s team boss Raimund Baumschlager believes an over optimistic pacenote caused the Red Bull-backed star to crash out of Rally Islas Canarias El Corte Inglés this morning.

Gassner Jr, who is co-driven by fellow German Klaus Wicha, was in fourth overall on the Intercontinental Rally Challenge event when he crashed nearing the end of the of the all-new Maspalomas stage.

“It was not so much that he was overdriving, more that he was a bit optimistic with his pacenotes,” said Baumschlager. “It was a right-hander and he was too fast because of the pacenote, hit the barrier with the left side and then some concrete. The crew is okay but we are not sure about the car.”

Asked whether Gassner Jr should have settled for fourth place rather than pushing to catch Luis Monzón in third, Baumschlager said: “This is what we expect, he has to fight and show his speed against the big boys. To be on the top you need to be on the maximum and it’s easy to make mistakes.”

Gassner Jr will be back in IRC action on May’s Tour de Corse.

After SS11: Monzon on course to be top Spaniard

Luis Mónzon remains on course to be the top Spanish finisher on Rally Islas Canarias El Corte Inglés by completing stage 11, San Bartolome de Tirajana, with the third fastest time in his Peugeot 207 Super 2000.

Mónzon’s performance means he maintains third position in the overall standings, two places ahead of countryman Jonathan Perez in another 207. Perez was sixth fastest on the stage, 1.8s quicker than Ukrainian driver Oleksandr Saliuk.

Out front, Andreas Mikkelsen has extended his overall advantage ahead of Jan Kopecký to 4.3s in the battle for victory on the Intercontinental Rally Challenge qualifier.

Norwegian Mikkelsen, driving a ŠKODA UK Motorsport Fabia, was 2.4s quicker than factory ŠKODA driver Kopecký through the stage, which is being run in an opposite direction to last year along the side of a large valley.

With an abrasive road surface, tyre wear can be a factor on the 21.36-kilometre test, which will be of a concern to crews ahead of the final stage of the morning loop, the 16.12-kilometre Vallesco run.

After SS12: Kopecky still charging in Gran Canaria

Jan Kopecký isn’t about to give up on chasing his second victory on Rally Islas Canarias El Corte Inglés judging by his pace on stage 12, the 16.12-kilometre Vallesco test.

Kopecký, in a ŠKODA Motorsport Fabia Super 2000, was a mere 0.1s slower than event leader and defending Intercontinental Rally Challenge champion Andreas Mikkelsen through the high-speed stage.

It means Mikkelsen’s lead, in his ŠKODA UK Motorsport Fabia, is just 4.4s heading to the service halt in Las Palmas.

Luis Mónzon set the third fastest time in his Peugeot 207 S2000 with Sepp Wiegand fourth quickest and Jonathan Perez fifth.

Oleksandr Saliuk continues to impress following his retirement on day one. The Dream Team Ukraine driver has set top six stage times all morning in his M-Sport Ford Fiesta S2000. However, it was a case of mixed fortunes for the squad after Oleksii Tamrazov stopped in the stage in his Fiesta.

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