IRC news before Rally Sibiu (Part 2)

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By Olivier Ferret

19 July 2012 - 13:10
IRC news before Rally Sibiu (Part (...)

Honda challenge expands in Romania

The Honda challenge will expand to three cars on the Sibiu Rally in Romania this week.

In addition to regular driver Martin Kangur, who will be competing in his familiar Catwees Honda Racing Civic Type R alongside co-driver and fellow Estonian Andres Öts, two Romanian crews will also be relying on Honda power on the gravel event, a new addition to the Intercontinental Rally Challenge schedule for 2012.

The two all-Romanian crews areSerban Tomitaand Alexandru Simon andAdrian Grigoreand Marius Paunescu.

All three Honda crews will be chasing points in the IRC 2WD Cup drivers’ and manufacturers’ classifications.

Test key to Arzeno’s Sibiu Rally chances

Rising star Mathieu Arzeno says his Saintéloc Racing team’s pre-Sibiu Rally test will help him to overcome his absence of gravel experience in his Peugeot 207 Super 2000.

Although Arzeno has used his Peugeot on two rounds of the IRC on asphalt, this week’s trip to Romania will mark his first start on a loose-surface event in the car.

“This rally will be our first experience on gravel with a four-wheel-drive car,” said Arzeno. “Unlike the Citroën DS3 R3 [I use on gravel events in France] you have to drive much more aggressively. To boost our confidence we will have a test to prepare and fine-tune our set-up. Even though we’ll be up against the best drivers in the IRC we’re aiming for a podium in the Sibiu Rally.”

Delecour: age no barrier in Sibiu IRC victory bid

Rallying legend François Delecour says age will be no barrier when he launches his audacious bid to win the Sibiu Rally, round eight of the all-action Intercontinental Rally Challenge, which takes place in Romania from 19-21 July.

Delecour, who will drive a Peugeot 207 Super 2000, is making his second start in this year’s IRC having impressed in a Renault Mégane RS on Giru di Corsica-Tour de Corse in May in front of the live Eurosport cameras.

“I have a very good feeling with Romania and all the fans and I am going there to win; that’s the target for sure,” said the 49-year-old Frenchman. “How realistic an objective that is, I don’t know: we will only find out when we get to the stages. But I’ve tried to keep myself in shape and my car is very good as well: it is new and with the 2012 specification.”

Arzeno is the top scorer in Sibiu football match

Mathieu Arzeno was the leading scorer when a team of Intercontinental Rally Challenge drivers took an all-star line-up of ex-professional footballers and other celebrities in a football match in Sibiu last night.

Arzeno’s goals helped the IRC drivers to an 8-8 draw at full time and with the scores level at 15-15 following a penalty shootout, the match was declared a draw by former international referee Aron Huzu.

The IRC team consisted of Arzeno, Michael Burri, Vlad Cosma, Adrian Dragan, Alex Filip (pictured in white taking on all-star player Razvan Simion in black), Michael Kogler and Marco Tempestini.

Crews are currently taking part in shakedown for the Sibiu Rally, round eight of the 13-event IRC season.

IRC winner Al-Attiyah goes for Olympic Gold

Nasser Al-Attiyah, who claimed victory when the Intercontinental Rally Challenge made its first visit to Cyprus in 2010 and challenged for top spot on the event last year, will be in action at the London 2012 Olympics later this month.

Al-Attiyah will represent Qatar in the skeet shooting event from 30-31 July and believes he has a good chance of success.

“There are 36 shooters in the Olympic Games and they are the best shooters in the world,” he said. “We have a good chance because the Olympics are very special, I have a good result before and I always put up a very good fight because there is a lot of reason to do so.”

Despite this being Al-Attiyah’s fifth Olympics, he said his motivation is as high as ever: “In shooting you always you have a fight with a target and you must break the target and never miss one.”

Tough choice for IRC co-driver Ertl

Co-driver Daniela Ertl has revealed her disappointment at having to stand down from her IRC Production Cup campaign with Andreas Aigner.

The Austrians are leading the category after claiming class wins on their two appearances so far this season in a Stohl Racing Subaru Impreza R4 STI. However, a promotion at work has forced Ertl, who competes on an amateur basis only, to hand over co-driving duties to her countrywoman Ilka Minor for this week’s Sibiu Rally in Romania.

“I got a surprising career advancement opportunity that I could not refuse,” said Ertl. “With a heavy heart I had to recognise that a comprehensive international rally programme cannot be combined with my profession.”

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