IRC news before Rally Sibiu (Part 4)

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By Olivier Ferret

20 July 2012 - 09:52
IRC news before Rally Sibiu (Part (...)

Mikkelsen to start first on day one in Sibiu

Andreas Mikkelsen will start first on the road on the opening day of the Sibiu Rally in Romania, round eight of the Intercontinental Rally Challenge.

The defending IRC champion is one of 57 drivers contesting the gravel event, which consists of 12 stages over a competitive distance of 200.20 kilometres.

Mikkelsen will head out to the opening stage, Dobârca 1, at 13:30hrs local time in the ŠKODA UK Motorsport Fabia Super 2000 he shares with co-driver Ola Fløene, followed two minutes later by Sepp Wiegand and Timo Gottschalk’s similar ŠKODA Auto Deutschland entry.

Saintéloc Racing’s Mathieu Arzeno is the leading Peugeot 207 Super 2000 runner in third with Patrik Flodin fourth on the road in his Hankook Petter Solberg Engineering M-Sport Ford Fiesta S2000.

French rallying legend François Delecour starts fifth in his Visit Romania-backed Peugeot with leading Romanian driver Marco Tempestini sixth on his competitive debut in a ŠKODA Fabia.

IRC Production Cup leader Andreas Aigner is seventh on the road in his Stohl Racing Subaru Impreza R4 STI. Swiss Michaël Burri, making his IRC debut, goes eighth in the second Saintéloc Peugeot. Valentin Porcisteanu starts ninth with Hungarian Gergo Szabó completing the top 10 in his Eurosol Racing-run Fabia.

Harry Hunt is the leading IRC 2WD Cup starter in 19th followed by category rivals Martin Kangur (Honda Civic Type R) and Robert Consani (Renault Clio R3).

All 57 starters will run in two-minute intervals.

Monster truck fun for IRC rising star Wiegand

Sepp Wiegand sampled power of a different kind when he climbed aboard a Ghe-O Motors monster truck during a break from shakedown for the Sibiu Rally yesterday.

The Romanian manufacturer was demonstrating three of its trucks (275, 530 and 630bhp) on a special course close to the Shakedown 2 stage and Wiegand, a frontrunner in the Intercontinental Rally Challenge with ŠKODA Auto Deutschland and a former motocross racer, was happy to accept the invitation of a high-speed passenger ride.

Saintéloc Racing duo Mathieu Arzeno and Michaël Burri and ŠKODA Romania’s Dan Girtofan also took part in the promotional event.

IRC champion Mikkelsen wary of Delecour threat

Andreas Mikkelsen has identified French rallying legend François Delecour as one of his key rivals for victory on the Sibiu Rally, which begins with the opening 7.30-kilometre Dobârca stage at 14:31hrs local time today.

Delecour has previous Sibiu Rally experience and Mikkelsen, the defending Intercontinental Rally Challenge champion, says the 49-year-old will be one to watch in his Munaretto Sport-run Peugeot 207 Super 2000.

“There are several good drivers competing here but I see François Delecour has said it’s his aim to win the rally so I will need to push hard to keep him away,” said the ŠKODA UK Motorsport start, the current leader of the IRC standings.

It’s a family affair for the Tempestinis in the IRC

There will be two members of the Tempestini family in action on the Sibiu Rally in Romania this week.

In addition to Intercontinental Rally Challenge regular Marco Tempestini, his 17-year-old son Simone will also be competing on the gravel event in Transylvania.

Tempestini Jr, who started rallying in 2011 in a Dacia Logan, has switched to a Napoca Rally Academy-run Subaru Impreza R4 STI for this season. His father is monitoring his progress closely.

“He’s my son and is not yet 18 years old,” said Tempestini Sr. “He is a very big fan of Andreas [Mikkelsen, the defending IRC champion] and started when he is 14, which is quite close to when Andreas start. He’s really involved in the rally and in the school. Because if he’s good at the school he can drive and if he’s not then he can’t drive!”

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