IRC news in brief after Day 2

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By Olivier Ferret

25 February 2012 - 10:49
IRC news in brief after Day 2

Saliuk to play safe on final day in Açores

Oleksandr Saliuk’s navigator Pavel Cherepin says his driver has no intention of trying to snatch fifth place from Ricardo Moura on the final day of SATA Rallye Açores.

Moura is almost 1m50s clear of the Dream Team Ukraine driver heading into Saturday’s closing five stages. But with Saliuk enjoying better performance from his M-Sport Ford Fiesta S2000 compared to Moura’s lower-specification Ralliart Mitsubishi Lancer, Saliuk could conceivably catch the multiple Azorean rally champion with a strong showing.

However, Cherepin insists a finish is the sole priority for Saliuk on the opening event of the new Intercontinental Rally Challenge season.

“We have a plan to get experience and to do that we need to get to the finish,” said Cherepin. “This is only our second day in this car. We are not interested to try to catch Moura.”

A finish for Saliuk would make up for Dream Team Ukraine’s disappointment on Friday when its other driver, Oleksiy Tamrazov (pictured) crashed out in his similar Fiesta S2000.

Magalhaes recalls high-speed crash

Bruno Magalhães believes the wet conditions caused the accident that wrecked his hopes of a podium finish on SATA Rallye Açores on Friday.

The multiple Portuguese champion was in a close battle with Bryan Bouffier – in a similar Peugeot 207 Super 2000 – for third place when he crashed out on stage six.

He said: “It was a very fast sixth-gear right-hander. Every time I have taken that corner in the past I have been flat. I did the same thing this time, but this time there was some water. The left rear hit a rock and we rolled over several times. I’m very disappointed.”

Magalhães had hoped to restart the Intercontinental Rally Challenge season-opener on Saturday but a lack of spare parts meant it was impossible for his Delta Rally team to prepare his wrecked machine.

IRC aces chase Colin McRae award

The first Colin McRae IRC Flat Out Trophy of the 2012 season will be awarded following the finish of SATA Rallye Açores later today (Saturday).

Handed to the driver whose performance best embodies the spirit of the rallying legend, the award has become extremely popular amongst the Intercontinental Rally Challenge regulars since it was first presented on SATA Rallye Açores two seasons ago.

Colin’s father Jim, the IRC’s Motorsport Development Manager Jean-Pierre Nicolas, and Gilbert Roy, the Director of Editorial and Programme Development for Eurosport Events, will spend today finalising their nomination for the prestigious accolade with the winner announced at the post-event press conference in Ponta Delgada this evening.

Wiegand to open the road on final day

Fifth-placed Sepp Wiegand will once again head the field on the final day of SATA Rallye Açores, the opening event of the 2012 Intercontinental Rally Challenge season.

With the top five overall positions reversed to form the running order for day three, the German rookie will run first on the road over Saturday’s closing five stages in the ŠKODA Auto Deutschland Fabia Super 2000 he shares with co-driver Timo Gottschalk.

The young star’s countryman Hermann Gassner Jr will go next in his Red Bull-backed Fabia after he demoted Wiegand to fifth on Friday’s final test.

Bryan Bouffier, in a Peugeot 207 S2000, is next up with Juho Hänninen fourth on the road and Andreas Mikkelsen, the event leader, fifth for ŠKODA UK.

Saturday’s route consists of two runs over the Graminhais (19.60 kilometres) and Tronqueira (22.02 kilometres) stages with a single visit to the popular Grupo Marques superspecial, which is purpose-built in a quarry.

The first stage starts at 09:56hrs local time with the first car due to cross the finishing podium on Ponta Delgada at 17:30hrs.

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