SS1: Baumschlager in trouble as Kopecký flies

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By Olivier Ferret

4 January 2013 - 09:13
SS1: Baumschlager in trouble as (...)

Raimund Baumschlager’s bid to win the International Jännerrallye for a fourth time has got off to a troubled start.

The 10-time Austrian champion was almost one minute slower than opening stage winner and fellow ŠKODA Fabia Super 2000 driver Jan Kopecký, who won in Austria last season.

Baumschlager opted for a narrow studded tyre for the 18.99-kilometre Pierbach stage, which was largely wet with only a scattering of ice. The BRR team boss made the choice in anticipation for the extensive build up of ice on stages two and three of the FIA European Rally Championship counter.

“We lose too much time, it was definitely the wrong tyre choice,” said Baumschlager, who is 57.2s behind Kopecký in the overall classification.

Frenchman Bryan Bouffier was 4.7s down on Kopecký in a Peugeot 207 with multiple Czech champion Václav Pech (MINI John Cooper Works S2000) currently next up. “I’m happy to be at the end of the stage, it was tricky for sure,” said Bouffier. “It’s not easy to see the ice and the ice doesn’t have good grip.”

Pech, meanwhile, said his car’s set-up was too soft for the conditions. He was 12.6s slower than Kopecký.

French rallying legend François Delecour, driving a Peugeot for Kronos Racing, chose the wide tyre but experienced a loss of studs during the stage and dropped 21.9s to Kopecký.

ERC Production Car Cup contender Beppo Harrach also selected the narrow option tyre and admitted it had been a mistake. He was 1m11.4s off the leading pace in his Group N Mitsubishi Lancer. Last year’s ERC runner-up Michal Sołowow reported a number of muddy corners in his Peugeot.

Stage two, Libernau, was half wet and half ice at 07:30hrs this morning. The 10.22-kilometre test starts at 10:10hrs.

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