SS1: Wiegand fastest on San Marino opener

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By Olivier Ferret

6 July 2012 - 11:50
SS1: Wiegand fastest on San Marino (...)

Sepp Wiegand has claimed his first fastest stage time in the Intercontinental Rally Challenge by winning the opening stage of Rally San Marino.

The 21-year-old German rising star was 7.5s faster than IRC champion Andreas Mikkelsen on the 19.33-kilometre Sestino test, which started 13 minutes behind schedule.

“It was really slippery but I’m really happy,” said Wiegand. “It was not too much risk, just normal driving and I think I can go faster next time round.”

Umberto Scandola was second fastest despite reporting a possible fuel contamination problem in his ŠKODA Italia entry.

Andreas Mikkelsen said he adopted a cautious approach in his ŠKODA UK Motorsport Fabia after clocking the third fastest time. “It was one of the most difficult gravel stages I am doing, so narrow and twisty,” said the Norwegian. “I was afraid of hitting things so I took it steady.”

Giandomenico Basso spun twice in his M-Sport Ford Fiesta RRC and was 8.6s slower than Mikkelsen as a result. “It was very difficult and very slippery,” said the Italian.

Petter Solberg Engineering’s Patrik Flodin was late starting the stage and received a 40-second penalty as a result. He then lost time stuck behind Germain Bonnefis, who was stranded in the middle of the road for several minutes when his Peugeot 207 Super 2000 suffered a fuel pressure issue.

The Swede’s recovery was then delayed when he got caught up in dust clouds created by Juha Salo’s Fiesta. All drivers finished the stage but suffered considerable delay.

Meanwhile, Hungarian János Puskádi reported overshooting a junction and having to reverse in his Eurosol Racing Team Fabia.

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