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By Olivier Ferret

21 July 2012 - 00:21
Sibiu - IRC news after SS7

Delecour targets more progress on IRC return

François Delecour has vowed to fight for second place on the final day of the Sibiu Rally even though he doesn’t want to risk losing out on top points in the Romanian championship.

The 49-year-old French rallying legend is a regular on events in Romania and is currently in third overall on the combined Intercontinental Rally Challenge and national championship event in his Munaretto Sport Peugeot 207 Super 2000, 24.7s behind German youngster Sepp Wiegand.

“I think I can catch Wiegand, so I go for that although I have to think about the Romanian championship,” said Delecour. “Okay, third place is not bad but I can catch Wiegand. Mikkelsen is in another world but I can go a bit faster and improve the car a bit because we are too soft at the rear and I broke the front shocks.”

Asked about the time lost in the dust clouds on stage four, Delecour said: “It was so difficult because even in the first time in the stage I was in the dust of Arzeno then I caught Flodin because he was driving with the puncture, I took him on the left and touched him a bit and lost many seconds. Then the second time it was maximum attack but it was like being in fog and the more you are behind the more time you lose because the dust is coming more and more.”

Despite losing more than one minute in stage four, Delecour said it would have been the wrong decision to cancel the stage: “It’s part of rally when it is like this,” he said.

Wiegand satisfied with overnight Sibiu podium

ŠKODA Auto Deutschland promise Sepp Wiegand says a maiden podium finish in the Intercontinental Rally Challenge would represent the “perfect result” but concedes there’s still a long way to go on the Sibiu Rally.

Wiegand holds a 24.7s advantage over François Delecour, his vastly experienced rival, with five stages remaining.

“For me this result would be the perfect result but I know there is still a long way to go and Delecour will be pushing hard,” said the 21-year-old German. “It has been difficult today with the dust but I am happy with my performance. I want to stay on the podium but now we will have to see how hard he will push tomorrow. It won’t be easy but I will do my best.”

Flodin hopes for dust-free second day in Romania

Patrik Flodin is hoping for a change of fortune on the final day of the Sibiu Rally after a broken wheel and delays getting caught up in plumes of dust wrecked his hopes of victory on the Intercontinental Rally Challenge.

The Hankook Petter Solberg Engineering completed stage one less than four seconds off the overall lead but his problems mean he reached the overnight halt in Sibiu in sixth position, 5m33.2s behind leader Andreas Mikkelsen.

“It’s been a difficult day, not the normal one,” said the Swede, who is competing in an M-Sport Ford Fiesta S2000. “I want to go home and sleep and tomorrow I hope for no dust and I am going to push like hell with the times. It’s just a shame because it’s a very nice rally and is really fun to drive. I really enjoy the car, the team and tyres but it’s really difficult to drive when you have this dust. There was so much dust on the last stage that we had to switch off the lights and we lost the pacenotes for 1.5 kilometres.”

No restart for Arzeno on Sibiu Rally

Mathieu Arzeno won’t restart on the final day of the Sibiu Rally, his Saintéloc Racing team manager Vincent Ducher has confirmed.

Arzeno, a rising star from France, retired five kilometres from the finish of stage two when a connecting bolt in his Peugeot 207 Super 2000’s front-right suspension broke in the punishing conditions.

The 24-year-old Frenchman had hoped to restart on day two but will go no further after subsequent checks discovered a crack in the shock absorber top mounting.

His team-mate, the Swiss driver Michaël Burri, is 18th overall after being delayed by a spate of punctures on his IRC debut and his first appearance in his Peugeot on gravel.

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