Sibiu - IRC news before SS8
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Sibiu Rally leader Mikkelsen to run first on final day
Sibiu Rally leader Andreas Mikkelsen will run first on the road on the final day of Romania’s inaugural Intercontinental Rally Challenge round.
Driving a ŠKODA UK Motorsport Fabia Super 2000, Mikkelsen will tackle the opening Gâtu Berbecului stage – a 28.50-kilometre test – at 11:12hrs local time. He will be followed into the stage three minutes later by ŠKODA Auto Deutschland’s Sepp Wiegand with Munaretto Sport Peugeot 207 Super 2000 driver François Delecour a further three minutes back.
Local hero Valentin Porcisteanu is the leading IRC Production Cup contender in fifth with Harry Hunt the top IRC 2WD Cup runner in 12th.
Saintéloc Racing’s Michaël Burri has been slotted into ninth position in his Peugeot 207 even though he languishes in 22nd in the overall classification after he was delayed by a spate of punctures on Friday. Dan Girtofan, who crashed out on Friday’s second stage, restarts in his ŠKODA Romania-supported Fabia in 11th place.
Kogler suffers early setback in IRC 2WD Cup bid
Michael Kogler hopes of a points finish on his return to IRC 2WD Cup action in Romania suffered an early setback yesterday when he was forced to retire his Renault Clio R3.
Kogler and co-driver Jürgen Heigl were in seventh place in the two-wheel-drive category when they were forced out on the third stage of the event in somewhat bizarre circumstances. Following a jump, the fire extinguisher system in their car was activated, which damaged the electrics to the point that the Austrians were unable to continue.
Hermann Gassner Sr was also an early casualty, stopping midway through the very first stage when the front-right suspension arm on his Ralliart Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X broke. Afterwards, the German driver said: “I am very disappointed, I don’t know how it happened.”
Hunt on course in IRC 2WD Cup
IRC 2WD Cup title leader Harry Hunt is on course for his second consecutive victory in the category on the Sibiu Rally in Romania.
Hunt, from the United Kingdom, overtook Robert Consani’s Renault Clio R3 for the class lead on the final night stage to climb into 10th overall when Consani was delayed by a headlight problem. Hunt’s margin over Consani stands at 52.1s with five stages remaining.
Although Hunt’s choice of car means he won’t be eligible for overall IRC points, a top score in the IRC 2WD Cup would boost his already healthy advantage in the title race over Martin Kangur, who retired on Friday’s final stage following a frustrating day.
The Catwees Honda Racing driver headed the category in ninth place in his Civic Type R only to suffer three deflations on stage four, which forced him to tackle the superspecial with a punctured tyre due to the lack of a spare. He stopped on stage seven when contact with a rock broke his car’s fuel tank. Local driver Vlad Cosma completes the IRC 2WD Cup podium behind Consani.