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By Olivier Ferret

29 September 2012 - 14:00
Sliven Rally - IRC news before (...)

Turbo glitch slows flying Tempestini in Bulgaria

Marco Tempestini’s chase of his maiden victory in the IRC Production Cup suffered a setback on stage five of the Mabanol Sliven Rally when his Subaru Impreza R4 STI developed a turbo glitch.

The Romanian driver was ahead of category rival Robert Consani after four stages but estimated losing one minute when the turbo problem occurred eight kilometres from the finish of the 15.06-kilometre Bulgarka test.

“The team can fix the problem in service but I can’t get my minute back,” said the frustrated Tempestini, who now trails Consani by 36.7s at service in Sliven.

Consani, meanwhile, has also suffered his fair share of frustrations this morning. The French driver, in a Renault Mégane RS, discovered a deflated left-rear tyre prior to the start of stage three. Although no time was lost making the change, the spare was a hard compound option while all the other tyres on his car are of a medium compound. Consani reported a few handling issues as a result, while co-driver Nicolas Klinger said their car had been down on power throughout the morning.

Slavov can go even faster on rare start

Todor Slavov says the best is yet to come from him despite a rapid start to the Mabanol Sliven Rally.

Slavov, a rising star of Bulgarian rallying, is contesting only his second event of 2012 due to a lack of funds. After five stages he leads the IRC 2WD Cup ahead of Menya Krózser by 42.6s in a hugely impressive third overall.

“It’s good that I know the stages because I am still not completely confident driving and I know I can go faster,” said Slavov, who is piloting a Renault Clio R3. “The times are good but they can be faster when I am more free in the car. We had some small electrical problem on stage two when the engine stopped twice but really everything has been fine.”

Avci bidding for time gain in Bulgaria

Yağiz Avci says he can up his pace on the Mabanol Sliven Rally providing he commits to his pacenotes.

The Prime Yalta Rally winner is fourth overall after five stages in his Castrol Ford Team Türkiye M-Sport Fiesta S2000 on what is a rare start on asphalt for the reigning Turkish champion.

“It’s quite difficult because this is my first time here, the pacenotes are not as I want them to be and other drivers are very experienced,” said Avci, currently 10th overall in the Intercontinental Rally Challenge drivers’ standings. “But I try to improve my pace by trusting more my pacenotes when we do the stages again this afternoon. The car is fine, and I am happy with my performance give my experience when compared to the others."

Avci, who is running a rebuilt engine in his Fiesta, picked up a 20-second penalty after a miscalculation meant he arrived two minutes late at the start of stage five.

Heroic Hunt back in action

Harry Hunt is back in action on the Mabanol Sliven Rally despite fears he would be forced to retire from the Intercontinental Rally Challenge qualifier when he got stranded off the road on stage four.

Hunt and co-driver Robbie Durant were beached on a right-hand bend approximately five kilometres into the 19.95-kilometre Stara Reka test after sliding wide on the second-gear corner when they touched a patch of gravel. But following considerable delay they managed to continue after jacking the car onto some rocks and reversing back onto the road.

“I had gravel marked in my pacenotes but the degree of gravel should have been higher,” said the Briton, IRC 2WD Cup champion in 2010. “It was really frustrating because we were stuck on some grass and couldn’t go anywhere. The car is fine but we’ve dropped way back. The annoying this is we weren’t even taking any risks.”

Stratieva hoping car fix will improve speed on home rally

Ekaterina Stratieva is hoping her team can identify the handling issue that has affected her pursuit of rapid stage times in the IRC 2WD Cup on the Mabanol Sliven Rally this morning.

Stratieva, Bulgaria’s leading female rally driver, is in sixth position in the two-wheel-drive category after five stages but suggested she could have gone faster alongside Romanian co-driver Carmen Poenaru had it not been for the problem occurring in the middle of stage two.

“On all the left corners the car is not right and I don’t know why,” said Stratieva. “I did not hit anything but the car alters the direction very hard like there is a puncture or something. We check the car now and hopefully we can be faster.”

Donchev vows to hit back from costly puncture

Krum Donchev has vowed to hit back from the puncture that has dropped him out of a podium place on the Mabanol Sliven Rally, round 11 of the all-action Intercontinental Rally Challenge.

Donchev, from Bulgaria, was in third overall starting stage five, the 15.06-kilometre Bulgarka test, when he picked up a deflation two kilometres from the start of the run.

He said: “There were some small stones under the trees and I did not see them. We got a front-right puncture and we had to stop to replace the wheel. Yes it’s disappointing but this is the sport. Now we will be pushing this afternoon.”

The Globul Rally Team Peugeot 207 Super 2000 driver is a four-time winner in Sliven.

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