A MAJORS GRAND-SLAM SUCCESS FOR PEUGEOT
IRC : RALLYE SANREMO (9/11) FINAL : September 24th 2011
A ‘MAJORS’ GRAND-SLAM SUCCESS FOR PEUGEOT
The 2011 Intercontinental Rally Challenge calendar features three of rallying’s most famous events, and they have all been won by Peugeot 207 S2000 drivers.
Following Bryan Bouffier’s success on January’s Rallye Monte-Carlo, Thierry Neuville went on to win the Tour de Corse in May, and he was back on the top step of the podium today in Sanremo. Today’s result also hands Peugeot its third straight win on the Italian classic.
A fine achievement from Thierry Neuville
It didn’t take Thierry Neuville and his co-driver Nicolas Gilsoul long to avenge their narrow defeat of a fortnight ago when the Belgian crew’s late comeback failed to clinch victory on Hungary’s Mecsek Rallye by just eight-tenths of a second. The scenario was practically identical this weekend in Italy, but the outcome was reversed, and the Peugeot
Belgium-Luxemburg pair’s reward was a resounding victory.
“It really wasn’t easy,” said Thierry at the finish. “Last night, I dropped something like 15 seconds because of a brake problem. Thankfully, the balance of my Peugeot 207 S2000 was as near to perfect as it could be and I was able to keep up the chase by pushing it to its limits.”
Thierry Neuville and Nicolas Gilsoul were effectively fastest over four of the five stages contested in the course of Leg 2, and this allowed them to gradually bridge the gap that separated them from the lead with one stage remaining. They eventually went on to take the win, 1.5s clear of Andreas Mikkelsen.
Peugeot in the hunt for the 2011 IRC titles
Thierry Neuville’s win promotes him to second place in the provisional IRC Drivers’ standings. “With Bryan Bouffier and Xavier Panseri coming home in third place, Thierry’s victory puts us very much back in the frame for both the Drivers’ and Manufacturers’ titles,” notes Frédéric Bertrand, the manager of Peugeot Sport’s customer competition department. “This is a win to savour. Two weeks ago, in Hungary, and now again today, in Sanremo, Thierry has provided eloquent glimpses of his maturity – despite being only 23-years old – and his ability to push back his personal limits in his quest for victory. Peugeot set itself the objective of winning the year’s three ‘prestige’ fixtures on the IRC calendar and, thanks to Thierry here and Bryan, we have succeeded in clinching a nice ‘grand slam’ today. On top of that, the results of the other Peugeot 207 S2000s put us back in the hunt for the two crowns with two rounds remaining if we can repeat this sort of performance. There is still every reason to keep up the pressure.”
Bryan Bouffier on the podium
Thierry Neuville wasn’t the only Peugeot front-runner this weekend. Of the seven 207 S2000s that reached the finish, five figured inside the top-eight. For much of the rally, the battle for victory involved four men, namely Skoda drivers Freddy Loix and Andreas Mikkelsen, plus Peugeot’s Thierry Neuville and Bryan Bouffier, who eventually bagged third place along with his co-driver Xavier Panseri. “I am pleased with my weekend and with my car,” reported the Peugeot France driver. “I wasn’t quite able to join in the fight for first place during the second part of the rally.”
Meanwhile, Bruno Magalhaès and Paulo Grave finished in fifth place to collect their best result of the
year in the IRC.
“I felt at home here from start to finish,” said the Peugeot Portugal driver. “I only made one mistake, and that was my set-up for Saturday morning’s stages. That dropped me out of contention for a possible fourth place.”
Italy’s Alessandro Perico and Fabrizio Carrara brought their 207 S2000 home in sixth place, while
Pierre Campana and Sabrina de Castelli were eighth.
Final result IRC / Sanremo
- Thierry NEUVILLE – Nicolas GILSOUL Peugeot 207 S2000 2h19'57''8
- Andreas MIKKELSEN – Ola FLOENE Skoda Fabia S2000 +1’’5
- Bryan BOUFFIER – Xavier PANSERI Peugeot 207 S2000 +16’’0
- Jan KOPECKY – Petr STARY Skoda Fabia S2000 +1’09’’1
- Bruno MAGALHAES – Paulo GRAVE Peugeot 207 S2000 +1’26’’0
- Alessandro PERICO – F CARRARA Peugeot 207 S2000 +3’47’’8
- Umberto SCANDOLA – Guido D’AMORE Ford Fiesta S2000 +4’05’’9
- Pierre CAMPANA – Sabrina De Castelli Peugeot 207 S2000 +4’28’’0
- Toni GARDEMEISTER – Tapio SUOMINEN Skoda Fabia S2000 +5’24’’1
- Giandomenico BASSO – Mitia DOTTA Proton Satria Neo S2000 +7’26’’9
- Jan KOPECKY 128
- Thierry NEUVILLE 103
- Freddy LOIX 103
- Juho HANNINEN 98
- Bryan BOUFFIER 88
- Andreas MIKKELSEN 74
- Guy WILKS 47
- Toni GARDEMEISTER 35
- Bruno Magalhaès 26
- Hans WEIJS 18
- Skoda 285
- Peugeot 223
Next IRC round : Scotland from October 7th-9th 2011
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