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IRC: Basso flies to Sanremo glory

14 October 2012

Giandomenico Basso has followed in the wheel tracks of rallying legend Colin McRae by winning Rallye Sanremo for a second time, as his sixth victory in the Intercontinental Rally Challenge followed a dominant performance on the asphalt event at the wheel of an M-Sport Ford Fiesta RRC.

Basso, who led from start to finish, was all but assured of top spot when he won the gruelling 44-kilometre Ronde night stage on Friday. It was one of five fastest stage times the Italian recorded during the two-day rally in the Liguria region and enabled him to build an interim advantage of 25.6secs. He secured first place by completing the final stage, shown live on RAI Sport on Saturday afternoon, with a margin of 35.7secs over Jan Kopecký.

“I am very happy to be winning here because Sanremo is a fantastic event," Basso said at the finish, "But it's not just winning here that's important, it's winning here in Sanremo as part of the IRC, a very esteemed series that I have a lot of affection for. It might have looked easy from the outside but no win is easy. I was able to make the difference on Ronde and after that I controlled my advantage to the finish.”

Czech Kopecký finished second in his Fabia Super 2000 to secure a third IRC manufacturers' title for Škoda on the back of four stage wins, and moves ahead of team-mate Juho Hänninen in the drivers' standings after the Finn crashed out on Ronde.

“We have won a valuable hat-trick of IRC titles and made a historic achievement with the Škoda Fabia Super 2000 by becoming the most successful brand of the IRC," motorsport head Michal Hrabánek said, "This is indeed the best reward for all the team members in return for the top-class work they have been putting in throughout this successful period. The end of this season is still ahead of us, though, and our ambition is to win also the drivers' title.”

Alessandro Perico bagged his maiden IRC podium in third in the leading Peugeot 207 S2000. Federico Gasperetti was the fastest IRC Production Cup contender on all ten stages to win with ease in his Renault Mégane RS. Meanwhile, Simone Campedelli clinched his second IRC 2WD Cup victory of 2012.

Behind Perico, Stefano Albertini took a fine fourth in his similar Peugeot having feared he might be forced out when his car would not restart at the midday regroup. Paolo Andreucci clinched his seventh Italian title in fifth place. With title rival Umberto Scandola hitting trouble on Friday's opening test, Andreucci adopted a cautious approach in his Peugeot Italia entry to take the crown. Škoda driver Scandola restarted on day two, but stopped with a mechanical problem after three stages.

Craig Breen, competing in Italy for the first time since his former co-driver Gareth Roberts lost his life in an accident on Targa Florio-Rally Internazionale di Sicilia in mid-June, was battling Stefano Albertini for fourth overall when he picked up a front-left puncture approximately four kilometres into the 20.73-kilometre Colle d'Oggia run on Saturday morning. He eventually finished sixth in his Saintéloc Racing Peugeot, a performance that earned him the prestigious Colin McRae IRC Flat Out Trophy.

Frigyes Turán was seventh for Petter Solberg Engineering despite an engine overheating issue. Simone Campedelli won the IRC 2WD Cup in eighth place although because his Citroën DS3 R3T is not eligible for overall points, Pierre Campana took eighth-place points following his fight back from the broken rear differential on the Ronde stage that dropped him firmly out of contention.

Harry Hunt was an impressive 14th overall on his first appearance in the IRC in a Kronos Racing Peugeot. The former IRC 2WD Cup champion lost ground with two punctures but still managed to set some rapid stage times alongside stand-in co-driver Dale Moscatt.

Gasperetti claimed his first victory in the IRC Production Cup in style by setting the pace in the category on all ten stages at the wheel of a Renault Mégane RS. However, while Gasperetti celebrated, Consani was left to reflect on what might have been after he dropped out of second place on Sunday morning when a spin left his Mégane with a broken rear axle. He tried to continue but following another rotation the Frenchman was forced to stop for good. Hungarian Miklós Bujdos finished second with Marco Cavigioli third. Dream Team Ukraine's Vitaliy Pushkar overtook Subaru Impreza R4 STI driver Johan Heloïse for fourth on the final stage.

Campedelli made it two wins from two starts in this season's IRC 2WD Cup, despite requiring a course of physiotherapy and a dose of painkillers due to a shoulder injury. Roberto Vescovi was second in a Renault Clio R3 with IRC Production Cup winner Federico Gasperetti third. Rudy Michelini took fourth with Peugeot driver Danilo Ameglio in fifth. Hannes Danzinger was a fine sixth on his first rally outside of his native Austria after he secured sponsorship from a sausage company to take part in a Clio R3, which he was driving in competition for the first time. French ace Bryan Bouffier gave Peugeot's 208 R2 a strong debut by topping the R2 division. Elwis Chentre was ninth in a Škoda Fabia R2.

Rallye Sanremo - Top ten IRC positions

1. Giandomenico Basso/Mitia Dotta M-Sport Ford Fiesta RRC 2h19m03.6s
2. Jan Kopecký/Pavel Dresler Škoda Fabia S2000 +35.7s
3. Alessandro Perico/Fabrizio Carrara Peugeot 207 S2000 +2m13.7s
4. Stefano Albertini/Simone Scattolin Peugeot 207 S2000 +3m08.3s
5. Paolo Andreucci/Anna Andreussi Peugeot 207 S2000 +3m55.5s
6. Craig Breen/Paul Nagle Peugeot 207 S2000 +5m00.2s
7. Frigyes Turán/Gábor Zsiros M-Sport Ford Fiesta S2000 +6m50.8s
8. Pierre Campana/Sabrina de Castelli Peugeot 207 S2000 +8m07.0s
9. Roberto Vescovi/Giancarla Guzzi Renault Clio R3 +8m18.9s
10. Federico Gasperetti/Federico Ferrari Renault Mégane RS +8m33.5s

IRC Production Cup: Federico Gasperetti/Federico Ferrari (Renault Mégane RS)
IRC 2WD Cup: Simone Campedelli/Danilo Fappani (Citroën DS3 R3T)

IRC standings (after round 12 of 13) - Top ten*

1. Andreas Mikkelsen 136pts
2. Jan Kopecký 101pts
3. Juho Hänninen 93pts
4. Giandomenico Basso 65pts
5. Sepp Wiegand 53pts
6. Yağiz Avci 35pts
7. Robert Consani 32pts
8. Patrik Flodin 28pts
9. Bryan Bouffier 27pts
= Umberto Scandola 27pts

* - best eight rounds to count

IRC Manufacturers standings (after round 12 of 13)

1. Škoda 325pts
2. Peugeot 217pts
3. M-Sport Ford 174pts
4. Renault 126pts
5. Subaru 110pts
6. Honda 51pts


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