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ERC: Kopecky leads after Kubica misfortune

Jan Kopecky was once again in overnight charge of an ERC event, after a mechanical issue sidelined Robert Kubica midway through Friday afternoon.
Jan Kopecky continued his seemingly unstoppable run in the FIA European Rally Championship, taking the overnight lead in the Giru di Corsica-Tour de Corse on Friday.

However it's by no means a foregone conclusion and the battle remains wide open, with Peugeot's Bryan Bouffier only three and a half seconds behind Kopecky's SKODA Motorsport Fabia Super 2000 going into the second and final day of the rally on Corsica.

With the demanding asphalt stages around Ajaccio in the south west of the island dominating the action on Saturday, there's still very much all to play for and Kopecky knows all too well that anything could yet happen to derail his perfect run so far in the 2013 ERC season.

“It's been an exciting battle but it's not over yet and there's still a long way to go,” said Kopecky.

Bouffier meanwhile admitted that he'd had no answer for the Czech Republic driver's pace on Friday but insisted that he hadn't given up hopes for the second day.

“Jan was really flying," agreed the Frenchman. "I tried to push but it was not enough. Still, it will be a big battle tomorrow and I will really try."

Bouffier had led the event after Robert Kubica's Citroën DS3 RRC developed a mechanical fault in stage 5 while running out in front. The car was brought back to Ajaccio overnight where it was subjected to a detailed technical inspection. Although Kubica would have been eligible for leg bonus points if he had restarted, championship regulations specify that

Since under the ERC event rules Kubica would not have appeared in the final classification if he restarted on Saturday, and could only have hoped to pick up leg bonus points, the team decided that there was little point in fielding the pole for the second day.

"Robert and the team have decided not to restart for leg two with no real stakes nor possibility for points scoring for the championship," said a statement from Citroën Racing on their Facebook page.

Also hitting problems early was Ireland's Craig Breen, who ran wide into a bank while leading on stage four and picked up a puncture on his Peugeot Rally Academy entry. Breen fought back his way back into contention by going fastest on the penultimate stage before completing the last run just 0.1s slower than Kopecky to go into the overnight rest just 39.8s adrift of the lead having won a total of four stages during the day.




Related Pictures

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Robert Kubica driving in the 2013 FIA European Rally Championship Tour de Corse. (Photo Credit: FIA ERC)
Peugeot`s Bryan Bouffier driving in the 2013 FIA European Rally Championship Tour de Corse. (Photo Credit: FIA ERC)
Jan Kopecky driving in the 2013 FIA European Rally Championship Tour de Corse. (Photo Credit: FIA ERC)
Bryan Bouffier - Hyundai Shell World Rally Team
Robert Kubica,  Maciej S zczepaniak (Ford Fiesta RS WRC, #10 RK M-Sport World Rally Team)
Robert Kubica,  Maciej S zczepaniak (Ford Fiesta RS WRC, #10 RK M-Sport World Rally Team)
Robert Kubica,  Maciej S zczepaniak (Ford Fiesta RS WRC, #10 RK M-Sport World Rally Team)
Robert Kubica,  Maciej S zczepaniak (Ford Fiesta RS WRC, #10 RK M-Sport World Rally Team)
Karl Kruuda (EST) Martin Jarveoja (EST), Peugeot 208 T16
atmosphere
Robert Kubica,  Maciej S zczepaniak (Ford Fiesta RS WRC, #10 RK M-Sport World Rally Team)
Robert Kubica,  Maciej S zczepaniak (Ford Fiesta RS WRC, #10 RK M-Sport World Rally Team)
Robert Kubica,  Maciej S zczepaniak (Ford Fiesta RS WRC, #10 RK M-Sport World Rally Team)
Robert Kubica,  Maciej S zczepaniak (Ford Fiesta RS WRC, #10 RK M-Sport World Rally Team)
Robert Kubica,  Maciej S zczepaniak (Ford Fiesta RS WRC, #10 RK M-Sport World Rally Team)
Robert Kubica,  Maciej S zczepaniak (Ford Fiesta RS WRC, #10 RK M-Sport World Rally Team)
Robert Kubica,  Maciej S zczepaniak (Ford Fiesta RS WRC, #10 RK M-Sport World Rally Team)
Robert Kubica,  Maciej S zczepaniak (Ford Fiesta RS WRC, #10 RK M-Sport World Rally Team)

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