IRC: Hirvonen triumphs on the Monte

Jan Kopecky, the runner-up in last year's IRC Drivers' standings, dropped out of contention with a puncture on the very first stage. A second puncture on day two added to his woes but he gradually fought back to claim fifth and four Drivers' championship points. With the 2009 champion, Kris Meeke, crashing his Peugeot UK 207 S2000 on Friday's first stage, Kopecky's recovery could prove decisive as the season progresses.

Briton Guy Wilks made it four Skoda Fabia Super 2000s in the top six, with a solid drive to sixth overall. He bemoaned poor tyre choice and a lack of experience of driving his Fabia on asphalt for his failure to challenge higher up the order although he achieved his aim of a points finish.

Portugal's Bruno Magalhaes and Frenchman Jean-Sebastien Vigion completed the points scorers with seventh and eighth respectively in their Peugeot 207s.

Like Ogier, Franz Wittmann failed to go the distance when he damaged his 207 hitting a wall on stage 13. Toni Gardemeister withdrew heading to the day's opening stage with engine damage sustained in a crash on Friday afternoon.

Clio R3 European Trophy competitor Kris Princen won the IRC 2WD Cup in 11th overall after surviving a puncture on Friday evening. Young Corsican Pierre Campana took an impressive second in class on his Monte Carlo Rally debut after making repairs to a broken water expansion tank following the penultimate stage.

The 2010 Intercontinental Rally Challenge season now heads to Brazil for the Rally Internacional de Curitiba, which runs from March 4-6.

Overall times - Top 10:

1. Mikko Hirvonen Ford Fiesta S2000 4h32m58.5s
2. Juho Hannine Skoda Fabia S2000 +1m51.4s
3. Nicolas Vouilloz Skoda Fabia S2000 +3m19.1s
4. Stephane Sarrazin Peugeot 207 S2000 +7m25.5s
5. Jan Kopecky Skoda Fabia S2000 +8m48.7s
6. Guy Wilks Skoda Fabia S2000 +9m24.5s
7. Bruno Magalhaes Peugeot 207 S2000 +9m45.4s
8. Jean-Sebastien Vigion Peugeot 207 S2000 +13m33.5s
9. Jaroslav Orsak Skoda Fabia S2000 +21m16.6s
10. Andrej Jereb Peugeot 207 S2000 +25m26.1s

IRC drivers' positions (after round 1 of 12):

1. Mikko Hirvonen 10pts
2. Juho Hanninen 8pts
3. Nicolas Vouilloz 6pts
4. Stephane Sarrazin 5pts
5. Jan Kopecky 4pts
6. Guy Wilks 3pts
7. Bruno Magalhaes 2pts
8. Jean-Sebastien Vigion 1pt

IRC Manufacturers positions (after round 1 of 12):

1. Skoda 14 points
2. M-Sport 10 points
3. Peugeot 7 points

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Mikko Hirvonen - M-Sport Ford Fiesta S2000   [pic credit: IRC]
Mikko Hirvonen - M-Sport Ford Fiesta S2000   [pic credit: IRC]

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