IRC: Hanninen wins Circuit of Ireland

Skoda Ireland driver Barrable said a mistake on Saturday's first test, when he charged through a fence into a farmer's field and stalled his car's engine, hadn't helped his efforts to keep Breen behind.

Alastair Fisher began day two in contention for a podium finish but a crash seven corners from the start of Saturday's second stage left his M-Sport Ford Fiesta S2000 with a broken wheel and forced his retirement. The Northern Irishman, who plans to return to the IRC on June's Geko Ypres Rally, was fourth overall at the time of his exit.

After losing time with a puncture on Friday, Sepp Wiegand lost precious seconds when he braked too late for a corner on stage nine and crashed through a fence, damaging the windscreen of his Skoda Auto Deutschland Fabia. Nevertheless, it was another impressive performance by the inexperienced German driver, who has now scored IRC points on every round run so far this season by taking seventh.

Northern Ireland's Garry Jennings meanwhile maintained his overnight advantage to win the IRC Production Cup in his Ralliart Mitsubishi Lancer in eighth overall despite nursing a badly burnt hand, which he sustained by accidentally touching a hot car exhaust. Donagh Kelly snatched second place by overhauling Sam Moffett on the final stage. Moffett's brother Sam took fourth with Willie Mavitty fifth and IRC returnee Daniel Barry sixth. Robert Consani continues to lead the category despite retiring on the final morning.

In the IRC 2WD Cup Marty McCormack overcame a succession of problems, including a double puncture, broken gearbox and an alternator glitch to win the IRC 2WD Cup on his first competitive outing for six months. The Northern Irishman's woes briefly handed Renault Clio R3 pilot Tommy Doyle the initiative before McCormack fought back to claim a popular win and the Colin McRae IRC Flat Out Trophy. Doyle, who lost time with gear indicator and brake issues, survived an off-road moment on the final stage to finish second with Jonathan Greer taking third after Peter Taylor was delayed on the final stage in his Clio.

The 2012 Intercontinental Rally Challenge season now continues next month with the Tour de Corse, running from May 9-12.

Donnelly Group Circuit of Ireland Rally - Top ten IRC positions (after day two):

1. Juho Hanninen /Mikko Markkula Skoda Fabia S2000 1h58m21.8s
2. Andreas Mikkelsen /Ola Floene Skoda Fabia S2000 +44.2s
3. Jan Kopecky /Pavel Dresler Skoda Fabia S2000 +1m39.5s
4. Mathieu Arzeno /Renaul Jamoul Peugeot 207 S2000 +4m01.6s
5. Craig Breen /Gareth Roberts Peugeot 207 S2000 +4m53.8s
6. Robert Barrable /Damien Connolly Skoda Fabia S2000 +5m14.5s
7. Sepp Wiegand /Timo Gottschalk Skoda Fabia S2000 +6m15.9s
8. Garry Jennings /Barry McNulty Ralliart Lancer Evolution IX +8m27.9s
9. Donagh Kelly /Kevin Flanagan Ralliart Lancer Evolution IX +9m11.4s
10. Sam Moffett /James O'Reilly Ralliart Lancer Evolution IX +9m16.0s

IRC Production Cup: Garry Jennings /Barry McNulty (Ralliart Lancer Evolution IX)
IRC 2WD Cup: Marty McCormack /David Moynihan (Citroen DS3 R3T)

IRC Drivers' standings (after round 3 of 13) – Top 10:*

1. Andreas Mikkelsen 61pts
2. Juho Hanninen 43pts
3. Jan Kopecky 40pts
4. Sepp Wiegand 30pts
5. Bryan Bouffier 15pts
= Luis Monzon 15pts
7. Mathieu Arzeno 12pts
8. Craig Breen 10pts
= Hermann Gassner Jr 10pts
= Jonathan Perez 10pts

* best eight scores count

IRC manufacturers (after round 3 of 13):

1. Skoda 129pts
2. Peugeot 69pts
3. Renault 25pts
4. Honda 18pts
5. M-Sport 16pts
6. Subaru 12pts

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Juho Hanninen. IRC Circuit of Ireland Rally day one
Alastair Fisher. IRC Circuit of Ireland Rally day one
Craig Breen. IRC Circuit of Ireland Rally day one
Juho Hanninen and Andreas Mikkelsen. IRC Circuit of Ireland Rally day two
Juho Hanninen. IRC Circuit of Ireland Rally day two
Juho Hanninen, IRC Circuit of Ireland winner on the podium with Andreas Mikkelsen (2nd) and Jan Kopecky (3rd)

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MKD - Unregistered

April 08, 2012 7:52 PM

Hanninen and Mikkelsen are in other Skoda teams and those teams are competing in IRC unlike VW Motorsport. If you mean about who will fill in the second seat for VW in WRC, that isn't decided yet and as far as I know Abbring will do only half of the events with VW this year. Mikkelsen is surely one of the strong contenders for that.

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