IRC Rally Islas Canarias El Corte Ingles day two

Rally Islas Canarias El Corte Ingles
Day two, 16 April 2011
Thrilling Canarias victory for IRC champion Hanninen
•First IRC win on asphalt for Skoda’s flying Finn
•Peugeot’s Thierry Neuville shines in third overall



Defending Intercontinental Rally Challenge champion Juho Hanninen has moved to the top of the
IRC drivers’ standings with a sensational victory on a thrilling Rally Islas Canarias El Corte Ingles,
the second round of the 12-event series, today (Saturday).
Hanninen, at the wheel of a Skoda Motorsport Fabia, started the second day of the all-asphalt rally
in third overall, albeit a scant 8.6s behind team-mate Jan Kopecky as nine seconds covered the
top four drivers. Despite going fastest on Saturday’s opener, Hanninen remained in third as Thierry
Neuville shot ahead of Kopecky into the lead.
But when Neuville lost vital seconds on the next stage, Hanninen took a second successive fastest
time and powered into first place. With Kopecky 0.1s behind starting the final two stages, the battle
of victory remained tightly poised only for Hanninen to open up a slender advantage that he would
never relinquish by winning the penultimate stage.
Hanninen’s success, which marked his first IRC victory on asphalt, puts him joint top with Freddy
Loix, who finished fourth, on the list of all-time IRC event winners with six victories. It was also
Skoda’s first win of 2011, the Czech manufacturer’s 110th year of motorsport participation and
means Skoda now heads the makes’ classification ahead of Peugeot.
Kopecky made it a Skoda Fabia one-two and suggested he could have repeated his Rally Islas
Canarias win from 2010 had his pacenotes been more precise, particularly on Saturday’s first
stage when he lost the lead of the rally he had held since stage two.
Neuville claimed a hugely impressive third place in his Team Peugeot Belgium-Luxembourg 207
S2000, his first IRC event with new co-driver Nicolas Gilsoul. The 22-year-old from Belgium
reported losing precious ground on stage 10 after partly wearing out his tyres on the previous run
in the high ambient temperatures. As well as causing his car to understeer, Neuville reckoned they
contributed to his spin on a hairpin right.
However, it was Neuville’s best performance in the IRC so far and earned him the prestigious Colin
McRae IRC Flat Out Trophy. Awarded in memory of the late rally legend, the accolade is
presented on all rounds of the IRC to the driver who best embodies the spirit of the former world
Loix was the highest-placed Canarias rookie in fourth. The BFO Skoda driver was in the fight for
victory until he lost time on Friday’s final test when his Fabia’s side windows misted up and
restricted his vision.
Guy Wilks was one of four drivers to hold the lead of the rally but dropped out of contention with a
slow time through stage two on Friday, which he said was caused by a lack of confidence in the
set-up of his Peugeot UK 207. He started Saturday in seventh after a spin on Friday’s final stage
but fought back up to fifth with a series of impressive times.

Andreas Mikkelsen started the event under orders from his Skoda UK
Motorsport team to reach the finish following his crash on the season-opening
Rallye Monte-Carlo. Although his approach masked his outright speed, he was
nevertheless satisfied to have achieved his pre-rally aim. Finishing sixth
overall he received a further boost when he was able to fend off Rallye Monte-
Carlo winner Bryan Bouffier after a close battle.
Bouffier, who started the event at the top of the IRC drivers’ standings, was never
100 per cent confident with the handling of his Peugeot France 207 and his lack
of knowledge of the island’s demanding and abrasive stages held him back.
However, his haul of six points means he remains firmly in contention for the IRC
drivers’ title.
Bruno Magalhaes also lacked confidence at the wheel of his Peugeot Sport Portugal 207, a legacy
of the high-speed crash he suffered on Rallye Monte-Carlo. However, the IRC event winner
reached the finish in a solid eighth overall.
Giandomencio Basso bagged PROTON’s first points of the season in ninth overall on his debut
with the Malaysian squad. Toni Gardemeister, making his debut for his own TGS Worldwide team,
claimed the final drivers’ point in his Skoda, which he was using in competition for the first time.
PG Andersson dropped out of contention in the second PROTON when he suffered two punctures
in the same stage on Friday. He soldiered to the finish in 16th overall, scoring more manufacturer
points for his employer.
Joan Vinyes won the IRC 2WD Cup following a dominant display over Suzuki team-mate Gorka
Antxustegi. Angel Marrero was third to bag top IRC 2WD Cup manufacturer points for Honda.
Defending IRC 2WD Cup champion Harry Hunt recovered to sixth after being delayed by a fuel
pump fault and a puncture. He finished one place ahead of former IRC drivers’ champion Enrique
Garcia Ojeda in an M-Sport Ford Fiesta R2.
Canary Islander Jose Barrios claimed IRC Production Cup success in his Subaru Impreza after
Gustavo Sosa retired his Ralliart Mitsubishi Lancer.
Huge crowds flocked to the stages to the extent Friday’s final test had to be cancelled due to
concerns over spectator safety and their vociferous support was widely praised by the leading IRC
Juho Hanninen (Finland), Skoda Fabia S2000, first overall: “It has taken a long time but finally,
without any snow or nothing like that, I have won my first Tarmac rally and of course I am happy
with that but also because it was a big fight for the whole rally. You really needed to keep your
concentration on this rally because nobody was making mistakes.”
Jan Kopecky (Czech Republic), Skoda Fabia S2000, second overall: “It was a nice battle until
the end. Juho was flying and was lucky on the second to last stage because he hit a barrier with
the back of his car pushing so hard. My pacenotes were not good on this rally in places and I think
I lost first place because of this but Juho deserved to win.”
Thierry Neuville (Belgium), Peugeot 207 S2000, third overall: “Juho and Jan were in the end
too fast but we tried to follow, enjoyed it and learned a lot. Sometimes I was never sure if I could go
on the same the pace but now I am sure. I only need some more tests with the car and then it will
be perfect. This is really good for the future.”

1 Juho Hanninen (FIN)/Mikko Markkula (FIN) Skoda Fabia S2000 1h40m38.1s
2 Jan Kopecky (CZE)/Petr Stary (CZE) Skoda Fabia S2000 +1.5s
3 Thierry Neuville (BEL)/Nicolas Gilsoul (BEL) Peugeot 207 S2000 +8.2s
4 Freddy Loix (BEL)/Frederic Miclotte (BEL) Skoda Fabia S2000 +16.7s
5 Guy Wilks (GBR)/Phil Pugh (GBR) Peugeot 207 S2000 +48.3s
6 Andreas Mikkelsen (NOR)/Ola Floene (NOR) Skoda Fabia S2000 +55.6s
7 Bryan Bouffier (FRA)/Xavier Panseri (FRA) Peugeot 207 S2000 +1m00.6s
8 Bruno Magalhaes (POR)/Paulo Grave (POR) Peugeot 207 S2000 +1m49.8s
9 Giandomenico Basso (ITA)/Mitia Dotta (ITA) PROTON Satria Neo S2000 +2m37.8s
10 Toni Gardemeister (FIN)/Tapio Suominen (FIN) Skoda Fabia S2000 +2m38.2s
IRC Production Cup: Jose Barrios (ESP)/Amaranto Martel (ESP) Subaru Impreza WRX
IRC 2WD Cup: Joan Vinyes (ESP)/Jordi Mercader (ESP) Suzuki Swift S1600
Drivers after round two of 12
1 Juho Hanninen (Finland) 33pts
2 Bryan Bouffier (France) 31pts
3 Freddy Loix (Belgium) 30pts
4 Guy Wilks (United Kingdom) 25pts
5 Jan Kopecky (Czech Republic) 22pts
6 Thierry Neuville (Belgium) 15pts
7 Stephane Sarrazin (France) 12pts
8 Francois Delecour (France) 10pts
9 Andreas Mikkelsen (Norway) 8pts
10 Nicolas Vouilloz (France) 6pts etc
Manufacturers after round two of 12
1 Skoda 73pts
2 Peugeot 67pts
3 Subaru 18pts
4 PROTON 16pts
5 M-Sport 13pts
6 Honda 8pts
7 Ralliart 6pts
8 Abarth 1pt
IRC Production Cup after round two of 12
1 Jose Barrios (Spain) 25pts
= Florian Gonon (Switzerland) 25pts
3 Vojtech Stajf (Czech Republic) 18pts
4 Giacomo Ogliari (Italy) 15pts
5 Maurizio Verini (Italy) 12pts etc
IRC 2WD Cup drivers after round two of 12
1 Pierre Campana (France) 25pts
= Joan Vinyes (Spain) 25pts
3 Gorka Antxustegi (Spain) 18pts
= Michael Burri (Switzerland) 18pts
5 Renaud Poutot (France) 15pts
= Angel Marrero (Spain) 15pts

IRC 2WD Cup manufacturers after round two of 12
1 Peugeot 53pts
2 Honda 49pts
3 Abarth 33pts
= M-Sport 33pts
SS1: Guy Wilks
SS2-8: Jan Kopecky
SS9: Thierry Neuville
SS10-12: Juho Hanninen
Day one (Friday 15 April):
SS1: Gran Canaria 1 (1.50kms): Guy Wilks (Peugeot)
SS2: Santa Lucia 1 (24.57kms): Jan Kopecky (Skoda)
SS3: Ingenio 1 (14.19kms): Guy Wilks (Peugeot)
SS4: Gran Canaria 1 (1.50kms): Jan Kopecky (Skoda)
SS5: Santa Lucia 1 (24.57kms): Jan Kopecky (Skoda)
SS6: Ingenio 1 (14.19kms): Juho Hanninen (Skoda)
SS7: Vallesco (13.22kms): Jan Kopecky (Skoda)
SS8: Tejeda (23.07kms): Stage cancelled due to crowd safety concerns
Day two (Saturday 16 April):
SS9: San Mateo 1 (23.42kms: Juho Hanninen (Skoda)
SS10: Artenara 1 (13.47kms): Juho Hanninen (Skoda)
SS11: San Mateo 2 (23.42kms): Juho Hanninen (Skoda)
SS12: Artenara 2 (13.47kms): Jan Kopecky (Skoda)
IRC rally wins in 2011 (drivers)
Bryan Bouffier: 1
Juho Hanninen: 1
IRC rally wins in 2011 (manufacturers)
Peugeot: 1
Skoda: 1
IRC stage wins in 2011 (drivers)
Juho Hanninen: 7
Jan Kopecky: 5
Stephane Sarrazin: 4
Bryan Bouffier: 2
Guy Wilks: 2
Giandomenico Basso: 1
Francois Delecour: 1
Freddy Loix: 1
Nicolas Vouilloz: 1
Stage wins in 2011 (manufacturers)
Skoda: 14:
Peugeot: 10

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