IRC star Neuville in control in Corsica
Thierry Neuville will take an advantage of almost nine seconds into day two of Tour de Corse-
E.Leclerc following his dominant start to the Intercontinental Rally Challenge event around the
town of Calvi on Corsicas picturesque north west coast today (Thursday).
Driving a Team Peugeot Belgium-Luxembourg 207 Super 2000, the 22-year-old was fastest on
both runs through the 27.53-kilometre Le Fangu-Notre Dame de la Serra test, which overlooked
the Mediterranean Sea and formed the opening day of the legendary three-day rally, billed as the
Return of the Myth.
Held in bright sunshine in ambient temperatures approaching 30 degrees centigrade and with
ground temperatures peaking at 38 degrees, stages one and two provided an early test for the IRC
Despite reporting that his cars set-up was not entirely to his liking on the bumpy section of the
opening stage, little troubled Neuville and co-driver Nicolas Gilsoul, particularly following a spate of
changes to his machine at mid-afternoon service, which included adjusting the suspension and ride
Jan Kopecky is second overnight in his Skoda Motorsport Fabia S2000, 8.9s adrift of Neuville but
3.5s ahead of Bryan Bouffier, who moved into third place at the expense of Andreas Mikkelsen
with a faster time than the Norwegian through stage two.
Bouffier was troubled on stage one by a loose steering wheel in his Peugeot France 207 S2000,
while Mikkelsen admitted to adopting a low-risk strategy on stage two.
Freddy Loix is fifth at the end of day one in his BFO Skoda Rally Team Fabia. The Belgian veteran
made his customary cautious start to an event but soon rediscovered the pace that has taken him
to six IRC victories with the second fastest time on stage two after stiffening his cars rear
Guy Wilks completes the top six at the wheel of his Peugeot UK 207. The Briton was fifth after
stage one, despite suffering a spin approximately eight kilometres into the stage, but fell behind
Loix on the next test after admitting he wasnt able to commit in some sections as he would have
Corsican driver Pierre Campana will start day two in seventh overall following a solid, risk-free run
in his Munaretto Peugeot, the first time he has driven a Super 2000 car on a round of the IRC.
Bruno Magalhaes reported a bout of understeer in his Peugeot Sport Portugal 207, in which he
occupies eighth place overnight. The 30-year-old from Lisbon said attacking fifth and sixth-gear
corners at full speed was difficult but added he was confident that he could make improvements for
Toni Gardemeister, who combines driving his Skoda Fabia Super 2000 with running his own TGS
Worldwide operation, holds ninth spot. The Finn said that his cars set-up is currently too soft to
enable him to challenge higher up the order.
Frenchman Julien Maurin, driving the latest specification M-Sport Ford Fiesta
S2000, which boasts an uprated engine, completes the top 10 after reporting
problems with his brakes and steering on the opening stage.
Skoda Swedens Patrik Sandell completed the opening day of his IRC debut in
13th place behind Jean-Mathieu Leandri and Jean-Francois Succi respectively.
Sandell had targeted a podium finish prior to the start but said he simply
hadnt gone fast enough on stage one. A new steering rack for stage two
allowed him to up his pace, however. Toshi Arai is 16th after stage two on his
debut in Subarus new R4-specification challenger.
In the battle for IRC Production Cup honours, Florian Gonon, driving a Subaru Impreza WRX,
heads Ralliart Mitsubishi Lancer driver Jean-Marc Sanchez by 51.3s, with Yannick Rossi third in
his Lancer. Irishman Eamonn Boland had been expected to challenge in his Lancer but stopped on
stage one with a mechanical failure.
Two stage wins for Pierre-Antoine Guglielmi has powered the Clio R3 to the top of the IRC 2WD
Cup classification by more than one minute ahead of Stefano Albertini in his Megane R4.
Defending champion Harry Hunt is in fifth place.
Thierry Neuville (Belgium), Peugeot 207 S2000, first overall: Its been a very good day. We did
a good job on the recce and I was confident to go faster for the second stage. We worked a lot on
the set-up after the first stage with changes to the suspension and the ride height and this helped a
Jan Kopecky (Czech Republic), Skoda Fabia S2000, second overall: We made some changes
to the car after the first stage and it wasnt any better so I think we will go back to the previous setup.
But the car is fine [mechanically] and were at the finish.
Bryan Bouffier (France), Peugeot 207 S2000, third overall: The steering wheel was a problem
on the first stage but it could have been worse. The car was moving a bit but its okay and we can
TOP 10 IRC POSITIONS AFTER DAY ONE
1 Thierry Neuville (BEL)/Nicolas Gilsoul (BEL) Peugeot 207 S2000 32m08.3s
2 Jan Kopecky (CZE)/Petr Stary (CZE) Skoda Fabia S2000 +8.9s
3 Bryan Bouffier (FRA)/Xavier Panseri (FRA) Peugeot 207 S2000 +12.4s
4 Andreas Mikkelsen (NOR)/Ola Floene (NOR) Skoda Fabia S2000 +13.8s
5 Freddy Loix (BEL)/Frederic Miclotte (BEL) Skoda Fabia S2000 +19.2s
6 Guy Wilks (GBR)/Phil Pugh (GBR) Peugeot 207 S2000 +19.6s
7 Pierre Campana (FRA)/Sabrina de Castelli (FRA) Peugeot 207 S2000 +25.0s
8 Bruno Magalhaes (POR)/Paulo Grave (POR) Peugeot 207 S2000 +39.6s
9 Toni Gardemeister (FIN)/Tapio Suominen (FIN) Skoda Fabia S2000 +54.6s
10 Julien Maurin (FRA)/Olivier Ural (FRA) M-Sport Ford Fiesta S2000 +1m19.5s
IRC Production Cup: Florian Gonon (SUI)/Sandra Arlettaz (SUI) Subaru Impreza WRX
IRC 2WD Cup: Pierre-Antoine Guglielmi (FRA)/Jean-Francois Porcu (FRA) Renault Clio R3
Special stages: Six
Special stage distance: 127.38kms
Liaison distance: 401.74kms
Total distance: 529.12kms
Service D: Corte Aerodrome (0:15hrs), 08:40hrs
SS3: Erbajolo-Pont dAltiani (25.15kms), 09:10hrs
SS4: Barchetta-La Porta (23.26kms), 10:58hrs
SS5: Taverna-Pont de Castirla (15.28kms), 12:06hrs
Regroup: Corte Citadelle (0:40hrs), 12:46hrs
Service E: Corte Aerodrome (0:30hrs), 13:41hrs
SS6: Barchetta-La Porta (23.26kms), 15:09hrs
SS7: Taverna-Pont de Castirla (15.28kms), 16:17hrs
SS8: Erbajolo-Pont dAltiani (25.15kms), 17:40hrs
Service F: Corte Aerodrome (0:45hrs), 18:25hrs
The IRCs media partner Eurosport, Europes leading sports entertainment group, and France 3
Corsica-Via Stella, will show three stages of Tour de Corse-E.Leclerc live on Friday as follows:
Friday 13 May:
09:00-10:00: LIVE SS3 Erbajolo-Pont dAltiani (Eurosport and Eurosport France / France 3
12:00-13:00: LIVE SS5 Taverna-Pont de Castirla (Eurosport 2)
17:30-18:30: LIVE SS8 Erbajolo-Pont dAltiani (Eurosport France and Eurosport Player / France 3
Daily highlights will also be shown at www.rally-irc.com and via the IRC iPhone and iPad App.
All times are CET.