Stary returns from injury for Azores start


Co-driver Petr Stary will make his comeback from injury on Sata
Rallye Acores, the sixth round of the Intercontinental Rally
Challenge, which starts in Ponta Delgada on the island of Sao Miguel
this afternoon (14 July).
Stary, who partners Jan Kopecky in the factory SKODA Motorsport team,
injured his right collarbone during a crash in shakedown for the
previous IRC round in Belgium, the GEKO Ypres Rally. He has since made
a recovery and will team-up with his fellow Czech on the first gravel
event of the IRC season.
“I am pleased that my co-driver has recovered from his injury
and that we can take part in this rally,” said Kopecky, 29.
“We achieved excellent times in the Azores last year and we want
to make use of the experience we’ve gained here, although this will be
our first appearance on gravel after a whole year.”
Kopecky and Stary will be anxious to avoid a repeat of last
year’s Sata Rallye Acores when they crashed out of the lead on
the final stage of the event.
Subaru enters two R4 Imprezas in Azores
Two R4-specification Subaru Imprezas will contest Sata Rallye Acores
this week as the Japanese manufacturer increases its commitment to the
Intercontinental Rally Challenge in conjunction with tyre partner
Experienced drivers Toshi Arai and Fumio Nutahara will pilot the two
Imprezas run by Manfred Stohl’s Austria-based team, Stohl
The veteran Japanese duo are expected to head the challenge for IRC
Production Cup honours in what will be the first competitive
appearance on an international gravel event for the R4 Imprezas. The
R4 regulations were introduced for this season to bridge the
performance gap between traditional Group N cars and the pacesetting
Super 2000 machines.
Japanese tyre firm Yokohama is supporting Subaru’s IRC campaign
and has brought three compound options to the Azores based on its A053
But while the Yokohama-supported Imprezas are lighter and more
technically advanced than their standard Group N counterparts, few
drivers get close to Azores resident and multiple regional champion
Ricardo Moura when it comes to experience of the demanding gravel
The Ralliart Mitsubishi Lancer pilot finished a fine fifth overall
last season and is more than capable of achieving a similar result
this year. Other contenders include Group N Impreza driver Vitor Lopes
and Vitor Pascoal, who switches from the Peugeot 207 he took to sixth
overall in 2010 to a Ralliart Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X.
Subaru will host a presentation of its Impreza R4 at 14:00hrs local
time on Thursday 14 July in the Sata Rallye Acores service park in
Ponta Delgada prior to the start of the event. Visit the Media section
of for more details.
High hopes for Peugeot runners in Azores
Frederic Bertrand, the boss of Peugeot Sport’s customer
competition department, has backed his trio of drivers Bryan Bouffier,
Bruno Magalhaes and Guy Wilks, to run at the front on Sata Rallye
Acores, round six of the Intercontinental Rally Challenge.
Peugeot has won both editions of the gravel event since it joined the
IRC two years ago with Kris Meeke taking victory in 2009 before
Magalhaes triumphed last season in a thrilling finish.
“It promises to be a very competitive weekend and I have every
confidence in the ability of the three Peugeot drivers to clock up top
results,” said Bertrand.
Three of the eight Super 2000 cars in action in the Azores are
Peugeot 207s, but Bertrand is unconcerned by the numerical
disadvantage. “That won’t prevent the Peugeot runners from
setting their sights high,” he said. “They tend to be the
outsiders, but that’s a role that actually suits them.”
Eurosport announces Azores broadcast schedule
Eurosport, Europe’s leading sports entertainment group and the
media partner of the Intercontinental Rally Challenge, will show
coverage of Sata Rallye Acores as follows:
Friday 15 July23:00-23:30: Day one highlights (Eurosport)23:00-23:30:
Day one highlights (Eurosport Asia-Pacific)Saturday 16
July23:00-23:30: Day two highlights (Eurosport)23:00-23:30: Day two
highlights (Eurosport Asia-Pacific)Sunday 17 July24:00-24:30: Rally
Review (Eurosport)**This programme will be shown at 24:30-25:00 on
Eurosport France
24:00-24:30: Rally Review (Eurosport Asia-Pacific)Monday 18
July07:00-07:30: Rally Review replayed (Eurosport Asia-Pacific)Daily
highlights will also be shown at and via the IRC
iPhone and iPad App. All times are CET.
Hunt tries Super 2000 car for size
Harry Hunt will resume the defence of his IRC 2WD Cup crown on Sata
Rallye Acores this week on the back of a test in a SKODA Fabia Super
The 22-year-old was handed the opportunity as part of the British
motorsport governing body’s Team UK driver training scheme in
conjunction with SKODA UK Motorsport, which runs Andreas Mikkelsen in
the Intercontinental Rally Challenge.
“The car is something else,” said the London-based
driver. “The power is incredible but so is the steering and
handling. Being able to control the car mid-corner on the power is
awesome. This has been a fantastic opportunity for me. When I finished
I went through the data with the engineers and I did much better than
I thought I would. I was a bit nervous at first, but once I’d
settled into it, I really started to get more out of the car.”
After making four appearances in the IRC 2WD Cup this year Hunt, who
is co-driven by fellow Briton Robbie Durant, is 12th in the standings.
He is competing in the Azores for the first time.
No rest for IRC regular Gardemeister
Toni Gardemeister won’t have any time to relax this summer,
despite not contesting Sata Rallye Acores in his TGS Worldwide SKODA
Fabia Super 2000 this week.
Gardemeister is eighth in the Intercontinental Rally Challenge
drivers’ standings having scored points on all five rounds run
so far this season. However, he won’t be in action in the
mid-Atlantic because his Fabia’s engine is currently undergoing
a rebuild in preparation for the next round of the series, Barum Czech
Rally Zlin, at the end of August.
Instead, Gardemeister will take part on Rally Estonia from 15-16 July
in his self-built BMW M3, which he uses for fun on selected events.
“I like this event so I decided to make a surprise for the
spectators and bring my own M3,” said Gardemeister.
“I’ll come with my team TGS Worldwide, my main aim is the
victory in our class.”
Gardemeister is not the only IRC regular competing on the high-speed
gravel event: Estonian teenager Karl Kruuda, who has scored points on
his last two IRC appearances, will also be competing in an M-Sport
Ford Fiesta S2000. 

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