*First victory on asphalt event for KODA Motorsport driver
*Aigner wins IRC Production Cup for Subaru
Juho Hänninen has claimed his maiden victory on Barum Czech Rally Zlín. The former Intercontinental Rally Challenge champion was leading comfortably after 14 stages when organisers stopped the event ahead of the final test following an accident on stage 13.
Miroslav Regner, the event clerk of the course, confirmed that a Czech male spectator had died and a Hungarian male spectator had suffered non-life threatening injuries and was being treated in hospital. The crew of the car, Václav Kopáček and Tomá Singer, were not injured. An investigation has been launched. IRC promoter Eurosport Events joins the rally organisers in extending its condolences to the family of the deceased.
In terms of the outcome of the rally, Hänninen, from Finland, had been in a close fight with KODA Motorsport team-mate Jan Kopecký starting the final day but edged 16.2s clear when he beat Kopecký by more than 10s following a flat-out charge on stage 12, Maják, shown live on Eurosport and free-to-air Czech TV. But any hopes Kopecký had of fighting back on the next run, Halenkovice, ended when his Fabia Super 2000s engine failed after a handful of kilometres of the 21.40-kilometre test, which was subsequently neutralised following Kopáčeks accident.
I really was pushing that I can promise, said Hänninen, whose tally of 11 IRC wins alongside navigator Mikko Markkula is more than any other driver has managed in the six-year history of the series. I dont know what happened to Jan but only a few kilometres from the stage start he was at the side of the road and it looks like it was something technical. It was not easy then to find the rhythm after being in a big fight for the last two days.
Defending IRC champion Andreas Mikkelsen was in third overall when a double puncture on the days first stage dropped him to 10th. He was in eighth when the rally was stopped. At a junction we went a little bit extra wide and hit a kerb, said the KODA UK Motorsport driver. We stopped to change a puncture, but we didnt realise we had two punctures and had to stop again thats why we lost so much time. After that we had to be really careful and not take any cuts, because if we had another puncture that would be the end of our rally. Its been a difficult weekend.
Roman Kresta finished second following a close fight with fellow Czech and KODA privateer Tomá Kostka, who led after the Friday nights opening special. After overcoming powersteering problems on day one Krestas team-mate Jaromír Tarabus finished fourth after moving clear of Robert Barrable who impressed in fifth place for KODA Ireland. Estonian teenager Karl Kruuda completed the top six.
Patrik Flodin finished 15th for PS Engineering after a troubled rally. A gearbox change, which handed him a substantial time penalty on Sunday, compounded a frustrating weekend for the rapid Swede in his M-Sport Ford Fiesta S2000. Michał Sołowow was the leading Peugeot 207 S2000 finisher in ninth, one place ahead of KODA Auto Deutschlands Sepp Wiegand, who was delayed when he went off the road on the opening day.
Despite failing to finish after crashing on stage seven, Jarkko Nikara was handed the Colin McRae IRC Flat Out Trophy for a sequence of impressive stage times in his near-standard Impreza, including the third-fastest time on stage five.
IRC Production Cup
Andreas Aigner made it three wins out of four starts in the IRC Production Cup, which he led from stage five. Co-driven by fellow Austrian Ilka Minor, Aigner drove without error to finish an impressive seventh overall in his Stohl Racing Subaru Impreza R4 STI. Toshi Arai, in a Tommi Mäkinen Racing Impreza, finished second with Czech Jaroslav Orsák fighting back from a puncture on Saturday afternoon to take third. Ilka has been making the perfect job, the car is perfect so no problems, said Aigner afterwards.
IRC 2WD Cup
Having led the IRC 2WD Cup for the first 10 stages, Robert Consani was eyeing his second victory of the season when an engine fault halted his Renault Mégane on Sunday morning, handing victory to local hero Jan Černý with Josef Peták second in a Renault Clio R3. Consanis retirement means Harry Hunts 26-point title advantage remains in tact. The Briton was not competing in Zlín. Hondas Martin Kangur retired from damaged front-left suspension following an accident on stage four.
TOP 10 IRC POSITIONS AFTER 14 STAGES
1 Juho Hänninen (FIN)/Mikko Markkula (FIN) KODA Fabia S2000 2h11m28.2s
2 Roman Kresta (CZE)/Petr Gross (CZE) KODA Fabia S2000 +1m43.1s
3 Tomá Kostka (CZE)/Miroslav Houť (CZE) KODA Fabia S2000 +1m51.8s
4 Jaromír Tarabus (CZE)/Daniel Trunkát (CZE) KODA Fabia S2000 +4m11.7s
5 Robert Barrable (IRL)/Stuart Loudon (GBR) KODA Fabia S2000 +4m33.6s
6 Karl Kruuda (EST)/Martin Järveoja (EST) KODA Fabia S2000 +5m03.0s
7 Andreas Aigner (AUT)/Ilka Minor (AUT) Subaru Impreza R4 STI +5m34.6s
8 Andreas Mikkelsen (NOR)/Ola Fløene (NOR) KODA Fabia S2000 +5m35.8s
9 Michał Sołowow (POL)/Maciej Baran (POL) Peugeot 207 S2000 +6m18.7s
10 Sepp Wiegand (GER)/Timo Gottschalk (GER) KODA Fabia S2000 +7m21.8s
IRC Production Cup: Andreas Aigner (AUT)/Ilka Minor (AUT) Subaru Impreza R4 STI
IRC 2WD Cup: Jan Černý (CZE)/Pavel Kohout (CZE) Citroën DS3 R3T
IRC STANDINGS (BEST OF EIGHT SCORES COUNT, ALL POINTS PROVISIONAL)
IRC drivers after round nine of 13
1 Andreas Mikkelsen (Norway) 136pts; 2 Juho Hänninen (Finland) 93pts; 3 Jan Kopecký (Czech Republic) 83pts; 4 Sepp Wiegand (Germany) 53pts; 5 Giandomenico Basso (Italy) 40pts; 6 Patrik Flodin (Sweden) 28pts; 7 Bryan Bouffier (France) and Umberto Scandola (Italy) 27pts; 9 Dani Sordo (Spain) 25pts; 10 Robert Barrable (Ireland), Craig Breen (Ireland), Roman Kresta (Czech Republic) and Freddy Loix (Belgium) 18pts.
IRC co-drivers after round nine of 13
1 Ola Fløene (Norway) 136pts; 2 Mikko Markkula (Finland) 93pts; 3 Pavel Dresler (Czech Republic) 83pts; 4 Timo Gottschalk (Germany) 53pts; 5 Mitia Dotta (Italy) 40pts; 6 Göran Bergsten (Sweden) 28pts; 7 Guido DAmore (Italy) and Xavier Panseri (France) 27pts; 9 Carlos del Barrio (Spain) 25pts; 10 Petr Gross (Czech Repbulic), Gareth Roberts (United Kingdom) and Lara Vanneste (Belgium) 18pts.
IRC manufacturers after round nine of 13
1 KODA 325pts; 2 Peugeot 187pts; 3 M-Sport 108pts; 4 Renault 92pts; 5 Subaru 88pts; 6 Honda 37pts.
IRC Production Cup drivers after round nine of 13
1 Andreas Aigner (Austria) 75pts; 2 Marco Tempestini (Romania) 48pts; 3 Robert Consani (France) 47pts; 4 Vitaliy Pushkar (Ukraine) 41pts; 5 Toshi Arai (Japan) 36pts, 6 Garry Jennings (United Kingdom), Ricardo Moura (Portugal), Jarkko Nikara (Finland) and Massimiliano Rendina 25pts; 10 Johan Heloïse (France) 22pts.
IRC Production Cup co-drivers after round nine of 13
1 Daniela Ertl (Austria) 50pts; 2 Dorin Pulpea (Romania) 48pts; 3 Nicolas Klinger (France) 47pts; 4 Ivan Mishyn (Ukraine) 41pts; 5 Dale Moscatt (Australia) 36pts; 6 Sancho Eiró (Portugal), Jarkko Kalliolepo (Finland), Barry McNulty (United Kingdom) and Mario Pizzuti (Italy) 25pts; 10 Thibault Gorczyca (France) 22pts.
IRC 2WD Cup drivers after round nine of 13
1 Harry Hunt (United Kingdom) 76pts; 2 Robert Consani (France) 50pts; 3 Martin Kangur (Estonia) 33pts; 4 Petru-Antone Boschetti (France), Simone Campedelli (Italy), Jan Černy (Czech Republic), Paulo Maciel (Portugal), Marty McCormack (United Kingdom) and Joan Vinyes (Spain) 25pts; 10 Davide Catania (Italy) 22pts.
IRC 2WD Cup co-drivers after round nine of 13
1 Robbie Durant (United Kingdom) 76pts; 2 Cédric Beynet (France), Danilo Fapani (Italy), Filipe Gouveia (Portugal), Nicolas Klinger (France), Pavel Kohout (Czech Republic), Benoit Manzo (France), Jordi Mercader (Spain), David Moynihan (Ireland) and Andres Ots (Russia) 25pts.
IRC 2WD Cup manufacturers after round nine of 13
1 Renault 305pts; 2 Honda 116pts; 3 M-Sport 60pts; 4 Peugeot 41pts; 5 KODA 35pts.
Go to www.ircseries.com for full standings, including IRC Production Cup and IRC 2WD Cup.
SS1: Tomá Kostka
SS2-SS3: Juho Hännninen
SS4-SS6: Andreas Mikkelsen
SS7-SS14: Juho Hännninen
Day one (Friday 31 August-Saturday 1 September, 139.22 kilometres):
SS1: SSS Zlín (9.36kms): Overall: Kostka/IRC PC: Orsák/IRC 2WD: Consani
SS2: Sluovice 1 (15.94kms): Hänninen/Nikara/Consani
SS3: Pindula 1 (18.43kms): Mikkelsen/Nikara/Černý
SS4: Sluovice 2 (15.94kms): Mikkelsen/Nikara/Consani
SS5: Pindula 2 (18.43kms): Kopecký/Nikara/Černý
SS6: Lukov 1 (11.38kms): Mikkelsen/Nikara/Černý
SS7: Tesák 1 (19.18kms): Kopecký/Aigner/Černý
SS8: Lukov 2 (11.38kms): Hänninen/Aigner/Černý
SS9: Tesák 1 (19.18kms): Hänninen/Aigner/Černý
Day two (Sunday 2 September, 112.40 kilometres):
SS10: Halenkovice 1 (21.40kms): Kopecký/Aigner/Černý
SS11: Kudlovice 1 (11.42kms): Hänninen/Orsák/Chentre
SS12: Maják 1 (23.38kms): Hänninen/Aigner/Černý
SS13: Halenkovice 2 (21.40kms): Hänninen/Orsák/Černý
SS14: Kudlovice 2 (11.42kms): Mikkelsen/Aigner/Stage not run for IRC 2WD Cup competitors
SS15: Maják 2 (23.38kms): Stage cancelled
IRC rally wins in 2012 (drivers)
Juho Hänninen 3; Jan Kopecký 2; Andreas Mikkelsen 2; Giandomenico Basso 1; Dani Sordo 1.
IRC rally wins in 2012 (manufacturers)
KODA 7; MINI 1 (note: MINI is not currently eligible for IRC manufacturers points); M-Sport Ford 1.
IRC stage wins in 2012 (drivers)
Andreas Mikkelsen 50; Juho Hänninen 29; Jan Kopecký 20; Giandomenico Basso 7; Freddy Loix 5; Dani Sordo 3; Pierre Campana 2; Sepp Wiegand 2; Germain Bonnefis 1; Bryan Bouffier 1; Patrik Flodin 1; Tomá Kostka 1.
Stage wins in 2012 (manufacturers)
KODA 102; Peugeot 9; M-Sport Ford 8; MINI 3.
Go to www.ircseries.com for more information.
Prime Yalta Rally, 14-16 September