Rnd 4 SATA Rally Azores 25-27 Apr talk/results spoiler**
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    Cool Rnd 4 SATA Rally Azores 25-27 Apr talk/results spoiler**

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    Next Rnd 4 SATA Rally Azores 25-27 Apr




    Based on the Atlantic archipelago’s largest island of São Miguel, the event is characterised by stunning countryside and narrow and undulating gravel stages with one test taking crews along the rim of a dormant volcano. Changeable weather is also a big factor.

    Official Website: satarallyeacores.com/en/

    Listen Rally Radio: rallyradio.com/




    ...
    Last edited by Weasel 555; 05-13-2013 at 04:50 PM.

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    Kubica tops qualifying but admits to start choice dilemma

    Formula One race winner Robert Kubica has gone fastest in qualifying for round four of the FIA European Rally Championship – but says the hard challenge starts now.

    Kubica was quickest by 3.913s over the 3.27-kilometre course and earns the right to choose his starting position for leg one first when the road selection ceremony gets underway at 12:00hrs local time.

    However, because this will be the first time that Kubica has taken part in this process, the Polish ace said he is unsure whether to start higher up or lower down in the starting order for Thursday’s opening test.

    “Actually I would prefer to be further back because now I don’t know which position is the best to choose,” Kubica said. “I have no experience and with so much surface changes on the stages it’s very difficult to know what is the best. Without being here before you don’t know how the roads are developing and whether the grip level is damp or wet or getting worse. Some places will get better, some places will get worse.”

    Kubica revealed he had considered reducing his pace during the timed run after making changes to the set-up of his Citroën DS3 RRC following free practice.

    “I just changed a bit the car set-up for the qually run to improve the overall grip because the conditions were very poor,” he explained. “I was trying to back-off to let guys like Craig [Breen] and Jan [Kopecký] to be in front to see what they choose but as we did quite a big change on the set-up I needed to get the feeling to compare the set-up [so I had to push].”

    Following Bryan Bouffier’s withdrawal 10 drivers tackled the Qualifying Stage. Jérémi Ancian (Peugeot Rally Academy) was second quickest with factory ŠKODA driver Kopecký, the current ERC leader, third fastest followed by Breen, Bernardo Sousa (Ford Fiesta RRC) and Azorean champion Ricardo Moura, who is making his competition debut in a Fabia Super 2000. Bruno Magalhães, Mark Wallenwein, Jan Černý and Jean-Michel Raoux completed the top 10.

    click: fiaerc.com/news/563

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    Route changes lead to merging of legs in Açores

    Legs one and two of SATA Rallye Açores, round four of the FIA European Rally Championship, have been merged together following a change to the event itinerary.

    Heavy overnight rain has resulted in significant damage to the roads on stages one and two. SS1, Coroa da Mata 1, has been cancelled with SS2, São Brás/Vila Franca 1, shortened from 16.38 kilometres to 6.14 kilometres.

    With the revised stage length of leg one now less than 10 per cent of the total competitive distance, the event stewards have confirmed that legs one and two will be merged, which means that the start order selected by the priority drivers for Thursday’s stages will apply to Friday’s route as well.

    Thursday’s action will now get underway with the shortened São Brás/Vila Franca stage at 16:02hrs local time. SS3, Lagoa 1, and SS4, Grupo Marques Super Special Stage 1, will run as originally scheduled at 16:52hrs and 17:20hrs. Further information about the running of Coroa da Mata 2 and São Brás/Vila Franca will be issued on Friday.

    The top 10 starting positions for leg one (Thursday 25 April and Friday 26 April):

    1: Jean-Michel Raoux
    2: Jan Černý
    3: Mark Wallenwein
    4: Bruno Magalhães
    5: Ricardo Moura
    6: Bernardo Sousa
    7: Craig Breen
    8: Jan Kopecký
    9: Jérémi Ancian
    10: Robert Kubica

    click: fiaerc.com/news/564

    ...

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    After SS2: Kubica quickest to lead ERC Açores

    Robert Kubica has shot into the lead of round four of the FIA European Rally Championship.

    The Formula One race winner was fastest through the São Brás/Vila Franca test – shortened from 16.38 kilometres to 6.14 kilometres after heavy overnight rain left one section of the run impassable – by 2.2s in his Citroën DS3 RRC.

    “It was all good but it was very slippery and trick but we take enough margin for the pacenotes,” said the Polish ace, who opted to run 10th on the road after topping Thursday morning’s Qualifying Stage. “In some places I was surprised how good the grip was but it some places it was very slippery.”

    Craig Breen was second fastest in his Peugeot 207 Super 2000 with local hero Ricardo Moura impressing on his first run in a ŠKODA Fabia S2000 3.6s adrift of Kubica. “I made some mistakes because I was too much sideways,” said the multiple Azorean champion.

    ŠKODA’s ERC title leader Jan Kopecký and Peugeot privateer Bruno Magalhães, a double winner of SATA Rallye Açores, set the joint fourth fastest time. Jérémi Ancian was sixth fastest with Bernardo Sousa seventh in a Ford Fiesta RRC. Sousa said his pace was masked by the fact he prepared his pacenotes in fog.

    SS1, Coroa da Mata, which was due to run at 15:29hrs local time was cancelled as a result of Wednesday’s downpour. SS3, Lagoa, goes live at 16:52hrs.

    click: fiaerc.com/news/568



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    After SS3: Breen slips back in Açores ERC battle

    Ricardo Moura has snatched second place from Craig Breen on SATA Rallye Açores after the Irishman adopted a cautious approach through the high-speed Lagoa stage.

    Described as being akin to a motorway due to its fast and wide nature, Breen reported that a puncture discovered after the previous stage meant he didn’t take any risks on the 7.91-kilometre test having used his solitary spare tyre.

    As a result Breen now slips to fourth behind multiple Azorean champion Moura (ŠKODA Fabia S2000) and FIA European Rally Championship title leader Jan Kopecký in a factory Fabia.

    Robert Kubica continues to hold the outright advantage after taking his second stage win in succession, 1.5s ahead of Kopecký.

    The Grupo Marques superspecial, where drivers go head-to-head in pairs on a stage built inside a quarry, has just got underway and is being shown live on RTP Açores.

    click: fiaerc.com/news/569



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    After SS4: Three in a row for ERC hero Kubica

    Robert Kubica has made it three wins out of three on SATA Rallye Açores by setting the pace on the Grupo Marques Super Special Stage.

    Kubica beat FIA European Rally Championship leader Jan Kopecký by 0.8s to extend his overall lead to 9.7s.

    Drivers went head-to-head in pairs over the all-gravel stage built within a quarry. Azorean Ricardo Moura and Madeira resident Bernardo Sousa fought out one of the most exciting battles with Moura going quicker after Sousa struggled off the start.

    Crews are now heading back to the overnight service halt in Ponta Delgada. Leg one continues on Friday morning with the second running of Lagoa at 10:50hrs local time.

    click: fiaerc.com/news/570





    ...

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    ERC SATA Rallye Açores day one report: stage hat-trick for Kubica

    Formula One race winner Robert Kubica has continued his impressive start to his career in the FIA European Rally Championship by winning all three stages that ran on SATA Rallye Açores today.

    Driving a Citroën DS3 Regional Rally Car, Kubica holds an advantage of 9.7s over ERC title leader Jan Kopecký with multiple Azorean champion third in a similar ŠKODA Fabia Super 2000 at the Thursday night halt in Ponta Delgada. “It was a very demanding day because the grip level has been changing a lot and I don’t have the experience,” said Kubica. “It’s not easy when you have mud, rain and dry conditions. Tomorrow is much longer and very tricky but we have to try to learn.”

    Heavy overnight rain resulted in significant damage to the roads on stages one and two. SS1, Coroa da Mata 1, was cancelled with SS2, São Brás/Vila Franca 1, shortened from 16.38 kilometres to 6.14 kilometres. With the revised stage length of leg one falling to less than 10 per cent of the total competitive distance, legs one and two were merged, which meant that the start order selected by the priority drivers for Thursday’s stages will apply to Friday’s route as well.

    As a result, Kubica, who began his run of success by winning the Qualifying Stage to earn the right to pick his starting order first, opted to run 10th on the road to gain what he felt would be the most preferential road position. Although the first São Brás/Vila Franca 1 test was damp and slippery, the next stage and the day-closing Grupo Marques superspecial were largely dry.

    The slippery nature of the opening test caught out Kopecký, who was competing on gravel for the first time since November 2011. “I didn’t have the confidence and I knew if I started flat out I could make a mistake,” said the Czech champion.

    read more: fiaerc.com/news/571

    ...

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    Friday:
    After SS5: Kubica flies, Breen takes third


    Another day, another stage win for the flying Robert Kubica who has extended his lead on round four of the FIA European Rally Championship to 11.0s after beating his close friend Jan Kopecký by 1.3s.

    Citroën DS3 RRC driver Kubica has now made it four stage wins on SATA Rallye Açores, his first appearance on gravel in the ERC.

    Elsewhere, Peugeot Rally Academy’s Craig Breen has demoted ŠKODA Fabia pilot Ricardo Moura in the battle for third.

    Bernardo Sousa has slipped from fifth to seventh with Jan Černý dropping out of the top 10 amid reports he stopped on the 7.91-kilometre Lagoa test with a possible engine problem.

    click: fiaerc.com/news/599



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    After SS6: Serious competition as 1.1s covers top-three crews

    The FIA European Rally Championship’s strapline is Serious Competition Ahead and this was certainly the case on stage six, Batalha Golfe, where the top three drivers were separated by 1.1s.

    While Formula One race winner Robert Kubica made it five stage wins in succession in his Citroën DS3 RRC, ERC title leader Jan Kopecký (pictured) was a scant 0.1s slower for ŠKODA Motorsport with Craig Breen 1.0s behind in his Peugeot Rally Academy 207 Super 2000.

    Bruno Magalhães, a double winner of SATA Rallye Açores, has moved ahead of Jérémi Ancian for fifth place. Jan Černý started the 7.86-kilometre stage out of order and continues to lose time in his Czech National Team Fabia.

    click: fiaerc.com/news/600



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    After SS7: Kubica drops time as battle for ERC glory intensifies

    Robert Kubica’s stage winning run on SATA Rallye Açores is over – and it was all streamed live on the FIA European Rally Championship’s official website.

    Kubica picked up a front-right tyre deflation three kilometres from the finish of the 7.54-kilometre Feteiras stage where stunning helicopter images and dramatic onboard camera shots were available free-of-charge at www.fiaerc.com.

    Formula One race winner Kubica was 6.2s slower than stage winner Jan Kopecký who is now just 4.9s behind in the overall classification heading to Sete Cidades, which will be broadcast live on Eurosport, Eurosport Player and RTP Açores.

    Craig Breen continues to hold third place - 1.5s up on Ricardo Moura - despite a picking up a puncture two kilometres into the run. However, he slips 22.2s down on Kopecký, who reported a problem relaying information to his co-driver Pavel Dresler due to an intercom glitch.

    Jan Černy’s ŠKODA Fabia Super 2000 is back to full working order after a fuel injector fault was repaired.

    click: fiaerc.com/news/601



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    After SS8: New leader in Açores as Kubica slips back

    Robert Kubica has lost top spot on SATA Rallye Açores as fans tuning into Eurosport, Eurosport Player and RTP Açores watched live coverage of the spectacular Sete Cidades test.

    The eighth stage of the FIA European Rally Championship qualifier, which runs along the rim of a volcanic crater lake, took place in treacherous weather conditions with fog and rain providing a tough test for the competing crews.

    Kubica was 1m46.2s slower than stage winner Bernado Sousa and slips from the lead of the ERC qualifier to sixth, 1m04.5s behind new pacesetter Jan Kopecký.

    “It was very difficult stage, we couldn’t see anything in some places,” said Kubica, who suffered a scare when he shot into the air after hitting a bank at point. “Eighty per cent of the stage I was just cruising to the finish. I had no confidence in the pace notes when you see no more than 20 metes. We are just happy to be here. It was definitely the biggest challenge because driving a rally car you should push but I did the right choice not to push, just finish the stage.”

    ERC title leader Kopecký admitted he was “lucky” to complete the stage after he suffered a big hit when he understeered into a bank in his ŠKODA Fabia S2000. “There was heavy fog, I hit the bank and we are lucky we are here,” he said.

    Stage winner Bernardo Sousa, who was 22.9s quicker than fellow Portuguese Bruno Magalhães in a Ford Fiesta RRC, said: “I was really struggling with fog, believe me it was hell. I hit the banks probably 20 times.”

    Craig Breen completed the stage with the third fastest time but with the rear bumper missing from his Peugeot 207 Super 2000. “I had zero visibility in places and it was difficult to drive flat out, my confidence is coming step by step,” said the Irishman who is 16.4s behind Kopecký in second overall.

    Jaroslav Orsák has crashed out of the lead of the ERC Production Car Cup. The Czech went off the road two kilometres from the stage finish.

    Crews now head to a 30-minute service halt in Ponta Delgada. The Coroa da Mata stage, which wasn’t run as scheduled on Thursday due to overnight rain damaging the road, goes live at 15:04hrs local time.

    click: fiaerc.com/news/602




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    After SS9: Sousa doubles up on ERC island thriller

    Bernardo Sousa has claimed his second stage win on round four of the FIA European Rally Championship, SATA Rallye Açores.

    Sousa, in a Ford Fiesta RRC, was fastest by 0.9s over the 8.25-kilometre Coroa da Mata stage, which only went ahead after local authorities worked through the night to repair roads damaged by heavy rain on Wednesday.

    As a result of his pace, Sousa, the former Portuguese champion, moves into fourth overall ahead of two-time event winner Bruno Magalhães.

    In the battle for top spot, Craig Breen (Peugeot Rally Academy) has narrowed Jan Kopecký’s margin to 15.4s heading to stage 10, Batalha Golfe 2, which gets underway at 15:44hrs local time. Breen was second fastest through the stage 1.0s up on ŠKODA Motorsport’s Kopecký, the current European championship leader.

    Formula One race winner Robert Kubica, who had been leading outright until he was slowed by heavy fog on stage eight, was fourth quickest in his Citroën DS3 RRC, 2.8s down on Sousa. He remains in sixth overall, 32.6s behind Magalhães.

    click: fiaerc.com/news/607



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    After SS10: Kubica returns to stage-winning ways

    Robert Kubica has returned to stage-winning form on round four of the FIA European Rally Championship by going quickest of all on stage 10, Batalha Golfe 2.

    Kubica, in a Citroën DS3 RRC, was 0.5s faster than Bruno Magalhães through the 7.86-kilometre test. Magalhães is now up to third overall having leapfrogged fellow Portuguese drivers Ricardo Moura and Bernardo Sousa.

    Jan Kopecký continues to lead the island gravel event in his ŠKODA Motorsport Fabia Super 2000. He was third fastest, 0.5s up on Peugeot Rally Academy’s Craig Breen.

    Next up is the repeat of the 7.54-kilometre Feteiras test.

    click: fiaerc.com/news/612



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    After SS11: Drama as Kubica rolls on SATA Rallye Açores

    There was high drama on stage 11 of SATA Rallye Açores when Robert Kubica rolled his Citroën DS3 RRC.

    The Polish ace, a race winner in Formula One, was in sixth overall when he hit trouble on the 7.54-kilometre Feteiras stage, which was being streamed live on the official FIA European Rally Championship website, www.fiaerc.com.

    “I had trouble in one corner and we rolled,” said Kubica. “Now we have a problem on the front left wheel. We try to continue.”

    Kubica and co-driver Maciek Baran took four minutes longer than stage winners Craig Breen and Paul Nagle to complete the test. After making it through the run they spent several minutes trying to carry out repairs. They have slipped to eighth overall.

    Breen, who is now 13.1s adrift of leader Jan Kopecký, said: “It was fairly shocking. You just try to do the best you can but it’s very slippery with a lot of mud on the road.”

    With stage 12 unfortunately being cancelled on grounds of safety due to heavy fog, crews will now return to service in Ponta Delgada. Leg two, which totals 111.15 kilometres, features seven stages and gets underway at 09:21hrs local time with the Graminhais stage.

    click: fiaerc.com/news/619



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    Stage 12 cancelled for safety reasons

    Stage 12 of SATA Rallye Açores has been cancelled for safety reasons. The 23.97-kilometre Sete Cidades test was due to begin at 17:06hrs local time but now won’t go ahead as a result of heavy fog.


    ....

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    ERC SATA Rallye Acores day two report: Kopecký leads Açores thriller

    There was high drama on round four of the FIA European Rally Championship in Açores today as overnight pacesetter Robert Kubica hit trouble on the mid-Atlantic archipelago, handing top spot to ERC title-leader Jan Kopecký in the process.

    Kubica, in a Citroën DS3 RRC, was five seconds clear of his ŠKODA Motorsport rival when he encountered thick fog on the Sete Cidades stage, which was being shown live on Eurosport and RTP Açores. With visibility limited to 10 metres in places, Kubica lost considerable time as he wisely backed off. The Formula One race winner was battling back into contention from sixth when he rolled on Feteiras with the dramatic aftermath streamed live on the official ERC website.

    Despite inflicting substantial damage to his car, Kubica was able to drive back to service in Ponta Delgada, his task eased when the repeat of Sete Cidades was cancelled due to heavy fog. He explained: “We went to a right-hander and I lost the car. The road was very narrow so we clipped a bank. We nearly managed to get it back but the bank was bigger and thicker and unfortunately it pulled us on the side and we rolled. At the end of the stage we managed to fix a bit the wheel and we managed to come back. It has been difficult, difficult day.”

    The Polish hero, who has slipped to eighth place, continued: “The crash was not an issue of visibility. I was surprised how the car reacted. I was not expecting it. I was not pushing because we had bad luck with the fog at the end of the last stage of the first loop. Even driving at normal speed there was very poor grip in the corner and we lost the car. It was a result of a mistake.”

    Kopecký, whose overall lead starting Saturday’s final leg is 13.1s, experienced problems of his own, albeit of a somewhat private nature. “I was not so concentrated because my crotch strap was not quite in the right position and it was not very comfortable over every jump,” said the Czech champion. “The conditions were very difficult today, it’s good to be leading but Saturday is the longest of the rally and there are some very tricky stages.”

    Behind Kopecký, Craig Breen is firmly in contention for first place despite suffering a puncture three kilometres into stage seven. The Peugeot Rally Academy driver has vowed to go on “full attack” on leg two as he bids to make it victory number one in this year’s ERC.

    read more: fiaerc.com/news/624

    Azores Photos: fiaerc.com/photogallery/Azores

    Azores Videos: fiaerc.com/videogallery/Azores



    ...
    Last edited by Weasel 555; 04-26-2013 at 04:03 PM.

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    Saturday:
    After SS13: Trouble for Sousa and Raoux in Açores


    The drama continues on round four of the FIA European Rally Championship with Bernardo Sousa (pictured) and Jean-Michel Raoux both failing to make it through Saturday’s opening test.

    In heavy fog, Sousa dropped out of fifth place with Raoux losing his seventh position on the 20.82 kilometres of Graminhais.

    Elsewhere, Ricardo Moura has reversed a 1.6s deficit to Bruno Magalhães by moving into third place ahead of his fellow Portuguese with a margin of 37.7s.

    “It was very difficult and in the first kilometres it was impossible to see,” said Magalhães, a two-time winner on SATA Rallye Açores. “I saw two other cars had crashed. This affected my concentration and my rhythm.”

    In the battle for victory, Jan Kopecký has extended his narrow advantage over Craig Breen by 2.6s after the ŠKODA Motorsport driver claimed his second stage win.

    While Kopecký said it was difficult to see in the heavy fog, Breen reported smoke entering the cockpit of his Peugeot Rally Academy 207 S2000.

    Formula One race winner Robert Kubica was sixth fastest and said: “First of all I was happy not to have to push in this stage because it was the first time I see it with my eyes after we had fog in the recce. It was very difficult and very slippery and I did not push. Yesterday was a tough day for us so we will have to learn from it and make the experience.”

    Miguel Barbosa’s hopes of victory in the ERC Production Car Cup have suffered a setback after he was delayed completing the stage in his Mitsubishi Lancer. Luis Rego now leads the category in a similar car.

    click: fiaerc.com/news/639



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    After SS14: Smoking Breen remains in victory fight

    Craig Breen is still in contention for his first victory in the FIA European Rally Championship despite reporting a recurrence of the smoke problem that struck on Saturday’s opener.

    At the completion of the 21.33-kilometre Tronqueira, which was shown live on Eurosport Player and RTP Açores, Breen said: “We got smoke coming into the car for the majority of the stage and we lost a bit of time with that. It’s something in the central column that’s throwing a lot of smoke into our face. It’s difficult.”

    Nevertheless, Breen was 0.6s quicker than Jan Kopecký, whose lead on SATA Rallye Açores stands at 15.1s with two stages of this morning’s loop remaining.

    “It was foggy like hell in the middle part and we lost a bit the rhythm,” said Kopecký, who heads the ERC drivers’ standings for ŠKODA Motorsport.

    Stage winner Ricardo Moura continues to top the battle for Portuguese bragging rights in third overall after Bruno Magalhães lost more ground in his ill-handling Peugeot.

    “The car was impossible to drive,” said Magalhães. “I need the car softer. I had absolutely no grip in these stages. The organisers changed the surface after the recce and you have a lot of loose. I have no traction and it’s impossible to brake. I lost completely the battle for third place because the car doesn’t work.”

    For Moura, his performance marked his first stage win on the event in the Fabia Super 2000 he is driving in competition for the first time. “I am now more confident in the car and I am going faster.”

    Formula One race winner Robert Kubica said he was experimenting with set-up changes to his Citroën DS3 RRC. “There are some places where there is some fog but it’s a very tricky stage because it’s very narrow. We are trying different set-ups but it’s not easy because there is a lot of mud and it’s very slippery.”

    There was early despair for Jan Černý who’d only been running for 35 seconds when he went straight on at a junction and clouted a bank. Damage to his Fabia’s transmission meant he was unable to continue.

    Alessandro Bruschetta has moved ahead of Luis Rego in the FIA ERC Production Car Cup. Overnight leader Miguel Barbosa continues to lose time with an intercooler problem.

    Crews are now off to São Brás/Vila Franca, which has again been shortened in length to 6.14 kilometres due to damage to the road caused by heavy rain.

    click: fiaerc.com/news/640



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    After SS15: Big push gives Kopecký the edge

    Jan Kopecký’s decision to throw caution to the wind on the São Brás/Vila Franca stage has paid dividends after he extended his overall advantage on SATA Rallye Açores to 18.6s.

    The FIA European Rally Championship leader was 3.5s faster than Craig Breen – his closest rival for victory on the gravel event – over the 6.14-kilometre test.

    “I tried to go as fast as possible but there is still a very long section in the afternoon,” said the ŠKODA Motorsport driver. “We hope we can be first but we need to push a lot and we need to drive around the rocks because it’s easy to get a puncture.”

    Breen, meanwhile, reported hitting a big rock in the stage in his Peugeot Rally Academy 207: “I hit a big rock and thought I had a puncture. We were lucky because we only have one spare and that’s flat. It’s becoming a tougher challenge than I thought although we think we’ve found a solution to the problem of the smoke coming into the car.”

    Jérémi Ancian, in the second Peugeot Rally Academy, was second fastest, 2.5s down on Kopecký. Robert Kubica was third quickest with local hero Ricardo Moura next up.

    Crews are now heading to the Grupo Marques Super Special Stage, which goes live at 12:33hrs.

    click: fiaerc.com/news/643



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    After SS16: Friends undivided on Açores superspecial

    Close friends Jan Kopecký and Robert Kubica have recorded the joint fastest time on the Grupo Marques Super Special Stage.

    Built within a quarry, the test is a big hit with fans watching live at the venue or at home on RTP Açores, which transmitted the action as it happened.

    Kopecký’s performance means he has increased his overall lead on the FIA European Rally Championship qualifier to 20.8s ahead of Craig Breen.

    For the record, the time of 2m02.3s Kopecký and Kubica recorded through the 2.20-kilometre course was slower than the standard Kubica set when the stage was first run on Thursday afternoon.

    Ricardo Moura, who is using his home round of the ERC, to debut his ŠKODA Fabia Super 2000, was sixth quickest. He said: “It was okay but I was a bit cautious on the jump. There is no big difference with the times but there are still two long stages to go.”

    Crews are now heading back to service in Ponta Delgada. Stage 16, Lomba da Maia, starts at 15:14hrs local time.

    click: fiaerc.com/news/647




    ...

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    Um, wow. Driving on a volcano lip.






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    thanks for the vids

    -----------------------------------------------

    After SS17: Czech champion closes on European glory in Açores

    Event leader Jan Kopecký is two stages away from winning SATA Rallye Açores after he set the pace through the 8.27-kilometre Lomba da Maia stage, which included a lengthy Tarmac section.

    It means the Czech ŠKODA driver’s advantage out front over Craig Breen now stands at 23.0s after he went 2.2s quicker than the Peugeot Rally Academy team member.

    “I could push more but I didn’t want to destroy my [gravel] tyres on the Tarmac because there are still two stages to go on gravel,” said Kopecký, who has yet to win an international rally on gravel.

    Ricardo Moura, who was third quickest, 5.1s down on Kopecký, was also in tyre preservation mode in his ARC Sport Fabia. “We were a bit too cautious on the Tarmac but it makes sense to save the tyres for the next two stages, which are long,” said the multiple Azorean champion.

    Rising French star Jérémi Ancian was fourth quickest, outpacing Bruno Magalhães and Robert Kubica in the process despite admitting to not having a good feeling on the Tarmac section. Kubica reported a slight issue with his car’s intercom, while Magalhães is running a harder suspension solution for the afternoon having complained of handling and traction problems in the morning.

    click: fiaerc.com/news/654



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    After SS18: Breen on the verge of settling for second

    Craig Breen has all but conceded defeat in his pursuit of glory on SATA Rallye Açores, round four of the FIA European Rally Championship.

    The Peugeot Rally Academy ace is now 26.7s behind event pacesetter and ERC title leader Jan Kopecký with just the 21.33 kilometres of Tronqueira – televised live on Eurosport and RTP Açores – left to run.

    “We just got through that one,” said Breen who was 3.7s slower than ŠKODA’s factory star. “We need to be clever again. Of course I tried to push very hard this morning. Nothing stupid, but for sure we were pushing. It’s all very well racking up these second places, but second is getting monotonous, I want to win like you wouldn’t believe.”

    Stage winner Kopecký, said: “Of course we try to do our best, it’s the best way not to make a mistake. This stage is very tricky with a lot of fog after the start. It was difficult to see and there were a lot of ruts. I will keep the speed that I have.”

    Ricardo Moura was third quickest, Jérémi Ancian fourth, Bruno Magalhães fifth and Robert Kubica sixth. “There was a little bit of fog but it was very slippery and we were struggling,” said the Pole, a race winner in Formula One. “We were trying to bring the car home.”

    German champion Mark Wallenwein, who is running first on the road, said: “We are fighting with the car, we have so much oversteer.”

    click: fiaerc.com/news/655



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    After SS19: Seven of the best for winner Kopecký

    FIA European Rally Championship leader Jan Kopecký made sure of SATA Rallye Açores victory number one by going fastest on the event’s final stage live on Eurosport and RTP Açores.

    Driving a ŠKODA Fabia Super 2000, Kopecký was 0.8s quicker than Ricardo Moura through the 21.33-kilometre stage for his seventh fastest stage time of the gravel event.

    Bruno Magalhães was third quickest to secure fourth overall behind Moura. Craig Breen clinched the runner-up spot by going fourth fastest in his Peugeot 207 S2000.

    Marco Tempestini demoted Janós Puskádi for 10th and there was more drama in the ERC 2WD Championship when Diogo Gago dropped out of the lead to hand top spot to Zoltán Bessenyey. Gago had snatched the class advantage when Hannes Danzinger retired on stage 17 after breaking his Renault Clio’s suspension hitting a wall.

    click: fiaerc.com/news/661




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    Colin McRae ERC award a career highlight, says Moura

    Ricardo Moura has described winning the Colin McRae ERC Flat Out Trophy on SATA Rallye Açores as one of the highlights of his career.

    The multiple Azorean champion was chosen as the winner of the prestigious award following his third-place finish on round four of the FIA European Rally Championship earlier today.

    His performance on his debut in a ŠKODA Fabia Super 2000 on the back of limited testing and supply of tyres due to his restricted funds earned him the accolade.

    After collecting the prize from ERC General Co-ordinator Jean-Pierre Nicolas, who forms part of the three-person judging panel, Moura said: “Colin was definitely my favourite driver at the time and receiving this Flat Out Trophy for having the spirit like Colin McRae is maybe the most important thing in my career. It’s a great feeling.”

    click: fiaerc.com/news/663


    ....

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