Next Rnd 7 -ERC Sibiu Rally talk/results spoiler **
Next Rnd 7 - Sibiu Rally - Romania - Gravel 25-27 July 2013[/B]
Based around the city of Sibiu, a former European Capital of Culture 280 kilometres northwest of the Romanian capital Bucharest, the punishing gravel stages are mixed with sections of asphalt with some runs taking place under the cover of darkness.
Jan Kopecký has staked an early claim for Sibiu Rally glory by winning the Qualifying Stage for round seven of the FIA European Rally Championship.
The Czech charger, in a ŠKODA Motorsport Fabia Super 2000, shaded fellow ERC event winner Bryan Bouffier by a slender margin of 0.056s over the 3.42-kilometre stage located at Sibiu’s rallycross track.
“It’s good we had two runs [of Free Practice] because the times were improving a lot as there was much road cleaning,” said the European championship leader, who set a time of 3m11.207s.
Bouffier, who completed the run in 3m11.26s in his Delta Rally Peugeot 207 S2000, said: “I pushed as much as I can but now it’s difficult to know which position to choose on the road tomorrow.”
Rallying legend François Delecour, the defending Romanian champion, was third fastest in his Munaretto Sport 207. “It was okay but they went very fast in front,” said the Frenchman, who clocked a time of 3m13.773s.
Dávid Botka, the final driver to complete the stage, impressed with the fourth fastest time in his Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX R4, 2.708s down on Kopecký.
Subaru Impreza R4 STI driver Toshi Arai reported running wide at a few corners and completed the run with a damaged wheel rim and the fifth-fastest time. Edwin Keleti impressed in sixth after landing a big jump in his Mitsubishi Lancer with Vali Porcisteanu just behind.
Hungarian Gergo Szabo was eighth with fellow former Sibiu winner Marco Tempestini ninth quickest. Tempestini reported he’d been sideways on a handful of corners in his Napoca Rally Academy ŠKODA Fabia.
Behind Vitaly Pushkar, the production class winner in Sibiu last year, in 10th, GPD Mit Metal Racing Team aces Antonín Tlusťák and Jaroslav Orsák were 11th and 13th respectively with Fabia driver Dan Girtofan 12th and Eurosol Racing Team Hungary’s János Puskádi 14th.
Crews will select their starting positions in Sibiu shortly. Following the City Demo at 20:00hrs local time, the Ceremonial Start begins at 20:30hrs.
ŠKODA star Kopecký to start first on ERC Sibiu Rally
Jan Kopecký has explained his decision to run first on the road on leg one of the Sibiu Rally tomorrow (Friday).
Kopecký, the FIA European Rally Championship leader, earned the right to select his starting position first after winning the Qualifying Stage in his ŠKODA Motorsport Fabia Super 2000.
Normally on gravel events drivers prefer to run lower down the order to benefit from a clean and more stable road surface. However, the Czech champion said the potential for rocks being dragged onto the road by cars running in front and the possibility of hanging dust clouds on Friday night’s final stage prompted him to run at the head of the near-capacity field.
“I am a little bit afraid about the rough conditions of the stages,” he said. “Many loose stones will come out from the first cars. I have the pacenotes and I know where they going to be if I am first on the road so I can try to go around them. But you never know where the loose stones are going to come if you start at the back. The first loop I have this advantage and in the second loop if there is no wind the dust can be very heavy in the night stage.”
This is where the 14 priority drivers have chosen to run on the road on Friday’s opening leg:
1 Jan Kopecký
2 Bryan Bouffier
3 François Delecour
4 Dávid Botka
5 Toshi Arai
6 Edwin Keleti
7 Vali Porcisteanu
8 Gergo Szabo
9 Marco Tempestini
10 Vitaly Pushkar
11 Antonín Tlusťák
12 Dan Girtofan
13 Jaroslav Orsák
14 János Puskádi
François Delecour leads round seven of the FIA European Rally Championship after winning the opening stage of the Sibiu Rally.
The Peugeot 207 Super 2000 ace took 4m23.7s to complete the 6.92-kilometre Dobârca stage, a mere 0.2s quicker than ERC title leader Jan Kopecký.
“Of course I’m happy but there were some hot moments because it was very slippery with the rocks and I thought there was one moment when I would get a puncture,” said the French legend, the reigning Romanian champion. “I tried to keep in the line of Jan and Bryan [Bouffier] but it was not easy because it was very slippery.”
FIA European Rally Championship leader Jan Kopecký has made a sensational start to the Sibiu Rally by winning the opening stage, Dobârca.
Kopecký, who completed in 4m23.9s at the wheel of his ŠKODA Motorsport Fabia Super 2000, said: “We are happy, we took it very smooth, just easy. We will see how it goes after the second loop. There are a lot of loose stones but it’s really deep so I think it will be the same for everyone.”
Bryan Bouffier was 3.0s down on countryman Delecour and admitted he needs to go faster in his 207 S2000: “It was okay, I took no risk and tried to drive well. Jan did a very good start so we have to be a bit quicker.”
Edwin Keleti was the fastest of the ERC Production Car Cup drivers while Vali Porcisteanu reported a build-up of dust in his similar Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X. Meanwhile, Vitaly Pushkar, the class winner in Sibiu last season, was second fastest in the category.
Jan Kopecký’s bid for victory number four in the FIA European Rally Championship has suffered an early setback after his ŠKODA Motorsport Fabia Super 2000’s power steering failed on stage two.
Kopecký, the ERC title leader, was six kilometres from the start of the 27.00-kilometre Crinț stage when he hit trouble. “The power steering stopped working, it’s very tough and I cannot go fast over the bumps because I lose the steering wheel from my hands,” said Kopecký who was 13.7s slower than stage winner and new event leader Bryan Bouffier.
As a result the Czech is now 10.9s adrift of top spot, which Bouffier holds by 0.1s after he went 3.1s quicker than stage-one winner and fellow Peugeot 207 Super 2000 driver François Delecour. “It was not bad but I slow down a little bit because I was so afraid to make a puncture in many, many places,” said Delecour.
Dávid Botka, running fourth on the road, reported his Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX was down on power after the turbo failed. Gergo Szabo suffered power steering failure in his similar car, while Vali Porcisteanu impressed with the fourth-fastest time despite completing the final two kilometres with a left-rear puncture.
Antonín Tlusťák also suffered a left-rear puncture on his GPD Mit Metal Racing Team entry, while a brake issue has hit Vitaliy Pushkar’s hopes. Dan Girtofan reported losing time stuck in the dust being thrown up by Pushkar’s car dust for the final five kilometres. Jaroslav Orsák has picked up a suspected exhaust problem.
Crews are heading back to Sibiu for a regroup and a 30-minute service halt. SS3, the repeat of Dobârca, goes live at 17:52hrs local time.
Jan Kopecký’s recovery from his stage-two delay is underway after he won the third stage of the Sibiu Rally, round seven of the FIA European Rally Championship.
Kopecký, who was fastest by 0.9s, confirmed his ŠKODA Fabia Super 2000’s powersteering is back to full working order following extensive repairs in service. “The car is working well and the powersteering is perfect,” said the Czech, who trails Bryan Bouffier by 10.0s in third overall
Frenchman Bouffier, meanwhile, was second fastest through the 6.92 kilometres of Dobârca in his Peugeot 207 Super 2000, which was raised by 25 millimetres in service to improve the ground clearance. “It’s less hitting the bottom but now the car is moving more,” said Bouffier, whose lead over François Delecour is now a narrow 1.8s. “But the time is good against Jan so not bad.”
After going third quickest, Delecour said: “I don’t understand because I went faster but they went faster. I will have to push harder in the next stage.”
Like Kopecký, Vitaliy Pushkar is also fighting back from his loss of time on stage two and set the pace in the ERC Production Car Cup on the third run. The Ukrainian completed the previous 27.00-kilometre test with no brakes on his The Boar-Proracing Rally Team Mitsubishi Lancer although the fault has now been rectified.
After SS4: High drama in Sibiu as Bouffier drops out of ERC lead
Bryan Bouffier’s hopes of winning the Sibiu Rally are over after his Peugeot 207 Super 2000 suffered a double shock absorber failure five kilometres from the start of the 27.00-kilometre Crinț run.
And the chances of a French win in Romania received a further setback when Bouffier’s countryman François Delecour reached the stage finish complaining of an engine fault in his Peugeot 207 Super 2000. “I have a problem with the engine, a leak or something,” said Delecour, who took 31.5s more than stage winner Jan Kopecký to complete the run.
Kopecký, who now leads the FIA European Rally Championship counter by 23.3s in his ŠKODA Fabia Super 2000, said: “Everything now is okay but the road is very rough with deep ruts and big rocks and we are just going around the rocks.”
There was drama in the ERC Production Car Cup when Vali Porcisteanu’s class-leading Mitsubishi Lancer suffered a broken rear suspension arm halfway through the 27.00-kilometre Crinț stage.
He slips to third in the category behind new leader Toshi Arai with Edwin Keleti up to second. Arai reached the stage finish with his Subaru Impreza R4 STI stuck in fourth gear, while Keleti lost time stuck in the dust clouds being thrown up by Arai. “It’s really difficult in the hairpins, I have no chance at all,” said Arai.
Vitaliy Pushkar completed the stage with a punctured left-rear tyre. Gergo Szabo has stopped in the stage with a suspected mechanical fault. Jaroslav Orsák made it to the finish of the stage with oil leaking from the front-right of his Lancer, while Bogdan Marisca’s Lancer suffered turbo failure.
Up next is the 3.50-kilometre Superspecial a on the outskirts of Sibiu, which goes live at 19:38hrs local time.
After SS5: Kopecký makes it a hat-trick in Romania
Sibiu Rally leader Jan Kopecký has claimed his third stage win in succession by topping the times on stage five of the FIA European Rally Championship counter.
At the wheel of a ŠKODA Fabia Super 2000, Kopecký was 0.4s faster than François Delecour through the 3.50-kilometre Superspeciala in the outskirts of Sibiu. Delecour’s performance would appear to suggest that the engine overheating problem on his Peugeot 207 S2000 has been rectified.
Toshi Arai started the spectator special in third overall but slips to sixth as a result of his Subaru Impreza being stuck in fourth gear. Edwin Keleti takes third with Dan Girtofan fourth and Marco Tempestini fifth. Girtofan was third fastest through the stage and trails Keleti by 0.1s as a result.
Heading back to service in the city, Kopecký’s lead over Delecour is 23.7s with two stages of leg one remaining.
Jan Kopecký continues to lead round seven of the FIA European Rally Championship after he set the pace on the all-asphalt Paltiniș stage.
The 9.00-kilometre test runs uphill and provided a big challenge for the drivers who completed the test on gravel tyres and with a mainly gravel set-up in readiness for the day-closing Şanta stage, which runs on a loose surface.
“It feels like there was not much power because we were climbing all the time,” said the ŠKODA Motorsport driver, who was 2.3s faster than François Delecour. “On a gravel car with gravel tyres but everything is moving but it’s nice to see that the Romanian people are fans of rallying. The rally is still very long and the next stage is very tough.”
By going second fastest, Delecour is 26.0s behind Kopecký in the overall classification with one stage of leg one remaining. Edwin Keleti continues to lead the ERC Production Car Cup in third overall.
After SS7: Dust no barrier for determined Delecour
A stunning time by François Delecour has reignited the battle for victory on the Sibiu Rally, round seven of the FIA European Rally Championship.
Delecour charged through the 15.50-kilometre all-gravel Șanta stage 10.6s faster than event leader Jan Kopecký could manage. As a result Kopecký’s advantage heading into Saturday’s seven-stage second leg has been narrowed to 15.4s.
Frenchman Delecour, in a Peugeot 207 Super 2000, completed the stage fearing he had lost time in the dust clouds thrown up by Kopecký’s ŠKODA Fabia Super 2000, which is running ahead of the 50-year-old on the road.
“I had dust, dust, dust all the stage and it was like I was driving in the fog, incredible,” said Delecour. “Many times I was slowing down. It was a good time but it’s impossible to go much faster. I like the night because I am very old.”
Kopecký said he struggled running on hard compound tyres: “It was a difficult stage and very slippery at the top. We used hard compound tyres, which were good for the Tarmac stage but not perfect for the gravel.”
Crews are now heading back to Sibiu for service and the overnight halt. Leg two begins with the 8.50-kilometre Sadu stage at 10:27hrs local time.
After SS8: Kopecký tears up the Tarmac to extend lead
Jan Kopecký has extended his advantage on round seven of the FIA European Rally Championship by winning the all-asphalt Sadu stage.
Kopecký took 4m12.4s to complete the 8.50-kilometre run in his ŠKODA Fabia Super 2000. He was 7.4s faster than the next quickest driver Dávid Botka with François Delecour a further 1.1s slower than the Hungarian ERC Production Car Cup pilot.
Delecour, in a Peugeot 207 Super 2000, is now 23.9s behind Kopecký in the overall standings with six stages remaining.
Although the pace was electric at the head of the field, drivers were actually adopting a degree of caution in order to preserve their gravel tyres for the upcoming all-asphalt Gâtu Berbecului stage, which at 30.00 kilometres is the longest of the Romanian spectacular.
Dan Girtofan’s bid to snatch third place from Edwin Keleti on the Sibiu Rally looks to be over after his ŠKODA Fabia Super 2000 stopped in the stage with a suspected technical fault.
Girtofan had closed to within 2.5s of his fellow Romanian following today’s opening stage, the all-asphalt Sadu test, but has so far failed to make it through the gravel-based Gâtu Berbecului run, which at 30.00 kilometres is the longest of the event.
However, Keleti is now coming under pressure from Toshi Arai, who is 2.5s behind his fellow FIA ERC Production Car Cup competitor. Arai, in a Subaru Impreza R4 STI, says he’s still suffering from the effects of a build-up of dust in his car on day one.
Out front, stage winner Jan Kopecký has increased his advantage over François Delecour to 39.8s, but is refusing to get carried away. “There is a long way to go and we still have four difficult stages to get to the finish. We are trying to go fast but with no risk. It’s quite easy to lose the car at the rear because it is very loose.”
Delecour, meanwhile, who has one eye on defending his Romanian championship lead, said: “I drive carefully, particularly on this stage where there are rocks in the middle of the road. I was not pushing too hard but, to be honest it’s impossible to catch Jan. I just want to finish.”
Valentin Porcisteanu impressed with the second fastest time in his Colina Motorsport Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X, which has been fully prepared following his dramas on day one. He is now up to ninth overall.
Jaroslav Orsák is still being plagued by a lack of power from the engine of his GPD Mit Metal Racing Team Lancer Evolution IX R4, while János Puskádi confirmed that it has not proved possible to rectify the gearbox fault that slowed him on day one.
The mixed-surface Șanta Max stage is up next at 11:43hrs.
After SS10: Arai takes third and takes up co-driving
Toshi Arai has moved into the lead of the FIA ERC Production Car Cup in third overall on the Sibiu Rally – and promptly swapped seats with co-driver Anthony McLoughlin.
Arai, pictured in the background, is suffering from the effects of dust inhalation and admitted he was “not feeling well” behind the wheel of his Stohl Racing Subaru Impreza R4 STI at the completion of the mixed-surface Șanta Max stage. To give the Japanese ace some much-needed rest, McLoughlin will drive the road section back to service in Sibiu.
In the battle for top spot, François Delecour is more than one minute behind Jan Kopecký after the Frenchman’s Peugeot 207 Super 2000 was saddled by a broken front-right shock absorber, which caused an instant puncture on the 20.00-kilometre test. Kopecký, meanwhile, was fastest through the stage and now leads by 1m06.7s in his ŠKODA Fabia S2000.
Vali Porcisteanu impressed with the second fastest time for the second stage in succession to move into eighth overall. Marco Tempestini was third fastest with Delecour fourth and Arai fifth. Arai’s lead over Edwin Keleti in fourth place overall now stands at 7.6s.
Following a 30-minute service halt in Sibiu, crews return to the all-asphalt Sadu stage, which gets underway at 14:08hrs local time.
Jan Kopecký has scored his fourth stage best of day two of the Sibiu Rally with the fastest time through the all-asphalt Sadu test.
Czech champion Kopecký, the leader of the FIA European Rally Championship, raced through the 8.50-kilometre stage in 4m16.5s to extend his advantage in Romania over François Delecour to 1m10.1s.
Rapid Hungarian Dávid Botka (Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX R4) and Delecour (Peugeot 207 Super 2000) were joint second fastest, 3.4s down on ŠKODA driver Kopecký.
Toshi Arai, who is suffering from a stomach upset, was fourth quickest to extend his grip on third place. Vali Porcistineau is now 1.1s behind Jaroslav Orsák in the battle for seventh after he went fifth quickest.
Edwin Keleti, who had been the leading Romanian driver on the Sibiu Rally, has stopped on the repeat of Gâtu Berbecului.
Keleti was fourth overall on the FIA European Rally Championship qualifier in his Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X, but has failed to make it through the 30.00-kilometre stage.
“He was parked on the right, a mechanical I problem I think,” François Delecour told ERC Rally Radio’s Chris Rawes at the stage finish. “I went slowly because I want to be at the finish.”
Keleti’s Colina Motorsport team-mate Vali Porcisteanu added: “I think it was something with the suspension at the front right. I am sorry for him because the team are very good in these conditions but this is the Sibiu Rally.”
With Keleti out, Toshi Arai is now almost safe in third overall with Marco Tempestini up to fourth. Alex Filip, the ERC 2WD Championship leader, is now up to 10th overall in his Renault Clio R3. However, Citroën DS3 R3T driver Sebastian Barbu is just 2.0s behind in the battle for class honours.
Jan Kopecký was fastest through the stage and demonstrated his speed and consistency by matching the 21m39.5s he set on the first run in the ŠKODA Fabia Super 2000 he shares with co-driver Pavel Dresler. Kopecký’s lead ahead of Delecour is now up to 2m46.7s.
SS13 - Santa Max 2 Length:
Surface: 20.00 kms
After SS14: Kopecký fastest on Superspeciala to win Sibiu Rally
Jan Kopecký and co-driver Pavel Dresler have secured victory number four in this year’s FIA European Rally Championship by setting the pace through the event-closing Superspeciala in Sibiu.
Kopecký and second-placed François Delecour tackled the head-to-head 3.50-kilometre stage in unison with Kopecký outpacing his rival by 6.1s to take top spot by more than three minutes in his Michelin-shod ŠKODA Motorsport Fabia Super 2000 as Delecour celebrate taking top points in the Romanian championship.
“It’s been a really tough rally but I’m really happy I got this opportunity from ŠKODA to start here and get my second win on gravel,” said Kopecký.
Toshi Arai clinched the ERC Production Car Cup in his Yokohama-shod Subaru Impreza with Sebastian Barbu snatching the ERC 2WD Championship spoils in dramatic fashion by outpacing Alex Filip on the very last stage.
ERC Sibiu Rally day two report: Kopecký seals fourth ERC win of 2013
Jan Kopecký and co-driver Pavel Dresler have begun the second half of the FIA European Rally Championship season in style with victory number four of their campaign on the Sibiu Rally in Romania’s stunning Transylvania region.
The mixed-surface spectacular took place in bright sunshine with warm temperatures and attracted huge numbers of spectators, while throwing up some serious competition thanks to three different leaders, as well as plenty of on-stage drama.
François Delecour, the rallying legend and reigning Romanian champion, set the pace on Friday’s opening stage only to slip behind Bryan Bouffier at the completion of the next stage when his fellow Frenchman outgunned him as a powersteering glitch slowed Kopecký. But following repairs at service in Sibiu, Kopecký hit back with the fastest time through stage three.
Bouffier’s bid was over on the next test when a broken suspension mount triggered a succession of mechanical failures on his Peugeot 207 Super 2000. With Delecour easing his pace due to an overheating engine, the result of a water leak, Kopecký moved in front for the first time. The Czech then extended his advantage by going quickest on stage five and the all-asphalt sixth stage. But he had no answer to Delecour on the final test, which the 50-year-old won by 10.6s to narrow Kopecký’s lead starting Saturday’s final leg of seven stages to 15.4s.
One of Europe’s most difficult events due to the proliferation of high-speed blasts through forests and woodland, sections of broken Tarmac, a high likelihood of intermittent showers and the bumpy nature of some of the roads, the rally attracts huge numbers of fans each year.