Erc Junior Parpottas plans more Fiesta time in Switzerland
FIA ERC Junior Championship ace Alex Parpottas won’t be switching to a Peugeot 208 R2 after all.
Parpottas had been working on plans to contest this week’s Rallye International du Valais in one of the pacesetting French machines. Instead he will continue with the trusty Ford Fiesta R2 he took to an impressive debut class podium in Northern Ireland back in April.
The 21-year-old British talent explained:“After working hard to secure a deal to hire a Peugeot 208 for this rally it looked as though it would actually happen, but some unfortunate circumstances meant we couldn’t go through with it. We are therefore going to the event with the Fiesta we have used throughout the season.”
Co-driven by American Alex Kihurani, Parpottas has made four appearances in ERC Junior this season and is currently ninth in the standings.
“We don’t expect miracles but a solid position and maybe even a podium would be nice,” he continued. “What is key is the experience we will gain and the knowledge of the roads. This has been a big thing all year for us as plans to continue in the championship next year are already underway. Therefore it is important for us to get as much knowledge this time round to take forward.
“The event itself looks spectacular and another beautiful country I luckily get to visit! It’s safe to say I am looking forward to finishing my week at work and picking up my helmet for a good dose of rallying!”
Last edited by Weasel 555; 10-25-2014 at 06:49 AM.
Craig Breen has gone fastest on the Qualifying Stage for round 10 of the FIA European Rally Championship, Rallye International du Valais.
Driving a Peugeot 208T16, the ERC title contender took 2m29.1s to complete the 3.30-kilometre test at the Caserne in Sion. Breen’s Peugeot Rally Academy team-mate Kevin Abbring was second quickest, 0.2s down on the flying Irishman, with current ERC title leader and last year’s Valais winner Esapekka Lappi next up for ŠKODA Motorsport.
“It was not so bad, a nice stage,” said Breen. “I struggled on this stage last year but I found it’s a stage you have to attack even though it looks slippery. Everything’s going well so far and it’s a nice rally in prospect.”
Abbring, who was second quickest, said: “I did not have the best start position and it was tricky to get the right set-up and make the car work. There seems to be less grip so I have to use my brain to get the car ready.”
Lappi, who tops the ERC standings by 19 points, said: “I have not done so much driving recently but the feeling is okay. For sure we had a good feeling on this event last year but I know it will be tough. The weather is also going to be challenging but it’s nice it’s like this and not boring.”
Lappi’s ŠKODA team-mate and fellow ERC title contender Sepp Wiegand was fourth fastest. He said: “EP knows the roads here so for the first time for me it’s okay. The rally is completely new for me but I will try my best.”
It was a frustrating start to the event for Kajetan Kajetanowicz. The Pole is currently third in the race for the ERC crown but reported a problem with his LOTOS Rally Team Ford Fiesta R5 during the stage. “We have a problem with the electrics because the engine was stopping for 10 seconds in the stage, maybe more,” he said.
Qualifying Stage results
1 Craig Breen: 2m29.1s
2 Kevin Abbring: 2m29.3s
3 Esapekka Lappi: 2m29.7s
4 Sepp Wiegand 2m30.9s
5 Jaromír Tarabus: 2m33.0s
6 Robert Consani: 2m33.4s
7 Jaroslav Orsák: 2m34.5s
8 Bruno Magalhăes: 2m35.3s
9 Sébastien Carron 2m35.9s
10 Antonín Tlusťák: 2m38.0s
11 Nicolas Althaus: 2m40.8s
12 Kajetan Kajetanowicz: 2m43.2s
13 Olivier Burri: 3m16.4s
Magalhăes to start first on Swiss Erc spectacular
Bruno Magalhăes will start first on the road on Rallye International du Valais, round 10 of the FIA European Rally Championship.
The Portuguese was the eighth driver to pick his starting position for Thursday’s opening leg and explained why he will open the road through stages one, two and three of the mainly asphalt-based event.
“Nobody wants to go first on the road but for the first stage there is no cutting so I can have a clean line and with the third stage shortened [for safety reasons] I don’t think it will be such a problem,” said Magalhăes, who will compete in a Peugeot 208T16. “Of course this is my first time here and I do this rally without a single kilometre of test but I hope to be able to do a good result.”
Craig Breen, who was the first driver to make his selection after he won this morning’s Qualifying Stage, opted to start second on the road in his similar 208T16. “I wanted somebody to be the guinea pig by starting first,” he said. “Second is a good place to be.”
Breen’s team-mate Kevin Abbring will start third with ERC title leader Esapekka Lappi lining up in fourth position for ŠKODA Motorsport followed by Sepp Wiegand, Jaromír Tarabus and Robert Consani.
Kevin Abbring leads Rallye International du Valais after he won the ice-hit opening stage of Switzerland’s FIA European Rally Championship counter.
Driving a Peugeot 208T16, the Dutchman took 5m13.0s to complete the 8.25-kilometre Leukerbad stage, which was halted for several minutes after Bruno Magalhăes, who was running at the head of the field, crashed his 208T16 and blocked the road less than one kilometre from the start.
“I feel sorry for Bruno, it was a really hard job to open the road,” said Abbring. “I recognised the ice but when it became more humid we had aquaplaning. It was a case of trusting your pacenotes but looking in the front of the car to see what was coming.”
With the stage running through the German-speaking part of the Valais canton, Sepp Wiegand excelled with the second fastest time, 2.1s slower than Abbring. “I am surprised because the feeling was really slow,” said the ŠKODA Fabia Super 2000 driver. “The water is sometimes like ice. I drove slowly but when I see the time I was happy.”
Jonathan Hirschi impressed by going third quickest in a 208T16 with eight-time Valais winner Olivier Burri fourth in his Ford Fiesta R5. Kajetan Kajetanowicz was fifth quickest in a similar Fiesta. Both Fords have been restored to full working order following mechanical problems on the Qualifying Stage this morning.
Swiss champion Sébastien Carron was sixth quickest after reporting icy conditions on the stage, a new addition to the Rallye International du Valais itinerary for 2014
ERC title leader Esapekka Lappi was seventh, 5.6s down on Abbring. He said: “I have to say it was not fun. The conditions are changing so much, in the first part there was ice and in the wet part I was backing off because I don’t want to destroy my rally. But the time was okay.”
Craig Breen, who is now opening the road following Magalhăes’ early exit, was 12.2s adrift of Abbring in 11th. “It’s incredibly tricky,” said the Irishman. “The snow has melted so, so much and there’s water running across the road. You can’t commit, it’s incredibly tricky.”
Craig Breen has hit back in his bid to win Rallye International du Valais by setting the pace on the shortened second stage of the FIA European Rally Championship qualifier, Crans-Montana.
The stage had been due to cover a distance of 11.66 kilometres but with ice appearing in some sections, the run was cut to four kilometres due to safety concerns.
Breen started the stage outside of the top 10 in the overall classification but took 2m05.5s to complete the run in his Peugeot 208T16 and move to within 10.8s of the rally lead. “It was really like a hillclimb, only four kilometres wide and smooth but very slippery,” said the Irishman. “On the first stage I was opening the road so I decided to go more than very slowly to arrive at the end but this stage the time wasn’t so bad.”
Kajetan Kajetanowicz, who like Breen is battling for the ERC title, was second fastest, 0.9s down on Breen in his LOTOS Rally Team Ford Fiesta R5. He is now 3.7s adrift of overall pacesetter Kevin Abbring, who was third fastest, 1.4s down on Breen. “It was a nice stage but I don’t want to take any risks because I have to discover the stage with the soft tyre,” said Abbring. “It will be hard to keep up with Craig who knows the rally from last year so we have to be very clever.”
Sepp Wiegand, another ERC title contender, was fourth quickest after reporting losing time exiting a couple of corners when he slid wide. He is now 2.3s behind Abbring in the overall classification in second place. Olivier Burri was fifth quickest with Jonathan Hirschi sixth and European championship leader Esapekka Lappi seventh. Sébastien Carron, Robert Consani and Nicolas Althaus currently complete the top 10.
Craig Breen’s bad luck in the FIA European Rally Championship has continued after he picked up a front-right puncture four kilometres from the start of Thursday’s closing stage, the 12.47 kilometres of Anzčre.
And there was more drama on Rallye International du Valais when Kevin Abbring’s Peugeot 208T16 blocked the road at the finish of the stage due to a suspected brake issue. The Dutchman had been leading prior to the run but slips to third overall behind new leader Sepp Wiegand, one of four drivers in contention for the ERC title.
“I don’t know what more I have to do in this game,” said Breen, who has dropped more than one minute off the pace. “Some day my luck has to change. It’s a corner I cut last year and in the recce then suddenly there was something there. The last stage was perfect but now I’ve got to pick myself up again.”
Beyond reporting a brake glitch, Abbring made little comment at the stage finish after his problems cost him the lead of the event. He was 9.1s slower than stage winner Esapekka Lappi and is now third in the overall classification, 6.3s behind Wiegand. Meanwhile, Wiegand, who was 0.5s quicker than ŠKODA Motorsport team-mate Lappi, leads the Swiss event by 4.4s heading to the overnight halt in Sion.
Craig Breen has made the perfect start to day two of the penultimate round of the FIA European Rally Championship by going fastest on the 14.22 kilometres of Sierre-Anniviers.
But while the Peugeot Rally Academy ace celebrated after outgunning Rallye International du Valais leader Sepp Wiegand by 6.5s, Breen’s team-mate Kevin Abbring has failed to start the stage with Esapekka Lappi, who was behind Abbring on the road, reporting the Peugeot 208T16 was parked up prior to the run. “He was stopped before the time control so some problems for him for sure,” said the European championship leader.
While Abbring’s hopes of success in Switzerland are at an end, it was a different story for Breen in his efforts to make up the time lost due to a puncture on Thursday’s final stage. “It was good because I didn’t hit the pole on this stage like I did last year! We were warned at the start it was slippery on the descent but it was not so bad although there was some ice. I’m going flat out and we’ll see what we can do and try our best. Hopefully this time is not bad and we can continue like that.”
Out front, Wiegand has edged 4.8s ahead of his ŠKODA team-mate Lappi. “I was sliding like hell on this stage, sometimes the feeling was like I have a small puncture. I have not so maybe it’s the temperature or the soft tyres on the car but we did no mistakes so it was okay.”
Robert Consani produced a strong performance in his Delta Rally Peugeot 207 Super 2000 by matching Lappi’s time. Kajetan Kajetanowicz also impressed by going second quickest in his LOTOS Rally Team Ford Fiesta R5 to climb up the order to third overall. “It was unbelievable, very fast and slippery in the village,” said the Pole. “It’s dry Tarmac but absolutely slippery and I don’t know how it’s possible.”
Esapekka Lappi has snatched the lead on the penultimate round of the FIA European Rally Championship with the top three drivers now covered by 6.6 seconds to underline the Serious Competition Ahead in the ERC.
The Finn started stage five of Rallye International du Valais trailing ŠKODA Motorsport team-mate Sepp Wiegand by 4.8s but now leads in Switzerland by 4.1s following the 13.62-kilometre Veysonnaz test.
“For sure it’s a good battle,” said Wiegand, one of four drivers in contention for the ERC title. “This stage was not good for us. The rhythm changed a lot and the conditions were quite difficult. I was too much careful and I was sure I lost time. It was not my stage.”
Craig Breen was fastest through the stage in his Peugeot Rally Academy 208T16. Kajetan Kajetanowicz was second best, 2.9s down on Breen with Lappi 6.6s slower than the stage winner. Kajetanowicz is now 6.6s off the overall lead.
SS6: Kajetanowicz up to second on Swiss Erc thriller
Kajetan Kajetanowicz is up to second place in his impressive pursuit of the FIA European Rally Championship title as Esapekka Lappi set the pace on stage six of Rallye International du Valais.
Driving a ŠKODA Fabia Super 2000, Lappi, the ERC leader, took 6m43.3s to complete the 12.08-kilometre Nendaz test with Kajetanowicz 2.9s further back in his Ford Fiesta R5. Lappi’s lead over Kajetanowicz is 9.5s, while overnight pacesetter Sepp Wiegand has dropped to third overall, 15.1s off top spot.
“It was okay,” said Lappi. “We continue like before. On the previous stage I think Sepp had some problems. On this stage there were no problems, no dramas for us.”
Kajetanowicz, currently third in the ERC title standings, said: “It’s an amazing stage like everyone today. We have so much fun. We have some surprises because there is some ice. It’s very slippery in a few places. We have good pacenotes and I believe in that. We have the second fastest time so it feels really good. We should be fastest on the next lap.”
Craig Breen, who was fastest on Friday’s opening two stages, was third quickest, 5.3s adrift of Lappi. The Peugeot Rally Academy driver said: “I have the short ratio gearbox. It was not my decision and it feels strange.”
Wiegand was fifth fastest, 6.7s behind Swiss champion Sébastien Carron. He said: “It was not so good, I don’t have a rhythm and I don’t know why. I lost a lot of time. Sometimes the pacenotes were much too slow and I don’t have enough trust in myself. We have to improve.”
Carron’s performance means he moves ahead of countryman Olivier Burri into fourth overall. Jonathan Hirschi holds sixth place with Robert Consani seventh.
Craig Breen has returned to stage-winning ways on the penultimate round of the FIA European Rally Championship by setting the pace through the 6.18-kilometre Caserne test in Sion.
Breen, in a Peugeot Rally Academy 208T16, outpaced Rallye International du Valais leader Esapekka Lappi by 0.8s, a performance the Irishman reckoned underlined his true potential after his bid for outright victory was ruined by a puncture on Thursday’s third stage.
“The speed on the first two stages this morning was really good,” said Breen, who has been quickest on three out of four stages on leg two of Rallye International du Valais this morning. “The third stage was quite dry and maybe the tyres were too soft. This one was okay but we have to keep pushing. We are a very fast package and we are capable of doing this. We have to continue like this. I have my sights aimed high.”
Behind Lappi, Kajetan Kajetanowicz was third quickest, 5.9s slower than Breen. It means Lappi’s overall lead ahead of Kajetanowicz stands at 14.6s.
Sepp Wiegand’s pursuit of a debut victory in Switzerland suffered a further knock with the German now 20.5s behind his ŠKODA team-mate Lappi after he was 5.4s slower than the Finn through the spectator-friendly test. Wiegand had led at the overnight halt but has struggled to find a good rhythm this morning.
Crews will now clock into a one-hour regroup in Sion with the 30-minute service beginning at 13:45hrs local time. Stage eight, the repeat of Sierre Anniviers, gets underway at 14:50hrs local time
Not even a broken handbrake could prevent Craig Breen from landing his fifth stage win on round 10 of the FIA European Rally Championship.
Breen, from Ireland, reported the issue at the finish of the 14.22-kilometre Sierre-Anniviers run, which he took 7m41.8s to complete in his Peugeot 208T16. “Unfortunately the handbrake is broken, the lever is broken somewhere,” said the Peugeot Rally Academy driver, who has moved into sixth overall. “It put me off in some places where it was slippery and you needed the handbrake. I try to fix it now.”
Esapekka Lappi, who was 1.1s slower than Breen through the stage, continues to lead Rallye International du Valais with his advantage over Kajetan Kajetanowicz standing at 19.2s. “We continued like before with good rhythm and good speed but no mistakes,” said Lappi, who arrived in Switzerland leading the European championship by 19 points.
Lappi’s ŠKODA team-mate Sepp Wiegand completed the stage top-three and maintains third spot in the overall classification, 21.9s behind the Finn. “The grip is much more higher than this morning and I have better tyres on the car,” said Wiegand, who was 2.5s slower than stage-winner Breen. “The grip is better and it was quite okay this stage.”
Kajetan Kajetanowicz was 5.7s slower than Breen in fourth after reporting a brake problem on his LOTOS Rally Team Ford Fiesta R5. His gap over Wiegand has been cut to 2.7s as a result.
SS9: Kajetanowicz scores first Swiss Erc stage best
A big push from Kajetan Kajetanowicz has earned the Polish star his first stage victory on round 10 of the FIA European Rally Championship.
Kajetanowicz was 2.3s quicker than Craig Breen through the 13.62-kilometre Veysonnaz stage in his LOTOS Rally Team Ford Fiesta R5. He is now 16.7s behind outright leader Esapekka Lappi and 9.4s ahead of third-placed Sepp Wiegand.
“It’s nice, we’re pushing very hard,” said Kajetanowicz, who is tackling Rallye International du Valais for the first time. “It’s slippery like in the morning. We lost a lot of time on the first stage so now we need to push the gas pedal, a big heavy right foot. We still need to take more experience on this surface in this country to fight for the victory here in the future.”
Elsewhere Craig Breen has demoted Sébastien CarronJonathan Hirschi for fourth overall. But despite outgunning Lappi by 0.2s through the stage, Breen suggested he could have been faster in his Peugeot Rally Academy 208T16. “I didn’t use the power as efficiently as I could have done, I should have been more committed in the fast places,” said Breen. “It’s a missed opportunity but the car is fantastic.”
Sepp Wiegand’s hopes of a podium finish on the penultimate round of the FIA European Rally Championship have been dealt a blow after a front-left puncture dropped the German ace out of the top three overall positions.
Wiegand was in third place starting the 12.08-kilometre Nendaz test but the ŠKODA driver has slipped to fourth overall, 1m12.6s behind team-mate and rally leader Esapekka Lappi.
“We must have hit something but I’m not exactly sure what,” said Wiegand. “It was bad luck and it’s really a big shame for us. I am really unhappy about it. For sure every time you lose time for the first moment it’s not so nice but I don’t like this.”
Out front, Lappi claimed the stage win by 1.2s ahead of Craig Breen, who is now up to third overall. The Finn’s outright lead ahead of Kajetan Kajetanowicz stands at 19.1s after the LOTOS Rally Team driver set the third fastest in his Ford Fiesta R5.
Meanwhile, Jaroslav Orsák completed the stage with a front-right puncture, which he picked up nine kilometres from the finish.
Bruno Magalhăes’ frustrating Rallye International du Valais continued when a transmission fault slowed his Peugeot 208T16 through Friday’s closing stage, the rerun of the 6.18-kilometre Caserne test.
Magalhăes, who dropped out of the overall classification following his exit on Thursday’s opening run, was more than one minute slower than the leading contenders through the spectator special held in the grounds of Sion’s military barracks.
“We’ve had broken transmission since the start of the stage and I have no traction,” said the Portuguese. “In the road section before the start I felt something strange. I think we can get to the service park and fix it for tomorrow.”
While Magalhăes was delayed completing the test, there were no such problems for Craig Breen, who claimed his sixth stage win of Rallye International du Valais in his Peugeot Rally Academy entry. The Irishman trails overall leader Esapekka Lappi by 1m01.5s heading to the overnight halt in Martigny. Kajetan Kajetanowicz is in second place, 23.0s behind Lappi and 38.5s ahead of Breen.
Jaromír Tarabus said he “hit something” on the stage and initially feared he’d picked up a puncture on his Kresta Racing ŠKODA Fabia Super 2000.
Saturday’s final leg, the longest of the rally at 135.62 kilometres, begins with a 45-minute service halt in Martigny. Stage 12, Champex-Lac, gets underway at 10:10hrs local time.
Kevin Abbring made a strong start to his return to FIA European Rally Championship action in Switzerland by winning Saturday’s opening stage in his Peugeot 208T16.
Abbring, who retired from third place prior to stage four, was 5.4s faster than ERC title leader Esapekka Lappi following his restart on leg three. “The conditions are a bit tricky but the notes are better than I think and I can drive my own pace so I am very pleased,” said Abbring. “Maybe it’s too late but it’s a good time.”
Lappi, whose advantage over Kajetan Kajetanowicz at the top of the Rallye International du Valais leaderboard has increased to 31.4s, said: “I said to my co-driver Janne [Ferm] that it was not good but it seems the others also had a difficult time. I did a few mistakes but everything seems to be okay.”
Ford Fiesta R5 driver Kajetanowicz said: “It was a nice stage, really fast. Forty per cent of the stage was dry but the problem was me – I don’t believe in my pacenotes so I try to do something with this.”
Craig Breen started leg three intent on closing the gap to leader Lappi. However, the Irishman was 2.0s slower than his Finnish rival in third overall. “I didn’t have the confidence. It was wet and tricky. I need to do more than that.”
Sepp Wiegand remains fourth overall in his ŠKODA Fabia Super 2000 after going fourth quickest through the 16.00-kilometre Champex-Lac stage. Jonathan Hirschi has overtaken Swiss champion Sébastien Carron for fifth.
SS13: Consani motors up the Erc order in Switzerland
The starter motor in Robert Consani’s Peugeot 207 Super 2000 might have failed but that hasn’t stopped the French ace from moving into fifth overall on round 10 of the FIA European Rally Championship.
Consani, an ever-present in the ERC in 2014, started Saturday’s second stage, the 10.15-kilometre Bruson test, in seventh overall but an impressive performance in his Delta Rally entry has enabled him to leapfrog local stars Jonathan Hirschi and Sébastien Carron. However, Consani will have to keep on pushing with Carron just 3.0s behind and Hirschi a further 0.6s adrift of his fellow Swiss heading to stage 14, Verbier.
The Bruson stage featured gravel sections but Kevin Abbring brushed aside the increased challenge in style by going 3.9s faster than Peugeot Rally Academy team-mate Craig Breen for his second successive stage win on Saturday’s final leg.
In the battle for Rallye International du Valais victory, Kajetan Kajetanowicz has narrowed Esapekka Lappi’s advantage to 26.1s after the Pole took 5.1s out of the Finn through the stage. “It’s been a while since I’ve been driving on gravel,” said ŠKODA driver Lappi. “With these Tarmac tyres and a different characteristic it’s a bit difficult. But everything is fine.”
SS14: The feeling is good for Erc pacesetter Abbring
FIA European Rally Champinoship ace Kevin Abbring has made it a hat-trick of stage wins on leg three of Rallye International du Valais by going fastest through the 15.52 kilometres of Verbier.
The Peugeot Rally Academy-run Dutchman does not feature in the overall classification following his exit on leg two but he’s been setting a rapid pace in the 208T16 he shares with British co-driver Seb Marshall.
“Due to yesterday we’re not in any competition any more but it’s good to know I can do the times,” said Abbring, who was 0.6s faster than team-mate Craig Breen. “The guys in front are pushing and there’s quite a fight and so far we’ve only been setting fastest stage times so I’m quite surprised. But it feels good and I’m really pleased. We’ve still got it.”
Out front, Esapekka Lappi now leads Kajetan Kajetanowicz by 39.0s after the Finn reported the gravel sections on the stage were more to his liking in his ŠKODA Fabia Super 2000. "The gravel section was better on this one than the previous one,” he said. “I did not find the proper rhythm, maybe in the afternoon."
Kajetanowicz, who was fifth fastest in his LOTOS Rally Team Ford Fiesta R5, said: “It was quite okay, very slippery stage. After the start we have completely wet road, then we have wet road with the cutting so there is mud on the road. It is my first time on this stage, it is not easy.”
Sepp Wiegand, one of four drivers still in contention for the ERC title, reported a handling issue on his Fabia. “The steering wheel is a bit to the left,” said the German. “It’s not a big drama but I have to check it out. It feels sometimes a bit strange.”
Jaroslav Orsák said his Fabia “has now power all of the time”, while Jonathan Hirschi has moved ahead of Swiss champion Sébastien Carron in the battle to finish as the top local driver.
ERC Junior frontrunner Chris Ingram failed to start the stage after going off the road on the previous test. He and co-driver Gabin Moreau were uninjured. Andrea Crugnola continues to lead the category.
Craig Breen overcame two spins to slash Kajetan 'Kajto' Kajetanowicz’s advantage to 2.2s in the battle for second place on round 10 of the FIA European Rally Championship.
The Irishman must score as many points as possible in order to remain in the fight for ERC title glory and blamed a “really stupid mistake” for his failure to move ahead of the Pole in the overall classification on Rallye International du Valais.
“I spun twice and lost 20 seconds,” said the Peugeot Rally Academy driver. “For one I had to do a three-point turn. It should have been so much better, I could have moved up to second.”
There were no such problems for ŠKODA Motorsport’s Esapekka Lappi, who is now 51.6s ahead of Kajetanowicz with four stages remaining in Switzerland. “Last year I lost 30 seconds to Craig on this stage so now it’s a bit better,” said Lappi. “There is space to go faster but no need.”
LOTOS Rally Team’s Kajetanowicz said: “It’s an unbelievable stage, amazing with so many surprises. On the braking it’s so slippery but we are here. That’s why we are happy. We made a few mistakes but in general it’s really good. It doesn’t matter about Craig. He was here last year, he’s really fast and knows this rally. It will be stupid to fight with him.”
Sepp Wiegand endured a tough stage, dropping more than 40s to his ŠKODA team-mate Lappi. The German is now more than two minutes off the lead having held top spot after leg one. “It’s not so nice, I was driving for 10 kilometres without any brakes,” he said. “I tried to pump to get the brakes back for the corner but we lost a lot of time.”
Robert Consani and Bruno Magalhăes also reported brake issues, while Swiss champion Sébastien Carron complained about a handling problem. His gap to eighth-placed Olivier Burri is down to 1.1s heading to the regroup in Martigny.
Meanwhile, Peugeot 208T16 driver Kevin Abbring scored his fourth stage win of leg two despite picking up a front-right puncture two kilometres before the finish of the 32.13-kilometre Les Cols test, the longest of the 19-stage contest.
SS16: Drama for Kajetanowicz as Abbring overshoots
There was drama at the finish of stage 16 of Rallye International du Valais when Kajetan Kajetanowicz’s Ford Fiesta R5 caught fire.
Although the flames were quickly extinguished, it’s not clear whether the Pole’s LOTOS Rally Team entry has suffered lasting damage. And by completing the repeat of the 16.00-kilometre Champex-Lac test 6.1s slower than Craig Breen, Kajetanowicz has now slipped behind the Irishman into third overall, 3.9s adrift of his FIA European Rally Championship title rival.
Esapekka Lappi continues to lead for ŠKODA Motorsport with the Finn’s advantage over Breen standing at 51.0s heading to the 10.15-kilometre Bruson stage.
Nicolas Althaus and Jaromír Tarabus both reported their decision to use soft-compound tyres had been incorrect when it remained dry.
Kevin Abbring completed the stage with damage to the front of his Peugeot 208T16 following an overshoot. The Dutchman was 11.6s slower than his Peugeot Rally Academy team-mate Breen as a result.
SS18: Lappi on the brink of Swiss Erc success with stage best
Esapekka Lappi is one stage away from winning round 10 of the FIA European Rally Championship after he went fastest through the penultimate test, Verbier.
Driving a ŠKODA Motorsport Fabia Super 2000, Lappi took 10m51.5s to complete the 15.52-kilometre stage, which took place in damp conditions. The Finn is 44.4s ahead of second-placed Craig Breen with one stage remaining. Breen was second fastest through the stage with Robert Consani third quickest.
Kajetan Kajetanowicz’s retirement has been confirmed following the engine fire at the finish of stage 16. Kevin Abbring is also out after stopping on stage 17, while Swiss champion Sébastien Carron’s fears his Rallye International du Valais due to a possible driveshaft failure.
ŠKODA Motorsport’s Esapekka Lappi has won Rallye International du Valais for a second time to extend his lead of the FIA European Rally Championship with one round remaining.
Craig Breen secured second place by winning the final stage of the event, the 20.15-kilometres Col des Planches test, in his Peugeot Rally Academy entry with Sepp Wiegand coming home third overall to keep his hopes of the ERC title alive heading to Corsica next month.
But there was late drama when Robert Consani reached the stage finish with a front-left puncture. “I have a big puncture and I went off,” said Consani, whose Peugeot 207 Super 2000 was dropping fluid at the end of the run. His misfortune meant Jonathan Hirschi finished fourth overall as the top Swiss with Olivier Burri fifth and Consani taking a disconsolate sixth.
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Known affectionately as the ‘Rally of 10,000 Corners’ due to its high frequency of twists and turns, the route runs over the picturesque island’s narrow and undulating mountain passes and remains the stuff of legend. A winter date and a new start location in Porto-Vecchio to the southeast means new stages and a fresh challenge for crews contesting the ERC season-closer. Following a regroup in Port de Plaisance Propriano at the end of day one, the rally switches to Ajaccio for the final leg with a return to the famous harbourside service park and several classic stages on the agenda.