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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
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Next: Rnd 5 Italy(Sicily) - Asphalt 14-16 June 2012




The world famous Targa Florio-Rally Internazionale Di Sicilia will form another exciting addition to the Intercontinental Rally Challenge for 2012 following its confirmation as round five of the all-action series from 14-16 June in place of the Canon Mecsek Rallye. With its origins in the high-speed road race conquered by legends such as Sir Stirling Moss and Sandro Munari, Targa Florio-Rally Internazionale Di Sicilia is based on the Mediterranean island of Sicily and uses all-asphalt stages over a competitive distance of 170 kilometres.



Official Website: targa-florio.it/


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Discussion Starter · #2 · (Edited)
Andreas Mikkelsen has set the fastest time in shakedown for Targa Florio-Rally Internazionale Di Sicilia.

Driving a ŠKODA Fabia Super 2000, the defending Intercontinental Rally Challenge champion clocked a time of 1m39.1s over the 3.0-kilometre stage near Trabia east of the Sicilian capital Palermo.

Craig Breen, driving a Peugeot 207 Super 2000, was second fastest on his debut for the HRT Motorsport squad with Giandomenico Basso third quickest in his M-Sport Ford Fiesta RRC.

“We had a good test on Monday so we were only really doing a few runs in shakedown,” said Mikkelsen, who spent the session finalising suspension settings in preparation for the 11-stage rally. “In any case the car is good so there is no point doing too much just for the sake of it.”

Breen, who like Mikkelsen is making his Targa Florio debut this week, said shakedown was effectively an extended test session.

“Everything is a bit last minute because this is the first time we have driven the [HRT Peugeot 207 S2000),” said Breen, who is making a one-off switch from Saintéloc Racing to the Italian team. “But the joy of these cars is that they don’t change a lot from one to the other.”

Basso said: “We did a few more runs than normal to get a feel for the car because we could only do a short test. We were just finishing off a couple of ideas we started during the test.”

Shakedown was held in ambient temperatures of 25 degrees centigrade, and Mikkelsen said the heat would be a key feature of the event.

“I think the temperature is going to be hotter than it was when I was in Greece [for the world championship rally last month],” said the Norwegian. “The surface is slippery but I am confident.”

Six-time Targa Florio winner Paolo Andreucci was eighth fastest in his Racing Lions Peugeot 207.

The competitive action gets underway with the Citta’ Di Palermo stage at 20:44hrs local time tonight (Thursday).

Top eight shakedown times (at 12:00hrs)
1 Andreas Mikkelsen (ŠKODA Fabias S2000) 1m39.1s
2 Craig Breen (Peugeot 207 S2000) 1m39.8s
3 Giandomenico Basso (M-Sport Ford Fiesta RRC) 1m40.1s
4 Alessandro Perico (Peugeot 207 S2000) 1m40.6s
5 Jan Kopecký (ŠKODA Fabia S2000) 1m40.7s
6 Umberto Scandola (ŠKODA Fabia S2000) 1m41.5s
7 Sepp Wiegand (ŠKODA Fabia S2000) 1m42.5s
8 Paolo Andreucci (Peugeot 207 S2000) 1m42.7s

click: ircseries.com/news/453


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Thurs evening ...After SS1: Exciting start to Targa Florio


Jan Kopecký is likely to be credited with the fastest time on the opening stage of Targa Florio-Rally Internazionale Di Sicilia, round five of the Intercontinental Rally Challenge.

That’s despite Rashid Al-Ketbi clocking a time that was 3.3s faster than the Czech ace in a similar a ŠKODA Fabia Super 2000.

An event official suggested the Skydive Dubai Rally Team’s Al-Ketbi inadvertently took an incorrect line through the test and the matter will be considered by the event stewards who could decide to adjust Al-Ketbi’s time around the compact 1.65-kilometre Citta’ Di Palermo stage at the capital’s old airport.

Defending IRC champion Andreas Mikkelsen was 0.6s down on Kopecký in his ŠKODA UK entry. He said: “It was very slippery in one corner so I was a bit out of line and maybe we lost one second there. But there are still 10 more stages to go so it’s no problem.”

Six-time Targa Florio winner Paolo Andreucci was next up in his Peugeot Italia 207 Super 2000. “The stage was dirty and I had to use the clutch a lot on the tight corners, which is not so good,” said the Italian legend.

Craig Breen was next on his one-off outing for the HRT Motorsport Peugeot team, with Matteo Gamba in a similar 207 S2000, and Giandomenico Basso (M-Sport Ford Fiesta RRC) close behind. “It was fun but the surface was very dirty, not so easy,” said Basso.

Umberto Scandola spun and stalled his ŠKODA Italia-backed Fabia and was 4.2s adrift of Kopecký as a result.

Crews now head east to the permanent service park in Termini Imerese for a 45-minute halt. Friday’s action gets underway with the 13.60-kilometre Targa stage at 08:35hrs local time. The stage contains sections of the famous Targa Florio road racing circuit.

click: ircseries.com/news/462




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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
Friday
After SS2: Mikkelsen takes Targa Florio top spot


Andreas Mikkelsen has moved into the lead of Targa Florio-Rally Internazionale Di Sicilia by winning Friday’s first test, the 13.60 Targa stage, which uses sections of the legendary road racing course.

Driving a ŠKODA UK Motorsport Fabia Super 2000, the defending Intercontinental Rally Challenge champion from Norway beat Italian hero Giandomenico Basso by 1.0s.

“The feeling [with the car] was okay, we tried to find a good rhythm and we were happy with the run but there is still room for improvement,” said Mikkelsen. “But the grip was really bad and maybe we should be on the softer compound.”

Giandomenico Basso, running first on the road in his M-Sport Ford Fiesta RRC, was second fastest. He said: “Everything was okay but it was a little slippery, we will see in the next special stage.”

Overnight leader Jan Kopecký, said he did not push flat out on the first of what will be three runs through the Targa stage. The ŠKODA Motorsport driver drops to second overall, 0.6s behind Mikkelsen, after going third quickest: “It was very fast and bumpy in two places so we took it easy and will try to improve in the second pass.”

Six-time Targa Florio winner Paolo Andreucci was fourth fastest in his Peugeot Italia 207. He said: “It was a very slippery stage and really fast in the first part.”

Umberto Scandola was fifth quickest with Matteo Gamba sixth fastest. ŠKODA Auto Deutschland’s Sepp Wiegand set the eighth best time behind Alessandro Perico, while Simone Campedelli headed the IRC 2WD Cup runners in 10th, one place adrift of Ireland’s Craig Breen, who slips from fourth to ninth in the overall classification.

click: ircseries.com/news/468



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After SS3: Mikkelsen maintains flying start in Sicily

Andreas Mikkelsen has extended his lead of Targa Florio-Rally Internazionale Di Sicilia with the fastest time on stage three and said afterwards he can go even quicker when the stage is repeated this afternoon.

Mikkelsen, Intercontinental Rally Challenge champion in 2011, set a time of 8m44.8s through the 13.70-kilometre Collesano stage in his ŠKODA UK Motorsport Fabia Super 2000. He was 1.1s quicker than fellow ŠKODA runner Jan Kopecký and now leads the Czech by 1.7s in the overall classification heading to service in Termini Imerese.

“I did a clean stage with no problems, not pushing to the absolute limit,” said Mikkelsen. “We’ll check out the pacenotes in service to see if we can go a little bit faster on the next time through this stage.”

Umberto Scandola was the fastest Italian driver in third despite reporting the rear of his Fabia was sliding too much. He moves into fifth overall. Giandomenico Basso was 5.5s down on stage winner Mikkelsen in his M-Sport Ford Fiesta RRC with Paolo Andreucci, the six-time Targa Florio winner, 7.8s slower than the flying Norwegian for Peugeot Italia.

Ivan Ferrarotti reported having to reverse after making a mistake at a chicane in his Renault Mégane RS. Rashid Al-Ketbi also experienced a similar delay in his Skydive Dubai Rally Team Fabia.

Sicilian Andrea Nucita, a contender for IRC 2WD Cup honours, said he’d been able to cure the fuel pressure problem that slowed him on today’s first stage.

click: ircseries.com/news/469



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After SS4: Andreucci drops back on Targa Florio

Paolo Andreucci has lost ground in his bid to close the gap to Targa Florio-Rally Internazionale Di Sicilia leader Andreas Mikkelsen, despite altering the set-up of his Peugeot Italia 207 Super 2000.

Multiple Italian champion Andreucci is a six-time winner in Sicily but is now 16.5s adrift of Mikkelsen, who was fastest through the stage in his ŠKODA UK Motorsport Fabia Super 2000.

“We’ve made some changes in service and we’re hoping it’s going better but the weather is getting hotter so we will have to see,” said Andreucci, whose advantage over Italian championship rival Umberto Scandola, in fifth, is now down to a slender 0.1s.

Mikkelsen’s third stage best came despite the Norwegian reporting losing time after an impact on his front-right wheel. Nevertheless, the defending Intercontinental Rally Challenge champion now leads Jan Kopecký by 2.9s in the overall classification.

“I pushed quite a lot but I hit something and there was a vibration,” said Mikkelsen. “I thought it was a puncture and we lost a bit of time. We have to keep pushing, there is nothing else to do.”

Giandomenico Basso, who was 1.3s slower than Mikkelsen in his M-Sport Ford Fiesta RRC, said: “I changed the tyre compound but the balance of the car is only a little bit better.”

click: ircseries.com/news/478




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After SS5: Scandola demotes Andreucci in battle for fourth Umberto Scandola has moved ahead of Paolo Andreucci in the battle for fourth position on Targa Florio-Rally Internazionale Di Sicilia.

The young Italian driver was third fastest through the 13.70-kilometre Collesando stage, a mere 1.2s adrift of Andreas Mikkelsen, who set the quickest time in his similar ŠKODA Fabia Super 2000.

Scandola now heads Andreucci by 5.7s in the overall classification despite reporting a handling issue. “We have a problem with the rear of the car, it’s sliding too much but it’s okay,” said Scandola.

Andreucci commented: “We have still something to fix with car because it’s still not working well. We are trying to sort it out.”

Out front, Intercontinental Rally Challenge champion Mikkelsen has extended his advantage over Jan Kopecký to 4.8s with three stages of day one remaining, despite reporting patches of gravel being dragged onto the road.

Giandomencio Basso, who set the second best time on the stage in his M-Sport Ford Fiesta RRC, continues to hold third overall, 5.4s behind Kopecký. “I am pushing, we are going flat out but it’s very hard to make up time,” said Basso.

Craig Breen was the fastest Peugeot runner in fifth. The Irishman is now 6.9s behind Matteo Gamba in the chase for sixth overall.

click: ircseries.com/news/479




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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
After SS6: Kopecky halts Mikkelsen's winning run

Jan Kopecký has stopped Andreas Mikkelsen’s sequence of stage wins on Targa Florio-Rally Internazionale Di Sicilia by going fastest through the third and final pass of the Targa test.

Mikkelsen, in a ŠKODA UK Motorsport Fabia Super 2000, had won Friday’s opening four stages but lost out to factory ŠKODA driver Kopecký by 0.8s on the famous Targa run, which uses sections of the old road racing course.

It means Kopecký, Intercontinental Rally Challenge runner-up in 2009, 2010 and 2011, has narrowed Mikkelsen’s overall lead to 4.0s heading to the final stage of day one.

“Everything is okay, no problems,” said Kopecký, pictured left with Mikkelsen. “It’s the same stages and you are trying to find the limit in places where there is no limit so it’s quite crazy. We have closed the gap to Andreas but it’s still not enough but we try. The car is much better now.”

Giandomenico Basso was third fastest in his turbocharged M-Sport Ford Fiesta RRC with ŠKODA’s Umberto Scandola once again outpacing Italian championship rival Paolo Andreucci in a Peugeot Italia 207 S2000.

“We are improving bit by bit but always too slowly,” said Andreucci, the Targa Florio winner on six occasions.

click: ircseries.com/news/483



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After SS7: Breen moves up to sixth in Sicily Craig Breen has moved into sixth overall on Targa Florio-Rally Internazionale Di Sicilia by going fifth fastest on the day one’s final stage, the 13.70 Collesano test.

Driving an HRT Motorsport Peugeot 207 Super 2000, Breen is now 0.8s ahead of Matteo Gamba after going faster than the Italian Peugeot driver.

Andreas Mikkelsen completed Friday’s action by claiming his fifth stage victory in his ŠKODA UK Motorsport Fabia Super 2000. The Norwegian was 0.5s faster than his Czech rival Jan Kopecký – in a factory Fabia – to establish an overall advantage of 4.5s heading to overnight service in Termini Imerese.

ŠKODA Italia’s Umberto Scandola impressed with the third fastest time with Giandomenico Basso fourth quickest in his M-Sport Ford Fiesta RRC.

Sepp Wiegand, in a ŠKODA Auto Deutschland, was seventh quickest after a fright nearing the stage finish. “In the second to last corner I was a bit too fast and I nearly the touched the wall and we lost two or three seconds,” said the young German driver.

Marco Tempestini reported a power loss on his Subaru Impreza R4 STI due to a suspected intercooler glitch. Rashid Al-Ketbi lost time when the intercom in his Skydive Dubai Fabia malfunctioned.

click: ircseries.com/news/485



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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Saturday

After SS8: Kopecky takes Targa Florio lead


Jan Kopecký has shot back into the lead of Targa Florio-Rally Internazionale Di Sicilia by going 5.3s faster than Andreas Mikkelsen through Saturday’s opening test.

Mikkelsen began the final day of the Intercontinental Rally Challenge event leading by 4.5s but now trails his fellow ŠKODA Fabia Super 2000 driver by 0.8s with three stages remaining.

Unconfirmed reports suggested Mikkelsen suffered an impact on the stage although the Norwegian insisted he was just too cautious through test, which he said was “very slippery”.

Giandomenico Basso set a rapid pace through the stage in his M-Sport Ford Fiesta RRC run by the Italian A-Style Team to go fastest of all, 6.2s quicker than Kopecký. Basso is now just 2.7s off the overall lead: “We are trying to push to the maximum,” said the Italian.

Paolo Andreucci was third fastest for Peugeot Italia as he looks to get back ahead of Italian championship rival Umberto Scandola, who was 1.4s slower than the six-time Targa Florio winner.

The Cefalú stage was last used in its current 18.00-kilometre configuration in 2009. The stage runs downhill into a valley before an uphill finish. Its close proximity to the town of Cefalú, a popular Sicilian holiday resort, ensures huge numbers of fans line the route.

click: ircseries.com/news/490


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Statement following accident on stage eight


On stage eight of Targa Florio-Rally Internazionale Di Sicilia there was an accident involving car number 15, Craig Breen and Gareth Roberts, which resulted in the stage being stopped to enable medical crews to attend the scene.

Despite their best efforts, Gareth Roberts succumbed to his injuries and the remainder of the event has been cancelled as a mark of respect. Craig Breen was unhurt in the accident. No spectators were involved.

Intercontinental Rally Challenge promoter Eurosport Events joins the IRC community in offering its sincere condolences to Gareth’s family and friends who are in our thoughts at this very sad time.

ircseries.com/news/491

My thoughts & prayers & deepest condolences to All who knew Gareth :(


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Gareth Roberts: a tribute


Gareth Roberts, who was killed competing on Targa Florio-Rally Internazionale Di Sicilia this morning, was an extremely talented co-driver and popular member of the Intercontinental Rally Challenge community.

Along with his driver Craig Breen, Gareth was embarking on his first major campaign in the IRC. Following points-scoring finishes on the Donnelly Group Circuit of Ireland Rally in April and Giru di Corsica-Tour de Corse last month, their programme with Saintéloc Racing would have included the upcoming Geko Ypres Rally and Sibiu Rally Romania.

Their participation on Targa Florio-Rally Internazionale Di Sicilia with HRT Motorsport was added to their schedule to provide an additional opportunity to demonstrate their considerable talents in a Peugeot 207 Super 2000.

After seven stages in Sicily they were in sixth position overall having set a succession of impressive stage times on an event they were competing on for the first time.

Gareth, who was 24 and from Wales, trained as an electrician. He began competing in 2004 and achieved considerable success in the one-make Fiesta SportTrophy series. He formed his formidable partnership with Breen for the start of the 2009 season, which included the pair winning the inaugural FIA WRC Academy Cup in 2011.

Following their performance in Corsica, where an onboard camera captured Gareth’s expert pacenote-reading skills live on Eurosport, Breen said: “Gareth is a magician, he’s incredible how he gets every note out so quickly. I couldn’t do it without him.”

IRC Manager Jean-Pierre Nicolas said: “It’s a very sad accident that reminds us that motorsport is dangerous: accidents can affect both driver and co-driver in rallying. As the President of the Automobile Club Palermo, Antonio Marasco, said after the accident, the Targa Florio is an event where many great champions have left us in the past, and sadly this has happened again. The death of a 24-year-old young man at the start of a fantastic career is always a tragedy. From the start of this year, together with Craig Breen, Gareth has put in some excellent performances and the crew really got themselves noticed. There’s no doubt in my mind that these performances would have got even better. At this terrible time, I’m thinking very much of Gareth’s family, to whom all of us at Eurosport Events pass on our sincere condolences.”

click: ircseries.com/news/492


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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Tributes paid to co-driver Gareth Roberts

Leading lights from the FIA World Rally Championship have paid tribute to Gareth Roberts, who co-drove Craig Breen to the inaugural FIA WRC Academy title in 2011 and who has been killed in an accident on the Targa Florio Rally in Sicily today.

The Super 2000 World Rally Championship leaders were competing in a Peugeot 207 S2000 and were in sixth overall on the asphalt event when the crash occurred.

Medical crews reached the accident scene within minutes but Roberts sadly died from his injuries. Breen was unhurt in the accident but was treated at the scene for shock.

Following the accident, several tributes were paid to Roberts on Twitter.

Mikko Hirvonen, who drives for the factory Citroen team in the WRC, said: “I heard the sad news from Italy. Me and Jarmo want to send our condolences and our thoughts to Gareth’s family and friends on this sad day.”

Alastair Fisher, the current leader of the WRC Academy, said: “I cannot believe what’s happened. I’m totally devastated. My thoughts are with Gareth’s family and of course Craig.”

Former WRC regular Matthew Wilson said: “I really don’t know what to say. What awful news from Targa Florio. I honestly can’t believe it. RIP Gareth.”

M-Sport, which built the Ford Fiesta S2000 Breen and Roberts were using in the SWRC, said: "Our thoughts are with Gareth's friends and family. The world of rallying has lost a true talent."

In a statement from Pirelli, whose tyres Breen and Roberts used to win the WRC Academy title, the company’s motorsport director Paul Hembery said: “Words cannot express our shock and sadness. At this difficult time we would like to convey our sincere condolences to the family, friends and fans of Gareth. We are all devastated.”

click: wrc.com/news/tributes-paid-to-co-driver-roberts/

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IRC community remembers talented co-driver Roberts IRC Manager Jean-Pierre Nicolas has led the tributes to co-driver Gareth Roberts, who lost his life in an accident on stage eight of Targa Florio-Rally Internazionale Di Sicilia this morning.

“It’s a very sad accident,” said Nicolas. “The death of a 24-year-old young man at the start of a fantastic career is always a tragedy. From the start of this year, together with Craig Breen, Gareth has put in some excellent performances and the crew really got themselves noticed. There’s no doubt in my mind that these performances would have got even better. At this terrible time, I’m thinking very much of Gareth’s family, to whom all of us at Eurosport Events, the promoter of the IRC, pass on our sincere condolences.”

Andreas Mikkelsen, who won the IRC title in 2011 with co-driver Ola Fløene, said: “I didn’t know Gareth very well, but he seemed like a really great guy and he was clearly a very good co-driver. Ola and I send our condolences to Gareth’s family, friends and to Craig.”

Third-placed Giandomenico Basso said: “This is one of those terrible, chance things that is very hard to believe. It’s a horrible situation we are all faced with together and I am so sad and sorry.”

Paolo Andreucci, the six-time Targa Florio winner who finished fifth, said: “I feel very bad…very bad. Unfortunately a very talented young man has gone. In the fullness of time, maybe we need to look more in detail at the causes and what exactly happened to see if we can learn anything. But for now though, I’m just thinking of Gareth, Craig and his family.”

Saintéloc Racing, for whom Breen and Roberts were due to contest next week’s Geko Ypres Rally following outings with the French team on the Donnelly Group Circuit of Ireland Rally and Giru di Corsica-Tour de Corse, paid its own tribute to Roberts.

“A member of our family; a young and talented 24-year-old co-driver has just left us. Saintéloc Racing, Sébastien Chetail and all our mechanics and engineers join the rest of the rallying world in offering their condolences to the people closest to Gareth, standing alongside them in this tragedy and offering all their support to Craig Breen.”

click: ircseries.com/news/494

more tributes to Gareth on IRC Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/IRCRally

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