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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Next: Rnd 3 -Circuit of Ireland - Northern Ireland - Asphalt 06-07 Apr



An IRC newcomer for 2012, the Circuit of Ireland is one of the world’s oldest rallies having run for the first time in 1931. Event promoter Bobby Willis says its elevation in status is an attempt to “wake a sleeping giant” and a superspecial stage in Belfast’s Titanic Quarter on Good Friday plus a run through Lisburn town centre is proof he means business. Out in the countryside around the event’s Armagh base the stages will be bumpy and narrow.

Official Website: circuitofireland.net

Listen Live: rallyradio.com/


...:D


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Andreas Mikkelsen is all set for the Donnelly Group Circuit of Ireland Rally after he covered 200 kilometres during a successful pre-event test earlier this week.

ŠKODA UK Motorsport driver Mikkelsen, the defending Intercontinental Rally Challenge champion and currently title leader, ran on Monday and Tuesday at two different locations in the Republic of Ireland, where he last competed in 2007 during the formative years of his rallying career

On Monday, Mikkelsen and stand-in co-driver Mikko Markkula were on a 2.8-kilometre road near Aughnacloy and covered 170 kilometres, focusing on damper and differential settings. They also ran at night to test the spotlights on their Fabia Super 2000 test car.

The following day, Mikkelsen was reunited with regular co-driver Ola Fløene after his fellow Norwegian had recovered sufficiently from a bout of ‘flu. They ran their test car for 30 kilometres on a road south west of Monaghan before completing a brief shakedown of the Fabia S2000 they will use on round three of the IRC from 6/7 April.

“I’m slowly starting to get the feeling back on Irish roads,” said the 22-year-old Mikkelsen. “We’ve had two test days, the first was quite dry and the second wet, and I feel very comfortable in the car in both conditions, so I’m ready for the rally.

“I’ve never driven the roads that we’ll rally on this weekend, but from what I understand they are quite close in nature to the roads we tested on, and as a team we all feel as well prepared as we can be.”

click: ircseries.com/news/213

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Discussion Starter #2
Craig Breen has praised Peugeot’s latest evolution 207 Super 2000 following a one-day test in Ireland earlier this week.

The 21-year-old Irish talent is starting a minimum four-event Intercontinental Rally Challenge campaign with the French Saintéloc Racing – Mister Auto team from this week’s Donnelly Group Circuit of Ireland Rally.

Following the test, Breen said: “The wider track suspension is going to make it difficult on the narrow lanes, but you’re only talking a couple of millimetres wider. The car will be more stable and it’s a good package.”

Breen is one of the favourites for IRC glory on the Armagh-based event, which begins with the spectacular Titanic Super Special Stage in Belfast on Friday. However, he insists he doesn’t have any extra knowledge of the Circuit of Ireland stages than his key rivals.

“The minute Ireland is mentioned people assume I know the stages but I’m from the polar opposite end of the country from where the rally is on,” said Breen. “I’ve done the rally twice before, the first time it was in a different region I crashed out early on. I’m just going to get the recce under my belt and approach it in the same way I do any other rally, pushing hard from the beginning.”

click: ircseries.com/news/214

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Alastair Fisher says he cannot wait for the Donnelly Group Circuit of Ireland Rally to get underway on Friday.

The 23-year-old from Northern Ireland is contesting selected rounds of the Intercontinental Rally Challenge this season starting with his home event from 6/7 April.

He will drive the same M-Sport Ford Fiesta S2000 Mikko Hirvonen used to win Rallye Monte-Carlo when it opened the IRC season in 2010.

“Competing at home on such a big event is very exciting, and I can’t wait to get started as it will be very special to get out in front of our home spectators in a Fiesta S2000,” said Fisher. “I have limited experience of driving the Super 2000 car but I’m feeling very confident M-Sport has put a significant amount of work into the preparation of the car.”

Fisher, who claimed a top 10 finish on a one-off appearance in the IRC last season, will be co-driven by Rory Kennedy, who partnered Fisher’s late uncle Bertie Fisher to three Circuit of Ireland victories in the past.

click: ircseries.com/news/215


.:cool:
 

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Discussion Starter #4
^definitely , wish i was there :D

pearl river eh , i work over in nyack !

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Andreas Mikkelsen has gone fastest in shakedown for the Donnelly Group Circuit of Ireland Rally, round three of the Intercontinental Rally Challenge.

Based on unofficial times issued just prior to the 21:30hrs finish, Mikkelsen had completed six runs of the 5.4-kilometre course close to the rally base in Armagh. He was credited with a fastest time of 3m21.9s in his ŠKODA UK Motorsport Fabia Super 2000.

“The first run was dry but after the second run it started to rain,” said the defending IRC champion. “Because of this we were able to try different tyre compounds in different conditions in preparation for the rally. Everything was good and we were quite happy because we could see how much time we would lose running a full wet tyre on a damp road. We also tried a different rear differential set-up.”

Juho Hänninen, IRC champion in 2010, was second quickest based on the unofficial timings in his factory ŠKODA. Craig Breen was the leading Peugeot 207 runner in third overall with Jan Kopecký fourth and Alastair Fisher fifth in his M-Sport Ford Fiesta S2000. French youngster Mathieu Arzeno completed the top six.

Robert Consani was the leading IRC Production Cup and IRC 2WD Cup contender in his Renault Mégane RS.

The Circuit of Ireland Rally gets underway with the Titanic Super Special Stage in Belfast at 17:00hrs local time on Friday.

click: ircseries.com/news/223
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Trans Ocean on lydecker st behind the town hall...

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Friday

After SS1: Kopecký fastest on Titanic superspecial


Jan Kopecký has made history by winning the first stage of the Donnelly Group Circuit of Ireland Rally to count as a round of the Intercontinental Rally Challenge.

Kopecký completed the 1.8-kilometre Titanic Super Special Stage in Belfast in a time of 2m11.8s at the wheel of his ŠKODA Fabia Super 2000.

Sepp Wiegand impressed with the second fastest time, 0.2s slower than Kopecký, in his ŠKODA Auto Deutschland Fabia.

ŠKODA UK Motorsport’s Andreas Mikkelsen was third fastest, 1.2s behind Kopecký with Craig Breen fourth in his Saintéloc Racing Peugeot 207 S2000, 3.5s down on the Kopecký.

Garry Jennings was the leading IRC Production Cup runner in fifth with Josh Moffett sixth in a Ralliart Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX. Former Intercontinental Rally Challenge champion Juho Hänninen was seventh with Robert Barrable eighth in his ŠKODA Ireland-backed entry.

Sam Moffett took ninth with Alastair Fisher completing the top 10 after a cautious effort in his M-Sport Ford Fiesta S2000.

Robert Consani was the leading IRC 2WD Cup runner in 12th overall at the wheel of a Renault Mégane RS.

Crews are now heading to the Drummond stage south of the town of Dungannon. The 12.96-kilometre test goes live at 18:30hrs local time.

click: ircseries.com/news/232



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After SS2: Mikkelsen quickest to take rally lead

Andreas Mikkelsen has moved into the lead of the Donnelly Group Circuit of Ireland Rally by going fastest on the rain-hit 12.96-kilometre Drummond run, stage two of the Intercontinental Rally Challenge qualifier.

Driving a ŠKODA UK Motorsport Fabia Super 2000, Mikkelsen completed the test in a time of 8m14.6s to open up a lead of 5.5s over fellow Fabia driver Juho Hänninen.

“It was a difficult stage, very slippery,” said Norwegian Mikkelsen. “I made a mistake in one junction turning in too late. Other than that it was an okay stage and I was driving to the conditions.”

Finn Hänninen, who was second fastest, 2.1s down on Mikkelsen, said: “I was a bit too hard with the tyre choice I chose because I couldn’t get enough heat into them. I was sliding a lot, it was not easy.”

Hänninen’s ŠKODA Motorsport team-mate Jan Kopecký said his choice of slick tyres had hit his chances in the damp conditions. The Titanic Super Special Stage winner is now 9.6s adrift of Mikkelsen in the overall standings after posting a time of 8m25.4s.

Craig Breen, starting his first IRC round of 2012, reported a lack of confidence in his Saintéloc Racing Peugeot 207 S2000, which he is using in competition for the first time. “In the high-speed stuff I am not fully 100 per cent sure of the car,” said the Irishman, who was fourth fastest. “The tyre was too hard but it was my decision.”

Meanwhile, team-mate Mathieu Arzeno said he was suffering with a gearbox issue on his Peugeot.

Northern Ireland’s Alastair Fisher, in an M-Sport Ford Fiesta S2000, said: “There was no grip at all hardly. It was very patchy, very slippery and the road is so greasy.”

Garry Jennings, who is expected to chase IRC Production Cup honours in his Ralliart Mitsubishi Lancer, said: “I went too brave and put the hardest tyres available thinking it was dry.”

IRC 2WD Cup contender Marty McCormack suffered a spin in his Citroën DS3 R3T. He said: “I think we had too hard a front tyre because the stage was wetter than expected.”

Category rival Tommy Doyle reported a soft brake pedal in his Renault Clio R3, while Mark Donnelly said he suffered a “huge moment” at a left-hand junction in his similar car.

click: ircseries.com/news/235



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After SS3: Hanninen closes on Mikkelsen

Juho Hänninen has made it three stage winners out of three on the Donnelly Group Circuit of Ireland Rally, the third event of the all-action Intercontinental Rally Challenge season.

Hänninen, in a ŠKODA Motorsport Fabia Super 2000, was 2.7s faster than defending IRC champion Andreas Mikkelsen, whose overall lead to Hänninen has been trimmed from 5.5s to 2.8s.

“We had a big delay on the start line [due to the late running of the stage] and the tyres were completely cold. Luckily it was drying at the finish,” said the Finn.

Mikkelsen lost ground when he slid wide into a fence early in the 25.16-kilometre stage. He said: “The stage was more dry and I had a softer slick with a cut. I made a mistake at the beginning and lost a couple of seconds. I was braking too late into a left-hand corner and went into a fence but luckily I got going again.”

Jan Kopecký admitted he wasn’t happy with his driving and lacked confidence in his factory Fabia, while Craig Breen said his Saintéloc Racing Peugeot 207 S2000 wasn’t handling as he would have liked on the “jumps and bumps” of the demanding stage west of Armagh.

Sepp Wiegand lost time with a front-left puncture on his ŠKODA Auto Deutschland Fabia, while Garry Jennings reported a loss of intercom on his Ralliart Mitsubishi Lancer. A brake issue then caused him more woe.

Mark Donnelly lost more than 30 seconds stuck in a field following an overshoot. Menya Krószer’s IRC 2WD Cup hopes were dented when he suffered a puncture and a broken driveshaft on his Honda Civic Type R, while Robert Consani had to stop to change a puncture on in his Renault Mégane RS.

Crews are now heading to Armagh for a 30-minute service halt.

click: ircseries.com/news/236



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Peugeot's Breen out of luck on Circuit of Ireland

Craig Breen says his chances of a strong result on the Donnelly Group Circuit of Ireland Rally have been dealt a huge blow after his Saintéloc Racing Peugeot 207 Super 2000 developed a fuel pump problem on the road section to service in Armagh.

Breen, a 21-year-old rising talent from the Republic of Ireland, completed the third stage of the Intercontinental Rally Challenge qualifier in fourth position but is set to drop down the order when time penalties – believed to total 1m30s – are applied to his overall result following his late arrival at the regroup control prior to service.

“We were midway from the last stage to service when it happened,” said Breen. “It’s very disappointing but it can happen. We took the first few stages to settle into the new car and the new team but unfortunately we had a problem with the fuel pump. We’ll now just try to learn the car, push and show some good speed for our team and Peugeot.”

Breen’s team-mate Mathieu Arzeno, from France, is currently 3.9s behind Breen in his 207. Arzeno suffered a spin on the Titanic Super Special Stage, while a handbrake glitch caused some concern on Drummond 1. Otherwise the ex-circuit racing star has impressed on his debut in Northern Ireland.

click: ircseries.com/news/237

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After SS4: Hanninen snatches first place

Juho Hänninen has snatched the lead of the Donnelly Group Circuit of Ireland Rally by winning the fourth stage of the Intercontinental Rally Challenge qualifier, the first of two night tests.

With rain falling heavily on sections of the stage, driving conditions were notably difficult for the crews. Hänninen, who is running first on the road, was fastest by 2.8s and now moves 0.6s ahead of Andreas Mikkelsen in the overall classification.

“It was difficult to find the places where it is wet and the surface is changing. It is not easy,” said Hänninen, whose ŠKODA Motorsport team-mate Jan Kopecký was second fastest, 2.8s down on the new rally leader.

With stiffer front suspension on his M-Sport Ford Fiesta S2000, Alastair Fisher equalled IRC champion Mikkelsen’s third-best time through the stage and climbs to fourth overall.

Craig Breen is running out of position following his delay reaching the first service halt in Armagh. As a result he said he lost out in a heavy rain shower and having to overtake IRC 2WD Cup contender Jonny Greer on his way to the seventh best time.

Breen is now seventh overall with Saintéloc Racing team-mate Mathieu Arzeno fifth in his identical Peugeot 207 Super 2000. ŠKODA Ireland’s Robert Barrable said he backed off too much when it began to rain. However, Breen’s time penalty of 1m30s promotes him to sixth.

Sepp Wiegand was sixth quickest and has climbed to eighth following his delay with a puncture on the previous test.

Menya Krózser is back up to full speed after a replacement driveshaft was fitted to his Honda Civic Type R in service after the original failed on stage three, when the Hungarian also suffered a puncture.

click: ircseries.com/news/240



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After SS5: Delays lead to stage cancellation

Stage five of the Donnelly Group Circuit of Ireland has been cancelled due to earlier time delays.

It means day one of the Intercontinental Rally Challenge round draws to a close after four special stages with former IRC champion Juho Hänninen leading current title-holder Andreas Mikkelsen by 0.6s.

click: ircseries.com/news/241

Overall SS5 - Legane 2irc-results/2012/ireland/ss5

Martin Donnelly / C Fitzgerald Overall as of SS5
 

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Saturday

After SS6: IRC champion Mikkelsen reclaims Circuit lead


Andreas Mikkelsen has turned his 0.6s deficit into a 0.6s lead on the Donnelly Group Circuit of Ireland Rally, round three of the Intercontinental Rally Challenge.

Mikkelsen took 13m50.2s to complete the 25-kilometre test, the first of Saturday’s 10 stages. He was 1.2s quicker than former leader Juho Hänninen.

“It was much drier than I expected and I went with a very soft tyre,” said the ŠKODA UK Motorsport driver, who completed the stage with a broken rear-right wheel. “It was going off quite badly and the car started to understeer. I tried to push as much as I can but it’s not easy.”

Hänninen, who opted for the hard compound Michelin option, feared he had lost the lead at the completion of the run. He told IRC Rally Radio: “I was too careful in the muddy and wet places and I’m a bit afraid that is not enough, it was not the tyre it was the driver. The speed is not enough, that is for sure.”

Jan Kopecký was third fastest, 12.7s down on Mikkelsen. “It was very tricky, the guys in front of me are pushing like hell, hitting the banks and putting the rocks on the road,” he said. “The middle part was very slippery.”

Craig Breen was fourth quickest in his Saintéloc Peugeot 207 Super 2000. Sepp Wiegand was fifth in his ŠKODA Auto Deutschland Fabia with Mathieu Arzeno sixth quickest in his Peugeot.

“The stages are difficult and damp and the most important thing is to stay on the road,” said French driver Arzeno. “But the time was no good – I don’t push 100 per cent.”

Robert Barrable lost time when he went off the road approximately four kilometres from the stage finish. “I went through a fence into a farmer’s field and stalled,” said the ŠKODA Ireland driver.

Alastair Fisher has retired after crashing his M-Sport Ford Fiesta S2000 early in the stage.

click: ircseries.com/news/248



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Frustration for Fisher on Circuit of Ireland Rally

Northern Irish hero Alastair Fisher’s dream of a podium finish on the Donnelly Group Circuit of Ireland Rally is over after he went off the road early in Saturday’s opening stage in his M-Sport Ford Fiesta S2000 and retired.

The 23-year-old was in fourth position starting day two of the Intercontinental Rally Challenge event following an impressive opening day when he equalled IRC champion Andreas Mikkelsen’s third-fastest time on stage four.

A team spokesman said: “It’s not clear exactly what happened, but it looks like Alastair has gone off and damaged the front of the car. It’s game over now unfortunately but this is all part of the sport: it’s how you learn.”

Before the start of the Armagh-based event, Fisher admitted that his lack of experience in a Super 2000 car would increase the challenge he faced.

“Of all the Super 2000 drivers, I’m probably the one with the least experience,” he said. “But we’ll give it a good go all the same.”

ircseries.com/news/249

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After SS7: Hanninen back in front

Juho Hänninen has reclaimed the lead on the Donnelly Group Circuit of Ireland Rally as the battle for victory on the Intercontinental Rally Challenge event continues to intensify.

Driving a ŠKODA Motorsport Fabia Super 2000, the Finn was 2.2 faster than Andreas Mikkelsen to move back in front with an advantage of 1.6s heading to the third stage of day two.

“It was dry the whole stage so it was easier than the first one,” said Hänninen, who is running a harder compound tyre. “I really tried and really enjoyed this stage. I try to have fun.”

Mikkelsen is using a softer compound tyre for the morning loop, which performs better in damp conditions. “The tyre was going off quite bad, we try not to lose too much time,” said the ŠKODA UK driver.

Jan Kopecký said he was “not very happy” after slipping 53.0s adrift of team-mate Hänninen in the overall standings.

Craig Breen reported the rear of his Saintéloc Peugeot 207 Super 2000 was sliding too much, while team-mate Mathieu Arzeno said his focus was on finishing the rally.

click: ircseries.com/news/250



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After SS8: Trouble for Mikkelsen

Juho Hänninen has extended his lead on round three of the Intercontinental Rally Challenge, the Donnelly Group Circuit of Rally, following Saturday’s third stage, Hollow 1.

Hänninen, who has won more other IRC events than any other driver, was 7.4s quicker than Mikkelsen and now leads overall by 9.0s.

“I’m quite happy and Andreas didn’t take much time out of me so that was good,” said Hänninen.

Mikkelsen dropped time with an overshoot. He said: “I went straight on in a junction and needed to reverse. I lost a lot of seconds.”

Jan Kopecký said he was struggling for confidence in his factory Fabia due to pacenote issues.

Saintéloc Peugeot 207 S2000 driver Mathieu Arzeno reported his soft compound tyres weren’t suited to the dry stage conditions. Sepp Wiegand also regretted his decision to run soft compound tyres on his ŠKODA Auto Deutschland Fabia.

Garry Jennings tops the IRC Production Cup by 12.0s over Sam Moffett.

IRC 2WD Cup leader Marty McCormack has reported a gearbox issue on his Citroën DS3 R3T, while category rival Tommy Doyle reported significant tyre wear.

Crews are now heading to Armagh for a 30-minute service halt.

click: ircseries.com/news/252



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Martin Donnelly/C Fitzgerald --Overall SS8



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After SS9: Crazy push puts Mikkelsen back in the fight

Andreas Mikkelsen has cut Juho Hänninen’s lead of the Donnelly Group Circuit of Ireland Rally to 4.2s despite a “big moment” on the ninth stage of the Intercontinental Rally Challenge event.

Mikkelsen repeated the second run of the 25-kilometre Redrock stage in a time of 13m26.2s with Hänninen recording a 13m31.0s in his similar ŠKODA Fabia Super 2000.

“We pushed everything we had,” said Norwegian Mikkelsen. “We had a big moment near the end when I had to save the car five times on a straight. I was in a ditch and bouncing off a hedge. It was absolutely crazy, we need to push.”

Hänninen said: “It was much more dry than in the morning so no drama. I have to keep the pressure on to keep Andreas behind.”

Jan Kopecký is adopting a low-risk strategy to maintain his third place overall in his Fabia. He was third fastest through the stage, 11.5s slower than Mikkelsen.

Craig Breen was fourth quickest in his Saintéloc Peugeot 207 S2000 and is now 21.0s behind ŠKODA Ireland’s Robert Barrable in the battle for fifth position overall. Breen said changes to his rear damper settings in service had improved the handling of his car.

Sepp Wiegand lost several seconds when he braked too late for a junction and charged a fence in his ŠKODA Auto Deutschland Fabia.

“The window is broken, we lost a lot of time,” said the young German driver. “I pushed a bit harder but maybe the tyres were a little cold.”

IRC 2WD Cup leader Marty McCormack suffered an overshoot at a square-right junction. The Northern Irishman is nursing a gearbox problem but still managed to go faster than category rival Tommy Doyle. Garry Jennings continues to top the IRC Production Cup standings in his Ralliart Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX.

click: ircseries.com/news/257



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After SS10: Hanninen hits back

Juho Hänninen has hit back in his efforts to claim his first victory in this season’s Intercontinental Rally Challenge by winning stage 10 of the Donnelly Group Circuit of Ireland Rally.

The ŠKODA Motorsport pilot was 0.5s quicker than Andreas Mikkelsen, which means he extends his overall advantage to 4.7s.

“There was a lot of gravel on the road so it was difficult but there were no mistakes,” said the Finn, IRC champion in 2010.

Defending IRC champion Mikkelsen, in a ŠKODA UK-backed Fabia, said: “There was more gravel but we tried to push. Juho is driving fast and there is not much I can do.”

Jan Kopecký was third fastest in his works Fabia. He said: “It was not an easy stage and we are trying to stay on the road.”

Irishman Craig Breen has slashed his gap to fifth-placed countryman Robert Barrable to 7.1s after recording the fourth quickest time in his Saintéloc Racing Peugeot 207 S2000.

French star Mathieu Arzeno, who was fifth fastest, said: “It was slippery and difficult but when I look at the time of the ŠKODA drivers it’s unbelievable.”

There was drama for IRC 2WD Cup leader Marty McCormack who suffered two right-side punctures.

click: ircseries.com/news/258



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After SS11: Breen snatches fifth from Barrable

Craig Breen has moved ahead of Robert Barrable in the battle to be the top Irish finisher on the Donnelly Group Circuit of Ireland Rally.

Breen, in a Saintéloc Peugeot 207 Super 2000, was faster than ŠKODA Ireland driver Barrable through the second 14.56-kilometre Hollow stage and now heads his countryman by 3.8s in the overall standings in fifth position.

Out front, Andreas Mikkelsen has slashed Juho Hänninen’s lead to 2.3s with four stages of the Intercontinental Rally Challenge qualifier remaining.

It took Mikkelsen 8m29.8s to complete Hollow 2, compared to the 8m32.2s recorded by Hänninen.

“It was a good stage, no problem,” said Mikkelsen. “We’re pushing very hard to gain some time on Juho. This one I take my hat off to him – he’s doing a very good job. I try to push but it’s difficult to make up time.”

Hänninen said: “It was quite okay with very good grip on the stage. I cannot do much better in this one. If he wins, he wins, there’s not much to do but to keep pushing.”

There was more woe for IRC 2WD Cup contender Marty McCormack, whose Citroën DS3 R3T only has first, second and third gears working. He is hoping to rectify the problem at the upcoming 30-minute service halt in Armagh.

click: ircseries.com/news/259





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After SS12 and SS13: Joy for Hanninen, anguish for Mikkelsen

Juho Hänninen has gone fastest on both runs through the Lisburn town centre stage in his ŠKODA Motorsport Fabia Super 2000.

But while the Finn celebrated his brace of stage victories on the Donnelly Group Circuit of Ireland Rally, there was despair for rival Andreas Mikkelsen who went off on the first run and damaged his ŠKODA UK entry.

The Norwegian’s delay means he is now 43.8s behind Hänninen in the battle for victory on the Intercontinental Rally Challenge event with two stages remaining.

“It’s easy to make a mistake and that’s why you have to fight for every second on every stage,” said Hänninen. “But there are now two stages to go and many kilometres and we don’t know whether it is raining. We have to focus.”

Mikkelsen, who had been embroiled in a close fight with Hänninen since start of the rally, slid into hay bales and inflicted damage to the right side of his car. “I went off in the stage, the feeling is strange now,” he said.

Jan Kopecký was second fastest on the first run with Craig Breen third in his Peugeot 207 S2000. Mathieu Arzeno was fourth quickest with Sepp Wiegand next up for ŠKODA Auto Deutschland.

Azreno was second fastest behind Hänninen on the second run, just 0.3s adrift of the Finn in his Saintéloc Peugeot. Mikkelsen was third quickest with Breen fourth fastest.

click: ircseries.com/news/262



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After SS14: Mikkelsen concedes Circuit victory to Hanninen

Andreas Mikkelsen has won the penultimate stage of the Donnelly Group Circuit of Ireland Rally but admits his hopes of winning the Intercontinental Rally Challenge event outright are over.

The ŠKODA UK Motorsport ace had been in a close fight for victory with factory ŠKODA pilot Juho Hänninen only to hit trouble on the first run of the Lisburn town centre test and lose more than 40 seconds to his rival.

Mikkelsen was 0.4s faster than Hänninen on the 7.54-kilometre Banbridge North stage but conceded his performance would be to no avail with Hänninen’s lead standing at 43.4s with one stage remaining.

“It’s second for me, Juho is too far away now,” said Mikkelsen. “He has done an amazing job – it’s not a win for me this time.”

Hänninen admitted he was extra cautious through the rain-hit stage. He said: “It was slippery all the time, not easy. Andreas is that much behind so I just tried to find a good rhythm without making any mistakes.”

Craig Breen was third fastest in a Peugeot 207 Super 2000 with Saintéloc Racing team-mate Mathieu Arzeno fourth quickest.

“It was very, very slippery because we have the tyres for the dry,” said Arzeno. “I made a little mistake but I don’t know how much time I lost.”

Breen added: “It was the first people stage in full wet and we’re getting a really good feeling now for the car.”

click: ircseries.com/news/264



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After SS15: Hanninen fastest to win Circuit of Ireland Rally

Juho Hänninen has won the Donnelly Group Circuit of Ireland Rally, his ninth victory in the Intercontinental Rally Challenge.

He completed the event’s final stage, the third run of the 25-kilometre Redrock stage, with the fastest time to secure victory by a margin of 44.2s over Andreas Mikkelsen.

“Of course the feeling is very great but it was a nice battle and big thanks to Andreas for that,” said the factory ŠKODA Motorsport driver.

Mikkelsen and Jan Kopecký, Hänninen’s ŠKODA team-mate, shared the second fastest time with Craig Breen fourth fastest in his Saintéloc Racing Peugeot 207.

The Irishman was on course for an even faster time only for a build up of smoke in his car to put him off his stride.

Robert Barrable was fifth fastest with Mathieu Arzeno sixth quickest in his Peugeot.

Sepp Wiegand overshot a junction in his ŠKODA Auto Deutschland Fabia but still managed to go eighth fastest.

Garry Jennings clinched the IRC Production Cup spoils with fellow Northern Irish driver Marty McCormack landing IRC 2WD Cup honours.

Donagh Kelly posted the seventh fastest time to demote Sam Moffett to second in the IRC Production Cup.

click: ircseries.com/news/265



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Mikkelsen to spend night in hospital following crash

Defending Intercontinental Rally Challenge champion Andreas Mikkelsen will spend Saturday night in hospital following his accident on stage 12 of the Donnelly Group Circuit of Ireland Rally.

Mikkelsen was challenging for victory on the event when he slid into protected hay bales at high speed after being caught out under braking on a wet surface.

Although co-driver Ola Fløene was uninjured, Mikkelsen reported feeling dazed when he eventually reached the stage finish following a delay of approximately 40 seconds.

“After complaining of feeling unwell, Andreas was taken to hospital as a precautionary measure where it was discovered that he has a perforated right eardrum, which will heal,” said a spokesperson for ŠKODA UK Motorsport. “As a further precaution Andreas will have a CT scan in the morning, although this is purely a precaution.”

Despite his accident, Mikkelsen was able to reach the finish of the event in second overall to maintain his lead at the top of the IRC drivers’ standings after three rounds.

click: ircseries.com/news/267

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Next Rnd 4: Tour de Corse May 11-12



Traditionally known as the ‘Rally of 10,000 Corners’ due to its high frequency of turns, the Tour de Corse joined the IRC for the first time in 2011 with an arduous route covering large parts of the picturesque Mediterranean island.

Official Website: asacc.fr/


...:D
 
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