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FSTi: Athanassoulas wins and Gilles Schammel fastest time

15.08.2006: FSTi: Athanassoulas wins and Gilles Schammel fastest time

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Greek driver Lambros Athanassoulas claimed his first win in the Fiesta SportingTrophy International (FSTi) series, as well as winning the N3 Class overall after three hard days on OMV ADAC Rallye Deutschland, taking the win by 21.6 seconds from championship and early rally leader Alessandro Bettega.

The Greek driver, co-driven by Nikos Mouzakis, had entered the event determined to drive at his own pace and not to be distracted by the performance of others. Yet in the final day he had to push really hard on stages 17 and 18 to try to maintain the gap to Bettega. His team had informed him that the last stage was wet and he had no intermediate tyres to fit to the front of his Fiesta ST for this repeat of Freisen/Westrich yet in the end he only dropped 4.6 seconds to Bettega who had suitable tyres on his car.

Bettega had led for most of the first two days of the event but a power steering pipe coming loose on Saturday afternoon followed by a broken waterpump belt meant that the Italian suffered penalties which lost his top spot. Despite losing a potential win, the Italian remains strongly placed at the head of the championship table after what were his first real mechanical problems of the season.

Third place in this tightly contested series was decided by only 0.8 seconds on the final stage times. Scot Barry Clark damaged his engine mount late on the morning's opening stage, dropping over a minute in the whole loop of stages. Mathieu Biasion claimed his first stage win of the weekend in his bid to overtake Clark and only missed out by the narrowest of margins but then on the road section back to the Finish Ceremony in Trier the Fiesta's engine expired. This ended a difficult weekend for the Frenchman although he will be able to claim points for fifth place through the SupeRally regulations.

Gilles Schammel stated that he would try to set another stage fastest time on the final day after claiming his first on Saturday. As good as his word he set a blistering time over the 19kms of Freissen/Westrich 1 some 7.8 seconds faster than Kalle Keskinen. With Biasion's problems right at the end of the event this meant the man from Luxembourg finished fourth in his 'home' event. Russian Evengiy Vertunov had a clean run on the final day of the rally to maintain a steady sixth position.

 

- copyright ISC Ltd, London 2006 -

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15.08.2006 / MaP

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