San Marino Rally as it happened ...

San Marino Rally as it happened ...

06.07.2012: IRC Rallyes - San Marino Rally 2012 Day 1 review Watch live timing from San Marino Rally 2012 HERE SS4 Andreas Mikkelsen scores first stage victory

IRC Rallyes - San Marino Rally 2012  Day 1 review

Watch live timing from San Marino Rally 2012 HERE

SS4 Andreas Mikkelsen scores first stage victory

Andreas Mikkelsen has hit back in the battle for victory on Rally San Marino by claiming his first stage win on the Intercontinental Rally Challenge qualifier.

Mikkelsen, in a ŠKODA UK Motorsport Fabia Super 2000, was 0.6s quicker than Giandomenico Basso’s M-Sport Ford Fiesta RRC to go 2.4s clear of the Italian driver heading to tonight’s all-asphalt stage in San Marino.

“Things are going as we want but I can see where I am losing time to Basso,” said Mikkelsen. “When the road is fast it’s no problem but when there are hairpins I have no chance [against his turbo car].”

Umberto Scandola continues to impress in his down-on-power Fabia, going 1.4s slower than Mikkelsen to remain in third overall.

“We are at 80 or 90 per cent with the engine,” said Scandola. “We need to push more because of this but sometimes we are too much and we go out of the line in the corner.”

Sepp Wiegand lost ground when he spun and lost approximately 15s trying to get pointing in the right direction again. The German is 31.5s off the lead. “It felt like we had a flat tyre all the time,” said the ŠKODA Auto Deutschland driver. “This stage was not so nice but tomorrow is a new day.”

Juha Salo completed the stage with a rear-left puncture on his Fiesta S2000, which he said occurred three kilometres from the stage finish after hitting some stones on a right-hand bend.

After SS3: Mikkelsen leads as Basso goes fastest again

Giandomencio Basso has claimed his second stage victory on Rally San Marino to close the gap to new leader Andreas Mikkelsen to 1.8s.

Basso, in an A-Style M-Sport Ford Fiesta RRC, was 3.8s quicker than Mikkelsen through the second run of the 19.33-kilometre Sestino stage. He said: “Everything’s okay, it was clean and there was no dust. I am much happier.”

Mikkelsen, the reigning Intercontinental Rally Challenge champion, reported an upturn in confidence due to the cleaner nature of the tricky gravel roads. However, he said he was now struggling to match the pace of Basso’s turbocharged Fiesta in his normally-aspirated ŠKODA Fabia Super 2000.

“It’s much better now it’s cleaner,” said Mikkelsen. “Basso is doing a very good job and I am losing time in the uphill hairpins against the turbo car. I am not pushing to the maximum because the stages are tricky and I have to be careful. Maybe tomorrow.”

Despite slipping from first to fourth overall, Sepp Wiegand said he could not be disappointed: “For me it’s okay, I was happy with the stage. I am very young and I don’t have so much experience. Maybe the soft tyres were not the best choice for this stage.”

Umberto Scandola said the power loss issue that affected him this morning was still hampering his pace. However, he remains firmly in contention for victory, 3.3s behind Mikkelsen after going third fastest in his Fabia.

Heading to the fourth stage of the event, the top four drivers are covered by 4.4s, which underlines the competitive nature of the IRC.

After SS2: Basso fastest, Wiegand holds lead

Giandomenico Basso has gone fastest on stage two of Rally San Marino, despite reporting making a few mistakes in his M-Sport Ford Fiesta RRC.

Basso, a four-time winner in the Intercontinental Rally Challenge, completed the 24.15-kilometre Mercatello stage 3.0s faster than defending IRC champion Andreas Mikkelsen to maintain fourth place in the overall standings. “It was a very difficult road but I two made mistakes,” said Basso. “I’m afraid to push.”

Mikkelsen, in a ŠKODA UK Motorsport Fabia Super 2000, said: “It was very slippery, I can’t find any confidence with the tyres at all. I’m just sliding everywhere and there’s not much we can do.”

Sepp Wiegand was third fastest after he reported nudging a small tree during one of three moments. However, he continues to hold a 3.3s lead over Umberto Scandola in a similar Fabia Super 2000 heading to service in San Marino.

“The stage was okay but we had two or three big moments when I was too late on the brakes,” said the ŠKODA Auto Deutschland driver. “One time I touched a little tree on the right side. It was really difficult and really slippery.”

Scandola is continuing to be hampered by the power issue he experienced on the opening stage. He said: “We had the same problem with the petrol and we have no power.”

Juha Salo said he experienced a handling issue in the closing five kilometres of the stage in his Fiesta. He was fifth quickest, one place ahead of leading IRC Production Cup runner Jarkko Nikara in a Subaru Impreza R4 STI.

Germain Bonnefis was seventh quickest in his Peugeot Sport 207 S2000. “It was a good stage for us but we don’t have a handbrake and there is a lot of slow bends,” said the young French driver.

Stage three, Sestino 2, is scheduled to get underway at 15:54hrs local time.

After SS1: Wiegand fastest on San Marino opener

Sepp Wiegand has claimed his first fastest stage time in the Intercontinental Rally Challenge by winning the opening stage of Rally San Marino.

The 21-year-old German rising star was 7.5s faster than IRC champion Andreas Mikkelsen on the 19.33-kilometre Sestino test, which started 13 minutes behind schedule.

“It was really slippery but I’m really happy,” said Wiegand. “It was not too much risk, just normal driving and I think I can go faster next time round.”

Umberto Scandola was second fastest despite reporting a possible fuel contamination problem in his ŠKODA Italia entry. Scandola was 2.5s slower than Wiegand in a similar Fabia Super 2000.

Mikkelsen said he adopted a cautious approach in his ŠKODA UK Motorsport Fabia after clocking the third fastest time. “It was one of the most difficult gravel stages I am doing, so narrow and twisty,” said the Norwegian. “I was afraid of hitting things so I took it steady.”

Giandomenico Basso spun twice in his M-Sport Ford Fiesta RRC and was 8.6s slower than Mikkelsen as a result. “It was very difficult and very slippery,” said the Italian, who was fourth fastest.

Petter Solberg Engineering’s Patrik Flodin was late starting the stage and received a 40-second penalty as a result. He then lost time stuck behind Germain Bonnefis, who was stranded in the middle of the road for several minutes when his Peugeot 207 Super 2000 suffered a fuel pressure issue.

The Swede’s recovery was then delayed when he got caught up in dust clouds created by Juha Salo’s Fiesta. All drivers finished the stage but suffered considerable delay.

Meanwhile, Hungarian János Puskádi reported overshooting a junction and having to reverse in his Eurosol Racing Team Fabia.

- Richard Rodgers, photos IRC


06.07.2012 / MaP

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