FIA ERC – RALLY POLAND (13-15 SEPTEMBER): THE PEUGEOT RALLY ACADEMY TRIO UNDER SCRUTINY!
For the second time this year after April’s Rallye Acores, the full Peugeot Rally Academy squad will be in action in Poland. Craig Breen, Jérémi Ancian and Stéphane Lefebvre have all been entered for round nine of the 2013 FIA European Rally Championship (ERC).
Craig Breen with Lara Vanneste
Peugeot Sport wishes Paul Nagle every success in his new venture, but it also extends a warm welcome to Lara Vanneste who will now be sitting alongside Craig Breen. Their association will kick off at next weekend’s ERC clash in Poland. Despite her young age, Lara is already an experienced co-driver and has previously called out pace notes for the likes of Freddy Loix and Kevin Abbring. Craig’s last outing in the colours of the Peugeot Rally Academy dates back to the Ypres Rally (June 27-29). The Irishman hasn’t exactly been idle in the interim, however, since he has been contributing actively to the development of the 208 T16 which has continued to evolve since its maiden public appearance as ‘zero’ car in Belgium.
Craig and Lara will spearhead the Peugeot Rally Academy’s visit to the ERC’s all-gravel Rally Poland. Given the competition they face from the ‘RRC’ cars, it won’t be easy for them to challenge for the win but there is sure to be an interesting battle between the S2000 runners. Craig, who is second in the current championship standings, is determined to hit the ground running in his Saintéloc Racing-run 207S2000 against drivers like the ERC pace-setter Jan Kopecky and the Polish rally scene’s best-known Frenchman, Bryan Bouffier (207S2000). With several Polish titles under his belt, the latter promises to be a big asset for Peugeot thanks to his speed and local experience. Two other Peugeot 207S2000s will be in the hands of Polish drivers.
Jérémi Ancian, , back to dirt
The goal of Jérémi Ancian, winner of the 2012 ‘Volant 207’ series (a French single-make competition which has been replaced by the 208 Rally Cup in 2013), will be to reach the finish. His first outing in a 207S2000 ended prematurely when he suffered a double puncture in the Canary Islands. He then came fifth in the appalling conditions encountered in the Acores but failed to finish in Corsica after an ‘off’. In Poland, Jérémi Ancian and Gilles De Turckheim will be back on gravel, a terrain they enjoy particularly, and they will do all in their power to reach the finish of this highly demanding rally where they face competition from the favourites and local experts.
Stéphane Lefebvre: chasing two-whell honours
The winner of the Volant 207’s ‘Junior’ classification in 2012 is targeting the class win in Poland at the wheel of the Peugeot Rally Academy’s208 R2. Czech driver Jan Cerny showed the way forward earlier this month during the ERC’s visit to the Barum Rally Zlin where Peugeot Czech Republic sewed up the two-wheel drive title in its home championship! In Latvia and the Acores, his two most recent ERC rallies, Stéphane’s bid for class honours was thwarted by ill luck on both occasions. This weekend, along with co-driver Thomas Dubois, he will be hoping to reap the same sort of success he is enjoying in the 208 Rally Cup in France against drivers like Kevin Abbring. Jean-Mathieu Leandri will also have a 208 R2 in Poland. Meanwhile, following the cancellation of the 2013 ERC’s visit to San Marino, Stéphane Lefebvre’s programme will now include November’s Rallye du Valais.
The Polish round of the 2013 ERC features 13 special stages totalling 651.86 kilometres over two days. The action will be covered live on Eurosport (SS3, SS7, SS10 and SS13), and also thanks to Peugeot Sport’s Twitter account.