FIA ERC – RALLYE DU VALAIS (NOVEMBER 7-9): PEUGEOT RALLY ACADEMY – LOOKING TO END 2013 ON A HIGH NOTE—
The Peugeot Rally Academy will field its full squad for the 54th Rallye International du Valais, the final round of the 2013 FIA European Rally Championship. Peugeot 207 S2000s have been entered for Craig Breen and Jérémi Ancian, while Stéphane Lefebvre will drive a Peugeot 208 R2. The Peugeot 207 S2000 of Grégoire Hotz will benefit from the backing of Peugeot Switzerland.
Craig Breen targeting victory
With a score of four podium finishes from the seven ERC rounds he has contested to date, Craig Breen would love to wrap up his first complete European campaign with a win that would earn him the year’s runner-up honours. However, with Lara Vanneste sitting alongside in his SaintéLoc Racing-prepared 207 S2000 once more, the Irishman will be a newcomer to the stages which are set to the majestic backdrop of the Swiss Alps.
Craig Breen : «I don’t have good memories of Poland or Sanremo, so my aim is obviously to end the year on a high note. The stages seem to suit the Peugeot 207 S2000 which won the Rallye du Valais in 2011 and 2012, as well as several other times when the event counted towards the IRC. We will have a test session in the region on Wednesday morning to optimise our set-up and we absolutely need to make the most of this opportunity to notch up a top finish.»
Jérémi Ancian looking for a strong result
Jérémi Ancian, 29, will be taking part in the sixth of the six ERC outings that were his prize from Peugeot Sport for winning the 2012 Volant Peugeot 207. The Frenchman will be out to conclude his first season of international competition with a strong result, but the event is entirely new for him, too. That said, the stages bear a similarity with those of France’s Rallye du Mont-Blanc which he knows well.
Jérémi Ancian : «I really want to end my learning year in topflight competition with a good finish in the Peugeot Rally Academy’s207 S2000. For me, it will be important to bounce back after my retirement in Italy [engine].»
Stéphane Lefebvre’s busy programme continues
After contesting the Rallye de France-Alsace (1st in Group R2), the Rallye d’Antibes and the Rallye du Condroz in less than a month, Stéphane Lefebvre, 21, will bring his European programme to a close in Switzerland where he will be out to put his retirement on last weekend’s Condroz behind him. The Belgian event was the last round of the Peugeot 208 Rally Cup and failure to finish spelled the end of Stéphane’s title hopes. In the ERC, however, he has already finished two times on the two-wheel drive podium this season (second on the Rally Liepaja-Ventspils and SATA Rallye Acores).
In Switzerland, Stéphane and his Peugeot 208 R2 will face plenty of opposition in the two-wheel drive class which has attracted no fewer than 50 entries, including the event’s two-time class winner Laurent Reuche (Renault). In the 1600cc two-wheel drive class alone, 19 crews are expected to line up for the start in Sion, including Junior World Championship runner Michael Burri (Ford) and the 2012 Junior Swiss Champion Thomas Joris (Renault).
Peugeot Switzerland also very active
One of the foremost Swiss drivers on the event will be Grégoire Hotz whose Peugeot 207 S2000 is backed by Peugeot Switzerland. He recently collected the seventh Swiss title of his career. The 71-strong field expected for the 54th Rallye International du Valais, the last round of the country’s championship, will feature four other Peugeots in the S2000 class. Three of those will be in the hands of the 2012 Swiss champion Nicolas Althaus and Lugano Racing Team’s Swiss drivers Sébastien Carron and Pascal Perroud, while the 207 S2000 of Frenchman Jean-Michel Raoux means that seven of the 12 S2000 entries will be Peugeots.
November, Thursday 7 SS 1 Crans-Montana (Mollens-Les Violettes). Start at 14:15 (11,66km)
SS 2 Anzère (Fortunau-La Tsouma). Start at 15:15 (12,96km)
SS 3 Les Casernes 1. Start at 16:00 (6,18km)
November, Friday 8
SS 4 Vercorin 1 (Chalais-Mase). Start at 09:45 (26,58km)
SS 5 Veysonnaz 1 (Ayer-Veysonnaz). Start at 10:55 (13,62km)
SS 6 Nendaz 1 (Veysonnaz-Nendaz). Start at 11:15 (12,08m)
SS 7 Vercorin 2 (Chalais-Mase). Start at 13:40 (26,58km)
SS 8 Veysonnaz 2 (Ayer-Veysonnaz). Start at 14:50 (13,62km)
SS 9 Nendaz 2 (Veysonnaz-Nendaz). Start at 15:10 (12,08km)
SS 10 Les Casernes 2. Start at 16:00 (6,18km)
November, Saturday 9 SS 11 Champex 1 (Les Valettes-Champex). Start at (9,53km)
SS 12 Bruson 1 (Le Châble-Champsec). Start at 10:25 (16,96km)
SS 13 Verbier 1 (Lourtier-Verbier). Start at 10:55 (15,52km)
SS 14 Les Cols (Sembrancher-Le Guercet). Start at 11:35 (37,13km)
SS 15 Champex 2 (Les Valettes-Champex). Départ à 13:35 (9,53km)
SS 16 Bruson 2 (Le Châble-Champsec). Start at 14:20 (16,96km)
SS 17 (Verbier 2 (Lourtier-Verbier). Start at 14:50 (15,52km)
SS 18 Col des Planches (Sembrancher-Arbarey). Start at 15:30 (25,15km)