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)
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.