FIA ERC RALLYE SANREMO (OCTOBER 11-12): PEUGEOT CLAIMS ITALIAN TITLE—
The 2013 Rallye Sanremo turned out to be a drama-packed and highly emotional roller-coaster ride! The Peugeot Rally Academy lost Jérémi Ancian on SS3, and an ’off’ on Day 1 forced his team-mate Craig Breen to make use of the ‘Rally2’ ruling. Peugeot Italy’s Paolo Andreucci also went ‘off’ while leading. Despite this cascade of incidents, 207S2000 driver Giandomenico Basso went on to clinch the win and hand Peugeot its seventh Italian Manufacturers’ title.
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Once again, the challenging Rallye Sanremo provided an eloquent demonstration of the 207 S2000’s potential. Although now in its seventh season, it continues to deliver a winning cocktail of performance and reliability, not only in the case of the cars backed by the brand’s subsidiaries but also those run by privateer customers. “We make no difference between the two,” stresses Peugeot Sport Director Bruno Famin. “They all benefit from the same data, evolutions and recommendations.” In Italy, the 207 S2000 was in dominant form and the nail-biting scrap which opposed different Peugeot teams and drivers went down to the wire.
Victory eventually ended up in the hands of Basso after a thrilling duel with Bouffier, despite the Frenchman dropping more than a minute after an ‘off’ on Friday afternoon. He responded by posting an impressive sequence of top times to close to within seven seconds of Basso going into the final stage. On the ultimate test, however, he was compelled to change a wheel after picking up a puncture, which dropped him out the top three and promoted Lappi (SkodaS200) and Périco (207S2000) to second and third places at the finish.
Peugeot Italy seals home title
With programmes in 2002, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013, Peugeot’s Italian subsidiary has long been active in topflight rallying and has been associated with Paolo Andreucci throughout this period. Today’s result enabled Peugeot Italy to claim its seventh Italian Manufacturers’ crown. This year, its programme has been based on both the 208R2 and the 207 S2000 as a function of the characteristics of each round. True, Paolo Andreucci, who topped the points table ahead of the extremely competitive Rallye Sanremo, made a mistake on SS7, but it was his first error in 53 outings, and there is every reason to predict further title success in the years ahead as the team switches to the new 208 T16!
Retirement for Ancian; Breen in attack mode
After having a troubled run in the gruelling conditions encountered in Poland, Jérémi Ancian – co-driven by Olivier Vitrani – was hoping to provide a glimpse of his speed in Italy. Unfortunately, an alternator problem and an engine issue on SS3 brought his run to a premature halt. Understandably dejected by his fate, the thoughts of the 2012 ‘Volant 207’ winner are now focused on the Rallye du Valais where he hopes to round off his year with the Peugeot Rally Academy on a high note.
Meanwhile, Craig Breen and his co-driver Lara Vanneste pushed hard from the start and were up with the front-runners when an ‘off’ on SS4 sparked off a sequence of problems which forced the crew to park up their 207S2000 and re-join the event on Saturday thanks to the so-called ‘Rally2’ ruling. Their mission on the final day was to post times on a par with those of the crews who were still in the running for the win, and their run effectively harvested a number of second- and third-fastest times. “I wasn’t perfectly happy with my front-end set-up.” he admitted. “I also had a couple of warnings and a brake problem, so it wasn’t easy to be one hundred percent competitive. It’s wasn’t my weekend…”
Next outing for the Peugeot Rally Academy: Rallye du Valais (November 7-9) with Breen, Ancian and Lefebvre