Nov 03

Kopecky gets new co-driver for IRC finale

PROTON’s IRC ace PG Andersson has been making headlines in Sweden

PRi - IMAGE DOWNLOADPRi - IMAGE DOWNLOADJan Kopecky will start the Intercontinental Rally Challenge title decider in Cyprus this evening (Thursday) without his usual co-driver by his side.

Petr Stary, who has guided Kopecky to the top of the IRC standings with one round remaining, is unable to contest the Cyprus Rally due to illness.

Instead, Pavel Dresler, who like Kopecky and Stary comes from Czech Republic, will co-drive Kopecky’s SKODA Motorsport Fabia Super 2000.

“It will be a bit complicated because my regular co-driver Petr Stary cannot start with me on Cyprus,” said Kopecky. “He got some illness which does not allow him to be with me. I will start with Pavel Dresler, who has good experience but it will be first time for him in IRC and the first time with me. It’s a big challenge but of course I will try to win.”

Motorway drama for PROTON ace Andersson

PROTON Motorsports’ PG Andersson has been in the news in his native Sweden after his wife gave birth to their first child by the side of a motorway.

Andersson impressed on several outings for the Malaysian manufacturer in the Intercontinental Rally Challenge this season, scoring his first points on Barum Czech Rally Zlín back in August.

He was driving his wife, Marie-Louise, to hospital when he had to stop by the side of the road and call an ambulance. Fortunately medical help arrived and the baby, a son Alvin, was born “healthy and fine”, according to Andersson.

The 31-year-old told the Expressen newspaper in Sweden: “It was a little strange. I was pretty calm but when the baby comes out you do want a little assistance.”

Andersson completed his 2011 IRC campaign on last month’s RACMSA Rally of Scotland and therefore won’t be in action on the Cyprus Rally this week.

PROTON’s IRC ace PG Andersson has been making headlines in Sweden

Mixed surface format to test IRC crews

Competitors on the Cyprus Rally, the final round of this year’s Intercontinental Rally Challenge, will have to master the art of driving on asphalt roads with gravel-specification tyres and car settings.

The Cyprus Rally is unique in the IRC in that it is the only event on the 2011 calendar to feature a mixture of asphalt and gravel stages with some runs using a combination of both surfaces. Indeed, 48.4 per cent of the competitive route is on Tarmac.

International-level co-driver Denis Giraudet, who helped to design the stage layouts and will work as part of the event organising team this week, said: “Apart from a few kilometres the route will be new for everybody. The gravel and asphalt roads are wider and faster than those on the rest of the island. We will use gravel tyres and gravel suspension. The risk is to slide a lot but you need to control the car.”

Albertini expects tough IRC 2WD Cup battle

Stefano Albertini fears Jean-Michel Raoux will prove tough to beat as he aims to clinch the IRC 2WD Cup on this week’s Cyprus Rally.

Albertini, from Italy, heads Frenchman Raoux by 13 points heading into the season-decider in Pafos. But with double points on offer, Albertini expects a hard fight on the mixed-surface event.

“I have a good feeling with my [Clio R3] but Raoux is a much more experienced gravel driver so the competition will be tough,” said Albertini. “I enjoy gravel stages but my last rally on gravel was a year and a half ago.”

Honda Civic Type R driver Janos Puskadi also has a mathematical chance of winning the IRC 2WD Cup. The Hungarian competed in Cyprus last year but has a substantial points deficit to make up if he is to challenge for the crown.

Stefano Albertini expects a tough fight for IRC 2WD Cup glory in Cyprus

Cyprus Rally media accreditation and information

Media accreditation for the Cyprus Rally has now closed. Media requiring additional information should contact the event press officer, Chris Christodoulou by emailing chris.c@actionprgroup.com, by calling +357 22818884 or by visiting www.cyprusrally.com.cy where full details of the IRC season finale are available.

source:  ircseries.com, rally-irc.com