IRC: BFGoodrich Drivers Team Rally Spain summary

BFGoodrich Drivers Team Sergio Vallejo takes the lead in the Spanish Championship Sergio and Diego Vallejo, who were chosen to defend BFGoodrich Drivers Team's colours on this weekend's Rally Principe de Asturias, bagged a highly ...

BFGoodrich Drivers Team

Sergio Vallejo takes the lead in the Spanish Championship

Sergio and Diego Vallejo, who were chosen to defend BFGoodrich Drivers Team's colours on this weekend's Rally Principe de Asturias, bagged a highly commendable seventh place at the end of the Spanish event which was marked by appalling weather conditions. The result enables the Spanish brothers to regain the lead in their home championship with three rounds remaining. The next port-of-call for the BFGoodrich Drivers Team programme in two weeks' time is the Rally Sanremo, Italy, where Andrea Torlasco will take his turn behind the wheel of the now-familiar BFGoodrich Drivers Team Peugeot 207 S2000.

Following its first three outings in Portugal (with Miguel Campos), Belgium (Patrick Snijers, 5th) and the Czech Republic (Pavel Valousek, 4th), the fourth phase of the 2008 BFGoodrich Drivers Team operation turned out to be yet another success.

Sergio Valejo, who was selected to represent the BFGoodrich Drivers Team in Spain by a panel of journalists and representatives from the Spanish motor sport governing body, Kronos and BFGoodrich, traded his usual Porsche GT3 this weekend for the Kronos-run, BFGoodrich g-Force Profiler-equipped Peugeot 207 S2000.

Of the four BFGoodrich Drivers Team drivers who have taken part in the programme so far, Sergio doubtlessly faced the most delicate mission, since this one-off outing meant having to discover the niceties of driving a four-wheel drive car, familiarising himself with the grip provided by his BFGoodrich tyres and trying to mix it with the cream of the Intercontinental Rally Challenge on an event that took place in particularly difficult wet and nasty conditions. It was a prospect that many experienced drivers would not have revelled in.

But at the age of 41, Sergio Vallejo, who was second in the Spanish Championship before this weekend, is a seasoned campaigner, and that showed as he took time to find his marks on Friday morning's opening 8km stage. He then gradually upped his pace as the day progressed. With his Peugeot 207 S2000 running on g-Force Profiler M01 intermediate tyres, Sergio and his co-driver brother Diego posted an eloquent sequence of sixth- and seventh- fastest times to emerge in sixth place overall after SS6.

After completing the first leg in ninth place following an overly conservative tyre choice (W00 rain tyres) for the final loop of the day, Sergio set out on Saturday morning intent on recovering lost ground. The retirement of 2002 Junior World Champion Dani Sola (accident) enabled him to move into a points-scoring position by the lunchtime break before easing past fellow Spaniard Luis Monzon, two-time previous winner of this rally.

Sergio Vallejo (7th, Peugeot/BFGoodrich):

"The slippery conditions made the first day was quite a challenge for me and I never really felt totally at ease. I would need maybe two or three rallies with the car to feel fully in control in conditions like those we encountered on Friday. Today was far better, though, and finishing seventh has allowed me to recover the lead in the Spanish Championship. I would like to say a sincere and big thank you to everyone at Kronos and BFGoodrich. It's been a fantastic experience which I will never forget!"

Jacques Morelli (IRC Programme Manager, BFGoodrich):

"These weren't the easiest of conditions for Sergio to find his marks with a new car, and he admits that he could have gone better on Friday. He tended to brake too early and was very hesitant in the way he drove. That said, he didn't make any mistakes and got on with the job in hand. The reward for his efforts is sixth place. Sergio was very grateful for the weekend and really enjoyed himself, which is the ultimate aim of this operation."

-credit: bfg

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