IRC: Honda JAS Motorsport Rally Sanremo summary

SUCCESSFUL WEEKEND FOR CIVIC TYPE R IN SANREMO Honda customers have enjoyed a successful weekend on the Sanremo Rally: the penultimate round of the Intercontinental Rally Challenge, held entirely on mountain asphalt roads around the famous ...

SUCCESSFUL WEEKEND FOR CIVIC TYPE R IN SANREMO

Honda customers have enjoyed a successful weekend on the Sanremo Rally: the penultimate round of the Intercontinental Rally Challenge, held entirely on mountain asphalt roads around the famous Italian coastal resort.

The Honda Civic Type R of Italian driver Sandro Sottile finished 17th overall and won the two-wheel drive class as well as class A7 of the demanding event, which formed part of the World Rally Championship up to 2003.

Furthermore, another Civic Type R driven by the Hungarian crew of Laszlo Vizin/Gabor Zsiros was sixth in the two-wheel drive category.

Thanks to their customers only, Honda is now challenging firmly for second place in the IRC 2WD Cup standings with just one round of the championship left to run: the RACMSA Rally of Scotland from November 19-21. A healthy turn-out of Civic Type R's is expected for the final round, giving the Japanese manufacturer's prospects of securing the runner-up spot at the end of the year. Currently Honda is third, only two points behind Abarth.

Sanremo provided an epic challenge to all the competing crews, featuring some long stages including a gruelling 44-kilometre night stage close to the mountainside village of San Romolo. Sottile, a well-known competitor on the Italian rally scene, took the lead of the hotly-disputed two-wheel drive category on the opening leg and maintained it to the end of the rally, after nine special stages and 201 competitive kilometres. Unseasonably warm temperatures of up to 30 degrees Centigrade provided the crews with yet another hurdle on this notoriously complex event.

"It was an extremely tricky rally but thanks to the speed and reliability of the Honda we were able to secure a result that was beyond our expectations," said Sottile. "We pushed hard, making the most of the potential of the car and the engine on these demanding stages."

Sottile and Vizin's excellent results highlight the competitiveness of the Honda Civic Type R in private hands, even against a strong international field. The perfect reliability of the Hondas in Sanremo also underlines the cost-effectiveness of the Civic Type R for privateers.

Alessandro Mariani, the team principal of Milan-based JAS Motorsport, Honda's long-time competitions partner, declared himself satisfied with the weekend's work in Sanremo, which also counted towards the Italian Rally Championship.

"Once again, a wide variety of our cars have proved to be both quick and reliable," he said. "Despite having no permanent entries on the IRC this year, we have managed to challenge for second place in the IRC 2WD Cup, in the thick of manufacturers that are much more frequently represented. Congratulations to Sandro and Laszlo for helping us to achieve this and we look forward to more success for our customers over the world as the 2009 season draws to a close."

-credit: jasmotorsport.com

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Series RALLY