IRC: Peugeot Rally Islas Canarias preview

New territory for the Peugeot 207 S2000 The 2010 Intercontinental Rally Challenge's fourth port of call is the Rally Islas Canarias (Gran Canaria) which has stepped in to replace the Rally Principe de Asturias as the Spanish round of the ...

New territory for the Peugeot 207 S2000

The 2010 Intercontinental Rally Challenge's fourth port of call is the Rally Islas Canarias (Gran Canaria) which has stepped in to replace the Rally Principe de Asturias as the Spanish round of the Eurosport-initiated competition. The island's stages will be totally new for all the series' front-runners, with the exception of the local specialists.

"My father attended the event several times in the days when he prepared rally cars," recalls Kris Meeke. "The island is quite mountainous, but the asphalt is generally of a very high quality. The roads tend to be clean, but the opportunities to cut corners are inexistent." That won't prevent the Briton from giving it his very best shot, however. "The main thing will be to have a car with extremely precise handling," notes the Peugeot UK driver. "That will be our aim when we go testing on Monday, April 26. The run will hopefully enable me to fine-tune the set-up of my 207 Super 2000 with that in mind."

Thierry Neuville is also due to take part in Monday's test, although his objective will not be the same, since the young Belgian hasn't driven the 207 S2000 since last June's Belgian Ypres Rally. The Rally Islas Canarias will be the first of a six-round IRC programme that he and Peugeot Belgium- Luxemburg have put together for the coming season.

"My overriding goal will be to get as many kilometres under my belt as I can," he says. "In all my life, the only experience I have ever had of driving such a powerful and competitive car amounts to no more than four stages. I've got a great deal to learn, and I want to take things step by step. I will be making my new debut with Peugeot in the Canary Islands and I haven't set myself any targets with regard to my finish position." Bruno Magalhaes, who relishes the prospect of contesting an event that is unknown territory for all his rivals, travels to the Spanish archipelago in a very different frame of mind.

"This time, it will be different to the first three rounds of the 2010 IRC, since I won't be at a disadvantage experience-wise," observes the Peugeot Portugal driver. "I intend to make the most of that to try to score my first top result of the season. A podium finish would be great."

There is every chance that Bruno's principal opponents will include Kris Meeke who is also hoping for strong weekend: "So far in this year's IRC, I've only finished once, and retired twice. That series has got to stop. I absolutely need to make it to the finish, and quite high up the order, too, so that I can get some big points in the bank. A top-three result would be perfect. And if I manage to finish in front of those who are currently ahead of me in the provisional Drivers' standings, then that would be icing on the cake," smiles the Ulsterman.

-source: peugeot

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About this article
Series Other rally
Drivers Kris Meeke , Bruno Magalhaes , Thierry Neuville