IRC: Peugeot Rallye Sanremo preview

Five 'Evolution' Peugeot 207 S2000s face strong opposition in Italy. No fewer than 32 S2000 cars have been entered for the forthcoming Rallye Sanremo, round 10 of the 2010 Intercontinental Rally Challenge (IRC). Their numbers include 15 Peugeot...

Five 'Evolution' Peugeot 207 S2000s face strong opposition in Italy.

No fewer than 32 S2000 cars have been entered for the forthcoming Rallye Sanremo, round 10 of the 2010 Intercontinental Rally Challenge (IRC). Their numbers include 15 Peugeot crews, five of whom are backed by Peugeot subsidiaries and benefit from the very latest Evolution version of the 207 S2000. The new car will certainly boost their respective chances of taking the spoils at the end of the Italian event.

The event's last six winners to start this year's Sanremo! Peugeot's squadron knows that this visit to the Italian Riviera will be far from easy given the particularly fierce opposition it faces, including this season's IRC regulars and the top Italian Championship runners. Indeed, the entry list features all the past winners of the event between 2004 and 2009, while the local specialists have been competing on the fixture's classic tests for years and consequently know them practically by heart.

Peugeot's bid spearheaded by Kris Meeke, Paolo Andreucci and Bryan Bouffier "Last year was my first attempt at the Sanremo and I succeeded in winning first time out," recalls Kris Meeke. "It was one of the most memorable moments of my career. Surprisingly, I was competitive from the outset and, equally surprisingly, I went on to win and clinch the IRC title. As the defending champion, I have no other option than to try to repeat that performance. I'm sure it won't be easy, but I love the stages, as well as the sheer pace of the event, while a precise driving style is the real key to winning here. I will be helped, of course, by the fantastic handling of my 207 S2000."

Following his impressive showing in the Czech Republic three weeks ago, Bryan Bouffier will be looking to prolong his current run of success in Italy.

"I did the Sanremo in 2006 when torrential rain led to the cancellation of several stages. I found myself on slicks in the wet at one point, and I was slowed by a number of other incidents. I'm delighted to be returning this year because I know the roads are ideally suited to the handling of the 207 S2000."

Thierry Neuville, Bruno Magalhaès and Burcu Cetinkaya - who will be defending the colours of Peugeot Belgium-Luxemburg, Peugeot Portugal and Peugeot Turkey - have been tasked by their respective employers to familiarise themselves with the niceties of the Italian classic ahead of their 2011 IRC campaigns. Meanwhile, Peugeot's bid for victory will be reinforced by the participation of the 2006 winner Paolo Andreucci, although Peugeot Italy's man will also have his home title at the forefront of his mind...

"My priority will be to finish ahead of my closest chasers in the Italian Championship, although that will probably entail being up there challenging for outright victory."

One of the Rallye Sanremo's main features is the number of long stages it packs, including a 44km test that competitors will contest on the Friday evening in darkness. Careful managements of tyres and brakes will be vital, but the inherent balance of the 207 S2000 promises to be a trump card for the Peugeot crews.

-source: peugeot

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Series Other rally
Drivers Kris Meeke , Paolo Andreucci , Bruno Magalhaes , Thierry Neuville , Bryan Bouffier