Basso, who led from start to finish, was all but assured of top spot alongside co-driver Mitia Dotta when he won the gruelling 44-kilometre Ronde night stage on Friday. It was one of five fastest stage times the Italian recorded during the two-day rally in his country’s Liguria region and enabled him to build an interim advantage of 25.6s. He secured first place by completing the final stage, shown live on RAI Sport on Saturday afternoon, with a margin of 35.7s over Jan Kopecký
Czech Kopecký finished second in his Fabia Super 2000 to secure a third IRC manufacturers’ title for ŠKODA on the back of four stage wins and move ahead of team-mate Juho Hänninen in the drivers’ standings after the Finn crashed out on Ronde.
Alessandro Perico bagged his maiden IRC podium in third in the leading Peugeot 207 S2000. Federico Gasperetti was the fastest IRC Production Cup contender on all 10 stages to win with ease in his Renault Mégane RS. Meanwhile, Simone Campedelli clinched his second IRC 2WD Cup victory of 2012.
At the finish by the Mediterranean Sea this evening, Basso said: “I am very happy to be winning here because Sanremo is a fantastic event. But it’s not just winning here that’s important, it’s winning here in Sanremo as part of the IRC, a very esteemed series that I have a lot of affection for. It might have looked easy from the outside but no win is easy. I was able to make the difference on Ronde and after that I controlled my advantage to the finish.”
Following ŠKODA’s IRC manufacturers’ title triumph, motorsport head Michal Hrabánek said: “We have won a valuable hat-trick of IRC titles and made a historic achievement with the ŠKODA Fabia Super 2000 by becoming the most successful brand of the IRC. This is indeed the best reward for all the team members in return for the top-class work they have been putting in throughout this successful period. The end of this season is still ahead of us, though, and our ambition is to win also the drivers’ title.”
Behind third-placed Alessandro Perico, Stefano Albertini took a fine fourth in his similar Peugeot having feared he might be forced out when his car would not restart at the midday regroup. Paolo Andreucci clinched his seventh Italian title in fifth place. With title rival Umberto Scandola hitting trouble on Friday’s opening test, Andreucci adopted a cautious approach in his Peugeot Italia entry to take the crown alongside co-driver Anna Andreussi. ŠKODA driver Scandola restarted on day two but stopped with a mechanical problem after three stages.
Craig Breen, who is competing in Italy for the first time since his best friend and former co-driver Gareth Roberts lost his life in an accident on Targa Florio-Rally Internazionale Di Sicilia in mid-June, was battling Stefano Albertini for fourth overall when he picked up a front-left puncture approximately four kilometres into the 20.73-kilometre Colle d’Oggia run on Saturday morning. He eventually finished sixth in his Saintéloc Racing Peugeot, a performance that earned him the prestigious Colin McRae IRC Flat Out Trophy.
Frigyes Turán was seventh for Petter Solberg Engineering despite an engine overheating issue. Simone Campedelli won the IRC 2WD Cup in eighth place although because his Citroën DS3 R3T is not eligible for overall points, Pierre Campana took eighth-place points following his fight back from the broken rear differential on the Ronde stage that dropped him firmly out of contention.
Harry Hunt was an impressive 14th overall on his first appearance in the IRC in a Kronos Racing Peugeot. The former IRC 2WD Cup champion lost ground with two punctures but still managed to set some rapid stage times alongside stand-in co-driver Dale Moscatt.
IRC Production Cup
Federico Gasperetti claimed his first victory in the IRC Production Cup in style by setting the pace in the category on all 10 stages at the wheel of a Renault Mégane RS. However, while Gasperetti celebrated, Consani was left to reflect on what might have been after he dropped out of second place on Sunday morning when a spin left his Mégane with a broken rear axle. He tried to continue but following another rotation the Frenchman was forced to stop for good. Hungarian Miklós Bujdos finished second with Marco Cavigioli third. Dream Team Ukraine’s Vitaliy Pushkar overtook Subaru Impreza R4 STI driver Johan Heloïse for fourth on the final stage.
IRC 2WD Cup
Simone Campedelli made it two wins from two starts in this season’s IRC 2WD Cup, despite requiring a course of physiotherapy and a dose of painkillers due to a shoulder injury. Roberto Vescovi was second in a Renault Clio R3 with IRC Production Cup winner Federico Gasperetti third. Rudy Michelini took fourth with Peugeot driver Danilo Ameglio in fifth. Hannes Danzinger was a fine sixth on his first rally outside of his native Austria after he secured sponsorship from a sausage company to take part in a Clio R3, which he was driving in competition for the first time. French ace Bryan Bouffier gave Peugeot’s 208 R2 a strong debut by topping the R2 division. Elwis Chentre was ninth in a ŠKODA Fabia R2.
TOP 10 IRC POSITIONS (after 10 stages, 204.00 kilometres)
1 Giandomenico Basso (ITA)/Mitia Dotta (ITA) M-Sport Ford Fiesta RRC 2h19m03.6s
2 Jan Kopecký (CZE)/Pavel Dresler (CZE) ŠKODA Fabia S2000 +35.7s
3 Alessandro Perico (ITA)/Fabrizio Carrara (ITA) Peugeot 207 S2000 +2m13.7s
4 Stefano Albertini (ITA)/Simone Scattolin (ITA) Peugeot 207 S2000 +3m08.3s
5 Paolo Andreucci (ITA)/Anna Andreussi (ITA) Peugeot 207 S2000 +3m55.5s
6 Craig Breen (IRL)/Paul Nagle (IRL) Peugeot 207 S2000 +5m00.2s
7 Frigyes Turán (HUN)/Gábor Zsiros (HUN) M-Sport Ford Fiesta S2000 +6m50.8s
8 Pierre Campana (FRA)/Sabrina de Castelli (FRA) Peugeot 207 S2000 +8m07.0s
9 Roberto Vescovi (ITA)/Giancarla Guzzi (ITA) Renault Clio R3 +8m18.9s
10 Federico Gasperetti (ITA)/Federico Ferrari (ITA) Renault Mégane RS +8m33.5s
IRC Production Cup: Federico Gasperetti (ITA)/Federico Ferrari (ITA) Renault Mégane RS
IRC 2WD Cup: Simone Campedelli (ITA)/Danilo Fappani (ITA) Citroën DS3 R3T
IRC STANDINGS (BEST OF EIGHT SCORES COUNT, ALL POINTS PROVISIONAL)
IRC drivers after round 12 of 13
1 Andreas Mikkelsen (Norway) 136pts; 2 Jan Kopecký (Czech Republic) 101pts; 3 Juho Hänninen (Finland) 93pts; 4 Giandomenico Basso (Italy) 65pts; 5 Sepp Wiegand (Germany) 53pts; 6 Yağiz Avci (Turkey) 35pts; 7 Robert Consani (France) 32pts; 8 Patrik Flodin (Sweden) 28pts; 9 Bryan Bouffier (France) and Umberto Scandola (Italy) 27pts
IRC co-drivers after round 12 of 13
1 Ola Fløene (Norway) 136pts; 2 Pavel Dresler (Czech Republic) 101pts; 3 Mikko Markkula (Finland) 93pts; 4 Mitia Dotta (Italy) 65pts; 5 Timo Gottschalk (Germany) 53pts; 6 Bahadir Gücenmez (Turkey) 35pts; 7 Göran Bergsten (Sweden) 28pts; 8 Guido D’Amore (Italy) and Xavier Panseri (France) 27pts; 10 Carlos del Barrio (Spain) and Yanaki Yanakiev (Bulgaria) 25pts
IRC manufacturers after round 12 of 13
1 ŠKODA 325pts; 2 Peugeot 217pts; 3 M-Sport Ford 174pts; 4 Renault 126pts; 5 Subaru 110pts; 6 Honda 51pts
IRC Production Cup drivers after round 12 of 13
1 Robert Consani (France) 97pts; 2 Andreas Aigner (Austria) 75pts; 3 Marco Tempestini (Romania) 63pts; 4 Vitaliy Pushkar (Ukraine) 53pts; 5 Toshi Arai (Japan) 36pts, 6 Johan Heloïse (France) 32pts; 7 Miklós Bujdos (Hungary) 28pts; 8 Marco Cavigioli (Italy) 27pts); 9 Garry Jennings (United Kingdom), Ricardo Moura (Portugal), Jarkko Nikara (Finland), and Massimiliano Rendina 25pts
IRC Production Cup co-drivers after round 12 of 13
1 Nicolas Klinger (France) 97pts; 2 Dorin Pulpea (Romania) 63pts; 3 Ivan Mishyn (Ukraine) 53pts; 4 Daniela Ertl (Austria) 50pts; 5 Dale Moscatt (Australia) 36pts; 6 Thibault Gorczyca (France) 32pts; 7 Monica Fortunato (Italy) 27pts; 8 Sancho Eiró (Portugal), Jarkko Kalliolepo (Finland), Barry McNulty (United Kingdom) and Mario Pizzuti (Italy) 25pts
IRC 2WD Cup drivers after round 12 of 13
1 Robert Consani (France) 87pts; 2 Harry Hunt (United Kingdom) 76pts; 3 Martin Kangur (Estonia) 51pts; 4 Simone Campedelli (Italy) 50pts; 5 Vlad Cosma (Romania) 33pts; 6 Murat Bostanci (Turkey) 30pts; 7 Petru-Antone Boschetti (France), Jan Černy (Czech Republic), Paulo Maciel (Portugal), Marty McCormack (United Kingdom), Todor Slavov (Bulgaria) and Joan Vinyes (Spain) 25pts
IRC 2WD Cup co-drivers after round 12 of 13
1 Robbie Durant (United Kingdom) 76pts; 2 Nicolas Klinger (France) 62pts; 3 Danilo Fapani (Italy) 50pts; 4 Florin Dorca (Romania) 33pts; 5 Onur Vatansever (Turkey) 30pts; 6 Cédric Beynet (France), Dobromir Filipov (Bulgaria), Filipe Gouveia (Portugal), Pavel Kohout (Czech Republic), Benoit Manzo (France), Jordi Mercader (Spain), David Moynihan (Ireland) and Andres Ots (Russia) 25pts
IRC 2WD Cup manufacturers after round 12 of 13
1 Renault 338pts; 2 Honda 149pts; 3 M-Sport 115pts; 4 Peugeot 68pts; 5 ŠKODA 35pts