Peugeot wins third consecutive IRC title
- 14th September 2009, 9:34am
Peugeot has taken its third Intercontinental Rally Challenge (IRC) Manufacturers title in succession following Round 9 of this year's IRC Series, the Rally Principe de Asturias in Spain held at the weekend.
A points total of 109 means no other manufacturer can now catch the Peugeot team.
Kris Meeke and Paul Nagle, the Peugeot UK crew, retained their lead in the Drivers' competition, eventually finishing second despite losing three minutes with a puncture on Day One.
Meeke and Nagle went into the event with a 3-point lead in the drivers' championship in the IRC Series. Their big rival for the title was Skoda's Jan Kopecky, who was the eventual event winner.
There were six stages on the final day, beginning with Stage 10, fought out in the very early dawn. Meeke set fastest time, closing the gap on Freddy Loix to just 7.4 seconds, but ominously Jan Kopecky went ahead of his fellow Skoda driver Alberto Hevia to pressure overnight leader Giandomenico Basso, 12.1 seconds ahead.
Basso succummed to the pressure and went off on SS13, dropping six minutes, and then, on the penultimate stage, local ace Hevia had a puncture, like so many of the other competitors, and dropped the Skoda driver to sixth.
Meeke was ecstatic at the podium..."This result looked impossible on Friday night but I'm delighted because it's been a very tough rally. Kopecky was incredibly fast and consistent but we could just as easily have won without the puncture. As things stand we're still leading the championship and that's the most important thing."
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