French top Brits in Scottish Shakedown

Bryan Bouffier’s bid to win his second Intercontinental Rally Challenge event this season has got off to a promising start after the Peugeot France driver went fastest in shakedown for the penultimate round of the series, RACMSA Rally of Scotland, near Perth last night.

Bouffier, who is co-driven by fellow Frenchman Xavier Panseri, clocked a time of 02m 09.9sec through the practice stage in forests close to Scone Palace in his 207 Super 2000. Guy Wilks, in his Peugeot UK-backed entry, was second fastest, 0.2sec slower than Bouffier with Thierry Neuville third quickest at the wheel of his Team Peugeot Belgium-Luxembourg 207. The Rallye Sanremo winner set a time of 02m 10.4sec.

Jarkko Nikara, from Finland, marked himself out as a contender for IRC Production Cup honours by going fourth quickest in his Ralliart Mitsubishi Lancer. Jean-Michel Raoux, who is chasing IRC 2WD Cup honours in Scotland, was seventh fastest.

Irishman Robert Barrable was the leading ŠKODA Fabia S2000 driver in fifth. IRC returnee Burcu Çetinkaya, in a similar Fabia, was sixth.

Having tested in Scotland earlier this week, ŠKODA Motorsport elected not to take part in shakedown with its factory drivers Juho Hänninen and Jan Kopecký. ŠKODA UK Motorsport’s Andreas Mikkelsen also decided not to tackle shakedown, having been satisfied with the set-up developed during testing on Monday and Tuesday of this week.

The competitive action gets underway with the first of 15 stages on tonight.

Top 10 shakedown times:
01) Bryan Bouffier/Xavier Panseri (Peugeot 207 S2000) – 02m 09.9s
02) Guy Wilks/Phil Pugh (Peugeot 207 S2000) – 02m 10.1s
03) Thierry Neuville/Nicolas Gilsoul (Peugeot 207 S2000) – 02m 10.4s
04) Jarkko Nikkara/Petri Nikara (Ralliart Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX) – 02m 10.7s
05) Robert Barrable/Damien Connolly (ŠKODA Fabia S2000) – 02m 16.0s
06) Burcu Çetinkaya/Çiçek Güney (ŠKODA Fabia S2000) – 02m 34.3s
07) Jean-Michel Raoux/Laurent Magat (Renault Clio R3) – 02m 36.1s
08) Jussi Kumpumaki (M-Sport Ford Fiesta) – 02m 41.3s
09) Arman Smailov/Audrey Rusov (Subaru Impreza) – 02m 43.4s
10) Marco Cavigioli/Monica Fortunato (Ralliart Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX) – 02m 44.7s
– Information supplied by www.ircseries.com.