Peugeot Kris Meeke and Paul Nagle clinch IRC Intercontinental Rally Challenge Drivers’ title

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Win in Sanremo secures titles

Peugeot Kris Meeke (NI) and Paul Nagle (ROI) are on top of the world after winning the Sanremo Rally to clinch the Drivers’ Championship in the 2009 Intercontinental Rally Challenge.

Peugeot has already retained its Manufacturers’ title.

Starting the final day in fourth place, the pair demolished the field in the opening two stages, and despite a minor brake scare on Stage 7, came home to win in great style.

It was the opening stage of the day – SS5 – where they did the initial damage, setting a time a clear ten seconds ahead of the next best driver, Italy’s Renato Travalglia.  Luca Rossetti took the lead as overnight leader Paulo Andreucci faded.  Kris meanwhile was now up to third.

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Final Times – SS5

1

Peugeot 207 S2000

Kris Meeke

 

2

Peugeot 207 S2000

Renato Travaglia

+10.0

3

Peugeot 207 S2000

Luca Cantamessa

+11.1

4

Skoda Fabia S2000

Juha Hanninen

+11.8

5

Peugeot 207 S2000

Freddy Loix

+13.5

6

Abarth Grande Punto S2000

Luca Rossetti

+15.9

The Meeke/Nagle onslaught continued on Stage 6.  Kris again set the fastest time, and from fourth overnight, now led the rally by 11.4 seconds from Luca Rossetti.  It had been a magnificent morning’s work.

Final Times – SS6

1

Peugeot 207 S2000

Kris Meeke

 

2

Peugeot 207 S2000

Renato Travaglia

+8.

3

Peugeot 207 S2000

Nicolas Vouilloz

+9.1

4

Peugeot 207 S2000

Freddy Loix

+12.5

5

Peugeot 207 S2000

Luca Cantamessa

+13.3

6

Abarth Grande Punto S2000

Luca Rossetti

+16.3

But rally is a strange sport: just as you think everything is going well, it comes and bites you savagely.  Kris bled the brakes on the Peugeot 207 S2000 before the ultra-short Stage 7 but made an error.  The result – no brakes for the stage.  He lost time to Luca Rossetti, and allowed the rest of the field to close the gap.  Kris’s lead over Rossetti was now down to 3.1 seconds.

Final Times – SS7

1

Peugeot 207 S2000

Renato Travaglia

 

2

Peugeot 207 S2000

Paulo Andreucci

+0.5

3

Peugeot 207 S2000

Nicolas Vouilloz

+0.7

4

Skoda Fabia S2000

Juha Hanninen

+1.6

5

Peugeot 207 S2000

Freddy Loix

+1.6

6

Peugeot 207 S2000

Elwis Chentre

+2.0

The lunchtime service halt was a tense time for driver, co-driver and team.  With Jan Kopecky, their only rival for the drivers’ title already out on Day One, Kris and Paul could sew up it all up on the remaining 2 stages.  But it’s the oldest rule in the Rally Book that, to finish first, first you have to finish.

This was the point where Meeke and Nagle showed their mettle.  Straight away they went out and set fastest time on Stage 8, restoring the gap over Rossetti.

Final Times – SS8

1

Peugeot 207 S2000

Kris Meeke

 

2

Peugeot 207 S2000

Freddy Loix

+4.5

3

Peugeot 207 S2000

Renato Travaglia

+4.8

4

Peugeot 207 S2000

Nicolas Vouilloz

+5.6

5

Peugeot 207 S2000

Luca Cantamessa

+6.6

6

Abarth Grande Punto S2000

Luca Rossetti

+8.0

That left Meeke and Nagle with the title in sight, and they did not disappoint their many fans.  They opted for a slight note of caution on the final stage, but came home to win the Rally and the Championship title.  The celebrations afterwards were packed with raw emotion, lasting long into the night.

Final Times – SS9

1

Peugeot 207 S2000

Renato Travaglia

 

2

Peugeot 207 S2000

Freddy Loix

+2.4

3

Peugeot 207 S2000

Kris Meeke

+5.6

4

Peugeot 207 S2000

Nicolas Vouilloz

+5.8

5

Peugeot 207 S2000

Luca Cantamessa

+5.9

6

Abarth Grande Punto S2000

Luca Rossetti

+10.2

Final Overall Results

1

Peugeot 207 S2000

Kris Meeke

2

Abarth Grande Punto S2000

Luca Rossetti

3

Peugeot 207 S2000

Nicolas Vouilloz

4

Peugeot 207 S2000

Freddy Loix

5

Peugeot 207 S2000

Paulo Andreucci

6

Peugeot 207 S2000

Renato Travaglia

Drivers’ Championship

1

Kris Meeke

60 points

2

Jan Kopecky

49 points

3

Freddy Loix

37 points

4

Nicolas Vouilloz

31 points

5

Giandomenico Basso

28 points

Manufacturers’ Championship

1

Peugeot

112 points

2

Skoda

72 points

3

Abarth

43 points

4

Ralliart

42 points

5

Proton

5 points