Corsica ERC: Bryan Bouffier clinches victory from Jan Kopecky
|Saturday, May 18th 2013, 16:45 GMT|
Bryan Bouffier clinched another victory in a classic rally as he added a Tour of Corsica win to his 2011 Monte Carlo triumph.
Bouffier's maiden European Rally Championship win was his first top-level success since his shock Monte victory two years ago.
It also marked the first international rally win for Peugeot since Thierry Neuville won the Sanremo round of the 2011 Intercontinental Rally Challenge.
Bouffier went into the final afternoon in a close battle with ERC championship leader Jan Kopecky's Skoda, which had surged back into contention just before lunchtime service after a morning in which Bouffier had edged clear.
But Bouffier swiftly broke Kopecky's challenge, the Delta Peugeot's pace on SS10 convincing the factory Skoda man to settle for second and protect his points lead.
Even if Kopecky had wanted to fight, his Skoda chose not to allow it - dropping onto three cylinders on the last stage and leaving the Czech with a nervous run to the official finish.
Craig Breen had dominated the first half of leg one, only to fall to sixth when he made a mistake and picked up a puncture.
He looked like he might be able to battle back into the lead fight before a further error on Saturday morning.
After that he became embroiled in a dice with Stephane Sarrazin for third.
Sarrazin, driving the same Mini that Dani Sordo used to win this rally in 2012, took time to get up to speed in his first rally since September last year.
But by the deciding loop the Toyota Le Mans driver was firmly on the pace and was able to defeat Breen and claim the final podium spot despite the Peugeot protege's best efforts.
Francois Delecour held off a late challenge from Julien Maurin for fifth.
Robert Kubica had initially picked up the lead from Breen following the Irishman's error, only for a fuel-feed problem to force his Citroen out of the rally just one stage later.
Leading finishers: Pos Driver Team/Car Time/Gap 1. Bryan Bouffier Delta Peugeot 2h41m58.2s 2. Jan Kopecky Skoda + 39.8s 3. Stephane Sarrazin First Mini + 1m37.6s 4. Craig Breen Sainteloc Peugeot + 1m40.8s 5. Francois Delecour Kronos Peugeot + 3m25.0s 6. Julien Maurin Ford + 3m37.6s 7. Andreas Aigner Stohl Subaru + 7m53.9s 8. Jean-Mathieu Leandri Sainteloc Peugeot + 8m47.8s 9. Germain Bonnefis Renault + 9m16.8s 10. Jean Michel Raoux Delta Peugeot + 13m54.3s