ERC / BARUM CZECH RALLY ZLÌN: Stéphane Lefebvre flies the Peugeot Rally Academy’s colours high and proud!31/08/2014 - 19:34

Barum Czech Rally Zlín 2014 29-31 august 2014
After a dominating start that saw the team top the leaderboard early on, the Peugeot Rally Academy’s two Peugeot 208 T16s were sidelined halfway into the opening day. Stéphane Lefebvre and Thomas Dubois marked the Barum Czech Rally Zlin’s FIA ERC Junior battle to claim a masterful class victory in their 208 R2.

An untimely end to the assertive run of the 208 T16s…

A good set-up for the Barum Czech Rally Zlin’s demanding stages helped Kevin Abbring and Sebastian Marshall to take the win on the event’s opening stage in front of some 20,000 spectators, on Friday evening, in the streets of Zlìn. The Dutchman went on to claim the next two stages before a problem with a connection to his water pump in the car’s wiring loom forced him to retire. Craig Breen and Scott Martin started cautiously in the second factory car but were forced to hand in their timecard after a crash on the same stage (SS4) while in third position.  The Peugeot 208 T16 has proved competitive on its debut season and the team will clearly now be out to demonstrate the car’s reliability when it makes its next ERC appearance in Switzerland.

Stéphane Lefebvre goes top in the FIA ERC Junior standings!

The event’s narrow, bumpy stages didn’t prevent Stéphane Lefebvre from producing another fine performance in the FIA ERC Junior series. Following wins in the category in the Acores and Ypres, he added a third straight victory in the category which promotes him to the top of the Junior championship's provisional standings. Despite a puncture at the end of the opening day and a broken differential on Sunday morning, Stéphane and Thomas Dubois claimed nine stage wins from 15 (including a forfeitry time) to win the Czech round with panache.

More success for the 208 T16 elsewhere in Europe

The 208 T16 took a win on asphalt this weekend in the hands of Paolo Andreucci. The Rally del Friuli Venezia Giulia, round six of the Italian national championship, saw the Peugeot driver finish clear of Giandomenico Basso (Ford Fiesta R5) and Alessandro Perico who was also competing behind the wheel of a 208 T16. Andreucci led from start to finish and collected eight fastest stage times from 11 on his way to claiming the 208 T16’s seventh victory of the season.

Driver quotes:

Craig Breen:
“I was extremely fired up before the start because it had been some time since I had last driven the 208 T16. I am very disappointed to have crashed this weekend, both for myself and for everyone in the team. We had the necessary speed to win the event.”
Kevin Abbring:
“After our pre-rally test and from what we saw on the Qualifying Stage, we had a good set-up for this event. It was a memorable moment when I won the stage in Zlìn in front of 20,000 spectators and I felt confident behind the wheel of my 208 T16, even though it’s never easy to win here against all the Skodas which are on home soil. Despite failing to finish, we were able to show that the 208 T16 was fast and competitive, irrespective of the conditions. I was also pleased with my pace note system which proved quite effective. It was such a shame to have to retire because we were the fastest crew out there.”
Stéphane Lefebvre:
“We’re thrilled to have come here to Zlin for the very first time and win this event in the 208 R2. It’s looking promising for the Junior title. We continued to push after our puncture and differential failure. Despite these problems, we still managed to win, which is very positive.”

Barum Czech Rally Zlìn – final positions:

1, V.Pech (Mini JCW Super 2000), 2h16m28.7s. 2, S.Wiegand (Skoda Fabia Super 2000), +51.5s. 3, T.Kostka (Ford Fiesta R5), +51.7s. 4, J.Orsàk (Skoda Fabia Super 2000), +1m12.8s. 5, J.Tarabus (Skoda Fabia Super 2000), +1m13.6s. 6, K.Kajetanowicz (Ford Fiesta R5), +1m14.4s. 7, O.Tanak (Ford Fiesta R5), +2m41.5s. 8, M.Vicek (Skoda Fabia Super 2000), +5m30.2s. 9, A.Tlustàk, + 6m5.8s. 10, Bruno Magalhães/Carlos Magalhães (Peugeot 208 T16), +7m7.3s. Etc.
Next FIA ERC appearance for the Peugeot Rally Academy: Switzerland (October 25-26).

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