ERC / RALLYE INTERNATIONAL DU VALAIS: ALTITUDE RUNNING FOR THE PEUGEOT RALLY ACADEMY!21/10/2014 - 18:29

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Rallye du Valais 2014 23-25 october 2014
Before wrapping up its 2014 European Championship campaign on home soil in Corsica early next month, the Peugeot Rally Academy travels to Switzerland this week for the 55th Rallye International du Valais. Craig Breen and Kevin Abbring will be looking to steer the official Peugeot 208 T16s to the car’s second ERC success of the year on the twisty Alpine stages.

The Rallye du Valais: happy hunting ground for Peugeot Sport…

The penultimate round of the 2014 FIA ERC features a total competitive distance of 260km divided into 19 stages around the event’s base in Martigny. Victory for the 208 T16 this weekend would see the car join the 207 S2000 (1st in 2007, 2008, 2009, 2011 and 2012) and the 206 S1600 (1st in 2004) on the list of the Swiss event’s past winners. In addition to the Peugeot Rally Academy pair, there will also be 208 T16s in the hands of Bruno Magalhães and Jonathan Hirschi (HRT Rally Team), plus a Peugeot UK-backed 208 R2 for Chris Ingram (Peugeot UK) in the FIA ERC Junior class. The total number of entries is 83.

Craig Breen and Scott Martin: still in contention for the title

Since his victory at the beginning of the season in Greece, Craig Breen has had something of a troubled season. Even so, the Irishman is still in contention for the 2014 title and is particularly buoyed up ahead of the Swiss round. He feels at home on asphalt and will benefit from his knowledge of the rally acquired thanks to the third place he scored last year in the Peugeot Rally Academy’s Peugeot 207 S2000. He is currently 49 points short of the current ERC leader Esapekka Lappi, however, so his only tactic can be to aim for first place. Along with his co-driver Scott Martin, he is pleased with the way last week’s pre-event test went and is confident that he can count on a competitive, reliable package in Switzerland.

Kevin Abbring: hungry for victory

The Dutch youngster and his co-driver Sebastian Marshall travel to the event after their only previous participation in 2010 intent on claiming a top result. Kevin Abbring’s ERC record so far this season includes second place in the Azores and 18 stage victories after featuring in the fight for victory on all of his outings. He feels particularly comfortable behind the wheel of the 208 T16, as demonstrated by his RC2 class success on the WRC’s Rallye de France earlier this month, so he is understandably hoping to put the cat among the pigeons once more this weekend.

Ten victories already for the 208 T16 across Europe and a national title in Italy

The Peugeot 208 T16 enjoyed an emphatic maiden campaign in the Italian Rally Championship where Peugeot Sport Italia’s Paolo Andreucci took the car to four victories from eight. He clinched his first national crown just days ago on the Rally Due Valli, the final round of the year. The 208 T16, Peugeot Sport’s latest rally challenger, has also enjoyed success in Portugal (with Bruno Magalhães), Denmark (Christian Jensen) and Slovenia (Claudio De Cecco).

Driver quotes:

Craig Breen:
“I’m looking forward to contesting the Rallye du Valais again. It’s an event I really enjoyed last year. After our victory on the Acropolis Rally, we are still in a position where we can win the title so we will try to score the best result possible to increase our chances and also show the potential of the 208 T16. It’s a tough rally. The weather can be very changeable and the gravel portions make it a huge challenge. We’ve done some promising pre-event testing, though, and I have a very good feeling with the car. Scott and I are ready to give it everything we’ve got and I know that everyone at the Peugeot Rally Academy will do the same.”
Kevin Abbring:
“As has been the case nearly all season, this is another completely new event for me. There’s no snow yet but it’s a fantastic part of the world! I can’t wait to get started because we have come close to winning several ERC events in the Peugeot 208 T16 this year but we’ve been down on luck so far. That said, we succeeded in winning the RC2 class at the Rallye de France, so I hope I can keep up that momentum. We will endeavour to be as competitive as possible but it won’t be easy because there are a lot of drivers, including Craig [Breen] and Lappi, who have recent experience of the rally. That doesn’t mean we can’t win, though! The stages seem quite slippery so we will need to be cautious on the first passes.”

Provisional championship standings:

1, Esapekka LAPPI (Skoda Fabia S2000), 123 points. 2, Sepp WIEGAND (Skoda Fabia S2000), 104 points. 3, Kajetan KAJETANOWICZ (Ford Fiesta R5), 94 points. 4, CRAIG BREEN / SCOTT MARTIN (PEUGEOT 208 T16), 74 points. … 12, KEVIN ABBRING / SEBASTIAN MARSHALL (PEUGEOT 208 T16), 38 points. Etc. Timetable Monday (October 20) and Tuesday (October 21): Recce Wednesday (October 22): Scrutineering Thursday (October 23): Shakedown, Qualifying Stage, Press Conference, Leg 1 Frida (October 24): Leg 2 Saturday (October 25): Leg 3

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