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The International Rally Challenge (IRC) was in Hungary over the weekend for the inaugural Canon Mecsek Rallye. The event was previously an IRC Supporter Event upgraded to a fully-fledged round of the IRC this year. Based in the town of Pecs – named the 2010 European Capital of Culture – in the south-west of Hungary, the 2011 event is the 44th edition of the rally.

After a very close fight, Jan Kopecký from Skoda won the rally, which was led by Skoda UK’s Andreas Mikkelsen right till the penultimate stage. But the Norwegian slid wide on gravel in a fast right-hand corner in SS13, damaging his Fabia. Peugeot’s Thierry Neuville made a great late charge to finish second, just short of overall victory by a slim 0.8s. Freddy Loix was third in a Skoda.


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As for Proton, both the Satria Neo S2000s were forced into retirement. PG Andersson began the two-day rally conservatively, finishing the opening special stage in 17th. His charge however, was dealt a blow when he hit a kerb and severely damaged a wheel through the 28km second special stage.

This forced him to make an unscheduled wheel change that cost almost 8 minutes, dropping him to 42nd overall. The car’s rear differential was also damaged. The Swede then fought back up to 39th place in SS5 before a technical problem eventually ended his rally in SS6.


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It wasn’t much better for PG’s two-time FIA European Rally Champion teammate Giandomenico Basso. The Italian was also forced into retirement due to an abnormal mechanical issue on the first day. The extremely rare failure of the oil filter seal caused all the engine oil to leak out, giving Basso no choice but to stop.

With a competitive distance of 251.86 km, the Canon Mecsek Rallye was run mainly on high-speed roads with more than 100 teams and 20 IRC regulars taking part. Next up, IRC will head to the beautiful Italian Riveira for the Rallye Sanremo on 22-24 September.