Wednesday, 29 May 2024
17 June 2003 - 14:20
Victory for Thiry in Rally Bulgaria
5th round of ERC coefficient 20 - the final day
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The 34th Rally of Bulgaria, was won by Bruno Thiry in his Bastos Peugeot 206 WRC. After the 13 special stages totalling 289.51 km, his margin of victory over local driver Jasen Popov in the Skoda Octavia WRC was 6min. 02.3 sec. Krum Donchev was third in a Peugeot 306 16s. Radoslav Kozlekov won Gr.N in a Mitsubishi Lancer Evo.7 and he was 5th overall, with Volkan Isik the best S1600 in his Fiat Punto, in 6th place.

/Bruno Thiry, Jean-Marc Fortin - Peugeot 206 WRC/

Bruno Thiry began the third and final day of the Rally Bulgaria with a lead of nearly 4 minutes over Jasen Popov, with Evgeny Vasin in third place 1min.09.5sec behind

The first of the days 6 stages was 18.3km long and Thiry continued where he had left off the day before, distancing himself from the opposition. He increased his lead to 4min.21.6 sec, but the main centre of attention was on the battle for second place. Vasin took a further 28 seconds from Popov's lead and narrowed the gap to just 41.3 sec. Krum Donchev was 4th, now 6min 13.9 sec after the leader.

/Krum Donchev, Rumen Manolov - Peugeot 306 16S/

Thiry's co-driver, Jean-Marc Fortin, did not have a good night, waking up at 04.00 and complaining of a sore throat and bad stomach. However, it didn't seem to have any effect on the teams performance because on the second stage of the day, they continued their domination of the rally, extending the lead to 5min and 05.0sec over Popov who was now looking anxiously over his shoulder. Vasin had narrowed the gap to just 10 seconds and was now close to taking over second spot. Donchev was again 4th.

Jean-Marc Fortin, co-driver: "I am not feeling at all well, so thank goodness there are just 4 stages to go. Everything inside me seems to have melted. I hope I'll be fit for tonight for the party."

/Jasen Popov, Dilian Popov - Skoda Oktavia WRC/

Jasen Popov, Skoda Octavia WRC: "We are pushing hard but there really is nothing we can do. Vasin's car is just faster. Now we have to concentrate on finishing and getting points in our own championship."

Evgeny Vasin, Itera Peugeot 206 WRC: "No problems today, but Stage 2 was very slippery. Bruno said it was like holiday on ice and I agree."

Krum Donchev, Peugeot 306 16s: "The fuel pump seems to be fixed and now we seem to have a problem with the hydraulic pump."

On the third stage of the final day, Evgeny Vasin, Itera Peugeot 206 WRC, moved past Jasen Popov to take second place. His overall time of 2hr.08min.26.8 sec was 5min.22.4sec behind the leader Bruno Thiry and 10.3sec ahead of Popov.

His joy at taking over second spot was short lived however. On Stage 11 he hit a metal crash barrier some 1.5 kms from the end of the stage, badly damaged the front left of the car and had to retire from the rally. Both Vasin and his co-driver were unhurt. That meant that Jasen Popov moved back into second place and Krum Donchev took over third spot, despite losing the hydraulic steering on the last stage.

/crashed Peugeot 206 WRC of Evgeni Vasin in SS11/

Thiry continued to add to his lead on Stage 11, which is now over 6 minutes and with just two remaining, it seems certain that, baring accidents or problems with the car, he will win this rally for the second time in 4 years, the last occasion being in 2000 when he was driving a Citroen Xsara.

/Landscape view of Rally Bulgaria 2003/

The 200 points collected by Thiry for his win, narrows the gap to Championship leader Miguel Campos to just 40 points. Campos chose not to drive in Bulgaria, but will be taking part in the next event in Ypres, Belgium, in two weeks time.

34-th Rally Bulgaria - Official Final Results

1 Thiry-Fortin, Peugeot 206 WRC, B, A8, 2h46:21.5
2 Popov-Popov, Skoda Oktavia WRC, BG, A8, +6:02.3
3 Donchev-Manolov, Peugeot 306 16S, BG, A7, +10:54.0
4 Tzarski-Tevekelov, Ford Escort WRC, BG, A8, +11:41.2
5 Kozlekov-Sivov, Mitsubishi Lancer Evo7, BG, N4, +12:02.4
6 Isik-Guleren, Fiat Punto Super 1600, TR, A6, +12:34.6
7 Geradjiev-Popov, Mitsubishi Lancer, BG, N4, +12:51.8
8 Marinov-Cholakov, Mitsubishi Lancer Evo, BG, N4, +13:01.0
9 Avci-Yilmaz, Fiat Palio Super 1600, TR, A6, +16:51.9
10 Yanakiev-Ignatov, Citroen Saxo Kit Car, BG, A6, +23:46.8

European Rally Championships Points Table after 5th Round

1 Miguel Campos - 600
2 Bruno Thiry - 560



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