Points for Tomita, Heartache for Kangur

Points for Tomita, Heartache for KangurFrom Honda J.A.S. Press [ 22/07/2012 ].
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It was mixed emotions for the Honda drivers at the 8th round of the Intercontinental Rally Challenge in Romania. Whilst local hero Serban Tomita was full of joy after securing a brilliant 9th place in the 2WD Cup, it was further heartache for Martin Kangur, who was forced out of the rally on the first day.

It had all started so promisingly for the Estonian and his co-driver Andres Ots in the 2WD Cup. After the first three Special Stages they found themselves in first place, keeping at bay other podium favourites Harry Hunt and Robert Consani.

But elation turned into despair in the fourth when the Estonian Honda driver suffered not one, but three punctures. With only two spares available, Kangur was forced to tackle the SuperSpecial carrying a puncture. And whilst the stage was only 1,90 kilometres long, eleven minutes had ticked away causing Kangur and Ots to drop back to 4th.

After inspection by J.A.S Motorsport, the Honda Civic Type R was less damaged than first thought. None the less, the techcrew had to pull out all the stops to make it ready for the last two stages of day 1.

"On the tarmac of the 6th stage we took it slowly to check everything was okay." said the Estonian driver afterwards. "But in the night drive on the last we hit a rock. The strike was so hard the fuel tank got hit. Over and out."

It was a different story for Romanian Serban Tomita and co-driver Alexandru Simon. In their first ever ride in the Honda Civic Type R, they delivered 15 precious points to Honda in the Manufacturer's 2WD Cup.

It proved to be a lucky choice. Tomita, who lives in Sibiu, has been participating in the Romanian Rally Championship for some time - but with a different vehicle. However for the IRC he decided to swop his usual car with one of his brother's - a Honda Civic Type R! "For this weekend's rally we brought a six speed gearbox and were pleasantly surprised that we ended so high. Of course, the fact that I'm local has its advantages!"

"Perhaps we could have finished in a higher position. But in the end I was too slow and lost two places. During the two last stages, before the SuperSpecial, I didn't want to take any unnecessary risks. I just wanted to reach the finish."

Before the end of Day 1, Romanian Grigore Adrian and co-driver Paunescu Marius, were also forced to retire.

The next round of the IRC is the Barum Rally in the Czech Republic, which takes place from the 31st to the 2nd September.