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Italians to clash with Kris Meeke in Madeira

Kris Meeke will face a double Italian threat on the next round of the Intercontinental Rally Challenge in Madeira.

Fiat-supported Abarth drivers Giandomenico Basso and Luca Rossetti are returning to the IRC series for the highly-specialised Rali Vinho Madeira on August 5/7.

Basso, the 2008 IRC champion, won in Madeira last year, defeating Bruno Magalhaes in a nail-biting finish, and Rossetti is currently leading the European championship.

Their Abarth Grand Puntos are among a 20-strong line-up of Super 2000 cars which also includes the Skodas of IRC leader Juho Hanninen, Jan Kopecky and Freddy Loix, another former Madeira winner, as well as the Peugeots of Meeke and Magalhaes, the who won the Rally Azores last weekend.

Meeke, who finished second in the Azores to keep alive his hopes of retaining the IRC title, is hopeful that a recent test session in Italy has eradicated the suspension glitch which cost him victory on the Rally Islas Canarias.

Meeke was leading when a suspension bolt pierced a hole in the front-left wheel of his Kronos Racing Peugeot 207, causing a puncture.

"The test was very good and we know the car works very well on smooth tarmac," he said. "We ran a whole new suspension set-up at the front and we’ve been able to get to the bottom of the issue we had in the Canary Islands."

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