Andreas Mikkelsen, Skoda, at the lead after leg one. Giandomenico Basso, Ford, first of the CIR drivers

The Norwegian driver at the lead, followed by Jan Kopecki, on Skoda, too. Giandomenico Basso, third, proceeds Umberto Scandola on Skoda and Paolo Andreucci, on Peugeot, in the CIR

Palermo, 17 June 2012 – Battle was awaited and battle has been on the kilometers of the first leg of the 96th Targa Florio, the race organized by the Automobile Club Palermo, valid also for the Intercontinental Rally Challenge as well as for the fourth round of the Italian Rally Championship. The duel among the best of the IRC and those of CIR is favouring the first at the moment but our drivers are not at all far.This evening the two Skoda Fabia of the Norwey driver Andreas Mikklesen and the Czech Republic champion Jan Kopecki, while the first of our drivers is Giandomenico Basso on Ford Fiesta RRC. The Italian co-driven by Mitia Dotta, is competing in both series. Behind him, Umberto Scandola, who has Federico D'Amore at the notes, on Skoda Fabia, and Paolo Andreucci, with Anna Andreussi as co-driver of the Peugeot 207 of the Italian brand of the French constructor. The Tuscan, six times winner of the Sicilian race, seems to have found the right pace. Behind him, was the driver from Bergamo Matteo Gamba, at the wheel of another Peugeot 207 Super 2000. The leg had a linear unfolding with Mikkelsen pushing since the start, winning five stages out of the six run so far, series stopped only by the success obtained by Kopecki in the fifth stage. The two are just 4''5 apart. In the Rally Junior Championship Simone Campedelli is leading after the first leg. The Italian driving for Citroen Italy proceeds quite sharplythe home hero Andrea Nucita, Citroen C2 and the first of the New Twingo Trophy, Mikko Pajunen, who proved to be very fast on the Sicilian roads. In the Renault trophy are also shining Fabrizio Andolfi and Michele Tassone. In the Italian Production Championship Max Rendina is leading on Mitsubishi Lancer, while his closest rival Ivan Ferrarotti, Renault Megane had to retire due to an excursion.

The race is still long and treacherous. The two long stages of Cefalù of 18 km and of Castelbuono, 16.2km, are still to be run and will be repeated twice. The start is set for 7.30 (GMT+2) from the assistance park of Termini Imerese while the finish line is set on the same town at 17.30.

Rai Sport 1 will cover live the final stages of the race starting from 17.30

The classification after the first leg follows: 1. MIkkelsen - Floene (Skoda Fabia S2000) in 52'23"5, 2. Kopecky - Dressler (Skoda Fabia S2000) at 4"5 ; 3. Basso - Dotta (Ford Fiesta S2000) at 13"2; 4. Scandola - D'Amore ( Skoda Fabia S2000) at 23"6: 5. Andreucci - Andreussi (Peugeot 207 S2000) at 34"8; 6. Breen-Roberts (Peugeot 207 S2000) at 52"8; 7. Gamba - Inglesi (Peugeot 207 S2000) at 53"6 ; 8. Wiegand - Gottshalk (Skoda Fabia S2000) at 1'07"9; 9. Perico - Carrara (Peugeot 207 S2000) at 1' 17"5; 10. Runfola - Lo Neri (Peugeot 207 S2000) at 1'36"9

The live streaming on the web can be followed at www.