Ferreyros April 26-28, 2002 Rovanpera extends advantage in day of attrition - Leg 2 Saturday 27 April The Total Team Peugeot crew of Harri Rovanpera/Risto Pietilainen have extended their lead during the second leg of Corona Rally Mexico ...
Ferreyros April 26-28, 2002
Rovanpera extends advantage in day of attrition - Leg 2
Saturday 27 April
The Total Team Peugeot crew of Harri Rovanpera/Risto Pietilainen have extended their lead during the second leg of Corona Rally Mexico and returned to Leon this evening with a 25 minute 17.5 second advantage over Subaru Group N contender Andres Montalto. Carlos Izquierdo, who holds third position in his national specification Group N Lancer Evolution, is upholding Mexican honours.
Twenty-one of the original 37 contenders took the re-start in Leon at 08:00 hrs this morning, heading into the Sierra de Lobos mountains to the north-east of the host town for seven special stages and 140.24 competitive kilometres. Conditions remained hot and dry throughout the day with temperatures topping 35 degrees, however, in the final stage of the day - the longest of the rally - the heavens opened and crews were forced to drive the 44.66 kilometre test from Mesa to Duarte in pouring rain. By the end of the leg, the conditions had taken their toll and just 11 crews made it back to Leon for the overnight halt.
Harri Rovanpera and Risto Pietilainen set a blistering pace in the opening 13.33 kilometre test, a fast wide stage where their average speed was 94.89 kph on the climb up to Agua Zarca. In contrast - and underlining Rovanpera's previous comments about the mixture of roads in Mexico - the average speed dropped to just 66.71 kph in stages 9/12, where conditions were more akin to those on the World Rally Championship event in Cyprus.
"It's been another good day, both Risto and I are really enjoying this rally," commented Harri. "We've had a mixture of roads today which have cleaned well the second time through, although when we ran the Comanjilla stage (SS10) for the third time it was rougher, but then it also gave us more grip so it was not a problem. The rain in stage 14 was incredible and as it was one of the stages we didn't have time to recce we took it pretty slowly. Also there was lots of deep water which came over the bonnet, and we don't have the flap on this car that stops water going into the engine."
Andres Montalto holds a comfortable second position, first of the Group N contenders in his Subaru Impreza WRX. Suspension problems in the opening three stages hindered the Costa Rican National Champion, but after repairs in service he was back to full speed. A holed radiator in the final stage cost more time, but with nearly 14 minutes in hand, Montalto was content with his position after a demanding day's driving.
"The car has been going well this afternoon after we repaired the suspension, but we hit something in the last stage which holed the radiator," commented Montalto. "I'm happy with our times and position, but it's been quite a tough day."
Mexican contender Carlos Izquierdo has been cheered on by the locals and he too has a comfortable cushion to fourth-placed Sergio Ramirez (VW Golf GTi). Driving a national specification Group N Lancer Evolution V, the Mexican leads the category and is delighted to currently hold a position on the podium. "I am really pleased with our third position and first in class," said Izquierdo. "We are trying hard to look after the car, but have had a couple of problems and damaged the sump guard in the last stage."
The third and final leg of Corona Rally Mexico starts in Leon at 07:00 hrs and takes the remaining 11 contenders to the north for eight stages and 96.70 competitive kilometres. The route includes two loops of four stages before returning to Leon for the finish at 16:46 hrs (local).
Corona Rally México 2002
The Corona Rally México is an event organized by the Club Automovilístico Francés de México, and the 2002 event will be its XVI edition. The event will be held on April 26, 27 and 28 in Leon, Guanajuato, México. This is a candidate evento for the World Rally Championship and is sanctioned and observed by the FIA