Å koda Motorsport drivers complete second day in top 10 Didier Auriol battles to overcome wrist injury Stage disruptions cost time for Toni Gardemeister The Å koda Motorsport World Rally Team has reached the end of the second day of Rally ...
Škoda Motorsport drivers complete second day in top 10
Didier Auriol battles to overcome wrist injury
Stage disruptions cost time for Toni Gardemeister
The Škoda Motorsport World Rally Team has reached the end of the second day of Rally Argentina with both Octavia WRC drivers challenging for World Rally Championship points and in the top 10 tonight.
However, the stages today have been disrupted by concerns over spectator safety and two of today's final tests have had to be postponed until tomorrow in order to avoid running in darkness.
Toni Gardemeister lost time on SS16 because the decision to halt both of today's first stages was taken after some cars had started the first two tests. "Three cars completed the first stage and eight completed the second," he said. "As I was running third on the road today that meant that I had driven two stages while a lot of drivers didn't start at all. As a result my time on SS16 was affected by the fact that most of the other drivers still had effectively new tyres while mine had already done 33km of competitive driving."
Adding to Toni's problems was a front left driveshaft failure during that final stage that further slowed him and a locked centre differential that prevented him challenging his ninth-placed Škoda Motorsport team mate Didier Auriol.
Didier continues to struggle to overcome a painful right wrist injury sustained yesterday when the steering wheel of the Octavia WRC kicked back when he hit a rock. "It is not so bad on twisty sections but on long fast corners when I am trying to hold the wheel steady in one position it is extremely painful," he said. As a result he is unable to maintain the performance that allowed him to enjoy a fantastic duel with Armin Schwarz yesterday prior to the injury.
Despite his injury Didier has again enjoyed a strong day with the Octavia WRC that has again proved both reliable and competitive and is still strongly placed to finish in the points scoring positions by the finish of the rally.
Škoda Auto Director of Motorsport, Petr Kohoutek, said: "The whole Škoda Motorsport team has worked very hard today and we are happy that both Octavia WRCs are still very much in the event. Because tomorrow's programme is now longer it means that there is a greater chance for things to happen and so we must concentrate on keeping both cars on the road and challenging to return home with a good result from this rally."
Instead of just three stages tomorrow the day will start early with the postponed stages 20 and 22 to the north west of La Cumbre. After service the event will then follow the original schedule of a final group of three stages east of the service park. The revised third leg will therefore comprise 107.25km before the finish in Villa Carlos Paz at 2.40pm local time.