Petter fastest in Rally Bulgaria Shakedown Citroen privateer Petter Solberg got his partnership with new co-driver Chris Patterson off to a perfect start earlier today by setting the fastest time at the pre-event shakedown for Rally ...
Petter fastest in Rally Bulgaria Shakedown
Citroen privateer Petter Solberg got his partnership with new co-driver Chris Patterson off to a perfect start earlier today by setting the fastest time at the pre-event shakedown for Rally Bulgaria.
The four hour test - a prelude to this weekend's rally - took place on a 2.65km asphalt road from Momin Prohod to Gorna Vassiitsa Village, 9km from the main Service Park in Dolna Banya. After overnight rain, conditions were dry and cloudy throughout, with a temperature peaking at 12 degrees Celsius.
"Not bad, eh?" said Petter after completing his sixth and final run in a session-winning time of 1m 39.4s. "The car felt good and I'm feeling confident about the partnership inside the car too. The shakedown road wasn't exactly like the roads we saw on the recce - it's a bit more slippery - but the car set-up worked well."
Fellow Citroen C4 WRC driver Dani Sordo was closest to Solberg's time, stopping the clock four-tenths slower, while Citroen Junior team driver Sebastien Ogier, also in a C4, rounded off the top three times with a 1m 39.9s.
Former Formula One champion and WRC newcomer Kimi Raikkonen underlined his skill on asphalt by sharing the fourth fastest time - 1m 40.5s - with six times World Rally Champion Sebastien Loeb.
"He's more comfortable on the tarmac, that's for sure," commented Raikkonen's co-driver Kaj Lindstrom. "There was a delay at the start before our first run, so we lost all the heat from the tyres, but things got better from there. He went well at our pre-event test and we've done a good time here. I'm excited about this rally..."
"He is certainly very fast on tarmac," acknowledged Loeb. "I think the most difficult part for him will be to be fast on the first loop - with only two passes on the recce. But his first pass today was okay, so we'll see tomorrow. It's certainly going to be interesting. Asked whether he thought the Finn could be a serious threat this weekend, Loeb said: 'I hope not."
Rally Bulgaria gets underway on Friday (9 July) at 0900hrs when crews leave the Service Park for four all-asphalt stages in the Rila mountains.