Leg 1: Martin Prokop dominates Juniors The Citroen C2 Super 1600 drivers have distinguished themselves on the first leg of the Rallye Deutschland, finishing 1st, 3rd and 4th. Four Citroen drivers have been in the top five from the very first ...
Leg 1: Martin Prokop dominates Juniors
The Citroen C2 Super 1600 drivers have distinguished themselves on the first leg of the Rallye Deutschland, finishing 1st, 3rd and 4th. Four Citroen drivers have been in the top five from the very first stage, with Yoann Bonato putting in an inspired performance at the wheel of his C2-R2. After 127.88 competitive kilometres, Martin Prokop's C2 Super 1600 leads the overall Junior classification as well as the C2 Junior Experience.
The drivers had to tackle two loops of three stages during the opening leg, which was similar to the first day last year. Martin Prokop showed speed and determination to take the lead of the C2 Junior Experience, winning all today's stages in a perfect act of revenge for Finland where he was forced to retire. Behind him, Conrad Rautenbach is third: a good result as he continues to learn the art of asphalt driving. The final C2 Super 1600, driven by local hero Aaron Burkart, was 4th amongst the Juniors. The German lost time at the start of the second loop of stages, sacrificing precious seconds that cost him a provisional third place.
Yoann Bonato excelled in his C2-R2 on the Rallye Deutschland. On a rally not far from his home town, the young Frenchman took the lead of the R2 category and claimed sixth overall amongst the Juniors. He was closely followed by the Luxembourg driver Gilles Schammel, who also put in a top performance during the opening leg. Unfortunately he picked up a puncture at the end of the day that cost him a lot of time and dropped him to 10th. Irish driver Shaun Gallagher felt a little less comfortable in his C2-R2, and chose a cautious approach to the tricky stages. Taking care not to make mistakes, he finished 12th amongst the Juniors after a steady run. Kronos Junior Team driver Raphael Auquier had two punctures and was plagued by a steering problem all day. He returned to overnight parc ferme in 16th. Italian driver Stefano Benoni went off the road on the first stage, but will re-start tomorrow under the SupeRally regulations.
Raphael Auquier (B)
Co-driver Cedric Pirotte (B)
"During both runs through Ruwertal/Fell (SS 1/4), I fell victim to punctures that cost us an awful lot of time. Consequently our steering was affected all day, and that caused us to lose even more time. Both me and my co-driver hope that all our bad luck is behind us now, and that tomorrow we can improve on our position."
Stefano Benoni (I)
Co-driver Enrico Cantoni (I)
"Unfortunately we went off the road on the first stage. There was no real damage to the car, but the marshals would not allow us back onto the road as they thought it would be too dangerous. Tomorrow we will start again thanks to SupeRally and we hope to do the same as we did in Finland. There, we also re-started under the SupeRally system on Saturday and managed to set some consistent stage times over the final two days. Tomorrow and Sunday will be crucial for us to do some testing prior to the two remaining asphalt events."
Yoann Bonato (F)
Co-driver Benjamin Boulloud (F)
"The route is clean and dry, and the stages are a lot quicker than I imagined. In the first few stages, we had some problems with the brakes. During the second loop, the brakes were no better and that caused me a big fright on the final stage of the day. I'm delighted that both myself and the car are back in one piece tonight, as it could have been very dangerous to go off there."
Aaron Burkart (D)
Co-driver Michael Kolbach (D)
(Citroen C2 Super 1600)
"I lost a few seconds this morning because of a spectator who was standing right in the middle of the road, but apart from that everything went well on the first loop of stages. Just 4 km into the second loop, I got a puncture. I'm not very happy with where we are this evening. I really hope to improve tomorrow, as I know it will be a very long day."
Shaun Gallagher (EI)
Co-driver Clive Jenkins (GB)
"The stages here are very nice indeed. As long as it doesn't rain, I'm quite confident. I drove very carefully during the first loop of stages, but during the second loop I had a scare or two. I'm satisfied with our position at the end of the first leg. I think we can build on this during the two days to follow."
Martin Prokop (CZ)
Co-driver Jan Tomanek (CZ)
(Citroen C2 Super 1600)
"Everything was perfect for me. My feeling with the C2 Super 1600 is very good. So far, we've had a very good rally avoiding any sort of problems or punctures. I'm very happy to be leading the Juniors tonight, and my intention is to carry on like this tomorrow!"
Conrad Rautenbach (ZW)
Co-driver David Senior (GB) (Citroen C2 Super 1600)
"I'm happy enough with our progress through the first loop of stages. I lost a few seconds after going off the road slightly this morning, but the afternoon went very well. I'm pleased with the result so far as I'm still learning about driving on asphalt really. Where I come from, gravel is a much more familiar surface!"
Gilles Schammel (L)
Co-driver Renaud Jamoul (B)
"We're disappointed with our result tonight. We drove well during the first loop of stages, but during the penultimate stage this afternoon we picked up a puncture about 6.5 kms from the finish. I had a quick discussion with my co-driver about whether or not we should stop to change the wheel, but we eventually carried on losing 2 minutes. If everything had gone well we could have pushed Bonato, but tomorrow is another day..." <pre> Junior Championship classification, Rallye Deutschland, end of leg one:
1. M. Prokop/J. Tomanek Citroen C2 Super 1600 1h 22 min 28,5 s 2. U. Aava/K. Sikk Suzuki Swift + 1 min 00,6 s 3. C. Rautenbach/D. Senior Citroen C2 Super 1600 + 2 min 06,1 s 4. A. Burkart/M. Kolbach Citroen C2 Super 1600 + 3 min 39,2 s 5. P. Sandell/ E. Axelsson Renault Clio + 4 min 04,3 s 6. Y. Bonato/B. Boulloud Citroen C2-R2 + 4 min 19,4 s 7. J. Beres/ P. Stary Renault Clio + 4 min 23,1 s 8. J. Molder/K. Becker Suzuki Swift + 4 min 48,7 s 9. J. Wozencroft/J. Andersson Suzuki Swift + 5 min 15,1 s 10. G. Schammel/R. Jamoul Citroen C2-R2 + 6 min 14,6 s 11. M. Rueda/B. Rozada Renault Clio + 6 min 18,0 s 12. S. Gallagher/C. Jenkins Citroen C2-R2 + 7 min 09,7 s .../... 16. R. Auquier/C. Pirotte Citroen C2-R2 + 11 min 53,8 s