Leg 2: Meeke fights back as Prokop consolidates top spot... After starting the second day of the 2006 Rally Catalunya in 9thh position, Kris Meeke and Glenn Patterson have successfully fought their way back to 4 overall in this ...
Leg 2: Meeke fights back as Prokop consolidates top spot...
After starting the second day of the 2006 Rally Catalunya in 9thh position, Kris Meeke and Glenn Patterson have successfully fought their way back to 4 overall in this evening's provisional JWRC standings which continue to be topped by a Citroën C2 Super 1600, that of privateers Martin Prokop/Jan Tománek.
Following his misfortunes of the previous day, Kris Meeke vowed he would put in a strong run today, and that's exactly what he did. "Attaque maximum," he promised in French, with the slightest hint of an accent as he set off this morning! But despite the glorious early spring sunshine that reigned over northern Spain today, the conditions were far from ideal for the diminutive two-wheel drive cars, with dirt, gravel and stones all being dragged onto the road by the WRC machines running earlier in the order. Yet that didn't prevent the Citroën C2 Super 1600 driver from masterfully steering clear of the pitfalls on his way to claiming six fastest stage times from a possible six which this evening leave him just outside the top-three, with a podium finish beckoning. "We will try to repeat the same pace tomorrow," pledged the 2005 JWRC bronze medallist. "I don't think a finish inside the top-three after Sunday's four stages is by any means out of the question. The car is competitive, easy to drive and I would love to make it onto the podium for everyone in the team. I will give it my very best shot."
"What Kris has done today has not only confirmed his speed but also shown the potential of the Citroën C2 Super 1600," observed Citroën Sport's Customer Competition Manager Yves Matton at service this evening. "And it's also extremely satisfying to see one of our customer cars in front tonight."
The second leg passed off a little less happily however for Julien Pressac and Gilles de Turckheim. After a well-paced, perfectly-judged first loop, the JWRC rookies closed to within 10.9 seconds of leader Martin Prokop, and everything seemed possible! But things failed to go as planned second time round the same three tests when the 2005 French C2 Rallye Challenge winner was halted in the day's final test. "That's rallying," he shrugged philosophically, "and there's always the Tour of Corsica in a fortnight's time to look forward to."
Brice Tirabassi and Jacques-Julien Renucci also had their share of ill-luck today. The first stage saw them pick up a puncture. Then after two trouble -free stages, the French pair fell to 10t h in the course of the second group of stages. "A hose from the front-left damper reservoir failed and cost us a lot of time," explained the 2003 Junior World Champion. "It happened early into SS10 and the car's handling obviously suffered after that. The only thing to do was to nurse the car back to the 45-minute end-of-day service wh ere the team did a remarkable job getting the car shipshape again for the final day tomorrow."