WRC

Monte Carlo: Kronos Racing leg one summary

A day less ordinary... As far as road conditions were concerned, this was a classic day of rallying in Monte Carlo. As usual there was a wide range of grip levels, with stretches of dry road giving way to an infinite variety of slippery...

A day less ordinary...

As far as road conditions were concerned, this was a classic day of rallying in Monte Carlo. As usual there was a wide range of grip levels, with stretches of dry road giving way to an infinite variety of slippery sections: taking in slush, snow, ice, grease and standing water. And not only that as evening fell the water began to turn to ice again...

This Friday is known in the church as Saint Sebastian's day. It started off as Seb's party, in every way. He was the hero of the morning, with an inspired choice of `BFGoodrich Winter' tyres, containing a row of studs on the inside of the tyre. The two-time World Champion exhibited the sort of form that has earned him three consecutive Monte Carlo victories, taking a commanding lead from the beginning. He extended his advantage using `Dry' tyres for the second run through `La Couillole' (SS4) which was the opening stage of the afternoon's loop.

Then about five kilometres after the start of `Pierlas/Ilonse' (SS6), his rally was turned on its head. " I just got caught out, " he admitted with characteristic honesty. " It was even more important to be aware of the amount of grip on each corner during the afternoon than it was in the morning, when the studs gave us a certain amount of safety. On that particular corner, taken in fourth gear, I thought that the black asphalt in the braking area was simply damp. In fact, it was extremely greasy. Having arrived at it too fast, the car started to understeer and so to try and get it back I pulled the handbrake. We went into a spin and the car slid backwards down a steep slope. But we did not hit anything, which makes me hope that there is no real damage to it. We will have to wait to find out if it is possible for us to re-start the rally tomorrow. And if that is the case, we will see what we can hope for over the distance that remains... "

Friday was also a memorable day for Xavier Pons and Dani Sordo. An extensive traffic jam at St Sauveur sur Tinée, the start of SS1, meant that they were unable to contest any of the three stages that made up the morning's action. They were also handicapped by the notional times they were awarded giving them a total time which was a full three minutes off the leader! "It's frustrating but these things happen, " said Xevi afterwards. " Now we will just have to concentrate on the next loop of stages. " It started with a spin on `La Couillole' (SS4). "I'm not used to driving on ice with dry weather tyres, " explained Xevi. " The spin was nothing special, but it was a good warning and I decided not to take any risks, especially as it was the first time we were seeing these stages after their cancellation in the morning. My aim is to get to the finish and so I'm going to take everything one step at a time. "

At the end of his first day of driving a World Rally Car, Dani Sordo explained : "Dropping three minutes in the morning without even starting a stage was not too serious in itself. What hurt me most was the lack of competitive time in the car, which I am seriously in need of. Having said that, I am not at all unhappy. The car is perfect, my ice crew did a good job and my tyre choice was correct. More than ever, my goal is to get to the end of this rally which I can honestly say is the most difficult of my career so far! "

-kronos-

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Series WRC
Drivers Xavier Pons