Stobart M-Sport Ford's Francois Duval and co-driver Denis Giraudet got off to a flying start on Day Two of Rallye Deutschland, producing three top five stage times. The 29-year-old Belgian driver lost significant time on yesterday's opening...
Stobart M-Sport Ford's Francois Duval and co-driver Denis Giraudet got off to a flying start on Day Two of Rallye Deutschland, producing three top five stage times.
The 29-year-old Belgian driver lost significant time on yesterday's opening stages due to a broken driveshaft but was on flying form this morning as he finished SS8 fifth-fastest, just 1.3 seconds adrift of BP Ford Abu Dhabi's Jari-Matti Latvala. Duval who is driving a Ford Focus RS WRC completed all four stages on Saturday morning quicker than both Mikko Hirvonen and Kimi Raikkonen.
Matthew Wilson/Scott Martin encountered no major problems during the morning's stages and the battle between the 23-year-old driver and the former Formula One Champion, Kimi Raikkonen, ensued.
Raikkonen managed to pull ahead of Wilson at the end of SS8 but a quick stage from Wilson during SS9 meant that the young Cumbrian moved back into seventh position. However, during the 48 km Arena Panzerplatte stage, Petter Solberg moved up the WRC leader board and snatched seventh position from Wilson. Wilson pulled into service at the end of SS10 eighth overall and 3.7 seconds ahead of Raikkonen.
Stobart M-Sport Ford driver Matthew Wilson said:
"We'd made new pace notes for the stages this morning so this made things more difficult for us initially. The first stage was tough but I had picked up a good rhythm and felt more comfortable by the time we got to Birkenfeld. We stiffened the car at the remote service in preparation for the long [Arena] Panzerplatte stage, I think this helped to make a difference but it was hard to tell as we had more problems with the brake pedal on the last 15 km of the stage. We'll stay on the harder tyres this afternoon, it's going to get even hotter so we'll just see how it goes."
Stobart M-Sport Ford driver Francois Duval said:
"The stages were slippery this morning -- there's a lot of mud on the road and it's hard to find the right rhythm with the constant change of grip. There is still a bad launch on the engine at times but the set-up is working better than it was at this time yesterday. We raised the ride height for the final stage of the morning but it was a hard stage and it's important to feel very confident with the car's set up beforehand. Our brakes were playing up towards the end of that last stage -- both the temperature and the length of the test were probably responsible but we will look at the problem in more detail during service."