The feelings of the two OMV Peugeot Norway World Rally Team-drivers couldn't be more diverse. While Henning Solberg was true to his word and climbed up to the top five, Manfred Stohl lost over six minutes. The 34-year-old Austrian grazed a rock on...
The feelings of the two OMV Peugeot Norway World Rally Team-drivers couldn't be more diverse. While Henning Solberg was true to his word and climbed up to the top five, Manfred Stohl lost over six minutes. The 34-year-old Austrian grazed a rock on special stage six which caused the left transverse control arm to break. The OMV driver remains optimistic nevertheless and considers the further run as more than just a fast recce for the "Neste Oil Rally Finland 2007".
Ideal rhythm found
Henning Solberg and Cato Menkerud are dancing through the special stages in Finland. The Norwegian OMV duo in the orange Expert-Peugeot 307 WRC has found the ideal rhythm and is gaining place by place following a rather cautious beginning. Solberg/Menkerud finished the first day of the Rally Finland in excellent fifth place after having only been seventh after the first service. Henning Solberg: "It's perfect. We are really feeling great. And the speed is finally okay, too. Third best overall time on special stage six gave our self-confidence a further boost. Now we will do our all to get even further ahead." Which means that Henning will be attacking his brother Petter Solberg, currently in fourth place.
Important manufacturer points
The moment everything seemed to go smoothly for Manfred Stohl and Ilka Minor following a changed set-up, trouble waited around the corner. On the 36,89 kilometres long special stage „Vellipohja 1" (SS 5) the microphone on Ilka Minor's helmet suddenly went on strike. Stohl: "All I suddenly heard was: left 3 -- grrr, brrr, rhabarber -- 80 right tw... - grrr, brrr, rhabarber. That is not the best thing for your concentration." The Austrian OMV Peugeot Norway World Rally Team nevertheless conjured up a tenth SS-time on finnish gravel. The microphones were exchanged on the next special stage. Communication was back again -- luck wasn't. The OMV driver cut a left turn too narrowly and grazed a rock. Stohl: "That annoys me immensely since I'm normally very cautious when cutting a turn. But in this case all tracks led to the inside. It was really unfortunate." Bottom line: the front left transverse control arm broke. Tattered, the OMV duo reached the service with a seven-minute-delay. Which meant that a 70-second time penalty was added to the five minutes lost already. Stohl: "In such a case you can't hope to win anymore. But, following Katajamäki's retirement, I'll try at least to get Wilson. That would secure one manufacture point, at least. And who knows what tomorrow and Sunday will bring?" At the moment the current fourth in the driver ranking of the FIA World Rally Championship is only 58,9 seconds behind Wilson, currently in fourth place in the.
Duel of the giants
The duel at the top is between "Mr. Finland" Marcus Grönholm (Ford Focus WRC) and World Champion Sebastien Loeb (Citroen Xsara WRC). Currently it stands 5:4 for Grönholm as far as special-stage-wins are concerned. Talking about times, this means that five-times Finland champion Grönholm leads by twelve seconds. Mikko Hirvonen (Fin/Ford Focus WRC) and Petter Solberg (Nor/Subaru Impreza WRC) can't keep up the speed and lie in third and fourth place respectively.
The rally will continue on Saturday with eight special stages that lead over 144,90 kilometres. The start will be at 6:00 in Jyväskylä, the very place where the leg will end at about 20:00.