OMV Kronos Citroen WRT in seventh place after three special stages
*Manfred Stohl/Ilka Minor keep up with the top in Mexico
*Petter Solberg sets the pace at the 4th WRC-run of the season
The OMV Kronos Citroen World Rally Team is within schedule following the first three special stages of the "Corona Rally Mexico". The 34-year-old OMV driver lost barely 0,4 seconds per kilometre on the respective fastest time and lies in seventh place, only 31,9 seconds behind leader Petter Solberg. Stohl and co-driver Ilka Minor expect a lot of place changes during the course of the rally.
Only ten seconds behind fourth place
Manfred Stohl didn't take too much risk during the first three special stages of the Rally Mexico. On the one hand the OMV driver wanted to be sure that the brakes worked satisfyingly. On the other hand, high spirits mustn't get out of hand on the slippery gravel roads of the Leon area. Even though seventh intermediate place isn't the hoped-for position yet, the fact that he can keep the pace makes last year's third-placed confident. Petter Solberg lies 31,9 seconds ahead and only ten seconds are missing on fourth-placed Spaniard Daniel Sordo. Stohl: "It came like expected. The altitude strongly reduces the engine power. Perhaps it is even more slippery this year. That is why we drove very passively. At times you think that it could go faster. But then again you could be off the road in a jiffy. I think the one who finds the right mixture will be up front in the end." The OMV driver expects some serious attacks by Marcus Gronholm and Mikko Hirvonen (both Fin/Ford Focus WRC) in the afternoon.
Three best-times in a row by Petter Solberg
Petter Solberg (Subaru Impreza WRC 2007) had an ideal start into the Corona Rally Mexico. The Norwegian, winner of 2005, achieved three special stage best-times and lies 7,7 seconds ahead of last year's victor Sebastien Loeb (Fra/Citroen C4 WRC). Chris Atkinson (Aus/Subaru Impreza WRC 2007) takes third place. He is 14,9 seconds behind. All drivers complain of the heavy loss of engine power due to the high altitude and of slippery conditions. In the afternoon of day one the already completed three special stages are once again scheduled. Following this the super stage on the outskirts of Leon will be completed twice. The first car is expected at the service park in Leon at circa 17:03 local time.