WRC

Rally New Zealand: OMV Peugeot Norway leg one summary

An almost perfect day for the OMV Peugeot Norway WRT * Manfred Stohl/Ilka Minor finish first day in fourth place * Henning Solberg/Cato Menkerud lie in seventh place after five SS The OMV Peugeot Norway World Rally Team has stood their...

An almost perfect day for the OMV Peugeot Norway WRT

* Manfred Stohl/Ilka Minor finish first day in fourth place
* Henning Solberg/Cato Menkerud lie in seventh place after five SS

The OMV Peugeot Norway World Rally Team has stood their ground on day one of the "Propecia Rally New Zealand". Manfred Stohl is on the course for a podium place despite several minor problems. The 34-year-old OMV driver lies in fourth place after five of 17 special stages. Henning Solberg, who had to wrestle with a broken water conduit in the beginning, still managed to finish the first day in seventh overall place.

Spin on fourth special stage

It was the best beginning for Manfred Stohl this season at the Rally New Zealand. The 34-year-old OMV driver started into the rally with two third- best SS overall times. And Stohl continued keeping up with Ford works drivers Marcus Grönholm and Mikko Hirvonen (both Fin) even after the first service. On special stage four, though, he had a small mishap. The OMV duo Stohl/Minor spun after one third of the 43,88 kilometres long SS and the front of the Peugeot 307 WRC hit an embankment. Thereby the radiator was damaged and the Viennese lost over 20 seconds. Stohl: "The spin was my fault. In a way I was punished by breaking out into a cold sweat now and then during the 20 kilometres from the fourth special stage to the service, wondering whether we were going to make it with the damaged radiator. Luckily, we did indeed make it. Unluckily, I did gamble away a nice lead by this. But I am sure that we will once again be able to keep up the pace of Grönholm und Hirvonen on Saturday." Only 2,2 seconds are missing on a podium place.

Wet shoes

Henning Solberg was less satisfyied with the beginning of the rally. The Norwegian OMV driver got wet shoes during the first two special stages. Solberg: "Just like in Cyprus the water conduit for sprinkling the radiator broke. Since this conduit passes the dashboard my shoes were suddenly in the water. Thus the pedals became extremely slippery and one loses concentration. In the afternoon things went better. But it still was difficult to find the right speed." Solberg nevertheless moved up from ninth to seventh place.

-credit: omv peugeot norway

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