WRC

Rally of Great Britain: Michelin shakedown summary

Märtin takes early lead, while Rossi's dream gets under way Ford's Markko Märtin was fastest round this evening's short spectator stage (2,45km) that kicked off the 2002 Rally of Great Britain. The Estonian was fractionally quicker than his ...

Märtin takes early lead, while Rossi's dream gets under way

Ford's Markko Märtin was fastest round this evening's short spectator stage (2,45km) that kicked off the 2002 Rally of Great Britain. The Estonian was fractionally quicker than his Subaru rival Petter Solberg, while Colin McRae (3rd) and Carlos Sainz (4th) made it three Focus drivers inside the top four. The fastest driver of the 2002 World Championship-winning Peugeot-Michelin squad was Harri Rovanperä (5th) who was 1/10th of a second quicker than his illustrious team-mate Marcus Grönholm (6th).

This evening's brief action in Cardiff was also - at last - Valentino Rossi's first taste of world class rallying. He easily won his head-to-head duel with Jari-Matti Latvala and posted the 25th fastest time, a highly commendable performance and only 6/10ths of a second slower than that of hot young Finn Juuso Pykalisto driving a near-identical car to the Italian's Michelin-backed 206 WRC.

His rally, in any case, has now begun and his reconnaissance and shakedown experiences, totally new concepts to the MotoGP bike racer, already belong to the past: "I didn't really enjoy recce," he commented. "It was difficult to just sit in the car and drive all day and I had to get up early. That was difficult, but it's getting easier, and when the real rally starts tomorrow, the adrenaline and motivation should get me awake in plenty of time."

anger on the sort of forest roads that will become second nature to him over the days ahead. "This rally is very fast. Long fast straights, fast corners. There are a few places where you look out of the window and all you see is sky. It will be difficult, I know. But I repeat, my first aim is to have fun this weekend and the second is to finish. I don't mind if it keeps on raining during the event, but if it gets foggy, then maybe it won't be so much fun. But I'm very much looking forward to getting started in earnest tomorrow"

-michelin-

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Series WRC
Drivers Valentino Rossi , Colin McRae , Carlos Sainz , Harri Rovanpera , Marcus Gronholm , Petter Solberg , Jari-Matti Latvala , Juuso Pykalisto , Markko Martin