Petter Solberg (Subaru) continued to lead the challenge to GrÃ¶nholm. The Norwegian set two fastest times but retired on the penultimate stage when he hit a rock and was launched into a ditch. His demise allowed brother Henning (Peugeot) to...
Petter Solberg (Subaru) continued to lead the challenge to Grönholm. The Norwegian set two fastest times but retired on the penultimate stage when he hit a rock and was launched into a ditch. His demise allowed brother Henning (Peugeot) to climb into third. He escaped with a broken wheel after hitting a rock this morning and the engine briefly stalled this afternoon. Chris Atkinson (Subaru) enjoyed a good day, moving up from seventh to fourth. He was just ahead of Kosti Katajamaki (Ford), who lost some seconds a with a handbrake problem early this afternoon. Xevi Pons (Citroen) also went well, the Spaniard climbing from eighth to fifth before eventually ending the day in sixth. He lies ahead of team-mate Colin McRae, who dropped time this morning with a poor tyre choice.
Kronos Total Citroen
Xevi Pons/Carlos Del Barrio occupy sixth place tonight, leading the Citroen Xsara line-up. Colin McRae/Nicky Grist are immediately behind them, while Dani Sordo/Marc Marti have climbed back into the top 10. All three Xsaras are in a position to score driver or manufacturer points, and the crews will be trying to improve their totals on the short final leg..
Colin McRae: "I've not enjoyed it, what with the hail in Chimera that would have made even walking difficult, and that horrible stage where Dani set an excellent fastest time. It's the sort of thing that you just want to get over with. Tomorrow I'm hoping for normal conditions, so that we can up our pace and end the rally on a positive note. "
Daniel Sordo: "With our '8' compound BFGoodrich tyres cut appropriately, we had an incredible amount of grip, " he said. "I was told to be wary of the lack of grip in Chimera but after a few corners I felt very confident. I could not avoid the rock that caused our puncture : I saw it at the last minute and it was right on the racing line. I'm not as high up the order as I would have liked, but there are many positive aspects to this rally : in particular my excellent feeling with the Xsara and the quality of our notes. I set two fourth-fastest times on stages I didn't know and I took my first stage win on gravel. It's been a good day ! "
It could be another magic moment for the OMV Peugeot Norway World Rally Team at the "Rally of Turkey". After day two the Norwegian OMV duo Henning Solberg/Cato Menkerud lies in sensational third place. Should this still be true on Sunday it would mean the second podium place, after Mexico (Manfred Stohl), for the team and Bozian-Racing. But there are still three special stages to go and considering the varying conditions in Turkey a lot could yet happen.
Manfred Stohl/Ilka Minor: "I hope the weather forecast will prove right and the sun will shine on Sunday. That would definitely heighten our chances."
Henning Solberg/Cato Menkerud: "There is still a lot of hard work ahead. Especially when it rains since we only have used rain tyres and Atkinson is just 18,4 seconds behind us. But we are determined not to let the podium slip away. We're on track and know that we can get there under our own steam."
BP-Ford World Rally Team lies first and second in the Rally of Turkey tonight after another day of treacherously slippery competition in the southern mountains. Marcus Grönholm and Timo Rautiainen, who powered to the front in the opening kilometres yesterday, ended the second leg of this three-day event with a 2min 05.2sec lead in their Ford Focus RS World Rally Car. Team-mates Mikko Hirvonen and Jarmo Lehtinen hold second in a similar Focus RS.
Marcus Grönholm/Timo Rautiainen: "I'm in a pretty good position so I hope that tomorrow I can keep my lead. It is better to have a big lead than a 30sec advantage. I feel confident and the car is strong but you can never tell. Petter was pushing quite hard and I needed to keep a close eye on his times because he was on my mind quite a bit."
Mikko Hirvonen/Jarmo Lehtinen: "I was driving on the maximum most of the time this morning, although there were some places where I could have pushed a little more. Henning was pushing hard behind me so I couldn't afford to make mistakes. On the last few events I have been able to drive cautiously to save the car but that's not the case here. I have a strong car and I was driving flat out. Once I heard Petter had retired I eased off, but that's not always a good thing because you lose your rhythm. Second would be a great result, but I must remember that tomorrow won't be easy."
Stobart VK M-Sport Ford
Information unavailable at time of going to press
Subaru World Rally Team driver Chris Atkinson made up three places during today's second Leg of Rally Turkey to end the day fourth overall. With three more stages left to run on Sunday, Atkinson is carrying the flag for Subaru after a stage winning performance from Petter Solberg was brought to an end by a rock on the day's penultimate test. Solberg is expected to re-join the event tomorrow.
Petter Solberg/Phil Mills: 'We came around a corner and the car hit a rock in the road. We bounced off the stage and into a ditch. I can't believe this after we've had so many positives earlier in the rally. It was an incredible feeling to again be fighting at the top, and it's very good to see that everyone's hard work is showing with more speed. There's still more to do, but we're getting back again.'
Chris Atkinson/Glen MacNeall: "The conditions on those last two mountain stages were very difficult. We went for a steady run and were cautious trying not to get caught out by the snow, ice or mud. There's no need to be a hero, however we've again moved up and are in fourth position. Tomorrow we will just continue this approach and try and make up more time and positions.'
Red Bull Skoda
The Red Bull Skoda drivers were able to slightly improve their overall positions, but it was even more gratifying that Aigner's and Rovanpera's pace has been improving substantially today. Aigner managed a sensational fourth-fastest time on SS 14, ahead of people like Colin McRae, Mikko Hirvonen and Manfred Stohl. On stages 10 and 15 the Styrian finished tenth and seventh. Harri Rovanpera too was pushing hard and was able to post a ninth-fastest time on SS 11.
Harri Rovanpera: "I tried to push all the time and drove right on the limit. Unfortunately I had two tyre failures on a single stage which again lost me a lot of time. The conditions on the special stages were very hard to assess and very changeable, there was still a lot of mud on the road."
Andreas Aigner: "It was a lot of fun, Raimund had already told me that we had fitted the right tyres. I'm very satisfied with today's peformance, a further two top ten times in addition to my fourth-fastest time are good results."