Petter Solberg claimed three stage wins today to move two places up the overall leaderboard and hold second position on Rally Turkey. Adjusting his driving style to cope with the unpredictable mountain weather conditions, the Norwegian made some...
Petter Solberg claimed three stage wins today to move two places up the overall leaderboard and hold second position on Rally Turkey. Adjusting his driving style to cope with the unpredictable mountain weather conditions, the Norwegian made some shrewd tyres choices during the day and moved ahead of rival Marcus Gronholm to end the day well poised for a strong points finish tomorrow. Re-starting the event after an incident on Leg one, Chris Atkinson fulfilled his aim of gaining more experience of the demanding Turkish terrain and experimenting with different set-ups on his Impreza WRC2005.
SS10 0733hrs Kemer 1 (20.35km)
There was disappointment for Mitsubishi's Gigi Galli on the
first test of the second day. Having led a WRC event for the first time
in his career during Leg one, the Italian lost almost four minutes when
a turbo pipe disconnected in his Lancer. Driving with less power, the
32-year-old was unable to push through the twisty stage and fell from
second to ninth overall. A new stage for 2005, the uphill test presented
a mixture of dry and damp conditions and included three different types
of road surface. Finding good traction with his Impreza WRC2005, Petter
Solberg recommenced his bid to catch Peugeot's Marcus Gronholm and was
fastest by 5.8 seconds. Markko Martin was second fastest and Gronholm
third. Event leader Sebastien Loeb was fifth. Utilising the WRC
Superally system, Chris Atkinson re-started this morning, but was slowed
by a gearshift sensor problem for much of the stage and was eighth
Fastest Stage Time: Solberg (Subaru) 14:24.1
SS11 0821 Silyon 1 (29.58km)
A rough and twisty stage, the downhill test from Silyon included
difficult corners, deceptive crests and a flat-out finish. Setting an
average speed of 81.84kph, Sebastien Loeb was fastest in the drying
conditions to extend his overall lead to more than 1 min 10 secs. Intent
on snatching second place, Petter Solberg was second quickest, but
Gronholm remained on the pace and was third, to retain a 7.9 second
advantage. Running first on the road, Chris Atkinson's found his Subaru
was ploughing through lots of loose gravel and he suffered a spin on the
slippery surface. Galli continued to lose time with his turbo problem
and ended the stage three minutes off the pace. After the stage was
complete, crews returned to Kemer for a 30-minute service.
Fastest Stage Time: Loeb (Citroen) 21:41.1
SS12 1104hrs Kemer 2 (20.35km)
Despite the increasing threat of rain, conditions were mainly
dry for the second pass through the repeated Kemer stage, which climbed
to an altitude of 1,100 metres above sea level. Repeating his earlier
performance, Petter Solberg was again fastest aboard his Impreza WRC2005
to take a second win and inch closer to Gronholm in the overall
standings. The defending Finn was second fastest and 4.7 seconds slower
than Solberg, while Loeb was third. First-on-the-road Chris Atkinson was
eleventh. There was no change to the overall top ten and after the
finish, crews drove 13km west to the start of SS13.
Fastest Stage Time: Solberg (Subaru) 14:11.7
SS13 1152hrs Silyon 2 (29.58km)
Rocks littered the first 10km of the repeated Silyon test, which
featured tightening corners and a stomach-churning jump. Running 11th on
the road, Solberg maintained his pace and was fastest, setting an
average speed of 83kph to snatch overall second from Marcus Gronholm by
4.5 seconds. Loeb was second fastest and Gronholm third. Negotiating the
tricky route, Markko Martin was fourth fastest to move up a place in the
overall standings, while Galli was fifth. Chris Atkinson was caught out
by a heavy rain shower in the opening kilometres, which made conditions
especially slippery. After the test was complete, crews returned to
Kemer for a 30-minute service.
Fastest Stage Time: Solberg (Subaru) 21:22.6
SS14 1500hrs Chimera 1 (16.45km)
As the sun began to dry the area again, crews returned to the
Anatolian mountains for the first pass through the 16km stage from
Chimera. Featuring one inch of loose gravel, the stage included sections
of damp mud in its final 4km, which snaked through a wood. Hundreds of
spectators gathered round the stage's large jump to cheer on their
favourite drivers, including stage winner Gigi Galli. Petter Solberg was
second fastest as he began to consolidate overall second by pulling away
from Gronholm, while Subaru young gun Chris Atkinson was third - his
best result of the event so far.
Fastest Stage Time: Galli (Mitsubishi) 11:59.1
SS15 1558hrs Phaselis 2 (28.98km)
Unpredictable weather made driving conditions tricky and tyre
selection a lottery as crews made the second pass through the stage from
Phaselis. Temperatures of around 25°C had been reported in the stage
during the preceding service, but as the crews started the route, the
rain came down. First-on-the-road Atkinson struggled to maintain
traction and suffered two spins, which cost him more than a minute,
while Ford's Toni Gardemeister dropped twice as much after collecting a
front-left puncture on his Focus. Petter's older brother Henning's rally
came to a premature end when he suffered throttle problem 2.5km in and
retired from the Leg. His misfortune promoted Galli up to eighth
position and back into a potential points-scoring position. After the
stage was complete, the remaining crews drove 55km to the Efes Super
Special Stage on the outskirts of Antalya.
Fastest Stage Time: Loeb (Citroen) 22:15.0
SS16 1741hrs Efes Pilsen SSS 3 (5.20km)
Leg two concluded with a return to the purpose built Super
Special Stage. Completing two consecutive laps of the 2.6km route, cars
went head-to-head round the circuit, which featured a tunnel and a
slippery gravel surface that had been sprayed with tarmac. Loeb set the
fastest time to hold the overnight lead, while Solberg was second
fastest and Gardemeister third. Once the stage was complete, crews
returned to Kemer for a 45-minute service.
Fastest Stage Time: Loeb (Citroen) 4:06.2
David Lapworth, Subaru World Rally Team Principal:
"Yesterday, we took a few gambles and were a little disappointed with the outcome. But today, we've taken a more conservative approach and it's paid off. Petter and Pierre (Genon, Chief Rally Engineer) made some changes to the car, which gave Petter extra confidence, and now that he's in a good fight with Marcus for second place, he's much happier. Although Sebastien is still looking strong, Petter has managed to reduce his lead by 15 seconds today and keep him under a certain amount of pressure. It's been a difficult day for Chris who has been leading the field in tricky conditions, but it will stand him in good stead in the future. In fact, his times have been very respectable compared to other drivers with much more experience."
"After all that's happened so far in this rally, I'm extremely pleased to be in second place tonight. Things are going the right way now and today has been completely different to yesterday when we were a long way off the pace. We were the fastest overall on today's stages and I think that's down to the tyres and the weather. Leg one was difficult, but today it's been warmer and, even with the same tyre compound, the package has worked much, much better. It'll definitely be an interesting fight with Marcus tomorrow, but my focus is on second place only now. All that matters is that Sebastien doesn't get too much of a lead in the Championship so I'm going to do all I can to prevent that."
"It hasn't been an ideal day being first on the road, as we seem to have suffered with the worst of the wet weather. It was difficult to find the level of grip, so we lost quite a lot of time with spins and stalls. But, losing time isn't so much of a problem for us yet as our priority is still experience. If you take away the time we've lost through little mistakes, then the underlying pace is improving and that's encouraging. For tomorrow, we'll continue to work on the current set-up, we've got limited tyre options, but we'll have to see what the weather looks like and hopefully we can set some good times."
News From Pirelli
Fiore Brivio, Pirelli Tyres Rally Manager: "The package of tyre choice, weather conditions and car set-up worked much better for Petter today than it did yesterday. This showed in a number of fastest stage times, which allowed him to pass Marcus Gronholm and move into second place."
The third and final Leg of the Rally of Turkey starts at 0900hrs, when the first car will leave parc ferme. Crews will then contest two stages, including the longest of the event, the 33.35km epic test from Olympos. The event will conclude when the winning car crosses the finish in Kemer at 1255hrs.