SANDELL LEADS ON RALLYE DE FRANCE Red Bull's Patrik Sandell has once again been at the forefront of the action on the second day of the Rallye de France, the ninth and penultimate round of this year's Super 2000 World Rally...
SANDELL LEADS ON RALLYE DE FRANCE
Red Bull's Patrik Sandell has once again been at the forefront of the action on the second day of the Rallye de France, the ninth and penultimate round of this year's Super 2000 World Rally Championship.
Having won the previous round in Germany, the 28-year-continued his winning ways by finishing the opening day of the all-new French event less than five seconds off the lead. Today, he went one better.
Just like day one, day two contained eight stages split into two loops of four, this time with service at midday in Strasbourg's Zenith concert arena.
The competitors awoke to grey skies and rain, making the roads extremely wet and slippery. In order to take the fastest lines through the stages, drivers cut the corners but this inevitably drags plenty of mud and loose gravel onto the smooth asphalt roads, making them even more slippery.
This was a problem for Patrik along with all the other crews, but the Swede's talent meant that not only was he able to keep his Skoda Fabia S2000 on the road in the challenging conditions but also lead the event. Patrik and his co-driver Emil Axelsson will head into the final day of the rally tomorrow with a 14-second lead, having won five stages today.
The Red Bull driver had two spins on SS11 in the morning, which dropped him 20 seconds behind the class leader, but he was determined to fight back. In the afternoon he continued his charge, taking the lead of the category on the final stage of the day.
"I'm delighted to be leading: it's been really tricky, because again there has been so much mud and dirt on the road today," he said. "That's what caused our spins on SS11. It's all about how much you want to risk because it's so easy to make a mistake and not to finish. A win would be good for the championship but we cannot take anything for granted, so we'll just keep our pace tomorrow, carry on pushing hard, and see what happens. We made a few changes to the car at midday service, and I have to say that it's been absolutely perfect."
Team principal Raimund Baumschlager, who heads up the BRR squad from Austria that runs Sandell's car, concluded: "We've seen another fantastic drive from Patrik today and he thoroughly deserves this lead tonight. Conditions have been really hard but he has judged his pace perfectly. Everything is still open tomorrow, as the stages are very unpredictable, so we will all need to stay focussed if we want to achieve our second consecutive victory."
The final day of the rally consists of four stages, split into two loops of two tests. They are both very different from each other, as competitors will firstly face the tight confines of the Haguenau superspecial stage before tackling the open expanses of the military Bitche Camp - where a lot of time can be made through taking big cuts over the grassy surfaces.
-source: red bull