WRC

Swedish Rally: Mitsubishi leg two summary

The Mitsubishi Motors Motor Sports crew of Kristian Sohlberg and Kaj Lindström was forced into retirement this morning after transmission problems resulted in them going over the permitted time. "This morning we couldn’t fix a transmission ...

The Mitsubishi Motors Motor Sports crew of Kristian Sohlberg and Kaj Lindström was forced into retirement this morning after transmission problems resulted in them going over the permitted time.

"This morning we couldn’t fix a transmission problem in the time allowed, so Kristian was late at the time control and then out of the rally", commented MMSP Technical Director Mario Fornaris. "It’s a pity for us because we were expecting to have more information from this rally, but overall the feeling between Monte-Carlo and here is good; we have made some improvements during the rally. Now we are looking forward to México; we have a gravel test next week with parts to fix the problems we’ve had here".

The team is now focused on an intense period of testing and development ahead of the third round of the series, Corona Rally México (March 11-14). None of the World Championship contenders has previously contested this new addition to the series and it is the first gravel event of the season.

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Sixty crews left Karlstad early this morning for today’s eight stages and 152.40 competitive kilometers based around the service park in Hagfors. Overnight snow fall certainly made the scenery look more akin to how it should, and in some places up to 10 centimeters of snow undoubtedly slowed the cars running first on the road as they swept it away for the following crews.

It has been a drama-filled day with a number of the leading crews going off the road, although the most notable casualty of the day was overnight leader Markko Märtin. The Estonian crashed in stage 11, going off the road, all-but taking a wheel off the Focus and crushing his dreams of becoming the first non-Nordic driver to ever win the Swedish Rally. Rallye Monte-Carlo victor Sébastien Loeb has therefore assumed the lead with Marcus Gronhölm climbing from sixth to second, despite not feeling totally happy with the handling of the Peugeot 307. Petter Solberg maintains third while Janne Tuohino is upholding Ford honors, the Finn fourth in the second Focus registered to score points. Further down the leaderboard, Carlos Sainz, Mikko Hirvonen and François Duval all lost time off the road, Duval the biggest loser plummeting to 53rd overall after stage nine. Freddy Loix was also forced into retirement with engine problems.

The final leg of the Swedish Rally takes the crews over two loops of three stages totaling 96.60 competitive kilometers, before returning for the finish in Karlstad at 16:38 hrs.

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