Janne Tuohino, Jani Paasonen and Mattias EkstrÃ¶m, hold 11th, 13th and 16th places respectively after the second and longest day of the Swedish Rally. Once all three Å koda Motorsport World Rally Team drivers set top seven times again, but none...
Janne Tuohino, Jani Paasonen and Mattias Ekström, hold 11th, 13th and 16th places respectively after the second and longest day of the Swedish Rally.
Once all three Škoda Motorsport World Rally Team drivers set top seven times again, but none had a trouble-free day. Running closer to the front of the field brought unique problems as there was a lot of snow on the roads, boosted by fresh falls around mid-day.
However, the biggest drama befell Mattias who lost power steering mid-way through SS12 and Swedens motorsport hero had to struggle for two more stages, dropping out of a World Rally Championship points-scoring eighth place .
Tomorrows final leg features six stages close to the rally base at Hagfors. The leg contains 113.86kms of stages in a total route of 349.97kms. The crews then return to Karlstad for the traditionally spectacular finish ceremony in the town square at approximately 1500hrs.
I had some problems with the handling of the Fabia on the first two stages today but I hit something so maybe it wasnt so perfectly set-up afterwards. On SS11 I spun and stalled the engine which cost a lot of time as I ended up facing the wrong way. This afternoons stages were full of gravel and everybody had problems because their tyres were destroyed.
It was tough running first on the road this morning because you could see nothing to tell you where the road ended and the ditch began. There was about 10cms of fresh snow and no tracks to help show you the line. At times the car was flicking the snow over the bonnet as it was so deep. Tomorrows stages are my favourites of this rally so it will be maximum attack!
It was a big difference today driving sixth on the road instead of 18th. My notes were fine but this was a day when I noticed my lack of experience at this level compared to the other guys. Ive never driven so close to the front on this rally before. Im really disappointed about the power steering problem because I was just concentrating on driving my own rally and staying on the road. It is impossible to drive one of these cars at anything more than walking speed when that happens now I understand why other WRC drivers complain so much when I see them on television!
Martin Muehlmeier (Head of Škoda Motorsport):
Obviously it is frustrating that Mattias had his problems this afternoon as it has cost him a very good position. However we still have all three cars in the rally with a long day still to go so we will continue to push for the best result we can achieve.