Van Merksteijn Motorsport scores manufacturer points in WRC Rally Catalunya
In the WRC Rally Catalunya, Peter van Merksteijn jr. and co-driver Erwin Mombaerts finished in 17th position. In this difficult rally, the Dutch driver scored 4 championship points in his Citroën DS3 WRC for Van Merksteijn Motorsport in the classification for WRC team in the World Rally Championship.
After an absence of three years in the Spanish round for the WRC, it was for Peter van Merksteijn primarily a matter of adapting to all the changes that the event has gone through. On the opening day of the rally the special stages were mostly gravel roads and that that proved to be a very tough day. Peter jr. and his co-driver Erwin Mombaerts were suffering badly from all the dust swept up by cars which started before them and had a hard time to find a good pace. The day was concluded with a stage run completely in the dark on which the dust reflected the bright lights blinding the drivers and for the Citroën Driver it was a matter of reaching the finish of that day.
For Saturday the beautiful winding tarmac roads were back in the itinerary to which Peter jr. had been looking forward since the start of the event. Peter jr. started the day with a great result on the longest stage of the rally by finishing in 7th position. During the second run in the afternoon of the 46 kilometer long stage Peter jr. could unfortunately not repeat that achievement due to a puncture early in the stage on a narrow section. Including trying to find a safe place to change the wheel, he lost over three and a half minute and the DS3 WRC dropped 4 places in the classification.
The final day of the Rally Catalunya, the teams had to drive another 100 kilometer divided over 6 special stages including the Power Stage. Peter jr. and Erwin left the service with the objective to reach the finish of the rally and did not take unnecessary risk that day. On the closing stage of the rally, the Power Stage, Peter jr. had once more a remarkable drive and realized with the Citroën a 7th time.
“Friday was a very difficult day in which we didn’t have the chance to have a good drive. I was suffering badly from all the dust and I had a different expectation about how these stages would be” according to Peter van Merksteijn jr. “On the second day of the rally I was able to have some good drive and I am very happy with the 7th time we scored on the long stage early in the morning. It is a pity that we had the puncture and some mistakes we made which caused us to finish only in 17th position.”