Peter van Merksteijn jr. and Erwin Mombaerts were forced to retire during the second day of the WRC Wales Rally GB after they had rolled with the Citroën DS3 WRC. With this disappointing result in the final WRC round of this year a difficult season in the World Rally Championship comes to a premature end for Peter jr.
The last round of the 2011 WRC season is taking place in the forests of Wales where the weather is always playing a deciding role in the progress of the rally. For Peter jr. it was only the second time that he competed in the WRC Wales Rally GB and the first time in a World Rally Car. The special stages of this edition of the rally are almost all unknown to the Dutchman which meant that from the start it would be a tough rally for the Van Merksteijn Motorsport driver.
The rally started Thursday afternoon with two tarmac stages along the coast of northern Wales. Driving a car which has been setup for gravel on a twisty tarmac road with a sheer drop down to the sea on one side, Peter jr. didn’t take any unnecessary risks early in the event. The Citroën driver had complete the first proper gravel stage of the rally in the dark and with the fog sitting in it was impossible to see the road and it became a dangerous adventure to drive fast on this stage.
As a result of the cautious start on the previous day, Peter jr. and Erwin continued in 18th position on Friday morning with only gravel stages planned in the north of Wales. On the 19 kilometer long fourth stage of the rally, Peter jr. had a good first stage of the day and at the finish had a good feeling about his performance and managed to climb two positions in the classification. On the next stage after 4 kilometers the Wales Rally GB was finished for Peter jr. In a combination of bends the DS3 WRC went off the line and ended beside the road causing this final rally of the season to come to a premature ending.
“It is a shame that I already had to retire so early into this fantastic rally. The weather condition on Thursday created a precarious situation but apart from that it is a wonderful event” told Peter van Merksteijn jr. “I had hoped to finish the season with a good result but unfortunately that was not meant to be. I will definitely return to Wales in the future.”