555 SUBARUS ON COURSE FOR REPEAT 1-2 IN CHINA 555 China Rally - Leg 2 Information - 21 June, 20:58 +0700 A day of dramas at the head of the leaderboard in the 555 China Rally saw the lead change yet again and although the Italian 555...
555 SUBARUS ON COURSE FOR REPEAT 1-2 IN CHINA
555 China Rally - Leg 2 Information - 21 June, 20:58 +0700
A day of dramas at the head of the leaderboard in the 555 China Rally saw the lead change yet again and although the Italian 555 Subaru World Rally Team crew of Piero Liatti and Fabrizia Pons led for seven of today's eight stages they dropped to second position with a broken right rear drive-shaft on the penultimate stage of the day. Team-mates Colin McRae and Nicky Grist have fought hard, pushing the Italians all the way, but suffered with power-steering and overheating problems throughout the course of today's 148 competitive kilometres. Liatti's misery was however to McRae's benefit and, with only six stages remaining, the Scot leads the crews out for the final day. China, the world's third largest country (after Canada and Russia) - is playing host to its second World Championship format international rally and, like many of this year's events, is living up to all expectations by providing challenging stages and spectacular scenery for the foreign crews, many of whom have travelled from Europe and Japan to compete here. Colin McRae and Nicky Grist, winners of the inaugural 555 China Rally in 1997, have had a day of misfortune, but a healthy overnight lead kept the all-British pair in second position throughout the day. Intermittent power-steering problems and an overheating engine conspired to keep the Scot behind his team-mate and it was not until the final stage that the Scot benefited from his team-mates misfortune. "The power-steering was not right this morning when we re-started and the team had to change all the steering components at the service before the first stage today," said Colin. "We incurred two minutes of penalty for leaving the service late but there was no way we could have continued without the power-steering so it was obviously worth it. We were fastest on the first stage but then on the next the engine started to overheat and then the ignition fuse jumped out and the car lost power momentarily. It's just been one of those disastrous days - we've had the same problems on and off all day and we're lucky to still be here. Piero was unlucky this evening and we've had our share of problems all day - that's just the way it goes sometimes but we were both lucky to have a healthy lead." Piero Liatti, on his debut outing in the 555 China Rally, won five of yesterday's stages and with two fastest stage times today, was on course to finish back in Huairou with the lead tonight. A trouble-free run in the three-time World Championship-winning Subaru Impreza 555 gave the all-Italian crew the lead they were looking for but, with only two stages to go, they ran into trouble. A broken rear drive-shaft lost them valuable time on SS15 and SS16 and, coupled with burst anti-deflation mousse on the last stage, dropped them back into second position. "Everything had been perfect today," said a disappointed Piero. "Some of today's stages have been very fast and we have pushed hard all the way with absolutely no problems. Then the drive-shaft broke on the second to last stage and we lost our lead. For me it is obviously very disappointing because it would have been fantastic to win here on my first outing. Tomorrow we will still go flat out and see what happens." The third and final leg of the 555 China Rally starts at 07:00 hrs (local) on Monday, 22 June for the concluding six special stages that take the crews back to Huairou Stadium for the finish of the event at 15:30 hrs (local).
DRIVER CAR TOTAL TIME DIFF STAGES WON 1 Colin McRae Subaru Impreza 555 WRC98 188.8.131.52 1,4,9,12,13,15,16 2 Piero Liatti Subaru Impreza 555 WRC98 184.108.40.206 56.5 2,3,5,6,7,11,14 3 Yoshio Fujimoto Toyota Celica GT-4 220.127.116.11 11.08.9 4 Yoshihiro Kataoka Mitsubishi Lancer Evo III 3.45.09.5 12.22.4 8,10 5 Ningjun Lu Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IV (GpN) 4.02.24.2 29.37.1 6 Chi Wah Chan Mitsubishi Lancer Evo V (GpN) 4.06.05.5 33.18.4 7 Yau Kwan Wong Subaru Impreza 555 (GpN) 4.06.17.1 33.30.0 8 Zhi Guo Ren Peugeot 106 Rallye (GpN) 18.104.22.168 49.35.0 9 Fan Wen Ford Escort RS Cosworth (GpN) 22.214.171.124 51.35.9 10 Fui On Sing Mitsubishi Lancer Evo III (GpN) 126.96.36.199 52.09.0