Bruno Thiry, Peugeot 206 WRC, made a good start to the 38th Rallye Antibes-Azur and after the first two stages had a lead of 16.3 seconds over his arch rival and leader in the European Championship, Miguel Campos, also driving a 206 WRC. Philippe...
Bruno Thiry, Peugeot 206 WRC, made a good start to the 38th Rallye Antibes-Azur and after the first two stages had a lead of 16.3 seconds over his arch rival and leader in the European Championship, Miguel Campos, also driving a 206 WRC. Philippe Mermet was in third place but already 1min. 12.5sec behind the leader whilst Vaclav Pech was fourth, 22.2secs. further back.
The Belgian was hoping to begin well but even he was surprised to find himself 14.7 secs ahead after Stage 1, Col de Bleine, the 25.7km long `Monte' stage. There was quite a lot of snow and slush at the end of the stage which may have had something to do with it. Mermet was third, 36.5 secs. behind Campos
On Stage 2, Roquesteron to Les Ferres, there was very little in it, Thiry covering the 13.45km in 8min. 50.3secs, which was 4 seconds quicker than the previous best time set by Renato Travaglia last year. Campos was just 1.6 secs. behind, with Mermet again third.
The teams will now drive the two stages again with the last being in darkness, and they are expected back in Parc Ferme at 21.40 hrs.
Drivers Comments after 2 stages--
"I have had a cold all week and I am still not 100% but today I feel better. On Stage 1 the car stalled at the start and I lost 7 or 8 seconds--.it`s a new clutch--and sometimes this happens. I am going to change the suspension slightly for the last two stages."
"We pushed quite hard on the opening stage and I thought I was quick--.mind you, we had to alter my pace notes from when I last drove it. In the World Championship we cut most of the corners because we had mousse tires, but they are not allowed here and so the risk of puncturing is too great. The set-up of the car is fine, and it is a good compromise for the conditions."