Thiry regains the lead. The second day of the 33rd Barum Rally in the Czech Republic got underway at 0800hrs from the Moravian town of Zlin, with Miguel Campos leading the 90 teams still remaining in the rally. Most noteable absentees from ...
Thiry regains the lead.
The second day of the 33rd Barum Rally in the Czech Republic got underway at 0800hrs from the Moravian town of Zlin, with Miguel Campos leading the 90 teams still remaining in the rally. Most noteable absentees from the first day were Evgeny Vasin who retired after 4 stages with clutch problems and previous winner of the rally Janusz Kulig, who had a recurrence of an eye problem he had developed during Rally Deutchland. His left eye was so swollen that he was advised not to begin the second day and this meant that local driver, Roman Kresta, moved up to 4th place overall.
The Czech driver was obviously determined to improve on his first day performance, which had seen him damage his car when he had gone off the road and subsequently pick up a 20 second penalty when he was late leaving service. Kresta won the first stage of the day in a time of 6.36.8, with Campos 3/10th of a second behind and Thiry third in 6.38.6.
Stage 8 and the second of the day was, at 27.69km, the longest of the rally. Again it was Kresta who set fastest time in 14.16.6 with Thiry 5.7 seconds behind. Campos was third in 14.26.8. That meant that after 8 stages, Thiry had regained the lead by 0.1 sec. Campos was second, Vaclav Pech was third, 34.4 sec behind the leader and a charging Kresta was 4th, still with 47.9 sec to make up.
Drivers comments after Stage 8--
Bruno Thiry -- Peugeot 206 WRC
"On the first stage of the day we drove with slicks on the front and intermediates on the rear and then we changed to 4 intermediates for the long stage. We have to evaluate if this was the correct thing to do as Kresta drove with 4 slicks and set fastest time. I expect that the second time we drive the long stage it will be a lot dirtier and we will really have to be careful."
Miguel Campos -- Peugeot 206 WRC
"Being first on the road I found it very slippery and I had to be careful. I think that the setting was a little hard and I may change it at service. The long stage is quite high up in the mountains near a ski resort and at the end of the stage it was very dark and in places foggy with just a few drops of rain."
Vaclav Pech -- Ford Focus WRC
"Stage 8 was very slippery. The car is fine and normally I drive well in these conditions but for some reason not today. I can become Czech Champion today if I finish in 4th place--but of course that also depends on the position that Kresta takes."
Roman Kresta -- Peugeot 206 WRC
"No problems today, but I am still getting over yesterdays off road experience. It is a very difficult day and the last stage was very slippery. My first aim is to try and catch Pech and anything else is a bonus."
Leszak Kuzaj -- Subaru Imprezza WRC
"The suspension is better today but now there is another problem with the brakes. I can feel the car braking at the front even when I am not touching the brake pedals. I have driven some stages flat out and still had bad times. I don't trust the car at the moment and I am very close to retiring."
The competition this year in the European Championship is remarkable in many ways. In previous years it has normally been the case that those mounting a serious challenge for the title have had to fight hard with the local drivers. This year, both Campos and Thiry have shown they are in a class of their own. Armin Kremer won the title in 2001 with just 460 points. Last year Kulig led the title race for most of the year before being pipped at the post by Renato Travaglia who scored 980 points. With both Campos and Thiry already on 920 points, it is certain that this year will be both high scoring and down to the final rally before the overall winner will be known.