The third day of the Monte Carlo Rally had an absolute premiere in store for Franz Wittmann/Bernhard Ettel The two Austrians in their Mitsubishi were the first team on the road On SS 10 a snow chaos reigned but "snow plough Wittmann" ...
The third day of the Monte Carlo Rally had an absolute premiere in store for Franz Wittmann/Bernhard Ettel
The two Austrians in their Mitsubishi were the first team on the road
On SS 10 a snow chaos reigned but "snow plough Wittmann" nevertheless lies in ninth overall place prior to the "Night of the Long Knives" and still is the best non-S-2000-car
Yesterday evening saw some hectic action in the service zone in Valence. After Franz Wittmann/ Bernhard Ettel had had to wrestle with a turbo damage on the last special stage, the service crew of Stohl-Racing managed to repair the Mitsubishi for today within 20 minutes.
At 03.00 in the morning the two "ice-spies" Franz Wittmann sen/Jorg Pattermann were already on the road on the 30 kilometres long special stage 10 from Montauban to Eygalayes. Thereby they encountered an absolute snow chaos which subsequently would trouble not only the rally drivers but also the service crews. The two old hands nevertheless managed to select the perfect tyres for son Franz Wittmann.
Manfred Stohl: "I know how hard it can be to make the right decision in this respect at the very last minute. I can only take my hat off to what Franz Wittmann sen and Jorg Pattermann have accomplished at the Monte Carlo Rally so far."
Then SS 10 commenced - with Franz Wittmann/Bernhard Ettel as first car on the road. The goal of the Austrians was obvious: to reach the finishing line at all costs and to not risk too much.
Franz Wittmann: "To me this 30 kilometres long stage was the most difficult I've ever had to tackle in my career. On the one hand it is an honour to 'lead' the Monte Carlo Rally, on the other hand we lost a lot of time due to the amount of snow which isn't much fun anymore. To me it was obvious that I simply had to finish the stage - which wasn't the easiest thing, given the fact that braking for the many hairpin bends with the heavy Mitsubishi is rather hard. We are nevertheless content. Now we still have to face the four special stages of the 'Night of the Long Knives'. But I am optimistic."
SS 10 saw a lot of dramatic scenes at the top. The so far superior Finn Juho Hanninen, for instance, had to say good-bye. An accident made it impossible for the Skoda S-2000 works driver who had been in third place to continue the rally. Another retirement due to accident was the one by fourth-placed Brit Kris Meeke (Peugeot S-2000). Current leader is French up- and-coming youngster Sebastien Ogier (Peugeot S-2000) in front of Toni Gardemeister (Abarth S-2000) and Freddy Loix (Peugeot S-2000).