Å koda Motorsport World Rally Team driver Jani Paasonen lies 12th overall after the opening day of the Acropolis Rally. But team mates Armin Schwarz and Janne Tuohino were both forced to withdraw. Armin will continue under SupeRally but Janne...
Škoda Motorsport World Rally Team driver Jani Paasonen lies 12th overall after the opening day of the Acropolis Rally.
But team mates Armin Schwarz and Janne Tuohino were both forced to withdraw. Armin will continue under SupeRally but Janne has now retired from the event.
There was a spectacular start to the rally yesterday evening at the Olympic Stadium in Athens where a capacity crowd of just over 60,000 fans created an electric atmosphere as the crews fought head-to-head on the asphalt superspecial.
However the ‘true’ Acropolis Rally began today on the rocky roads to the south east of Lamia, approximately 200kms from Athens.
Armin suffered an engine-related problem on the Fabia WRC 05 towards the end of SS2 and as fuel was leaking into the engine bay it was deemed unsafe for him to continue in the leg.
Janne started the event with a one-minute penalty for the engine change on his car after Cyprus. It mean he was 86th after the superspecial but climbed to 22nd after SS2. However he had been unlucky to hit a rock near the end of the stage that damaged the clutch and forced him to withdraw on the start line of SS3.
Tomorrow’s leg features eight stages (122.72kms) south of Lamia in a total route of 422.10kms.
Jani Paasonen: “I have tried to keep my driving neat and careful today because I know I couldn’t repeat what happened in Mexico. The car is fine and apart from making some minor adjustments I am very happy with how today has gone.”
Janne Tuohino: “The car was running fine in the early part of the stage and our split times were exactly as we had expected from testing. However we must have hit something in the middle of the road about 6kms from the end of the stage and when we tried to start the next stage the car wouldn’t move.”
Armin Schwarz: “We started to feel something was wrong as the first stage went on and the car gradually lost power then just stopped completely on the road section. We are not exactly sure what caused it but there was a lot of fuel in the engine area and I was worried that there might be a fire.”
Joan Sureda (Škoda Motorsport team manager): “Although I am disappointed that we lost two cars today Janne’s pace was within the top seven or eight places before he hit the rock and Jani’s performance is solid so far. We have repaired Armin’s car and he will return for tomorrow.
We will not continue in the rally with Janne as the engine was new for this event. For the same reasons that we pulled Armin out of Turkey we will do the same with Janne and save the engine for another rally.”