Highly emotional and dramatic day for the BWRT and Oliveira in Greece
The Brazilian driver had to retire when he was showing his best pace
Day one report. The first day of action in the Acropolis Rally of Greece has been quite demanding for the BWRT crew members Daniel Oliveira and Carlos Magalhaes, whose retirement had nothing to do with the toughness of the Mediterranean showdown but some other issues troubled the teammates.
The seventh round of the FIA World Rally Championship, a classic within the calendar, is well-known for being one of the most troublesome ones. Temperatures reaching 35ºC, rocky surface, undulating roads and dust were some of the difficulties that the drivers and machines had to cope with this Friday. Furthermore, this tremendous challenge was spiced up by a mere 15-minute service area where only where only on board spare parts were allowed to repair the car.
Within this scenario there was a lot of excitement and drama at the same time for the South American squad. On board his MINI John Cooper Works WRC Oliveira started with a cautious approach to the stages considering the fact that this is his first time through the roads of the Gulf of Corinth region.
As the day went on, Oliveira improved his pace and was able to set some good splits and also match Denis Kuipers Ford Fiesta in the time sheets. However, the great job he was doing suddenly collapsed on SS5 when his MINI had some electrical problems.
They stopped for the first time a few kilometres away from the beginning of the stage, then Oliveira started once more but it stopped again in between. The crew could finally continue and complete the stage in first gear. At the end of SS5, and with just one stage to go, they were forced to retire. Nevertheless, tomorrow Daniel and Carlos will re-join the race under the Super Rally system.
This is what Daniel said. “We were keeping a steady pace since this rally is quite tough and as usual, the main objective is to finish the race. Unfortunately, we had that inconvenient on the car that prevented us from completing the day. Now we have to think about tomorrow and try to make the most kilometres we can”.
Other big names out. Daniel Oliveira wasn’t the only one who got troubled. Important drivers such as Mads Ostberg (Ford), Federico Villagra (Ford), Nasser Al-Attiyah (Ford), Evgeny Novikov (Ford) and Petter Van Merksteijn (Citroen) also failed to complete the day.
The fight for the lead. Petter Solberg (Citroen) was the driver who set the pace all day long and after claiming four stage victories he earned a 51,6 seconds lead over his fellow Sebastien Loeb (Citroen). Right just behind Mikko Hirvonen (Ford) and Sebastien Ogier (Citroen) settle within five seconds off the Frenchman.
From sunset till dawn. Saturday’s action will be not only long but also demanding. The second day of competition will start a bit late than usual; however, it will last beyond daylight with a final night run through the Nea Politia stage scheduled for 9:30 p.m. In total the drivers must tackle seven stages totalizing 141.89 km.
-source: brazil wrt