Cyprus Rally - news after stage 4 As air temperatures climbed above 35Â°C and in-car temperatures topped 53Â°C, Ford Martini trio Colin McRae, FranÃ§ois Delecour and Carlos Sainz continued their strong pace on todayâ€™s opening leg of this...
Cyprus Rally - news after stage 4
As air temperatures climbed above 35°C and in-car temperatures topped 53°C, Ford Martini trio Colin McRae, François Delecour and Carlos Sainz continued their strong pace on today’s opening leg of this sixth round of the FIA World Rally Championship. All three were untroubled as their Focus RS World Rally Cars held fourth, fifth and seventh places respectively after one of the toughest sections of the three-day rally.
The 35.57km test from Simou to Stavros was followed by the 19.29km journey from Selladi to Staktou to Panagia. The total of almost 55km was the longest section of the rally and if tyre wear problems were going to occur anywhere it was here. Happily all three Ford Martini drivers reported no major problems with their Pirelli rubber as they arrived in Paphos for service.
“We tried to conserve the tyres and not wear them out too much and they lasted very well,” said 31-year-old McRae. “There were some big rocks towards the end of the last stage but they caused no problems. We’re now third on the road so the conditions are not much better for us than they are for Carlos but we’re happy with our overall placing and it would be quite a good place to be on the road tomorrow.”
Despite going off the road and into a field on stage three, an incident which cost little time but broke his gear lever, Delecour admitted he was driving cautiously, but was happy with the way the morning had progressed.
Sainz, now running first on the road, was enduring the worst of the conditions. “It’s slippery on the gravel but hard underneath,” said the Madrid-based driver. “The roads today are cleaning quite a lot but I think tomorrow, when the morning’s stages are repeated in the afternoon, will be better.”
World championship leader Tommi Mäkinen’s (Mitsubishi) troubled day ended early. After hitting a bank on stage two, the Finn went off the road for good on stage four. Alister McRae (Hyundai) lost another two minutes with brake and tyre wear problems.
Leaderboard after stage 4
1. M Grönholm/T Rautiainen FIN Peugeot 206 1hr 25min 52.5sec
2. R Burns/R Reid GB Subaru Impreza 1hr 26min 00.7sec
3. K Eriksson/S Parmander S Hyundai Accent 1hr 26min 07.6sec
4. C McRae/N Grist GB Ford Focus RS 1hr 26min 08.7sec
5. F Delecour/D Grataloup F Ford Focus RS 1hr 26min 17.6sec
6. P Solberg/P Mills N Subaru Impreza 1hr 26min 30.4sec
7. C Sainz/L Moya E Ford Focus RS 1hr 26min 47.7sec
8. F Loix/S Smeets B Mitsubishi Carisma 1hr 26min 48.3sec
9. D Auriol/D Giraudet F Peugeot 206 1hr 27min 12.7sec
10 P Liatti/C Cassina I Hyundai Accent 1hr 28min 01.4sec