Cyprus Rally: Subaru leg two summary

Winning three of the day's five competitive stages, Subaru driver Petter Solberg continued to demonstrate the lightening pace of the Subaru Impreza WRC2004 on some of the most demanding terrain in the WRC. Finishing every stage within the top...

Winning three of the day's five competitive stages, Subaru driver Petter Solberg continued to demonstrate the lightening pace of the Subaru Impreza WRC2004 on some of the most demanding terrain in the WRC. Finishing every stage within the top four, the Norwegian moved up three places on the overall leaderboard to end the day in overnight eighth. His team-mate Mikko Hirvonen also enjoyed a trouble free day and gained more valuable experience of the rally and his car. He ended the day in sixth place overall.

SS7: 0858 Platres - Saittas (11.12km)

Smoother than yesterday's opening test, the 11km route from Platres presented crews with a loose gravel surface but featured a hard packed base, rather than the softer rutted ground of Leg one. Featuring a series of fast flowing bends, the stage was as much a test of driver skill as mechanical durability. Solberg was once again the pace-setter and took his third stage win of the event by a margin of 5.7 seconds. However, having lost over nine minutes and any realistic chance of victory in an incident on Leg one, the Norwegian was focusing on testing for future gravel events as much as finishing in the points on this one. Gronholm was second fastest and Loeb third. After the finish, crews moved directly to the start of SS8.
Fastest Time: Solberg (Subaru) 9:10.1

SS8: 0936 Foini - Koilinia (30.33km)

Not a great stage for Peugeot's Harri Rovanpera on the first pass through the long 30.33km route from Foini. Having started the test just 16.8 seconds off the overall lead, the Finn struggled to maintain his pace after his 307 developed a gearbox problem. Dropping 36.4 seconds and falling to overall fourth, at the finish just 4.2 seconds lay between him and Carlos Sainz in overall fifth. The Finn's misfortune was Markko Martin's gain and the Estonian charged through the stage to move up to second place overall. Solberg was again fastest and took a second consecutive win, this time by a margin of 6.7 seconds. No such luck for Kristian Sohlberg. The Mitsubishi driver's rally came to an end when his Lancer was struck by engine failure 6km from the finish. One of the slowest stages of the event, SS11 is also one of the lowest in a rally that is based mostly in the Troodos Mountains. With little cooling breeze as cars moved through the twisty stage, and with dust hanging in the air under the trees, SS8 was one of the hottest for the crews.
Fastest Time: Solberg (Subaru) 27:17.1

SS9: 1034 Galatareia - Pentalia (13.13km)

Starting with a very narrow, but medium-fast rough gravel section, the 13.33km Galatareia stage concluded with 2km of concrete road making tyre preservation a consideration throughout. Sebastien Loeb was fastest, Gronholm second and Martin, who damaged a front-right steering arm in a collision with a rock, third. Petter Solberg overshot a junction, but still finished fourth fastest, while Mikko Hirvonen, whose confidence was increasing with every kilometre, was seventh. Mitsubishi's rally went from bad to worse when the sole remaining Lancer of Gilles Panizzi also developed engine problems. After losing more than a minute through the stage, the Frenchman later ran out of time and retired on the road section back to service.
Fastest Time: Loeb (Citroen) 10:43.0

SS10: 1503 Platres - Saittas (11.12km)

Repeating his earlier performance, Petter Solberg was fastest through the Platres stage to shave 5.1 seconds from his previous time (SS7) and notch up his fifth win of the event. This consistent pace was enough to elevate him to eighth overall and back up into a potential points scoring position. Markko Martin and Marcus Gronholm set exactly the same time to tie second, while Carlos Sainz was fourth. Having collected a 30-second time penalty for leaving the preceding service three minutes late due to a delayed gearbox change, Harri Rovanpera was sixth fastest. He ended the stage in fifth position overall. There were no retirements and after the finish, cars moved directly to the start of SS11.
Fastest Time: Solberg (Subaru) 9:04.0

SS11: 1541 Foini - Koilinia (30.33km)

Cyprus Rally became a victim of it's own popularity on the repeated test from Foini. Crowds of spectators near a water splash 11km from the start were so large that after the sixth car, the Subaru of Mikko Hirvonen, had started, organisers stopped the stage for safety reasons. The remaining crews drove an alternate route to the start of the SS12. WRC competitors were later awarded the same representative time. Ford Focus WRC driver, Antony Warmbold, one of the six to start the stage, left the road in his Ford Focus 6km from the start and retired
Fastest Time: n/a

SS12: 1639 1034 Galatareia - Pentalia (13.13km)

Concluding the final loop of stages in the same way that he did the first, Sebastien Loeb was fastest through the 13km test from Galatareia to take his second win of the day and reduce the overall gap between himself and event leader Marcus Gronholm to 22.9 seconds. Seeking to defend his position, Gronholm was second fastest, with Subaru's Solberg third. Markko Martin was fourth fastest to finish the stage 10.7 seconds off overall second and set up a thrilling battle for the final Leg. After the finish, crews returned to Limassol for the final service of the day.
Fastest Time: Loeb (Citroen) 10:28.2

Team Quotes

Petter Solberg
It's been a good, fun day. A bit disappointing perhaps that the stage was cancelled (SS11) as I think I could have taken about a minute out of the leaders, but generally I'm very happy. I'm enjoying driving in these conditions. The feeling is good and I've had no problems at all. Perhaps I'll get on the podium tomorrow. Who knows? Everything's possible!

Mikko Hirvonen
We made a few changes to the car today and loosened the differentials a little, which seems to have helped a lot. I've got lots more confidence in the high-speed sections although I still have work to do on the slow twisty parts. The roads have been good this afternoon and I've enjoyed driving on them much more than yesterday.

David Lapworth , Team Principal
After the disappointment of yesterday the task for today was to get re-focused on Championship points and, perhaps even more importantly, to ensure that we made the best of the opportunity to check everything for the next two rough gravel events. Petter and Mikko have been experimenting with details of the set-up and small technical changes throughout the day and we're very pleased with the results.

News from Pirelli

Fiore Brivio , Pirelli Tyres Rally Manager
Petter kept going in order to test the car and tyres thoroughly in preparation for similar rough rallies in Greece and Turkey, he was pushing everything to the limit today and it's encouraging to see that the tyres stood up to this test well.

Team Talk

Dampers in Cyprus
The purpose of the dampers on the Subaru Impreza WRC is to control vertical suspension movement, to smooth out the 'bouncing' effect associated with driving on an uneven surface and to maximise wheel contact with the ground to enhance car control. On rough rallies like Cyprus, dampers have a critical role to play in the car's handling, as they have to absorb the impact from constant pounding over rocky terrain

The dampers fitted to the Subaru WRC are filled with oil and dissipate energy by forcing this fluid through small holes as the wheel moves up and down. The relentless pounding puts so much energy into the dampers that they become very hot; the oil inside them can reach temperatures as high as 200°C.

High temperatures mean the oil's viscosity is reduced (it becomes thinner) and the dampers can become softer and less effective. A huge amount of work is focused on cooling the dampers and maintaining their performance at elevated temperatures

Each damper on the Subaru has four adjustments that the driver can use to tune the car from stage to stage. There are two adjustments for compression (high speed and low speed) and two adjustments for rebound (also high speed and low speed). The low speed adjusters tune the way the car reacts to small bumps and have an important role in the handling of the car, while the high-speed adjusters affect the way the suspension absorbs the big impacts from jumps and large rocks etc.

Dampers are one of the key areas that are close to the heart of a driver as they make a huge difference to the way the car feels. As a result, drivers spend a lot of time discussing damper settings with their engineers, and may make fine adjustments during an event to alter the set up of their car's suspension

Tomorrow's Leg

Sunday 16 May Tomorrow's third and final leg once again takes teams north of Limassol to the Troodos Mountains and the highest point of the rally, 1199 metres above sea level. Six stages and 95.34 competitive kilometres remain before crews make their way to the finish of the event in Limassol.


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About this article
Series WRC
Drivers Carlos Sainz , Harri Rovanpera , Gilles Panizzi , Marcus Gronholm , Petter Solberg , Sébastien Loeb , Kristian Sohlberg , Mikko Hirvonen , Antony Warmbold , Markko Martin
Teams Citroën World Rally Team