Toni Gardemeister and Didier Auriol forced to retire Cyprus takes its toll on championship contenders Å koda Motorsport now looks ahead to new era with Fabia WRC The Å koda Motorsport World Rally Team has been forced to retire from top ...
Toni Gardemeister and Didier Auriol forced to retire
Cyprus takes its toll on championship contenders
Škoda Motorsport now looks ahead to new era with Fabia WRC
The Škoda Motorsport World Rally Team has been forced to retire from top 10 positions in the Cyprus Rally on the second day. The rate of attrition among the World Championship crews has been incredible today with the Škoda Motorsport drivers among nine leading crews who retired in just six stages.
Toni Gardemeister was lying ninth overall after SS8 but left the road approximately five kilometres after the start of SS9. "There was a jump and the car flew a little further than I expected," he said. "We landed just off the road and that should not have been a problem. Unfortunately there was a tree stump and the car landed on it, damaging the engine too much for us to continue. It was a shame to retire in this way because I am sure that we could have had a good result and score championship points."
Didier Auriol started the Cyprus Rally with a spectacular third fastest time on the opening stage and today was again making good progress in the leading championship positions. "Today's stages have been quite a lot better than we anticipated and I have been able to drive in the way that I like." Unfortunately, at the finish of SS10, Didier's car lost electrical power and after spending some time at the roadside trying to fix it Didier and co-driver Denis Giraudet had no choice but to retire.
This was the first time in 22 consecutive rallies that Škoda Motorsport has not had a car at the finish of a WRC event, an enviable record of reliability that is matched by only one other current World Championship team.
"The cause of the problem is not yet clear but we will investigate it when we get the car back from the mountains," said Škoda Motorsport Team manager Pavel Janeba. "Obviously it is disappointing that we were unable to reach the finish of our final rally with the Octavia WRC but now we must look ahead to a new and exciting era with the Fabia WRC, starting next month in Germany."
Tomorrow's final six stages (three stages, each run twice), located to the north east of Limassol, include two tests new to the Cyprus Rally (SS13/16 and 14/17). Stage distance is 82.86kms, making this the shortest day of the rally. The day starts at 0730 and the finish is at 1520.