Day 2: Prokop within sight of the Junior lead... The battle for the lead of the Junior World Championship class in the Rally d'Italia- Sardegna is still closely contested after two days of action, with just 78.57 competitive kilometres remaining...
Day 2: Prokop within sight of the Junior lead...
The battle for the lead of the Junior World Championship class in the Rally d'Italia- Sardegna is still closely contested after two days of action, with just 78.57 competitive kilometres remaining until the finish tomorrow. At the end of day two, Citroen C2 Super 1600 driver Martin Prokop is just half a second off the class lead. The Czech driver is determined to make up for his mistake on his last JWRC rally in Mexico, and clinch maximum points in the C2 Junior Experience as well as the win on the tough gravel roads of Sardinia.
Shaun Gallagher, the winner of last year's JWRC rookie award, was fourth overall and second in the C2 Junior Experience, ahead of the similar C2 Super 1600 of Aaron Burkart. Hans Weijs Junior was seventh overall in the Citroen C2-R2 MAX, ahead of Sebastien Ogier (C2 S1600) who re-started the day under the SupeRally system in the final points-scoring place.
Another SupeRally starter, and the final Citroen competitor, was the Italian Francesco Fanari, competing on his first event with a new Citroen C2-R2 MAX. Unfortunately, he broke his suspension and pulled a wheel off on the final stage of the day, SS12. The roads used on the rally today were faster and more flowing than those that had been seen on the opening day, but several sharp rocks by the side of the road still presented a big hazard to all the crews.
Martin Prokop (CZ) Jan Tomanek (CZ) (Citroen C2 Super 1600)
"What a day! Today has been all about finding the right compromise between speed and safety. I started off the day driving quite cautiously, and in fact I think I was probably a bit too cautious. I didn't want to run the risk of having any punctures, but then I realised that if I wanted to win I had to take some risks. In the afternoon I pushed a bit harder and it worked well, but there's still a very long way to go and the fight is extremely close. I'm not happy taking some of the risks, but we have no choice..."
Shaun Gallagher (EI) Clare Mole (GB) (Citroen C2 Super 1600)
"I didn't have the best set-up in the morning: it would have worked well for the stages of yesterday but not the ones today, which were quicker and harder. The car was rolling around too much, so I made the suspension firmer and that improved things although I lost too much time in the morning as I was only driving at 70 or 80%. I'm happy with our position but not with our times; we need to be a bit closer."
Aaron Burkart (D) Michael Koelbach (D) (Citroen C2 Super 1600)
"Luckily we had no real incidents today, unlike yesterday, but I didn't really like the set- up of the car. It was too soft and too high, meaning that we had understeer going into the corners and oversteer coming out of them. It was hard to decide what to do with the set-up of the car in the afternoon, as the weather made the decision a bit of a lottery, but in the end it was OK for us. Now we just have to keep concentrated and make sure we finish the event tomorrow, as we have a chance of scoring some very useful points."
Hans Weijs (NL) Hans Van Goor (NL) (Citroen C2-R2 MAX)
"The morning was very tricky for us: we went cautiously through the first stage but then we had a very big jump on the second stage, and when we landed we hit the radiator against a rock and broke it. We managed to get to the end of the stage and then fix it, but it was clear that it was only going to be a temporary repair so we had to drive extremely carefully through the third stage. We fixed the problem at service but we are going to have to drive with care now to conserve our position: there is a big gap in front of us and behind us."
Sebastien Ogier (F) Julien Ingrassia (F) (Citroen C2 Super 1600)
"We started today under the Super Rally system and the car is feeling fine, but obviously for us it is not quite the same motivation as it was at the beginning of the rally so it is hard to go flat-out. However, we have a new objective now: we are just going to drive a steady rally and score as many points as possible. What the final result will be is out of our hands: we can only try to do a good job and avoid problems. We just have to see what happens with everyone else."
Francesco Fanari (I) Massimiliano Bosi (I) (Citroen C2-R2 MAX)
"Today was our first opportunity to drive some proper kilometres with the C2-R2 MAX, so we just tried to take it easy in order to concentrate on learning the car. It seems very good indeed, but I need more time behind the wheel in order to fully maximise its potential."