Alex Bengue and Armin Schwarz hold 12th and 15th places respectively after the opening day of the Monte Carlo Rally. Alex began his first event with the Å koda Motorsport World Rally Team by setting ninth fastest time on the opening special...
Alex Bengue and Armin Schwarz hold 12th and 15th places respectively after the opening day of the Monte Carlo Rally.
Alex began his first event with the Škoda Motorsport World Rally Team by setting ninth fastest time on the opening special stage of only his second Monte Carlo Rally.
He then suffered hydraulic problems with his Fabia WRC that affected the start-line launch control system.
Armin had to drive most of the first two stages with a sticking throttle before the problem could be resolved in service but both drivers remain in contention after the first four stages of the 2005 World Rally Championship.
As expected, the roads have remained mainly dry. However there have still been a few stretches of ice and snow on the very highest points of some stages (including the longest of the rally) to remind drivers of the classic conditions that used to prevail on this famous rally.
The Škoda Motorsport World Rally Team's three other key crews for 2005 (Janne Tuohino/Mikko Markkula, Jani Paasonen/Jani Vainikka and Jan Kopeck/Filip Schovánek) have also been in Monaco having taken part in the recce for the event.
Tomorrow's leg features five stages that are located even closer to Monaco than those used today. They add up to the longest stage distance of the event at 128.48kms in a total route of 562.04kms.
"Today has been a learning day for Caroline and me. I made a good start but then had some problems that were partly technical and partly because I need more time to get used to the car. I have deliberately not set myself performance targets for this rally and my wish is to learn as much as I can and build a platform for the future."
"This is not the event where you want to have a problem with the throttle so I was quite relieved to get through the first two stages with nothing more serious than some lost time. After that the car worked OK although I made a mistake for the third stage by setting the dampers too hard and it made the car quite nervous."
Martin Muehlmeier (Head of Škoda Motorsport):
"We had hoped for a better result than this but our fortunes have not been kind to us today. We have had some small but costly technical problems and our drivers have made some mistakes so I hope that these things are now behind us and we can improve our result over the remaining two days of this rally."