Rally de Portugal
Van Merksteijn Motorsport looks back satisfied on a troubled Rally Portugal
Peter van Merksteijn junior has proven in his first Event with the Citroën DS3 WRC that he can still follow the pace in the WRC after being absent for more than a year. The Van Merksteijn Motorsport driver is despite a disappointing second day in the Rally Portugal very satisfied about his achievements in the new World Rally Car.
In his first day in the DS3 WRC, Peter jr. had a good day in which he primarily had to familiarize himself with Citroën's new World Rally Car. During the course of the day he gradually regained his former rally rhythm as he had not competed since Sweden 2010, over fourteen months ago. The afternoon started very good for the Dutch driver with a 13th time but the next stage troubles with the car began. A bolt coming loose in the gear lever prevented him from operating the gearbox for the rest of the stage, on the last stage of the day the DS3 WRC suffered badly from oversteer. "Despite the problems we had on the last two stages of the day, it has been a very good day. I am getting a better feeling with the car and I have great expectations for the DS3 WRC" according to Peter van Merksteijn jr..
The second day in the WRC Rally Portugal was cut short and was a huge disappointment for Peter van Merksteijn jr.. On the first stage of the day, which was broadcasted live on television, it was for everybody visible that the DS3 WRC suffered from a puncture and shortly after lost the tyre completely. The next stage, further chances to battle with the other WRC drivers were eliminated when various alarm messages appeared on the dashboard preventing from driving any further. The mechanics managed to repair the car during the evening service enabling the Van Merksteijn Motorsport car to start again on Sunday for the last four special stages of the rally under Superally regulations.
After the troubles of the previous day, Van Merksteijn jr. started on Sunday for the final 4 stages of the rally. These last stages were very difficult and demanded a lot from the endurance of the drivers. Nevertheless, Peter jr. had a very good drive today and set fast times with the DS3 WRC. In the morning he could follow the pace well and found some more speed in the afternoon with a best result of 11th place on the penultimate stage. "It was very tough today with very long and difficult special stages. I am happy that the car is running again as it was a great day and I need these kilometers to get back into rhythm again as soon as possible" told Van Merksteijn jr. after the final stage.
I am very impressed with how quickly Peter jr. is able to set good times again after not having competed in a WRC event for so long. We have had some bad luck this weekend with the retirement on Saturday preventing us to drive four stages being the low point" explained Gerard Grouve, manager of Peter van Merksteijn jr. "It is the first time that we have competed with the DS3 WRC and the people at Citroën have worked very hard so that Peter jr. could start again today. Despite the bad luck we had it has been a good event for the team."
-source: vm motorsport