Peugeot's Richard Burns has ended day two of the Rally Australia in third position, after a clean and consistent run. His team mate Harri Rovanpera is eighth heading into the final leg tomorrow. Today was particularly challenging for every car...
Peugeot's Richard Burns has ended day two of the Rally Australia in third position, after a clean and consistent run. His team mate Harri Rovanpera is eighth heading into the final leg tomorrow.
Today was particularly challenging for every car and driver because the stages were run as two groups of four, with only one service halt in between. The leg ended with two runs through the spectator superspecial at Gloucester Park, which was attended by thousands of excited fans. Once again, conditions remained dry.
Richard had no major problems throughout the day's 10 stages, and concentrated on consolidating the third position in which he started this morning. The World Championship leader enjoyed the compact format of the route, and is feeling confident of a strong finish tomorrow.
Richard said: "It's been another good day for us, but we had a small handling problem on the final two forest stages when the car felt unstable at high speed. The pace has been extremely fast, but it's been good not having so many long road sections. Tomorrow will be a very tough final leg, so we have to keep up our concentration."
Harri Rovanpera was eighth overnight after a largely trouble-free day. The Finn felt that his engine was slightly down on power during the first run through the four stages, but this problem was fixed at service. He had a better run the second time through, and is optimistic that he can improve his position on the final leg.
Harri said: "The last three stages were very good for us, as they were repeats of stages used in the morning and the road was already swept clean. This morning's stages weren't so nice for us because of our road position and a small engine problem. I think we can find a good feeling tomorrow and push quite hard. My priority is to score points for the team."
Reigning World Champion Marcus Gronholm was forced to retire yesterday evening, after losing more than 16 minutes in a ditch on SS8.
Tomorrow's final leg of the Rally Australia is the shortest of the entire event, but it promises to be just as challenging. The weather forecast is for rain showers, which should make conditions even more difficult. Crews face four stages run as two groups of two, with a total competitive distance of 117 kilometres. The first car leaves Parc Ferme at 0700, and the winner is expected on the finish ramp at 1630.