WRC

Rally Catalunya: Kronos Racing leg two summary

Loeb and Sordo hold station... Sébastien Loeb/Daniel Elena, in the lead of the Catalunya Rally, followed by Dani Sordo/Marc Martí, in second, have successfully avoided the pitfalls of a tricky leg two. The two Xsara WRC drivers have kept up...

Loeb and Sordo hold station...

Sébastien Loeb/Daniel Elena, in the lead of the Catalunya Rally, followed by Dani Sordo/Marc Martí, in second, have successfully avoided the pitfalls of a tricky leg two. The two Xsara WRC drivers have kept up and even consolidated their positions at the head of the field. Xevi Pons/Carlos Del Barrio unfortunately lost the third place they had comfortably maintained since yesterday, following an off- road excursion on `Duesaigues 2' (SS10).

"During the second loop of stages, we sometimes asked ourselves if this was in fact a gravel rally ! " Daniel Elena neatly summed up the situation with characteristic humour. The Catalunya Rally is of course run on asphalt, but the deep cuts that the cars take throughout all the corners throw up dust, earth, rocks and stones. Every time the stages are run they become increasingly covered in a layer of loose gravel, which means that just one clean line emerges where the drivers have all been cutting. This makes Catalunya the only event where the reverse order for the re-start on leg two becomes a handicap rather than the advantage for the leaders that it is meant to be...

"It wasn't an easy day, " said Sébastien Loeb. " I got off to a sensible start. Then I increased my rhythm carefully, while paying great attention to all the potential pitfalls. Tomorrow, I'm still going to have to drive quickly. Dani [Sordo] has grasped the `user guide' to the Xsara pretty quickly ! In the near future, he's going to become a very well- known customer... "

The future is far from Dani's mind, as at the moment he is revelling in the joy of setting his first fastest stage time, and successfully finishing a second demanding day for him. " `Duesaigues' [SS10] was completely destroyed, " he said. " But it will always be a special place for me, as it's there that I set my first fastest stage time in a World Rally Car. I could hardly believe Marc [Marti] when he said at the stage finish : I think we've done it... There's another reason for me being very happy I managed not to make a mistake on a day when there were countless opportunities to slip up. Now I have to stay concentrated tomorrow to get through the third day. I owe that to the Kronos team and all my supporters... "

After returning to the PortAventura service park, a frustrated and disappointed Xevi Pons was consoled by Marc Van Dalen, Kronos Racing's team principal. "I made a small mistake, " reported Pons immediately. " About halfway through the stage I arrived a little too quickly at a slow left-hand corner which was very dirty. I wasn't able to keep on the clean line and the loose gravel pushed me to the outside of the corner. The car slid off the road. There was a bit of smoke, which was probably caused by the exhaust making contact with the surrounding vegetation. As a precaution we let off the fire extinguishers, which worked perfectly...but I'm bitterly disappointed for the team. "

Marc Van Dalen concluded : " This `off', on a stage that had become something of a minefield, should take nothing away from Xevi's excellent rally, and we still have every confidence in him. We will take a close look at the car when it gets back to service tonight in order to decided whether or not the crew will be able to re-start tomorrow morning... "

-kronos-

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About this article
Series WRC
Drivers Sébastien Loeb , Daniel Elena , Marc Marti