Peugeot driver Gilles Panizzi has finished third after the second leg of the Catalunya Rally, and is perfectly poised for a podium finish tomorrow. Richard Burns ends today's leg in sixth place, while reigning World Champion Marcus Gronholm has...
Peugeot driver Gilles Panizzi has finished third after the second leg of the Catalunya Rally, and is perfectly poised for a podium finish tomorrow.
Richard Burns ends today's leg in sixth place, while reigning World Champion Marcus Gronholm has returned to Parc Ferme in a points-scoring eighth place.
Conditions in Spain for the second day of the Catalunya Rally were dry and cold. Crews tackled eight stages, totalling 131 competitive kilometres.
Gilles was both fast and reliable today, setting two fastest stage times in order to pass Ford driver Markko Martin for second place after SS12. In an epic battle Martin fought back and reclaimed the runner-up spot, but the gap between the pair is now just 15 seconds heading into the final day. Gilles is determined to push hard tomorrow in order to achieve the best result possible, and he feels confident in his Peugeot 206 WRC.
Gilles said: "My feeling with the car was very good from the start of the day, and I was able to push hard. However, it wasn't so good for the final three stages, which were very difficult with all the gravel on the road. On the whole it's been a good day though - we're still in a strong position and I'm going to try as hard as I can to get second place."
Richard was also happy with his Peugeot 206 WRC today, and set a fastest stage time on SS13. He had no mechanical problems, and also plans to try and make up some time tomorrow.
The Englishman said: "It's been quite a good day, but not a lot has happened in terms of our position. We had a good set-up, and I think that's clear to see in our times. We've had a few big slides, and that's been mostly because of all the gravel on the road. It's going to be difficult to try and get fifth place tomorrow, but we'll keep going at this pace and see what happens."
Marcus Gronholm changed the suspension geometry on his car last night, but said that he still suffered from a lack of confidence on this morning's stages. The situation got much better during the afternoon, but Marcus found that the successful set-up he used in Corsica was not working quite as well in Spain.
"The changes we made to the car certainly made things better: we should have started the rally like this," he said. "The loose gravel is definitely affecting us, but now we have a nicer feeling with the car, we're going to attack tomorrow and see if we can score some more points."
Tomorrow's final leg of the Catalunya Rally consists of six stages with a total competitive distance of 103 kilometres. Crews face an early start, with the first car leaving Parc Ferme in Lloret de Mar at 0530. The winner is due on the finish ramp at 1509.