Starters 76 of the original 102 crews started the second day of Rally Catalunya. Route Today's route took competitors through an anticlockwise loop to the west of Salou, the final section returning to the service park along the coast. Four...
76 of the original 102 crews started the second day of Rally Catalunya.
Today's route took competitors through an anticlockwise loop to the west of Salou, the final section returning to the service park along the coast. Four individual stages were each run twice, totalling just under 120 competitive kilometres.
Leg two started dry and clear, with a temperature of 12 degrees Celsius for the start of SS7 at 0843hrs. By the start of the second loop the temperature had soared to 25 degrees Celsius. The conditions were dry all day though light clouds were present on the mountain sections.
Subaru World Rally Team summary
Despite recording some top four stage times today, the Subaru World Rally Team trio of Petter Solberg, Chris Atkinson and Xevi Pons remain in the same positions as they ended leg one. With one day of competition remaining the drivers lie sixth, eighth and ninth respectively.
Petter Solberg made various suspension and setup changes throughout the day to try and improve the grip and feel of his Impreza WRC2007, but he felt a change after SS8 made his car too stiff for the last two stages of the morning and he lost time. After the midday service, the Norwegian finished fifth fastest on the opening stage of the afternoon and felt more comfortable with the car. He consolidated his sixth overall, but will continue to look for more speed tomorrow to close on Francois Duval ahead of him in fifth during the third and final leg.
Chris Atkinson started the morning well but had a near miss during special stage eight. He slightly misjudged a corner and slid wide on the exit of a left-hander, ending up on two wheels and was lucky not to roll. With two damaged wheels, the Australian endured heavy steering vibration for the remainder of the stage and dropped 20 seconds to Jari-Matti Latvala, who was in his sights lying just ahead in seventh.
Xevi Pons attacked the stages harder as the day progressed, keen to close on team-mate Atkinson, just one place ahead. He suffered a small off-road excursion during special stage nine which lost him a few seconds, but showed his potential on the La Serra d'Almos stage. The shortest stage of the event at only 4.11km, Pons finished fourth fastest on the first visit, and second fastest when it was run again as SS14. Just seven tenths of a second behind Marcus Gronholm, Pons finished the leg comfortable with the car and will start leg three looking for more of the same speed in the closing four stages of Rally Catalunya.
Richard Taylor, Subaru World Rally Team Managing Director:
"Today has been better for Petter, Chris and Xevi, and their relative times have improved. Xevi was fast this afternoon and his second fastest stage time on SS14 was great for both the team and for him in front of his home crowd. Although we didn't manage to move any cars up the leaderboard, there's still another 85km tomorrow so we will try to close the gaps on those in front as much as we can and continue to develop our tarmac car."
CAR NUMBER 7 Petter Solberg:
"It's not been a bad day for us. We've gone steadily with no problems and the whole package has been working well. The car is getting better all the time, but we still have to keep working to take it forward a bit more."
CAR NUMBER 8 Chris Atkinson:
"We've managed to hold position, which is okay. The idea was to move up a place but after a mistake on the second stage we backed out of the challenge and we've pretty much settled for eighth now. We're driving at a comfortable pace, trying not to take any risks and concentrating on getting to the finish."
CAR NUMBER 14 Xevi Pons:
"Yeah, today I'm very happy. My feeling in the car is improving with every stage. We made a little change to the setup and now I'm more comfortable, so it's not bad. The car was perfect, no problems, it's just a shame that yesterday we lost so much time. But okay, since then it's been fine, and we've learned a few things that should help in Corsica too."
Tomorrow's leg is the shortest of the rally, consisting of four stages. The two separate routes, Riudecanyes and Colldejou, are each run twice for a total of 85.66 competitive kilometres. Once again the stages track west approximately 80km from PortAventura.