The Xsaras hold on ! At the end of an action-packed leg, with nightmarish weather conditions, SÃ©bastien Loeb/Daniel Elena are still leading the Rallye Deutschland tonight. Still lying second before the super special stage of st Wendel, Carlos...
The Xsaras hold on !
At the end of an action-packed leg, with nightmarish weather conditions, Sébastien Loeb/Daniel Elena are still leading the Rallye Deutschland tonight. Still lying second before the super special stage of st Wendel, Carlos Sainz lost one position for just a few seconds after a thrilling fight with the performing François Duval
In the Baumholder military camp, this second leg was to be a never ending day, and not only because it included 44% of the complete distance of the event's special stages. Back at the Bostalsee service area, Daniel Elena gave a huge sigh of relief : "It was deadly out there ! The stress, nerves on edge, the tension of having to choose the tyres, not to mention the special stages themselves, where it was perfectly easy to go off at each and every corner..."
As the unpredictable showers continued throughout the day, bringing copious, almost malicious, amounts of rain, the rally occasionally looked more like a regatta or a water-ski competition ! " The first time through Bosenberg [SS9] was one of the worst moments I have ever had," Sébastien Loeb commented. "Even with rain tyres, anything could have happened... Throughout the rest of the day, I tried to stay within the narrow security margin, particularly when, for special stages 13 to 15, we chose dry tyres, with soft rubber, which had been deeply cut. The choice was logical, but the weather sometimes made it look wrong. We set the best time in SS14, second-fastest in SS15, half an hour and five kilometres further on ... I was wondering how we would do in 'Panzerplatte Lang 2'. After Petter [Solberg] went off in the morning, neither Carlos nor I went through it for the first time. We set the best time..." Definitely a case of managing things well...
"It was a very difficult day," Carlos explained. "A problem occurred during refuelling before SS9, which meant I had not got the planned quantity of fuel onboard. In order to use less fuel, I did not use the fresh air system in SS10 or 11... During the next three special stages, my tyres were slightly less cut than the ones Seb had. In the rain and the mud, it was very tricky, and it was even worse when we discovered 'Panzerplatte Lang' was covered in mud from the first time through - which we had not done. Really, after a leg like this one, you can only be happy to still be in the rally. Even more as we will still have to fight tomorrow..."
"The worst thing," Guy Fréquelin sighed, "Is to see the first competitors go through in the dry, then to see the clouds open and flood the road, before our cars have gone through... I have not looked yet at the weather forecast for tomorrow. But if it gives us a bit of respite, I will be happy..."