Peugeot has endured a difficult start to the Rallye Deutschland, with Cedric Robert ending the day just outside the points in ninth and Freddy Loix finishing 13th. Today's action was hampered by uncertain weather that made tyre choice a lottery.
Peugeot has endured a difficult start to the Rallye Deutschland, with Cedric Robert ending the day just outside the points in ninth and Freddy Loix finishing 13th.
Today's action was hampered by uncertain weather that made tyre choice a lottery. Crews competed on eight asphalt stages, all of which were characterised by intermittent rain.
Marcus Gronholm's rally came to an end on the very first corner of stage one. The Finn aquaplaned on some standing water, and a broken wheel hub forced him to retire on the spot.
"We braked normally for the corner, but the car just slid away from us," said Marcus. "We are not allowed to have gravel crews any more, which maybe could have warned us of the danger. There was nothing I could do."
Cedric had an uncertain feeling with his brakes on the opening loop of stages, and he was also caught out by the adverse weather. But the biggest scare came on the afternoon's loop of stages, when he was lucky to get away with a high-speed spin in fourth gear.
"It was quite frightening," said Cedric. "I really risked damaging the car, and it knocked my confidence. The bad feeling with the brakes in the morning was my fault, as I was overheating them, but the biggest problem was always the weather. I think we were really unlucky: it always seemed to start raining just as we were beginning a stage! But we are still here and determined to score points, so we will be trying hard tomorrow."
Freddy was held back by an engine misfire on the opening loop of stages, which was cured at service. He set some promising top-five times in the afternoon, but his good work was ruined by a gearbox problem that left Freddy with only first and second gears on the final stage.
Freddy commented: "It's been a very tricky day. As I had more competitive kilometres in the car my confidence built up, and I was encouraged by the times we could set in the afternoon. The gearbox problem was a pity but I am sure that we will be able to attack again tomorrow."
Marcus Gronholm will re-start leg two under the trial of the new Super Rally system. The second day of the Rallye Deutschland is the longest of the event, taking in nine special stages.