A very good day for the OMV Kronos Citroen WRT The OMV Kronos Citroen World Rally Team finished the first day of the "Neste Oil Rally Finland" in excellent eighth overall place. Manfred Stohl is very satisfied even though the slip into the ditch...
A very good day for the OMV Kronos Citroen WRT
The OMV Kronos Citroen World Rally Team finished the first day of the "Neste Oil Rally Finland" in excellent eighth overall place. Manfred Stohl is very satisfied even though the slip into the ditch on SS 4 prevented a better result. The more so since no less than two drivers in front of the 35-year-old OMV driver are absolutely within reach. That gives a meaning to fighting once more.
All seems easy when things run smoothly
Manfred Stohl completed the possibly best rally day of the 2007 season on Friday at the Rally Finland. For at the WRC-run way up North, where home advantage comes more into play than on any other course in the world, an eighth place is almost as good as finishing off the eight ball. Which helps forget the visit into the ditch which prevented an even better result. What really counts for the OMV Team is the improved speed which was finally accomplished. Stohl: "The whole team, Kronos Racing and Citroen have worked very hard for this partial success. There are still a lot of special stage kilometres ahead of us, of course. But increased self-confidence also increases the speed."
A meaning to fighting
OMV duo Stohl/Minor are especially happy that they once more get the chance to fight for a better place. Thus Henning Solberg (Nor/Ford Focus WRC) is just 13,0 seconds ahead of the Austrian and Citroen works driver Dani Sordo (Spa/C4 WRC) only has a lead of 23,3 seconds. Stohl: "Tomorrow we won't have to wait for someone to retire to move up. We can actively join the fight. Which we will do and ride an attack right from the morning on. Perhaps we get lucky as well and are a bit more alert than our immediate opponents."
Duel for seconds between Gronholm and Hirvonen
At the top the history of the rally on the first day was written by local heroes and teammates Marcus Gronholm and Mikko Hirvonen (both Fin/Ford Focus WRC). At the end of the day six-times winner Gronholm found himself 4,4 seconds ahead. Sebastien Loeb is already 20,2 seconds behind. The Subaru works duel between Chris Atkinson (Platz 4/Aus) and Petter Solberg (Platz 5/Nor) currently sees the Australian in the lead.
Outlook for Saturday
The second day of the Rally Finland will lead the competitors over nine special stages with an overall length of 186,10 kilometres. The marathon leg will already start at 06.00 (local time). The first car is expected back at the service at 18.40. The second day's highlight will be the special stage "Ouninpohja", which, by 33,01 kilometres length, is not only the longest of the rally but also notorious for the widest jump (up to 55 metres) in the FIA World Rally Championship.