WRC

Rally Japan: OMV Kronos leg one summary

Feeling of success returns to OMV Kronos Citroen WRT The OMV Kronos Citroen World Rally Team is back on the road to success at the "Rally Japan", the 14th run to the FIA World Rally Championship. Manfred Stohl and Ilka Minor were able to secure...

Feeling of success returns to OMV Kronos Citroen WRT

The OMV Kronos Citroen World Rally Team is back on the road to success at the "Rally Japan", the 14th run to the FIA World Rally Championship. Manfred Stohl and Ilka Minor were able to secure a place in scoring ranks after the first day. Sixth intermediate place also means that the Austrian OMV duo is on the way to their best result this season. The reasons for the good performance are easily explained: feeling and speed are back again.

True Stohl-conditions

The fact that the Japan Rally has moved back by almost two months from the beginning of September to the end of October also means that conditions have gotten rather worse. In the morning of the first day the teams were taken by surprise by partly ice-covered roads. Additinally the dense fog and the flat sunlight turned the first special stages into a true blind flight.

Stohl: "It was anything but easy. Such conditions are a real aggravation of penalty, especially at the beginning of a rally when you're still trying to find your rhythm. But we adapted very well and Ilka did a sensational job. Now we'll have to keep up this performance level for the next two days. The difficult conditions are surely to my advantage." In any case, sixth place so far means the necessary feeling of success for the OMV Kronos Citroen WRT. "Feeling and speed are simply the most important parametres for success ", adds the 35-year-old OMV driver.

Turbulent first day

Marcus Gronholm (Ford Focus WRC) was aware of his chance and put all his eggs in one basket right from the start. And on special stage 3 the Finnish WRC-leader took the lead. But on SS 4 he slipped off the road and damaged the roll cage - which meant the end of his business trip. Even if he could restart on Saturday he wouldn't stand a chance since he has been awarded a 30-minute-penalty. But Ford's strength in Japan is nevertheless obvious. After the first day of the 14th run to the FIA World Rally Championship Mikko Hirvonen (Fin/Ford Focus WRC) leads by 10,3 seconds ahead of last year's winner Sebastien Loeb. Third-placed is Jari-Matti Latvala (Fin/Ford Focus WRC) who had taken the lead intermittently (+13,7 Sek.).

A long second day

The second leg of the Rally Japan on Saturday will already commence at 5:05 (local time). Once again ten special stages are scheduled. With 146,68 SS- kilometres it is also the longest leg. The first car is expected at the Parc Ferme in Obihiro no sooner than 19:08 (local time).

-credit: owrt.com

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About this article
Series WRC
Drivers Marcus Gronholm , Sébastien Loeb , Manfred Stohl , Jari-Matti Latvala , Mikko Hirvonen , Ilka Minor
Teams Citroën World Rally Team