Kronos on the hunt At the end of the short final spectator superspecial stage at Mystery Creek, which surrounds the service park, the two Citroens of Dani Sordo/Marc Marti and Xevi Pons/Carlos Del Barrio, finish the day in third and fifth ...
Kronos on the hunt
At the end of the short final spectator superspecial stage at Mystery Creek, which surrounds the service park, the two Citroens of Dani Sordo/Marc Marti and Xevi Pons/Carlos Del Barrio, finish the day in third and fifth places respectively.
The rally got underway with a loop of stages to the south, comprising just two forest tests that were repeated in the afternoon. Nonetheless, they made up 37% of the total competitive distance, thanks mainly to the `Te Kohara' stage that was the longest of the season at 43.88 kilometres. The road conditions changed throughout the day, after starting off damp due to heavy rain the night before. This made life easier for the first drivers on the road, at the expense of runners further down the field who were faced with increasingly muddy conditions. With temperatures rising as the sun came out in the afternoon, the second loop of stages were run on mostly dry surfaces.
Dani Sordo, a newcomer to New Zealand, was third on the road but quickly found a comfortable pace. The reigning Junior World Champion stayed in touch with Manfred Stohl throughout the day, and passed the Austrian on the final stage to move onto the provisional podium. Dani said : " As everybody told me, driving on these roads is enormous fun particularly on the faster sections. It's important to know how to slow down the rhythm on certain more twisty bits before picking up the pace again as quickly as possible. I'm very pleased to see that my pace notes are good : I only made a few adjustments to them after the first run through the stages. As for tyre choice, I had no problems at all with my soft BFGoodrich tyres in the morning nor with the medium compound rubber in the afternoon. I had two punctures, but I did not lose any time thanks to the anti-deflation mousse. Life is rarely perfect though, and I noticed that we had a bit of oversteer. I am also wondering why we lost some time in the last six kilometres of the long stage on both occasions. That section was the twistiest, so maybe those two problems are linked. I'm sure our engineers can solve it, and at the end of the day, third place isn't too bad for a newcomer ! "
Xevi Pons, in fifth, also had designs on the podium and he has not given up on it yet. The Spaniard did not enjoy quite as clean a run through the first loop of stages as his team mate. He reported " I spun on the opening stage, Pirongia. A bit further on in the same stage I was distracted by rising water temperatures and so I spun again. After that I drove very much within myself on Te Kohara 1. On the second run through the stages though, everything went brilliantly. Not even three punctures slowed me down, thanks to the anti-deflation mousse. With a perfect car, I was able to make back a lot of lost ground. It's a good omen as we head into the second leg tomorrow, as I feel very much at home on these flowing roads... "
-credit: Kronos racing