Armin Schwarz and Janne Tuohino hold 11th and 12th places respectively after the opening day of Rally New Zealand, the fourth round of the 2005 World Rally Championship. After a trouble-free shakedown for the Å koda Motorsport World Rally ...
Armin Schwarz and Janne Tuohino hold 11th and 12th places respectively after the opening day of Rally New Zealand, the fourth round of the 2005 World Rally Championship.
After a trouble-free shakedown for the Škoda Motorsport World Rally Team, today began with frustration for Janne. As he prepared to leave service there was a problem with the electronic connection to the throttle of the Fabia WRC 05 that forced a change of engine ECU and cost him a 50 seconds penalty for being late out of service. Over today's eight stages the Fabia WRC 05 set top 10 times on every stage; Janne finishing in the top group on six occasions (including sixth on SS4 and fifth on SS8) and Armin on five.
The fast and flowing roads of the Northland region have remained mainly dry, favouring later runners as the loose gravel is swept away. Despite it being early autumn in the southern hemisphere, the weather has been sunny with temperatures close to 30 degrees at times although the forecast suggests the possibility of some light rain to damp down the gravel tomorrow.
Tomorrow's leg features six more stages located to the north of Paparoa including two runs over the longest stage of the event, the 31.73kms Bull stage. Once those tests have been completed the cars return to Auckland for two runs over the crowd-pleasing Manukau superspecial stage. The leg is the longest of the event at 139.49kms in a total route of 415.66kms.
Armin Schwarz: "I had a launch control problem on the second stage but otherwise everything is fine. There is a lot of loose gravel outside the clean lines and if you get onto it you lose a lot of grip immediately. The stages are really good here and this afternoon when they were cleaner it was possible to push with a lot more confidence and my times were closer to the leading cars."
Janne Tuohino: "I reversed out of the service bay quite normally but as soon as I selected first gear there was no throttle. I had to put it out of my mind quickly and concentrate on driving cleanly. This is my first Rally New Zealand so I've been trying to drive with some safety in mind and just get quicker step by step. I tried wider tyres this afternoon but I preferred the handling of the narrow ones so I will probably use those for the rest of the event."
Martin Muehlmeier (Head of Škoda Motorsport): "We saw today a much better example of what the Fabia WRC 05 can do. The ECU problem was something we have never experienced before. Hopefully tomorrow we can move up the leaderboard and get closer to the overall results we are looking for."