Peugeot driver Harri Rovanpera has maintained fifth place after a challenging second leg of the Rally Great Britain. Freddy Loix ends the day in seventh place. Conditions were much colder than yesterday as the crews set out to tackle 138 ...
Peugeot driver Harri Rovanpera has maintained fifth place after a challenging second leg of the Rally Great Britain. Freddy Loix ends the day in seventh place.
Conditions were much colder than yesterday as the crews set out to tackle 138 competitive kilometres over eight stages. The weather remained dry, although the gravel roads were still incredibly slippery. Four stages were run in a row this morning, and the leg concluded with a final run through the spectator superspecial in Cardiff Docks.
Harri had a trouble-free run today at the wheel of his 206 WRC. He felt that he had chosen tyres that were too hard for the morning's stages, and he made a couple of adjustments at the midday service halt. During the afternoon he had a good feeling with the car, but the gap to the car in front of him was too big for Harri to improve on his position.
He said: "I thought the weather would be warmer than it actually was, which is one of the reasons why we chose tyres that were too hard in the morning. Then at lunchtime we made some adjustments, which included making the suspension softer. That worked well, but I'm a little bit surprised that the gaps are so big. Tomorrow I will keep pushing, but with a safe margin as well."
Freddy continued the steep learning curve that he started at the beginning of the rally, after being drafted in to deputise for the unwell Richard Burns at the last minute. He reported that this morning's stages were very slippery, but he continued to progressively adjust his Peugeot's settings to suit his style. He had a clean run through the afternoon's stages, and his 206 WRC suffered no mechanical problems.
Freddy commented: "Today has not been an easy day, but I'm gradually building up more confidence with the 206 WRC. We're already in a position to score driver and manufacturer points, which is good, but there's quite a big gap to the car in front. We changed the suspension to a slightly harder set-up this afternoon, but now I've gone back to the softest settings possible -- which gives me a better feeling."
In total, there are now five Peugeots in the top 10, thanks to some excellent performances from privateer drivers. Manfred Stohl ends the day eighth in his customer-specification 206 WRC, ahead of the similar cars of Roman Kresta in ninth and Juuso Pykalisto in 10th.
Gilles Panizzi was forced to retire from a strong sixth place this morning, when a transmission component failed on the way to the opening stage.
Tomorrow's final leg of the rally consists of just three special stages, with one service halt. The cars leave Parc Ferme in Cardiff at 0520, and the winner is expected on the finish ramp at 1534.