Solberg keeps sixth after second day of development for SWRT Using the second day in Turkey to further develop the new Impreza WRC2008, the Subaru World Rally Team crew of Petter Solberg and Phil Mills retained their sixth position overall...
Solberg keeps sixth after second day of development for SWRT
Using the second day in Turkey to further develop the new Impreza WRC2008, the Subaru World Rally Team crew of Petter Solberg and Phil Mills retained their sixth position overall with one day remaining. Chris Atkinson and Stephane Prevot also took steps forward with the performance of their No.6 Impreza to demonstrate promising speed in tricky conditions.
Testing new setups on both cars in the afternoon, their respective performances improved on what were demanding roads with large rocks, ditches and tight corners aplenty. On the day's seven stages, including the second running of the Antalya spectator stage that got the event underway on Thursday evening, the team gained valuable experience as the development programme of the Impreza continued.
"We came here with a fairly conservative strategy but it's fair to say that we have learned a great deal already" said David Lapworth, SWRT Technical Director. "We've been able to make some decent changes and try a lot of new things, all of which are very important. Turkey, like Greece, was always a part of the development programme of what is still a very new car. At the current stage, the continual development is more important than stage times alone, although it is promising to see strong turns of pace that can allow us to fight firmly towards the front."
Compounding the challenge of the loose and narrow roads, Saturday was the hottest day of the weekend with a road temperature that soared to a scorching 48 degrees Celsius. As punishing for the Pirelli tyres as for the drivers and co-drivers with sweltering cockpit temperatures, it was a successful day of development for SWRT.
With another solid run and a problem-free day behind them, Solberg and Mills evaluated the changes made to their car and remain firmly within the points. Having made some changes during the morning's first service, the duo felt more comfortable with their Impreza on the twisty speed tests to conclude the second day of step-by-step progress intended from this event.
"We had a good steady pace today, no risks and no damage" commented Petter Solberg. "We drove well and made some positive changes to the car through the day. This is still really testing for us, so it's not been bad at all. There is still more to come so we must keep working, but steps at a time. Tomorrow we will do the same, make a few more changes, and see how much we can push."
After a steady morning, Atkinson's campaign was delayed by 11 minutes when an electrical problem meant he was late leaving the first midday service. After some positive developmental tweaks during the same service, the Australian continued pushing hard to post the second fastest time on the afternoon's opener, just tenths of a second from securing the new Impreza's second stage win in as many events.
Unfortunately, Atkinson and Prevot were prevented from maximising the benefit of further adjustments when they suffered from a hydraulic problem that struck during SS14. Affecting the following two stages before they were able to return to the day's final service, the duo lost a total of three minutes.
"It's disappointing to have had the problems we have had today" rued Chris Atkinson. "The team tried changes on the car in the services, so we will see how this will help us tomorrow and what we can do then. We just had a steady day, no risks and driving to the finish."
Tomorrow is by far the shortest day of the rally, comprising just three stages and 67.56km. It does however introduce the longest stage of the rally, the 31.03km Olympos test. This stage will be run twice, either side of the 5.5km Camyuva stage based in the nearby port town of the same name.