OMV Kronos Citroen WRT in places 7 and 9 after first leg Faultless first day for Manfred Stohl and Ilka Minor Daniel Carlsson and Denis Giraudet on the verge of scoring points The OMV Kronos Citroen World Rally Team completed a faultless...
OMV Kronos Citroen WRT in places 7 and 9 after first leg
Faultless first day for Manfred Stohl and Ilka Minor
Daniel Carlsson and Denis Giraudet on the verge of scoring points
The OMV Kronos Citroen World Rally Team completed a faultless first day at the "Vodafone Rally de Portugal". Manfred Stohl and Ilka Minor lie in seventh overall place after 122,79 SS-kilometres. The Swedish-French OMV Team with Daniel Carlsson and Denis Giraudet is in ninth place, just outside scoring ranks. Both OMV Teams promise to improve their places on Saturday.
More slippery than expected
Manfred Stohl already had an aha experience on the first special stage of the day. The special stages at the Agarve proved to be far more slippery than expected. Therefore acting with caution was paramount in order to avoid an early drop out. Subsequently the 34-year-old OMV driver fought a tough duel with Jari-Matti Latvala (Fin/Ford Focus WRC). The OMV duo Stohl/Minor finished the first leg in seventh overall place. Only 18,8 seconds are missing on Latvala. Stohl: "All in all I am quite satisfied. To me, this rally is a preparation for Argentina, Sardinia and Greece. We want to further develop the car on gravel and are on the search for the perfect set-up. I am certain that we will be able to distinctly turn the speed up on Saturday."
Knowing the course only helps so far
Knowing the course only helped OMV Kronos Citroen Teammate Daniel Carlsson to a certain extent. Even though the 30-year-old Swede had won this rally two years ago the difference between a national championship run and a WRC- run is quite large. Carlsson: "It is like a new rally to us. Of course, you get a feeling for the stages but you hardly remember what it was like two years ago. We are quite satisfied with today. Like Manfred I think that I can improve on Saturday." Currently Carlsson/Giraudet are in ninth overall place. At the moment they miss 7,2 seconds on scoring ranks.
Exciting duel Grönholm versus Loeb
Following his victory on the super stage on Thursday Marcus Grönholm also set the pace in the beginning on Friday. The Finnish Ford works driver already had a lead of 12,8 seconds on Sebastien Loeb (Fra/Citroen C4 WRC) after three special stages. But then the three-times World Champion started to catch up and had closed in to 1,5 seconds on Grönholm by SS 6. At the end of the leg the Frenchman had a lead of 3,1 seconds. Mikko Hirvonen (Fin/Ford Focus WRC) currently takes third place, 25,3 seconds behind.
The longest day
The second leg of the Portugal Rally leads over 152,92 special stage kilometres (two identical turns, each 76,46 kilometres long). Six special stages will be completed of which SS 8 and 11 (Silves/Ourique) are the longest of the whole rally with 30,69 kilometres each. The start will be at 8:30 at the Algarve Stadium where the first car also is expected back at the leg finish at 18.00.
-credit: omv kronos