Tough opening day for Å koda Motorsport in Sanremo Toni Gardemeister crashes out on second stage The Å koda Motorsport World Rally Team finished the opening day of the Sanremo Rally with just one Fabia WRC still running. After a difficult ...
Tough opening day for Škoda Motorsport in Sanremo
Toni Gardemeister crashes out on second stage
The Škoda Motorsport World Rally Team finished the opening day of the Sanremo Rally with just one Fabia WRC still running. After a difficult day, Didier Auriol lies 13th but Toni Gardemeister retired from the rally on SS2.
This morning Didier managed to find the kind of balance on the Fabia WRC that he had discovered during pre-rally tests in Spain. He was slowed a little on the second stage by the thick fog that covered the summit of Monte Ceppo, the highest point of the rally at 1500 metres.
Didier said: "Visibility was quite bad at the summit and I had to slow down much more than usual. "The Fabia handles well and is very easy to drive when the settings are like this. However we still have to find more performance from the engine to make the most of this good handling."
Toni's Sanremo Rally was short-lived as he crashed out of the event on only the second stage. He had suffered a brake problem on the opening stage and had topped up the brake fluid before starting SS2 but the problem returned 21kms into the stage.
Toni explained: "At the end of a long straight I tried to brake for the right hand corner but the pedal just went straight to the floor. I threw the car 90° using the handbrake to try and scrub off some speed but the car hit a wall and flipped onto my side.
"The car then slid off the road, turning onto its right side before finally stopping against some trees. We were very lucky that they were there because the drop beyond them was very big indeed."
Although shaken, neither Toni nor co-driver Paavo Lukander were hurt in the accident.
Director of Škoda Motorsport, Petr Kohoutek said: "The brake failure was caused by overheating fluid. Toni and Paavo were lucky that they escaped unscathed. Obviously our car needs more speed but, although we found some improvements during our tests in Corsica and Spain we have not so far been able to make those changes work in Sanremo. Engine development will take more time than we have between events at the moment."
Tomorrow's second leg is the longest of the rally despite having just four stages. Teglia, run as SS7 and SS10, is the longest stage of the event at 52.30kms and is expected to test the endurance of tyres, car and driver. The other two stages are each run once although they are both stages that were used today. There are a total of 149.10 stage kilometres scheduled, starting at 0700 and finishing at 1920.