WRC

Safari Rally: End of Leg 2

<pre> END OF LEG 2 OUTRIGHT 1 C.McRae Ford Focus RS WRC 5:39:02,3 2 Rovanpera Peugeot 206 WRC 5:41:29,0 3 Radstrom Citroen Xsara WRC 5:52:20,5 4 Loeb ...

<pre> END OF LEG 2

OUTRIGHT

1 C.McRae               Ford Focus RS WRC               5:39:02,3
2 Rovanpera             Peugeot 206 WRC                 5:41:29,0
3 Radstrom              Citroen Xsara WRC               5:52:20,5
4 Loeb                  Citroen Xsara WRC               5:55:53,2
5 Martin                Ford Focus RS WRC               5:59:53,3
6 Panizzi               Peugeot 206 WRC                 6:13:45,6
7 Kresta                Skoda Octavia WRC               6:17:09,5
8 Kankkunen             Hyundai Accent WRC              6:17:28,2
9 A.McRae               Mitsubishi Lancer WRC           6:42:31,5
10 Ligato               Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 6         7:27:33,8

GROUP N

1 Ligato                Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 6         7:27:33,8
2 Arai                  Subaru Impreza WRX              7:30:05,5
3 Singh                 Proton Pert                     7:36:08,4

__________________________________________________________________

COMPETITIVE STAGE (CS) WINNERS

CS5 - Loeb, CS6 - cancelled, CS7 - Burns, CS8 - Panizzi, CS9 - Loeb __________________________________________________________________

LEADING RETIREMENTS

CS8 Burns               Peugeot 206 WRC         Mechanical
CS8 Sainz               Ford Focus RS WRC       Oil Pump
CS8 Makinen             Subaru Impreza WRC      Mechanical
CS7 Eriksson            Skoda Octavia WRC       Gearbox
CS4 Solberg             Subaru Impreza WRC      Mechanical
CS4 Gardemeister        Skoda Octavia WRC       Suspension
CS3 Delecour            Mitsubishi Lancer WRC   Overheating
CS1 Gronholm            Peugeot 206 WRC         Engine failure
CS1 Schwarz             Hyundai Accent WRC      Mechanical
CS1 Loix                Hyundai Accent WRC      Clutch

__________________________________________________________________

</pre> Extract from Official FIA Press Release http://www.fia.com

Saturday, 13th July 2002

Ford driver Colin McRae has taken over the lead of the eighth round of the FIA World Rally Championship, the Safari Rally, which continued in Kenya today. The Scot and navigator Nicky Grist grabbed the top spot from Tommi Mäkinen when the Finn hit problems in this morning's opening stage, and they have consolidated their advantage throughout the day's competitive sections.

Mäkinen was one of many leading drivers to hit trouble on the demanding African event. McRae's Ford team-mate Carlos Sainz retired with engine problems, Mäkinen himself succumbed to suspension damage and reigning world champion Richard Burns was forced out within sight of his own service trucks when he got his damaged Peugeot stuck in the entry to the Suswa service area.

FORD

Technical: The Focus RS WRC02s of Colin McRae and Markko Martin have been generally reliable today, although Martin complained of excessive oversteer in the day's opening section. Carlos Sainz had to stop and change a puncture in CS7, and then the Spaniard's engine lost oil pressure in the following section and he was forced to retire on the spot. Martin did lose time in road penalties this evening, though, when there were complications during a precautionary oil pump belt change.

Sporting: Colin McRae was held up by Tommi Mäkinen's dust for around 20km of the day's opening competitive section, but the Scot still set a fast time to move into the lead and he built up that advantage throughout the rest of the day to arrive back in Nairobi this evening with a cushion of nearly two and a half minutes. Carlos Sainz lost time when he had to stop and change a puncture in CS7, but the Spaniard benefited from Mäkinen's problems as he moved into a battle with Harri Rovanperä for second overall. His hopes were dashed, however, by a terminal loss of oil pressure in his engine halfway through CS8. Markko Martin has again concentrated on building up experience of the Kenyan stages, but the Estonian's steady pace has kept him inside the top six. The retirements of Mäkinen and Sainz helped him into third, although road penalties incurred because of complications during an oil pump belt change dropped him to fifth overnight.

Quotes: Colin McRae said: "We're running at what I'd call a comfortable pace, not taking any big risks. But it's far from over yet - Harri's going well too, so there's still pressure. We're not going to try to retaliate to his pace - this speed has worked well so far so we'll just keep it tomorrow. I think if Harri keeps pushing he might easily have problems."

PEUGEOT

Technical: The 206 WRCs of Harri Rovanperä and Gilles Panizzi have been reliable today, but Richard Burns broke a crossmember near the end of CS8. Although he reached service with the left-front wheel tucked up into the arch, the reigning world champion then got stuck in the deep sand at the entrance to the service area and he was forced to retire.

Sporting: Both Harri Rovanperä and Richard Burns upped their pace today. Rovanperä benefited from the problems that hit Kenneth Eriksson and Tommi Mäkinen, as he charged further into the top three. The Finn soon became embroiled in a battle with Carlos Sainz for second overall - the Spaniard's retirement handed that place to Rovanperä, and he'd also closed the gap to leader Colin McRae to just under two and a half minutes by the end of the day. Burns, meanwhile, admitted to taking risks as he set fastest time (his first of the event) in CS7. But in the very next section, he broke a bolt on the crossmember and even though he struggled to service with a damaged left-front wheel, he got stuck in deep sand at the gateway to the service park. Despite the best efforts of Burns and navigator Robert Reid, the 206 WRC was firmly embedded in the soil and they eventually went beyond their maximum lateness. The second remaining 206 WRC of Gilles Panizzi has maintained a steady pace today and the Frenchman holds sixth overnight.

Quotes: Harri Rovanperä said: "It's been a hard day. I've been pushing a bit harder but we can't really take too many risks tomorrow. I think the aim has to be to get back to the finish."

Richard Burns said: "That's easily the most disappointing retirement that I've ever had from a rally. We managed 50km of road section with the problem, and to retire in the service park is a complete insult. I don't know what else to say."

CITROEN

Technical: Thomas Radstrom picked up 10 seconds of road penalties this morning when his Citroen team elected to change his gearbox after he hit clutch trouble on the road sections to and from Nairobi. That change meant that the Swede wasn't able to pick his preferred suspension, so he had to cope with too harsh a ride for his liking during the opening section. His Xsara performed reliably thereafter. Sebastien Loeb's car, meanwhile, has been reliable today.

Sporting: Both Citroen drivers have been much happier today, after the team changed the specification of its shock absorbers back to the version it had used yesterday morning. Thomas Radstrom's improved pace allowed the Swede to move back towards the top six, and the various retirements lifted him to fourth by the end of the day. A number of fastest times, meanwhile, moved Loeb into fifth by the time he returned to Nairobi this evening.

Quotes: Thomas Radstrom said: "I'm much happier now that I've got the type of suspension that like. It was bad this morning because we realised that the team would have to change the gearbox and that meant there wouldn't be time to really get the right suspension on the car, so we had to do one more section with far too hard a ride. It's very difficult to drive when it's like that, but I know that when we have the right set-up we can be on a good pace."

SKODA

Technical: Kenneth Eriksson was forced to retire his Octavia WRC this morning, when he damaged a driveshaft in the day's third competitive section. Although he reached service, his car's transmission was very sick and the veteran Swede was unable to get his Octavia up the stone rampway leading into the service park, so he retired. The remaining Octavia of Roman Kresta has been generally reliable, although he did pick up road penalties when his team changed a gearbox in service this afternoon and ran over its time limit.

Sporting: Kenneth Eriksson's hopes of scoring points for Skoda looked set to be fulfilled this morning, as the Swede maintained his strong run in a top six place. But in CS7, he broke a driveshaft and although he reached the following service, his car's transmission was very sick and Eriksson was unable to drive up the stone rampway into the service park. He retired on the spot, almost within sight of his service crew's trucks. Roman Kresta, meanwhile, lost some time with gearbox problems but the young Czech driver's steady pace allowed him to benefit from the numerous retirements. He holds seventh overnight.

Quotes: Roman Kresta said: "I'm just trying to gain experience here but it seems so many other people are having problems that we now have a chance of points. I'm not getting excited, though - we've seen how tough this rally is and that you cannot think about the finish yet."

HYUNDAI

Technical: The sole remaining Accent WRC3 has been generally reliable today, although Juha Kankkunen's car did suffer two broken shock absorbers (both at the rear) during CS7. The team also elected to change the front differential at this morning's first service, after concerns about traces of metal found in oils taken from the unit yesterday. The Hyundai mechanics worked hard to get the four-times world champion back out of service within the allotted 20 minutes. The team changed the car's turbo at this evening's final service, after it had completed the final competitive section with an intercooler that was blocked with mud.

Sporting: Juha Kankkunen entered today's action knowing that his Hyundai team was desperate to gain further kilometres and experience of the Safari conditions. The veteran Finn duly obliged, adopting a steady pace that allowed for data gathering without risking terminal damage to the car. He suffered a late scare when he filled his car's intercooler with mud in the last section of the day, but the four times world champion still arrived back in Nairobi in eighth.

Quotes: Juha Kankkunen said: "I'm quite pleased that we're still going and still learning for the team. The aim here is to get kilometres so the team has plenty of data and learns about the Safari conditions. Our car isn't full Safari specification and we've had the odd problem, like the two broken rear shock absorbers in one section, but we're still going."

MITSUBISHI

Technical: The Lancer Evo WRC of Alister McRae has been basically reliable today, although he broke a rear damper top mounting in the day's penultimate competitive section.

Sporting: Alister McRae is now hoping to maintain a steady pace and pick up places as others hit trouble and his policy paid off as he benefited from the retirements of Frederic Dor and Kenneth Eriksson to move towards the top 10. The later problems that claimed Mäkinen, Burns and Sainz moved the 1995 British champion into ninth by the end of the day.

Quotes: Alister McRae said: "We've had no really major problems today and I've just been trying to find a reasonable speed that keeps us in touch and allows us reliability to take advantage when other guys have problems. We've made up a few places, although we'd have liked the second section to have run because we went well in there yesterday and more guys in front could have had dropped out. But we're still going and as we've seen so far, reliability's crucial here."

SUBARU

Technical: Tommi Mäkinen lost time on this morning's opening section with suspension problems. The Finn felt that the rear of the car was behaving strangely even as he left service, and both rear dampers began to leak oil on the road to the competitive section. He had to slow accordingly. He suffered a puncture and had to stop to change a wheel in CS7, and then he broke a wishbone after 30km of CS8 and was forced to retire on the spot.

Sporting: Tommi Mäkinen lost his overnight lead in this morning's opening competitive section after his Impreza suffered from rear damper failures. The Subaru team is still investigating the cause of the problem, which started as the car left the first service after the run-out from Nairobi. The Finn dropped out of the top three as a result and also incurred the wrath of Colin McRae, who felt that the Subaru driver had been too slow in moving over to allow him past in CS5. Mäkinen then lost more time in CS7 when he had to stop to change a puncture, incurred as he caught Carlos Sainz in the section. His miserable day ended when he retired with a broken wishbone in CS8, Quotes: Tommi Mäkinen said: "We must have hit something quite hard because very suddenly, the wishbone just broke completely. There was no way we could continue with damage like that and so much of the section still to go, so we had to retire. I'm disappointed, of course, particularly since I thought we could get back towards the points, even after our problems this morning."

OTHER ENTRIES

Marcos Ligato continues to lead the Group N category for more standard machinery, ahead of Japanese driver Toshihiro Arai. The event claimed leading privateer Frederic Dor this morning, however; the French shipping magnate retired with a broken wishbone.

-fia-

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About this article
Series WRC
Drivers Tommi Makinen , Colin McRae , Carlos Sainz , Toshihiro Arai , Richard Burns , Harri Rovanpera , Gilles Panizzi , Alister McRae , Sébastien Loeb , Thomas Radstrom , Juha Kankkunen , Kenneth Eriksson , Robert Reid , Nicky Grist , Frederic Dor , Roman Kresta , Markko Martin
Teams Citroën World Rally Team