OMV Kronos Citroen World Rally Team within scoring ranks o Daniel Carlsson/Denis Giraudet demonstrate their forte with third- best SS-time o Manfred Stohl/Ilka Minor finish leg one in eighth place o Last year's winner GrÃ¶nholm leads...
OMV Kronos Citroen World Rally Team within scoring ranks
o Daniel Carlsson/Denis Giraudet demonstrate their forte with third- best SS-time
o Manfred Stohl/Ilka Minor finish leg one in eighth place
o Last year's winner Grönholm leads in front of Loeb and Petter Solberg
The OMV Kronos Citroen World Rally Team has finished the first leg of the "Uddeholm Swedish Rally" with both pilots within scoring ranks. Local hero Daniel Carlsson lies in seventh place following a sensational race to catch up. The Austrian OMV Team Manfred Stohl and Ilka Minor currently take eighth overall place. But they are not far behind the top ranks.
Carlsson is getting used to the Xsara
Daniel Carlsson and Denis Giraudet are getting a better and better grip on the Citroen Xsara WRC. Following 19th place at the initial special stage on Thursday evening the 30-year-old Swede started a brilliant race to catch up. While Friday morning was still under the sign of getting to know car and conditions, the afternoon saw the OMV duo already close to the top drivers. With third-best overall time on special stage seven (Vargasen, 24,63 kilometres) Calsson demonstrated for the first time what could be possible at his home rally. After the first leg he lies in seventh overall place in the intermediate standings. Carlsson: "Considering that it is a new car and that I also have a new co-driver I am rather content. In the afternoon we accepted some time loss on the first two special stages in order to attack on the long special stage. That payed off. I am very confident that we will move up even further on Saturday. After all, we are only 21,5 seconds behind the podium."
It should go even faster
OMV Kronos Citroen World Rally Teammate Manfred Stohl also believes in an improved performance on Saturday. So far the 34-year-old Austrian has performed an absolutely faultless rally - except for the choice of tyres which could have been better in the afternoon. Stohl chose 8 millimetres long spikes when a shorter version might have been more efficient. Stohl: "It is extremely slippery. But that is the same for all drivers. Perhaps I was a bit too cautious. Yet I am not discontent since I am not far behind. Tomorrow we will face a very long leg with almost 142 SS-kilometres. Then the overall ranking will surely look differently."
Grönholm in last year's form
In the overall ranking last year's winner Marcus Grönholm is once again top. The Finnish Ford works driver leads by 11,1 seconds on Sebastien Loeb (Fra/Citroen C4 WRC) and by 22,6 seconds on Petter Solberg (Nor/Subaru Impreza WRC). These three drivers also have dominated the Sweden Rally during the last seven years. Grönholm won in 2000, 2002, 2003 and 2006, Solberg 2005 and Loeb, as first non-Scandinavian, in the year 2004.