All three factory Peugeots are in solid points-scoring positions at the end of leg two of the Rallye de France-Tour de Corse. Reigning World Champion Marcus Gronholm has ended the day fifth, just ahead of Gilles Panizzi in sixth place. Richard...
All three factory Peugeots are in solid points-scoring positions at the end of leg two of the Rallye de France-Tour de Corse.
Reigning World Champion Marcus Gronholm has ended the day fifth, just ahead of Gilles Panizzi in sixth place. Richard Burns is eighth overnight.
Intermittent rain caused a dramatic second day in Corsica, as crews struggled to stay on the road and make the correct tyre choices. Overnight storms meant that the surfaces were damp as the drivers started the first of today's six special stages. This later turned into full rain, which even caught out the rally leader this morning.
Marcus started leg two in third place and had a good run through this morning's stages, saying that the car felt better in full rain than in mixed conditions. But like his team mates he chose too hard a tyre for the first run through today's longest stage, which cost him vital time. Marcus lost some more time with an overshoot on the slippery middle loop of stages, but plans to try and claw back the deficit tomorrow.
He said: " Today has been one of the most difficult days I can remember for quite a long time. A lot of it was run in mixed conditions - sometimes wet, sometimes dry - that I really hate. Getting the tyre choice right was very complicated and that's what cost us most time. But when the conditions are so difficult, it can be a bit of a lottery."
Gilles worked on the set-up of his car today, after starting the leg 11th. He quickly established some good settings that allowed him to set a fastest stage time on SS9. But Gilles then lost time through a tyre choice that was too hard for the afternoon's stages, and then by using rain tyres for the final stage that turned out to be mostly dry.
"It's ironic," he said. "The car is working really well now and I know I can drive it quickly. But the tyre choices have been all wrong and that's what's been losing us time. It's frustrating as we are capable of achieving so much more than this. But I have to hope for better luck tomorrow."
Richard's only incident today was a stall on a hairpin on SS9. The incident cost him a small amount of time, but he too was mostly handicapped by the unpredictability of the road surfaces. He had a bad tyre choice for the middle loop of stages, but believes he can consolidate his points-scoring position on the final day tomorrow.
Richard commented: "Tomorrow will hinge on the weather. If it stays dry, then I've got a very good chance of making up some places. But if it is wet, my job will be more tricky. Today has not been at all easy, but at least we're still here."
More overnight rain is predicted this evening, with tomorrow expected to be at least partially damp. The final leg of the Rallye de France - Tour de Corse consists of four stages, with the winner due on the finish ramp in Ajaccio at 1430.