Robert Kubica and Robert Barrable were able to re-start Rally Wales GB this morning after a hectic overnight’s work especially for the Citroen team, as Barrable only needed a gearbox change in the Ford, whereas Kubica’s car needed some cosmetic attention as well as mechanical repair. Fortunately it was a soft roll yesterday into a soft ditch.
After 2 stages this morning, Barrable was a bit more upbeat after yesterday’s troubles, but there was still some concern etched on his face: “The car is working really well now. We had to change the gearbox and the spare one doesn't have the perfect set-up. Finding a rhythm is still difficult. We didn't have any moments, the notes seemed to work really well.”
But it looks as though Evgeny Novikov is off in SS11, the Russian driver appearing to lose the Fiesta under braking for a tight right-hander.
At the end of the same stage, Mark Higgins commented: “It's going alright. In the first stage this morning we had a bit of a misfire. We've enjoyed it, but it's very easy to have a moment. You find grip in one corner, push into the next and then find the grip has gone. Quite a big misfire, and I have problems with gears four and five.” But he’s now got a serious fight on his hands with the young Finn, Jari Ketomaa who has moved ahead of him into 9th place.
Leaderboard after 13 (of 22) stages:
1, S. Ogier, 2h 18m 10.6s
2, J. Latvala, 2h 18m 35.6s, +25.0
3, T. Neuville, 2h 19m 23.2s, +1:12.6
4, A. Mikkelsen, 2h 19ms 48.4s, +1:37.8
5, M. Østberg, 2h 19m 58.6s, +1:48.0
6, M. Prokop, 2h 24m 33.0s, +6:22.4
7, D. Sordo, 2h 25m 46.2s, +7:35.6
8, E. Evans, (WRC2), 2h 26m 36.4s, +8:25.8
9, J. Ketomaa, (WRC2), 2h 27m 37.9s, +9:27.3
10 M. Higgins, (WRC2), 2h 27m 56.7s, +9:46.1
14, T. Cave, (WRC2), 2h 32m 51.2s, +14:40.6
20, M. Taylor, 2h 43m 07.7s, +24:57.1
21, R. Barrable, (WRC2), 2h 46m 54.1s, +28:43.5
22, T Jardine, 2h 49m 50.9s, +31:40.3
26, E Boland, 2h 52m 43.5s, +34:32.9
28, T Ford, 2h 55m 44.5s, +37:33.9
33, O Pryce, 2h 59m 13.9s
34, K. Cronin, (WRC3), 3h 04m 06.2s, +45:55.6
35, P. Morrow, 3h 04m 50.2s, +46:39.6
And after the first stage this morning, Tony Jardine heaved a wee sigh of relief: “This is the stage where Amy was ill on the recce, but it went OK and we beat the guys in front of us.”
As for the Nationals, they’ll be underway shortly to start today’s three stage run. More news soon, hopefully.