Sunday, 24 May 2015

Rally - False hope

I suppose it was only to be expected. The VWs are back in control after Day 2 of Rally de Portugal, in 1st, 2nd and 4th places, but there's a French/Ulster twist in the mix, Meeke is third. 

So just how hard was Ogier trying on Saturday? "Julien and I risked everything today," said Sebastien Ogier. "On top of that, our tyre strategy paid off. Overall I am more than happy with our position going into the final day. I feel that we did a perfect job in the cockpit. A little over nine seconds means that it won't be that easy to catch Jari-Matti Latvala tomorrow, but it's not impossible either. On Sunday I'll give one hundred percent – and then we'll see what we can achieve with that."

Rally leader, Jari-Matti Latvala said: "It was a day of many positives, but also a few negatives for us. The conditions were anything but easy, it was extremely slippery on the special stages and there were some stones on the track here and there. On the first stage I lost around five seconds due to a driving error, and Kris Meeke made up a lot of time by the first service. I turned it around in the afternoon and was able to edge away from Meeke again. But my team-mate Sébastien Ogier really piled on the pressure all day and is now breathing down my neck."
 As for Meeke: “I drove at my own pace without worrying about the times of the other guys. My goal is still to make it to the finish and score good points. We’ve had two good days since the start, so we’re fairly pleased for the moment. We have to keep it up and that way, we’ll get another good result here.”

There was more bad luck on Saturday for young Elfyn Evans. After the first day's electrical problem, they hit a bank midway through the first test of Day 2 which damaged the Fiesta's front-left suspension. Then he had to extinguish a fire caused by the impact splitting an oil pipe!

"It's fair to say that we're all really disappointed," said Elfyn, "Okay there was a little mishap that put us back yesterday, but we were looking forward to getting back out and making the most of the new car. It's really disappointing for myself and Dan [Barritt, co-driver] and also for the team who worked so hard to get the car ready for us."

"It was a clumsy error on my part. I got the car set-up for the corner, it gripped in and I went too hard on the inside. We hit the bank, a big stone ripped the suspension off the car, and that was that."

"I had no idea the car was on fire until long after we stopped. My initial reaction was to try and fix the car so I jumped out and went straight to the boot. Then Dan shouted that it was on fire and there was a fairly rapid change of action! We think the fire was caused by an oil pipe which split when the wheel was ripped off. Luckily we managed to put it out because I had visions of Mikko's [Hirvonen] car from Sardinia last year and that would have been an absolutely disastrous end to what has already been a very disappointing event!"

Leaderboard after Day 2
1. Jari-Matti Latvala / Miikka Anttila (Volkswagen Polo R WRC) 2:56:19.9
2. Sébastien Ogier / Julien Ingrassia (Volkswagen Polo R WRC) +9.5
3. Kris Meeke / Paul Nagle (DS 3 WRC) +20.0
4. Andreas Mikkelsen / Ola Floene (Volkswagen Polo R WRC) +21.1
5. Ott Tanak / Raigo Molder (Ford Fiesta RS WRC) +1:11.1
6. Dani Sordo / Marc Marti (Hyundai i20 WRC) +1:55.4
7. Hayden Paddon / John Kennard (Hyundai i20 WRC) +2:01.0
8. Mads Østberg / Jonas Andersson (DS 3 WRC) +2:05.0
9. Robert Kubica / Maciej Szczepaniak (Ford Fiesta RS WRC) +3:06.9
10. Martin Prokop / Jan Tomanek (Ford Fiesta RS WRC) +5:49.7

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