Saturday 4 July 2015

Rally - Hot Polish pace

For the second day running in Poland, speeds on this latest round of the World Rally Championship were almost as high as yesterday with average speeds of close to 130kph on today's eight stages.

Second in the running order, Mads Østberg had to sweep the road again this morning. Trailing Dani Sordo by 6.1 seconds after SS10, the Norwegian moved ahead of his rival on Swietajno (SS12) to grab ninth position, just behind his team-mate Kris Meeke.

The Ulsterman was also gradually closing on Robert Kubica, who was running seventh. Hitting top speeds of around 191kph on occasion, Kris closed to within ten seconds of the local hero.

Thanks to a good tyre choice for the second section, both crews made up ground, edging closer to Kubica. They have two stages left tomorrow before the end of the rally.

Kris commented: “Since going off during the shakedown, I’ve been struggling to find that extra bit of confidence you need to be at the front on this kind of surface. We are trying to maintain a good pace to score some points. This afternoon, we chose to go with three hard tyres and one soft. It wasn’t perfect, but it was pretty close the ideal balance. Despite the dust, we were very close to the times of the leaders. So it’s fairly encouraging. Robert Kubica isn’t too far ahead of us. It won’t be easy to get past him but we’ll see what we can do tomorrow!”

Mads Østberg added: “It wasn’t easy to start in second position on the road but compared with the drivers who started later on, our pace was pretty good. It’s all about the details, small things can make a difference in making up a little bit of time. At the midday service, we changed the set-up and made the right tyre choice. On the swept roads, we were much closer to the leaders in the afternoon and the results were encouraging.”

In the FIA Junior WRC, Welshman Osian Pryce lost first position on the penultimate stage due to a misfiring engine. Forced to retire this morning, championship leader Quentin Gilbert was unable to take advantage. It was Italian Simone Tempestini who inherited the class lead and will start the final day over a minute ahead of Osian Pryce and the Finn Henri Haapamaki.

1. Sébastien Ogier / Julien Ingrassia (Volkswagen Polo R WRC) 2:12:23.2
2. Andreas Mikkelsen / Ola Floene (Volkswagen Polo R WRC) +5.6
3. Ott Tanak / Raigo Molder (Ford Fiesta RS WRC) +17.6
4. Jari-Matti Latvala / Miikka Anttila (Volkswagen Polo R WRC) +19.1
5. Hayden Paddon / John Kennard (Hyundai i20 WRC) +55.7
6. Thierry Neuville / Nicolas Gilsoul (Hyundai i20 WRC) +1:15.1
7. Robert Kubica / Maciej Szczepaniak (Ford Fiesta RS WRC) +1:29.2
8. Kris Meeke / Paul Nagle (DS 3 WRC) +1:39.4
9. Mads Østberg / Jonas Andersson (DS 3 WRC) +1:56.0

10. Dani Sordo / Marc Marti (Hyundai i20 WRC) +2:17.1…

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