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ERC Açores 2013: Kubica rolls, drops - but keeps on going
27 April 2013
Skoda's Jan Kopecky leads the FIA ERC SATA Rallye Açores at the end of day 2 in Portugal by just over 13 seconds from Peugeot's Craig Breen, after previous overnight leader Robert Kubica lost time in thick fog in the final stage of the morning.
The conditions had dropped Kubica back to sixth place going into lunch thanks to conditions which reduced visibility to under ten metres in places.
Once in front, Kopecky put discretion before valour of the rest of the day and didn't top any of the stage times for the rest of the day. Breen won the final stage to claw 2.8 seconds back on the rally leader going into day 2 after suffering a puncture three kilometres into stage seven, while Bernardo Sousa led two in the Ford Fiesta RRC as he closed in on a tight three-way battle for third place with Bruno Magalhãesecs and Ricardo Moura, just 2.2 seconds covering the trio of cars at the end of Friday.
Also pressing hard in the afternoon to recover the morning's lost ground, Kubica topped the day's second tour through Batalha Golfe but then subsequently rolled his Citroen DS3 on what proved to be the final stage of the day, the second run through Feteiras.
"We went to a right-hander and I lost the car," the Polish driver explained. "The road was very narrow so we clipped a bank. We nearly managed to get it back but the bank was bigger and thicker and unfortunately it pulled us on the side and we rolled.
"At the end of the stage we managed to fix a bit the wheel and we managed to come back," he added. "The roll cage is okay from our point of view ... If we manage to get the car sorted out then after that we will see if we carry on."
Stage 12 - a return pass through Sete Cidades - was cancelled on safety grounds due to the return of even thicker fog, but that was a boost for Kubica who had been able to get his car to the end of Feteiras and who can now have his team work on the substantial damage to the #4 overnight.
The former F1 driver denied that the fog had contributed to his roll, however. “It was not an issue of visibility, the conditions are very difficult and very difficult for everybody," he said. "I was surprised how the car reacted. I was not expecting it.
"I was not pushing because we had bad luck with the fog at the end of the last stage of the first loop," he admitted. "Even driving at normal speed there was very poor grip in the corner and we lost the car. It was a result of a mistake. When you see the car like this you don't enjoy it.”
Kubica will be hoping for better conditions on Saturday, when the event The event restarts with the 20.82km Graminhais stage. And although he's leading the event, Kopecky will be hoping for a more comfortable time of it on Saturday as well.
“I was not so concentrated because my crotch strap was not quite in the right position and it was not very comfortable over every jump,” revealed the Czech champion.
“The conditions were very difficult today," he continued. "It's good to be leading but Saturday is the longest of the rally and there are some very tricky stages."
Some of those to have already fallen foul of Rallye Açores include Czech National Team driver Jan Cerny who suffered a fuel injector issue in the morning. Subsequently the front-left of his Skoda Fabia S2000 struck a rock on stage 8.
Meanwhile Mark Wallenwein had a spectacular roll on stage nine in his own Fabia; the car was righted with the help of spectators and he managed to continue, but as a result he dropped from eighth to 19th place and is now a little over 15 minutes off the lead time.
Miguel Barbosa leads the running in the ERC Production Car Cup, after GPD Mit Metal Racing Team's Jaroslav Orsak crashed out on stage eight, while Hannes Danzinger tops the ERC 2WD division thanks to Stéphane Lefebvre dropping on stage 10 as a result of having to repair a belt failure on his Peugeot 208 R2.
Molly Taylor's bid for success in the ERC Ladies' Trophy ended when she got stuck in mud avoiding Jean-Mathieu Leandri's stricken car one kilometre into Sete Cidades, handing the lead to Ekaterina Stratieva. Alessandro Bruschetta is the Napoca Rally Academy's leading runner in 11th.Top 25 at end of Day 2 (Stage 11)
1. #1 Jan Kopecky Skoda Motorsport 1hr 5mins 11.9secs
2. #2 Craig Breen Peugeot Rally Academy + 13.1secs
3. #8 Bruno Magalhãesecs Peugeot + 33.9secs
4. #6 Ricardo Moura Skoda Fabia + 35.5secs
5. #10 Bernardo Sousa Ford Fiesta + 36.1secs
6. #9 Jérémi Ancian Peugeot Rally Academy + 2:01.0secs
7. #11 Jean-Michel Raoux Peugeot 207 + 4mins 06.2secs
8. #4 Robert Kubica Citroen DS3 + 5mins 10.4secs
9. #18 Miguel Barbosa Mitsubishi Lancer + 6mins 01.6secs
10. #19 Luis Rego Mitsubishi Lancer + 7mins 07.7secs
11. #25 Alex Bruschetta Napoca Rally Team + 7mins 16.5secs
12. #14 Antonin Tlustak GPD Mit Metal Racing Team + 7mins 55.5secs
13. #12 János Puskádi Eurosol Racing Team + 8mins 06.4secs
14. #16 Marco Tempestini Napoca Rally Team + 8mins 09.2secs
15. #29 Hannes Danzinger Renault Clio + 8mins 59.1secs
16. #37 Diogo Gago Monteiros Competições + 11mins 10.5secs
17. #28 Zoltan Bessenyey Eurosol Racing Team + 11mins 33.9secs
18. #27 Luis Mota Competisport + 12mins 59.5secs
19. #7 Mark Wallenwein Skoda Fabia + 15mins 12.8secs
20. #35 Tobia Giuseppe Citroen DS3 + 17mins 47.4s
21. #36 Ekaterina Stratieva Citroen C2 + 18mins 13.9secs
22. #39 Florin Tincescu Dacia Logan + 18mins 16.2secs
23. #43 Rafael Botelho Citroen Saxo Cup + 22mins 06.7secs
24. #42 Claudio Batista Citroen C2 + 22mins 07.4secs
25. #31 Stéphane Lefebvre Peugeot Rally Academy + 25mins 25.8secs