Motorsport Italia team co-ordinator Jack de Keijzer reflects on day two of Rally Mexico where Michal Kosciuszko lost nearly seven minutes in SS18 with a transmission problem on his Lotos Team WRC-run MINI John Cooper Works WRC car...
Hello everyone, Jack again.
It was even hotter today than yesterday with outside temperatures well above 30 degrees. You can imagine the temperature inside the cars for the crews!
Today wasn't an easy day for Michal. The morning loop went well. Michal wasn't first on the road in his MINI John Cooper Works Countryman WRC, which was better for him! However, the more aggressive driving style of the driver in front meant that the lines in the road ahead of him were different to those in Michal's pace notes, so on occasion Michal had to carve his own path.
At midday service, Michal was happy with his first pass. We only altered the set-up slightly; making changes to the front anti-roll bar and putting into place an appropriate second pass ride-height. Michal also opted for soft DMACK tyres instead of the hard ones used on the first loop.
The afternoon should have been easier and the stages cleaner. However, Michal lost around one minute on SS17, because he was worried that the engine was too warm and chose to slow down and drive carefully for the last 10km of the stage.
His concerns were fortunately unfounded, but then the real problem hit on SS18. An issue with the transmission on the 42.17km SS18, Otates 2, left Michal with only front-wheel drive and a time loss of nearly seven minutes, including 54 seconds when he pulled over to make sure the car behind could get past cleanly and didn't suffer because of Michal's problems.
Fortunately, we were able to change the rear differential and fix the problem at service this evening. The technicians did a great job, doing everything efficiently and well within the 45-minute service time allocated.
Tomorrow is the final day of the rally and the itinerary offers the longest stage of the rally, the 54.85km Guanajuatito Stage. We hope that Michal's troubles are now over and he has a clear run tomorrow.
From Leon, Mexico, I leave you in Dutch: 'Doei en Tot Ziens'.