WRC »

Gronholm leads the way in Wales.

Both Armin Schwarz and Bruno Thiry complained of nervous handling on their Skoda Octavia WRCs during this morning's opening three stages (Thiry's concerns lasted into the afternoon), but the cars have been reliable otherwise. Czech driver Roman Kresta reported no major problems with his Octavia either.

Armin Schwarz has a good record on the Rally GB and the German performed well in this morning's tricky conditions to bring his Octavia WRC to the fringes of the points placings. He entered this evening's final pair of stages in eighth, fighting with the Ford Focuses of Carlos Sainz and Mark Higgins.

Bruno Thiry hasn't been so fortunate - the Belgian has been unhappy with his car's centre differential, which he believes is making the Octavia's handling unpredictable. He struggled to get into the top ten as a result. Roman Kresta has concentrated on gaining experience on his first Octavia WRC outing in the British forests but rolled it in the last stage of the day and retired.

Armin Schwarz said: ''It's been going well. The tracking of the car wasn't right this morning, which is why it was nervous, but once we fixed that at the first main service it felt a lot better. It's been so slippery today and sometimes we've felt that the tyres have been too hard, when they haven't! All we can do is keep trying at this pace and see what happens.''

Of the other teams overnight leader in the FIA Super 1600 Cup Sebastien Loeb didn't have long to enjoy his advantage. Francois Duval moved into the category lead on this morning's first stage. The Belgian Ford driver crashed out in SS4, though, allowing the newly-crowned S1600 champion back into the top position. He was being kept under pressure by Andrea Dallavilla, though, as the Italian adapted to the Welsh forests on his first visit.

The Group N category for more standard machinery is being led by Peruvian driver Ramon Ferreyros, driving a Mitsubishi Lancer once campaigned by multiple class champ Gustavo Trelles.


Rally statistics:

Starters: 117 cars (73 Group A + 44 Group N) started the rally

Retirements: McRae (GB), Makinen (FIN), Solberg (N), Liatti (I), Martin (EE), Panizzi (F) + 17 other drivers

Today - Friday 23 November:
The second part of Leg 1 started from Cardiff at 06h00 and covered 640.00km, including 137.26km on seven special stages.

Tomorrow - Saturday 24 November:
Leg 2 starts from Cardiff at 07h00 and covers 535.91km, including 132.89km on five special stages. The first car is expected to arrive in Cardiff at 20h10.

Weather forecast:
Cloudy but mild, with increasing chance of showers


Stage by stage summary - Leg one:

SS1 Cardiff superspecial 1 (2.45kms)*:
1. C. McRae (GB) Ford 2m 10.1
2. Solberg (N) Subaru 2m 10.2
3. Sainz (E) Ford 2m 10.8

* This stage was run yesterday evening.

SS2 St Gwynno (13.67kms):
1. C. McRae (GB) Ford 6m 34.7
2. Grönholm (FIN) Peugeot 6m 36.5
3. Auriol (F) Peugeot 6m 37.8

Leaders after SS2:
1. C. McRae (GB) Ford 8m 44.8
2. Grönholml (FIN) Peugeot 8m 47.7
3. Auriol (F) Peugeot 8m 49.6

SS3 Tyle (10.55kms):
1. Grönholm (FIN) Peugeot 5m 41.7
2. Auriol (F) Peugeot 5m 44.2
3. Burns (GB) Subaru 5m 44.5

Leaders after SS3:
1. McRae (GB) Ford 14m 29.4
2. Grönholm (FIN) Peugeot 14m 29.6
3. Auriol (F) Peugeot 14m 33.8

SS4 Rhondda 1 (26.47kms):
1. Grönholm (FIN) Peugeot 14m 09.3
2. Auriol (F) Peugeot 14m 17.0
3. Burns (GB) Subaru 14m 21.6

Leaders after SS4:
1. Grönholm (FIN) Peugeot 28m 38.9
2. Auriol (F) Peugeot 28m 50.8
3. Burns (GB) Subaru 28m 58.3

SS5 Crychan (13.06kms):
1. Grönholm (FIN) Peugeot 7m 17.2
2. Sainz (E) Ford 7m 24.8
3. Rovanperä (FIN) Peugeot 7m 28.3

Leaders after SS5:
1. Grönholm (FIN) Peugeot 35m 56.1
2. Auriol (F) Peugeot 36m 19.3
3. Burns (GB) Subaru 36m 27.9

SS6 Halfway (17.45kms):
1. Grönholm (FIN) Peugeot 10m 00.1
2. Auriol (F) Peugeot 10m 02.3
3. Burns (GB) Subaru 10m 04.8
3. Rovanperä (FIN) Peugeot 10m 04.8

Leaders after SS6:
1. Gronholm (FIN) Peugeot 45m 56.2
2. Auriol (F) Peugeot 46m 21.6
3. Burns (GB) Subaru 46m 32.7

SS7 Brechfa 1 (29.80kms):
1. Gronholm (FIN) Peugeot 17m 23.0
2. Burns (GB) Subaru 17m 23.9
3. Auriol (F) Peugeot 17m 25.3

Leaders after SS7:
1. Gronholm (FIN) Peugeot 1h 03m 19.2
2. Burns (GB) Subaru 1h 03m 56.6
3. Auriol (F) Peugeot 1h 04m 03.4

SS8 Trawscoed 1 (26.26kms):
1. Rovanpera (FIN) Peugeot 16m 51.9
2. Burns (GB) Subaru 16m 55.0
3. Gronholm (FIN) Peugeot 16m 55.8

Leaders after SS8:
1. Gronholm (FIN) Peugeot 1h 20m 15.0
2. Burns (GB) Subaru +36.6
3. Rovanpera (FIN) Peugeot +52.4
4. Auriol (F) Peugeot +2m 10.0
5. Sainz (E) Ford +2m 26.9
6. A.McRae (GB) Hyundai +2m 37.6
7. Higgins (GB) Ford +3m 41.9
8. Schwarz (D) Skoda +3m 51.9
9. Ericsson (S) Hyundai +3m 52.4
10. Loix (B) Mitsubishi +4m 17.5



Related Pictures

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