WRC »

Loeb in command on the Rallye Deutschland.

Skoda's Toni Gardemeister hit several problems this morning. He complained of a lack of rear grip in his Octavia, and the car's anti-lag system also cut in on the faster sections and refused to work when it was really needed - in slower junctions. Kenneth Eriksson suffered brake fade this morning and then lost more time with a broken driveshaft in SS5. Matthias Kahle was forced to abandon his first works drive in an Octavia when his car suffered engine failure.

The factory Octavia WRCs of Eriksson and Gardemeister have both fought hard to stay in touch with the top 10 places, but both will start tomorrow's action outside of that leading group. Gardemeister is not satisfied with his car's handling in the narrow vineyard roads and he also lost time with anti-lag problems. He holds 12th overnight. Eriksson, meanwhile, lost a chunk of time with a broken driveshaft and dropped to the bottom of the top 20 as a result.

Gardemeister commented: ''I'm not quite 100 percent with the car yet. It does feel big in the tighter junctions but we've had a few problems that have stopped me getting used to the car. Hopefully Baumholder tomorrow will suit the Octavia better.''

Francois Delecour's Mitsubishi Lancer Evo WRC has been reliable. But Alister McRae was forced to retire his example just after SS6 when it suffered turbo failure. The engine cut out on the road section and refused to restart.

Mitsubishi's Lancer Evo WRC2 has struggled on its first full day of asphalt competition today. The cars of both Alister McRae and Delecour have stayed outside of the top 10 placings throughout, and McRae was forced to retire his Lancer after SS6 when it suffered turbo failure. The car's engine cut out on the road section and refused to restart. Delecour, meanwhile, holds 14th overnight.

Francois Delecour said: ''We're trying some new things with differentials and suspension, because it's still hard to keep the car in a straight line and that's a real problem on these narrow roads. I'm hoping that the Baumholder stages tomorrow will be more suited to the Lancer. We've clearly made an improvement, but there's a lot still to do.''

Of the other entries British driver Niall McShea leads the Junior World Rally Championship category in his Opel Corsa. The Ulsterman took the lead of the category after early leader Andrea Dallavilla had to stop and change a flat tyre in SS3, and he holds an overnight advantage of less than 10 seconds from local driver Sven Haaf's Citroen Saxo. The next Junior WRC contender, Francois Duval, is a further 15 seconds behind.


Rally Statistics - Leg one:

Starters: 86 crews (61 Group A and 25 Group N) started this morning.

Retirements: A. McRae (GB), Kahle (D), Puras (E), Arai (J), and 12 other drivers.

Today - Friday 23 August: Leg 1 started from Trier, Messepark, at 06h45 and covered 496.67km, including 148.12km on eight special stages.

Tomorrow - Saturday 24 August: Leg 2 starts from Trier, Messepark, at 07h30 and covers 586.28km, including 164.50km on eight special stages. The first car is expected to arrive in Trier, Messepark, at 21h44.

Weather forecast: Staying fine, but still a chance of showers.


Stage by stage summary - Leg one:


SS1 Dhrontal 1 (14.80kms):
1. Burns (GB) Peugeot 8m 27.9
1. Grönholm (FIN) Peugeot 8m 27.9
3. Loeb (F) Citroen 8m 32.5

SS2 Schones Moselland 1 (23.82kms):
1. Loeb (F) Citroen 14m 10.8
2. Grönholm (FIN) Peugeot 14m 11.0
3. Burns (GB) Peugeot 14m 12.1

Leaders after SS2:
1. Grönholm (FIN) Peugeot 22m 38.9
2. Burns (GB) Peugeot 22m 40.0
3. Loeb (F) Citroen 22m 43.3

SS3 Moselwein 1 (22.28kms):
1. Loeb (F) Citroen 13m 24.2
2. Bugalski (F) Citroen 13m 38.2
3. Burns (GB) Peugeot 13m 38.5

Leaders after SS3:
1. Loeb (F) Citroen 36m 07.5
2. Burns (GB) Peugeot 36m 18.5
3. Solberg (N) Subaru 36m 38.5

SS4 Dhrontal 2 (12.16kms):
1. Loeb (F) Citroen 8m 23.8
2. Burns (GB) Peugeot 8m 28.4
3. C. McRae (GB) Ford 8m 28.9

Leaders after SS4:
1. Loeb (F) Citroen 44m 31.3
2. Burns (GB) Peugeot 44m 47.5
3. Solberg (N) Subaru 45m 08.7

SS5 Schones Moselland 2 (23.82kms):
1. Loeb (F) Citroen 13m 53.8
2. Bugalski (F) Citroen 13m 55.8
3. Loix (B) Hyundai 13m 59.6

Leaders after SS5:
1. Loeb (F) Citroen 58m 25.1
2. Burns (GB) Peugeot 58m 50.8
3. Bugalski (F) Citroen 59m 06.5

SS6 Stein und Wein 1 (15.80kms):
1. Loeb (F) Citroen 8m 33.5
2. Burns (GB) Peugeot 8m 34.4
3. Grönholm (FIN) Peugeot 8m 36.2

Leaders after SS6:
1. Loeb (F) Citroen 1h 06m 58.6
2. Burns (GB) Peugeot 1h 07m 25.2
3. Bugalski (F) Citroen 1h 07m 42.9

SS7 Moselwein 2 (22.28kms):
Stage cancelled due to spectator congestion

SS8 Stein und Wein 2 (15.80kms):
1. Loeb (F) Citroen 8m 31.5
2. Burns (GB) Peugeot 8m 31.9
3. Grönholm (FIN) Peugeot 8m 33.4

Leaders after SS8:
1. Loeb (F) Citroen 1h 06m 58.6
2. Burns (GB) Peugeot +27.0
3. Bugalski (F) Citroen +49.0
4. C.McRae (GB) Ford +1m 10.4
5. Gronholm (FIN) Peugeot +1m 26.8
6. Schwarz (D) Hyundai +1m 29.6
7. Thiry (B) Peugeot +1m 34.2
8. Loix (B) Hyundai +1m 40.2
9. Sainz (E) Ford +1m 42.1
10. Solberg (N) Subaru +1m 42.3






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