WRC » 25 October 2003
Loeb remains in control in Spain.
Duval added: "I had a bit of a problem with a front tyre on the first stage this morning. I remember hitting something, but I don't think it was a puncture – maybe the mousse was damaged in the tyre. The vibration was terrible, so bad it damaged the steering."
Hirvonen continued: "Today has been more good miles for me. I don't think the roads have been so bad, okay in some places there have been rocks and things, but nothing we didn't expect – I'm enjoying the rally."
All three Peugeot's have run without any mechanical problems through leg two.
Peugeot's Panizzi ended the day in third place, but admitted he'd struggled to get to grips with the conditions through the last loop of three stages. The Frenchman enjoyed a brief stay in second position, holding the place by just one tenth of a second after SS12. Unfortunately for Panizzi, Martin hit back on the second run at the short Taradell stage to re-take the position by half a second. For the remaining three stages, Martin took more time out of Panizzi to open a 15.9-second gap at the close of play.
Richard Burns' Peugeot was suffering excessive oversteer through the third stage of the day, but that was about the Englishman's only trouble on the second leg. He remained in the sixth position which he'd held at the end of last night.
Marcus Gronholm finally found a set-up he was happy with ahead of the middle loop of stages today. The team changed the suspension geometry and the differential mapping on his car. He moved up two places through the day to eighth overall and looked set to battle with McRae for a possible seventh on the final leg.
Burns said: "Today has been okay. I'm quite happy, although I would be happier if we hadn't lost the time yesterday and we could have been fighting further up the leaderboard. The middle stage in that last loop was a bit messy, though – the cuts had pulled a lot of rocks and dirt out onto the road."
Gronholm noted: "Finally we have the car we wanted. After the first loop this morning we changed the caster and camber on the car. That with some diff map changes made such a difference. Unfortunately it's too late for this all now. I don't know if we can catch Colin, but we'll give it a go."
Panizzi concluded: "I've found it quite difficult to keep up with Markko on the faster stages, the Ford's engine seems to be quite strong. I think there's still a little more to come from me, but I wasn't so comfortable through that final loop today. There's always tomorrow and we're in a better position than we were at the start of the event."
Over at Subaru the Impreza WRC 2003 of Petter Solberg ran without any mechanical problems, while the sister car of his team-mate Tommi Makinen suffered throttle problems on the middle loop of stages and then he thought the transmission might have been damaged after spending so long on the rev limiter in the ultra-fast Olost stage.
Solberg moved past Makinen to spearhead the Subaru attack through leg two, although both were struggling to match the pace of their rivals – all of whom were running on Michelin, rather than Pirelli tyres. The Tour of Corsica winner remained upbeat about his chances for the final leg, continuing to hope for rain - which suits Pirelli's asphalt tyres more, but accepting that from a position over two-and-a-half minutes down on the leader, there wasn't too much he could do about the situation.
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