2 October 2004
Solberg dominates on day two in Italy.
Subaru team leader Petter Solberg dominated day two of the Rally Italia Sardinia today [Saturday], winning six of the seven special stages and unsurprisingly, therefore, extending his advantage at the top of the leader-board.
The Norwegian, now leads by 1 minute 11.5 seconds, more than double his advantage at the end of yesterday, and with only 78 competitive kilometres left, 'Hollywood' is looking good to win his third successive event.
"It's been really good fun out there," he said. "A perfect day with no problems at all and everything has worked well. The stages were better today than yesterday. It's still been tough, but we've done seven stages and to win six of those is not too bad at all.
"Of course, it's difficult to fight for the championship when Sebastien is so close behind me, but all I can do is carry on and concentrate on doing the best job I can. It won't be an easy day tomorrow, I have to keep my concentration, but I'm looking forward to it, so let's see what happens."
Championship leader, Sebastien Loeb is second, the Frenchman having had a trouble-free day, while Carlos Sainz is third, in the sister Citroen Xsara WRC. The Spaniard was again unhappy with his stage times.
Ford duo Markko Martin and Francois Duval are fourth and sixth respectively, split by local driver, Andrea Navarra, who remains the top privateer in his Subaru Impreza. Duval was lucky to survive a major incident in SS9.
"Five kilometres after the start [of SS9] I missed the braking point and hit a wall," he explained. "The impact bent the right rear wheel and I had to drive carefully through the rest of the stage. I didn't stop to look at the damage, only to allow Markko to pass. Then there was a long liaison section to service and I was lucky to get back because it was a big impact."
The only other works driver left is Marcus Gronholm, who was second overall until turbo problems in SS9 dropped him down the leader-board. He is now 15th in his Peugeot 307 WRC, after losing over 20 minutes.
"It was very disappointing as we could have been challenging at the front. About five kilometres into the stage the turbo failed, but although we tried to fix the problem there was nothing we could do," said the Finn. "We were very slow and dropped a lot of time, but we will keep on going and try to score some manufacturer points. If there is one positive thing we can take away, it is that the car has the speed to challenge for wins when everything is working properly."
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