23 October 2009
Loeb still in P1 on Rally GB
Next up is Sebastien Ogier to give Citroen four of the top five positions - although the 2008 Junior World Rally champion is almost 2 minutes further back, a poor time in the final test of the day costing him 30 seconds.
“The suspension seems okay and we are changing the tyre now,” said Ogier after his adventures in Myherin 2.
Further down the order, Stobart Ford duo, Henning Solberg and Matthew Wilson come in sixth and seventh, the former just 8.8 seconds off P5. Wilson is another 30 seconds back having initially complained of a lack of power and subsequently of handling problems.
“It hasn't been a great start,” Wilson reflected. “The car feels very slow in the slow corners, it is not pulling well and we are struggling for traction. It's fine on the fast sections, but whenever it's slow we're not getting any traction at all so I think we've got a problem with the front diff. We lost a bucket load on Sweet Lamb so it's really disappointing.
“We'll have a good look tonight, probably change the gearbox and hopefully we'll sort it for tomorrow. The stages are good but the conditions out there are changing all the time with fog and rain so it's been a tough start.”
“We've had an engine problem but I'm still not exactly sure what it is yet although I think it might be to do with the rain earlier,” Henning related when asked about his own day. “It began at the start of the first stage and it comes and goes. It felt like we are running on three cylinders for at least two thirds of the first stage and it is still misfiring.
“I tried my best all day. I am happy with my driving and the car is working really well except for the misfire. Hopefully they'll be able to fix it tonight and tomorrow I can try and catch Ogier.”
Conrad Rautenbach rounds out the provisional points' scorers, with Jari-Matti Latvala a disappointing ninth after he broke a front left driveshaft in Hafren 1. Latvala then had to limp his way through SS2 and SS3, losing around four minutes in the process.
"It was a frustrating morning," said Latvala. "After about 24km of the first stage I turned into a corner and the front left driveshaft broke and the car spun. I don't know how it happened.
“The brake pipe was also damaged and the fluid leaked out, so I had to drive the rest of the morning with just rear-wheel drive and no brakes at the front. I had a few close escapes as a result and nudged a bank in the second test.
“We don't carry a spare driveshaft in the car, and we're only allowed to replace parts that we have onboard."
Of the rest, Eyvind Brynildsen is tenth, followed by Aaron Burkart, Jarkko Nikara, Patrik Sandell and Martin Prokop. Brynildsen incidentally heads the Production Car World Rally Championship category in his Skoda Fabia S2000, almost a minute up on Sandell, his closest class rival.
“This has been an unbelievable day,” said Brynildsen. “We are flying through the forests!”
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