Cedric Robert and co-driver Gerald Bedon have finished leg two of the Sanremo Rally according to plan: with three-quarters of the total distance run, the Equipe de France FFSA crew are comfortably within the top ten in their customer-specification Peugeot 206 WRC run by Bozian Racing. Subaru's factory driver Tommi Makinen is the first of their pursuers, 22 seconds behind.

Today's four special stages included two runs through the monumental Teglia test, the longest stage of the rally at 52 kilometres. On the first run, Robert concentrated on looking after his tyres over the total distance, and set ninth fastest time which boosted him from eleventh place to tenth overall.

Increasing his pace, he settled into a strong rhythm over the next two stages, but he could not resist the attack of Peugeot factory driver Richard Burns, who passed him on SS8. With a car that had not given him the slightest mechanical problem all day, Robert was feeling very confident for the final stage of the leg, one last run through Teglia. Again he set an excellent ninth fastest time, just ten seconds behind factory drivers Francois Duval and Colin McRae.

"Attacking hard is the only way to keep your rhythm here," said Robert, "I have to put in my best effort in order to overcome the handicap of having only a customer-specification WRC car as opposed to a factory version. I am probably taking a few more chances than I would consider reasonable, but it's great fun!"

Robert was happy to finish between Burns and Makinen on genuine pace tonight, and he plans to maintain the same rhythm for the last leg of the rally tomorrow.

He added: "My Peugeot 206 WRC and the Bozian team have worked fantastically well so far, and I'm delighted to be in the hunt. The danger is that the better things go, the faster you go too, so it's important not to overstep the limit. My objective tomorrow is to continue to drive at the pace of some factory cars and reach the podium in Sanremo within the top ten."

 

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