Ville-Pertti Teuronen is Suzuki's lead driver after the second day of the Sanremo Rally, round five of the Junior World Rally Championship [JWRC].

Teuronen ended the day fourth after another day spent learning the notoriously difficult mountain roads of Italy. Nonetheless, a fast and consistent drive over four asphalt stages has put him just three seconds off the podium going into the final day.

Suzuki's Daniel Carlsson started today second, but was forced to retire after going off the road on the opening stage. The remaining Suzuki of Salvador Canellas was fifth overnight, having lost time on the final stage with brake problems. Canellas nonetheless set a fastest stage time today and is only two seconds behind Teuronen. The scene is set for an epic battle tomorrow! Urmo Aava retired his Ignis on SS6 yesterday with a broken driveshaft.

Today's action included two runs over the longest stage of the rally, the 52- kilometre Teglia. The weather remained dry but humid, although there was none of the thick fog that affected competitors yesterday. The stages were located to the north of the Italian coastal town of Sanremo, and watched by thousands of passionate spectators. The Sanremo stages are characterised by steep drops, hairpin bends and several surface changes - all designed to test the capabilities of every driver and car to the utmost.

Carlsson started the day second, with the intention of driving carefully to the finish. Sadly, this was not to be. On the opening stage, he had a gear-linkage problem. As he was investigating the problem while driving along, he did not see a rock in the road that broke the suspension. Carlsson decided to limp out of the stage, but the damage to the suspension also affected his brakes, and he could not avoid crashing out half-way through the test.

"I'm obviously really disappointed, because this was just such a stupid mistake," said Carlsson, "It's very hard for me to accept that my rally has ended in this way. If you were pushing hard then OK, these things can happen. But my strategy was not to take any risks today."

Teuronen meanwhile concentrated on not making any mistakes and getting to the finish. The young Finn has little experience of European mountain roads, and aims to learn as much as possible about this unique style of driving. But he set an excellent second-fastest overall stage time on SS7 and backed this up with some more promising stage times as the day progressed and his confidence grew. His car had no mechanical problems all day and he is feeling confident for the final leg tomorrow. Currently, Teuronen is just three seconds off Dimitar Iliev in third.

"Today has been really good. I just concentrated on driving as cleanly and accurately as I could and put everything else out of my mind," noted Teuronen, "Today seemed a lot easier than yesterday, maybe because the weather was better. The car and the team have been perfect today: the only slight problem I had was a soft brake pedal on the first long stage. Other than that, I really enjoyed it."

Canellas had an excellent run on today's twisty stages, and was able to utilise his renowned asphalt abilities to their fullest extent. He ran in third for most of the day, but lost time on the final long stage when his brakes overheated. He dropped down to fifth, but is still only five seconds away from third place. He set his first fastest JWRC stage time on SS8.

"Today was a good day and I really liked these stages," commented Canellas, "Unfortunately we had a brake problem on the final long stage, but with a 52 kilometre long stage this is almost to be expected. Once the problem became apparent, I just concentrated on getting the car back to service and not taking any risks. Tomorrow we are in a strong position to attack and score more JWRC points. I'm really looking forward to it!"

Monster Sport Europe team manager Risto Laine concluded: "What happened to Daniel today was a real shame, but even the best drivers can make mistakes and Daniel didn't offer any excuses. Sometimes these things happen. The good news is that Ville-Pertti has done an excellent job, given his inexperience, and I've been impressed with Salvador as well. Tomorrow will be just a question of getting to the finish and seeing what happens. It should be a tough battle."

 

Comments

Loading Comments...