In a perfectly measured drive, which capitalised on the wet-weather performance of the Pirelli/Subaru combination and his own talent behind the wheel, 555 Subaru driver Petter Solberg delivered an outstanding performance today [Saturday] during leg two of the Tour de Corse.

By setting a string of consistently good times, including three consecutive stage wins, and making some astute tyre choices, the Norwegian made up a 40 second deficit to move up eight places in the overall standings and hold the overall lead of the rally by 17.9 seconds.

"Yesterday, I didn't really believe that I could start at all, so to be where I am now is fantastic," said the Norwegian, "The last stage of the day was really tough, but after a few kilometres, everything just seemed to go well. The stage was rough and bumpy, but everything came together and I have a very good feeling behind the steering wheel.

"I've got a lot of confidence in these conditions, and as a driver I know I'm good on wet tarmac. Pirelli is good in these conditions too, and it's especially good for them and Subaru to hold the lead here tonight. Looking to tomorrow, I'm going to be doing everything I can to win and hope the weather stays the same. As a team, it's important for us to win on tarmac and for me it's important for my Championship hopes."

Tommi Makinen meanwhile also had a good day in the sister Impreza WRC. The Finn moved up five places to hold seventh position overnight, well poised for a strong points finish tomorrow.

"To move from twelfth to seventh is very good progress," said the Finn, "On that last stage we seem to have found a really good set up and tyre choice for the conditions. The road was damp, but not too wet and the whole package seemed to come together well. Tomorrow, I think the weather conditions might be dry, so we may have to make a few more changes, but if conditions are similar to today then we know we are in a good position."

Team boss, David Lapworth concluded: "Our strategy on Friday was based on the expectation of bad weather today and things have gone absolutely according to plan.

"Our tyre choices have been very good all day, and that's certainly given Petter an edge. But that shouldn't take anything away from his own personal performance - he should take credit for a brilliant drive in sometimes treacherous conditions. Its good to see Tommi finish the day with a time right behind Petter and a Subaru 1-2 stage win is particularly encouraging for the whole team and Pirelli."

The third and final leg of the Tour de Corse tomorrow [Sunday] starts at 0700hrs, when the remaining cars will leave Ajaccio parc ferme. The final day will see crews travel south of Ajaccio to contest four further gravel stages [two repeated], and a final 112.10 competitive kilometres. The winning car is expected to cross the finish ramp at 1430hrs.

 

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