Less than a week after claiming victory in Corsica, 555 Subaru driver Petter Solberg put in a strong performance aboard his Impreza WRC today [Saturday] on the Rallye Catalunya as he sought to make up time incurred by a penalty in leg one.

After delivering a string of top ten times, the Norwegian will start tomorrow's final leg in tenth position overall.

"I'm very happy with my driving performance today," said Solberg, "The tyre we've been working with this afternoon has really put us closer to the leaders on the stage times, and if you take away the penalty I picked up in Leg one, we're actually not that far behind the pace.

"I've got nothing to complain about with the car, and the results we achieved in the dry have been good. If the weather men get it right, and the rain comes tomorrow, it will be possible to get in the points."

Tommi Makinen meanwhile is eleventh in the other Impreza - the Finn suffering throttle problems today during SS12 and SS13 - and like his team-mate, is eager for rain tomorrow.

"We had a slight problem with the throttle in the two middle stages of the day and that lost us a little bit of time," noted Makinen, "On the last group of stages we changed the set up of the car, but there was lots of gravel lying on the stages and it didn't work so well. So, the plan is to change it back to the previous set up for tomorrow. I'm still hoping that the rain will come."

Luis Moya, Subaru's sporting director, added: "After Petter lost 50 seconds yesterday, we were hoping that a change in the weather would come to our rescue. It didn't happen today, but we're still hopeful that there may be some rain overnight and tomorrow. If that comes, it's very likely that we can make up some positions.

"The ideal target is to finish within the top eight and hopefully as close to Carlos Sainz as possible. Petter and Tommi have both driven very well, and our dry performance certainly improved with the tyre choices made in the second half of the day. As we all know, rallying is an unpredictable sport and anything can still happen."

Fiore Brivio, Pirelli Tyres Rally manager continued: "The rain which we had expected today has not materialised and both Tommi and Petter have continued to use the Pirelli PZero RX pattern, as they did yesterday. Both have been using a medium compound to suit the mild conditions that we have experienced today and have consolidated their position. Rain is again forecast for tomorrow and, if this should occur, we are confident of being able to advance their position."

The third and final leg tomorrow starts at 0530hrs, when the remaining cars will leave Lloret de Mar parc ferme. The final day will see crews contest two loops of three smooth asphalt stages run close to the town of Vic, and a final 103.56 competitive kilometres. The winning car is expected to cross the finish ramp at 1509hrs.

 

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