Suzuki's local hero Salvador Canellas has finished the second leg of his home Catalunya Rally in third place, and is hoping for a strong podium finish tomorrow.

Daniel Carlsson is fourth, while the other Ignis Super 1600 cars of Urmo Aava and Ville-Pertti Teuronen are fifth and sixth: just four seconds apart.

Today's route was compact but frenetic, consisting of eight stages totalling 131 competitive kilometres. Although temperatures were cold, conditions remained dry and bright throughout the entire day.

Today's action contained a challenging mixture of flat-out stages that were as quick as a racing circuit, combined with slower stages that were twistier and more technical. Catalunya is the penultimate round of the Junior World Rally Championship, and the last asphalt rally of the year.

Carlsson had another solid run through today's stages, encountering no mechanical problems en route. His Suzuki Ignis was 100 per cent reliable, and he had little to report after a problem-free day.

"Today has been fine and we've been making progress," said Carlsson, "These stages are very fast which is probably the biggest challenge for our car. I'm very happy with my performance but I'm not happy with my position. It's just that the pace is very hot here."

Teuronen had no mechanical problems today, and set his first fastest time on asphalt on SS15. He felt he was making progress, but is still aware that he is quite inexperienced in these sorts of conditions. He too enjoyed an incident-free day and is looking forward to building on his knowledge of this event tomorrow.

"These stages are very fast and demanding, so it's important to find the right rhythm," commented Teuronen, "Today went much better for me than yesterday, and the car has been fantastic all day. I've not had a single problem. Now I hope that the conditions will remain constant, so I can learn even more tomorrow."

Canellas' every move was anxiously followed by thousands of his cheering local fans. He had a good run through the morning's stages but was hampered by a problem with the gearshift cut, which meant that he had to use the clutch for every shift in and out of fourth gear. Apart from that he had a good day and is looking forward to more of the same tomorrow.

"We've had another excellent day today and we've been driving flat-out from start to finish," noted Canellas, "We knew from the very start that it would be extremely difficult to try and win, so there are no real surprises here. It's tricky for us to try and compete against Brice Tirabassi in the Renault, but we're hoping to try and take second place from Kris Meeke in the Opel. The gearshift problem maybe cost us a little bit of time, but not very much. The plan is to fix it tonight at final service so we can push hard tomorrow. It will be a tough day as the stages are quite difficult."

Aava meanwhile continued the steep learning curve he has been climbing from the start of the year, and said that his confidence was increasing as the event progressed. However, he was not so happy with his day as he lost some time on certain stages, allowing his team-mate Teuronen to draw closer to him. His Suzuki Ignis remained totally reliable all day, but he made some minor changes to the set-up in view of tomorrow's stages.

"Today has been a slight mystery as I've been losing time on certain stages but I don't really know why," said Aava, "The car has been good, but I need to understand how to be more consistent. Tomorrow should be an interesting fight between me and Ville-Pertti: we're both looking forward to it!"

Monster Sport Europe team manager Risto Laine concluded: "I think everybody in the team has performed to the maximum of their abilities today. Salvador has been excellent, although he's suffered from the gearbox problem that has cost him a bit of time. However, he's very confident for tomorrow so we'll see what he can do. I'd also like to congratulate Ville-Pertti for his first fastest stage time on asphalt as well - he did an excellent job."

On tomorrow's final leg of the Catalunya Rally the drivers will tackle six stages, totalling 103 competitive kilometres. It's an early start as the first car is scheduled to leave Parc Ferme in Lloret de Mar at 0530, with the winner due on the finish ramp at 1509.

 

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