Suzuki star Daniel Carlsson is targeting 'Junior' victory on the Rally Great Britain tomorrow, after leading from start to finish during today's second leg.

The Swede had no problems at all, and is confident of his chances during tomorrow's final leg. Ville-Pertti Teuronen has finished the second leg in fourth place, while Urmo Aava is only five seconds behind him in fifth. Salvador Canellas has ended the day in sixth.

Today's route consisted of eight stages totalling 138 competitive kilometres. The morning started off cold, but the rain held off throughout the day. The route included a second run through the longest stage of the rally [Resolfen, at 47.55 kilometres] and a final run through the spectator superspecial in Cardiff. Great Britain is the final round of the 2003 Junior World Rally Championship [JWRC].

Carlsson had a good run through today's stages, and had to push quite hard to stay ahead of local expert Kris Meeke. His Suzuki Ignis was entirely reliable after a precautionary gearbox change yesterday, and he thoroughly enjoyed his run through the challenging stages.

"Today has been classic Rally Great Britain territory, and a real test for both car and driver," noted Carlsson, "The dry weather means that there are quite a lot of loose stones on the road, so it's important to take a clean line in order to try and avoid punctures. We've been pushing quite hard, but the stages are pretty rough in places - we've been bouncing around a lot!"

Teuronen felt at home on these flowing gravel stages and had no mechanical problems today. He lost almost two minutes with a puncture but was still happy with his stage times and is determined to keep pushing hard tomorrow. He's now up to fourth place, and enjoying a good battle with his team-mate Aava - not for the first time this year!

"I've enjoyed today a lot and we've had a good run through the stages," he said, "We were using many of today's roads for the second time, so in some places they were cutting up quite badly. The surfaces are still quite slippery so you have to concentrate hard on not making any mistakes - especially in a two-wheel drive car. Tomorrow I have to keep going as hard as I can. I'm a bit disappointed that I lost time due to that puncture."

Canellas had a couple of gearbox problems today, but for the most part he ran reliably today. The Spaniard is predominantly an asphalt expert, but he enjoyed a successful run through today's tricky gravel tests. Canellas came to this event with a chance of becoming Junior World Champion - and this chance has now increased with the retirement of his rival Brice Tirabassi.

"Today has been good - I've learnt a lot about the Rally Great Britain under these really unusual conditions," commented Canellas, "It's not been an easy event so far, but I'm quite pleased with what we've been able to do under the circumstances. Tomorrow could be a big day for us, so we have to keep going as hard as we can. The car has been good today, and I'm hoping for more of the same tomorrow."

Aava meanwhile had another good day in the Welsh forests, and demonstrated the strength and reliability of the Suzuki Ignis. He had little experience of this sort of event before arriving in Britain, but feels satisfied with what he has learnt so far. Some quick times have launched him into the thick of a battle for fourth place with his team-mate Teuronen.

"In many ways the Rally Great Britain is even more tricky than it looks," noted Aava, "It's deceptively fast, and because of that you really have to keep your concentration with all the rocks on the road. The levels of grip seem to vary quite a lot, but the Suzuki Ignis suits these uncertain conditions well and gives me a lot of confidence."

Monster Sport Europe team manager Risto Laine concluded: "It's been a great day for us - only 10 cars are left in the rally and four of them are Suzukis. Daniel of course is leading and has done a fantastic job all day. I'm very proud of him and every single member of our team who has made this all possible. There's still some way to go so let's keep concentrating. But well done to everyone!"

On tomorrow's final leg of the Rally Great Britain the drivers will tackle just three more stages, totalling 89 competitive kilometres. There will also only be one service halt, after the first stage of the day. It's an early start as the first car is scheduled to leave Parc Ferme at 0520, with the winner due on the finish ramp back in Cardiff at 1534.

 

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