Skoda Motorsport has completed day two of the Wales Rally GB with Didier Auriol in 12th place and Toni Gardemeister 15th.

The factory supported Jan Kopecky climbed from 33rd place last night to 19th this evening.

The second day of Rally GB saw the Skoda drivers again suffer mixed fortunes but survive intact ahead of tomorrow's short final leg.

Gardemeister hit trouble even before the start of today's opening stage when the differential hydraulic pressure pump failed on the run out from service. Four stages lay ahead and it was a frustrating morning for Gardemeister before the team could replace the gearbox, along with the front and centre differentials, for the afternoon stages.

"The problem caused us a few nasty moments as the pressure affects not only the differentials but also the brakes," explained the Finn, "I hit a bank on one stage and nearly rolled the car. We were suffering with locking rear brakes for most of the morning so I was relieved to get through those stages."

Auriol meanwhile avoided technical problems today but did not escape unscathed from the most northern stages of the event.

"I spun the car on the opening stage and it came to rest with the front wheels in the ditch," noted the Frenchman, "Luckily there are a lot of spectators on this rally and so they were able to help me back onto the track."

Director of Skoda Motorsport Petr Kohoutek added: "We've had another day of technical problems but hopefully they are behind us now and we can concentrate on getting all the cars to the finish tomorrow afternoon."

After a day of mixed performances yesterday 21-year old Czech driver Kopecky was much more relaxed today in his factory supported Skoda Matador Team Octavia WRC. His stage times have been much better and more consistent, allowing him to move up the leaderboard into 19th.

"We really sped up this morning and climbed into the top 20," commented Kopecky. "Unfortunately we broke the rear differential on SS13 and that stopped us moving further up the leaderboard but apart from that we've been going at a good speed all day."

Tomorrow's final leg of the event is the shortest at just 73.86kms. The day includes two attempts at the 30.61kms Rhondda stage in the morning. The 2003 World Rally Championship finishes with a live TV stage through Margam Park, the place where Carlos Sainz dramatically lost the 1998 title when his engine failed just 500 metres from the finish of the rally.

 

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