Britain's Guy Wilks has maintained that he was 'pleased to stay in touch' with the Citroen C2's of Daniel Sordo and Kris Meeke Friday, despite the fact he is now 45.5 seconds off the lead in the Junior class.

Speaking following the first leg of the Rallye Deutschland, which saw the new Suzuki Swift S1600 car makes it debut on asphalt, the Englishman added that he opted for a sensibly pace so as not to push his luck. He now overnights in a solid third place, nearly one minute up on Per-Gunnar Andersson, in the sister Swift, who is fourth.

"I took slick tyres in the morning, but a better choice for the first two stages would have been intermediates," said Wilks.

"I took it nice and easy to get to service, but I was pleased to be in touch with the leaders without pushing hard. The car felt very good, given that it was our first run on asphalt with the Swift.

"Tomorrow we will see what we can do, but this is a really difficult rally. The stages on leg two have a fearsome reputation, but I'm looking forward to them. They are quite fast, which suits my style!"

Andersson meanwhile had a more 'adventurous' time. The Swede set off with a good rhythm, but a mistake in his pace notes on SS3 meant that he had a massive overshoot. He recovered in the afternoon, but suffered from a loss of power due to a broken catalytic converter. This problem was fixed at final service, and his Swift will be back to full health tomorrow.

"It was a big mistake in the morning, and it was my fault," said the reigning Junior champion. "At the time when we should have been turning into the corner, we were still travelling at about 120kph! In some ways we were lucky as we did not hit anything substantial, but also we had to stop and reverse for 50 metres to get back onto the road.

"In the afternoon I had to push hard to make up for lost time, but it was difficult when we were down on power. Tomorrow should be better for us."

 

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