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Home :: Rally-Tecnica :: News :: Wales Rally Gb. Day 2. Duelist’s Day

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Wales Rally Gb. Day 2. Duelist’s Day


 

Jari-Matti Latvala's sensational lost of leadership completed the first day of the rally. And another sensational failure namely opened the second one. That was a crash of the top-three positioned Sebastien Ogier, who rolled his C4WRC not far from SS8 finish. The roll was quite soft, but it was enough to damage the car in a manner, that continuing was not possible. That crash indeed terminated the young Frenchman's hopes for the vice-champion position in the end of the season - few retirements in a row close to the end of the season dismissed all the plans of that kind. So now only Petter Solberg (who remains the only one in that event to keep the Loeb's speed) and Latvala (who is desperately fighting back in Wales) could claim the season's silver position.

Petter could get to the leading position in the Wales rally for 2 stages in the first loop. But then Loeb successfully returned the leadership, but that was not the end of the duel, but the beginning of it!

Wales Rally GB 2010

Both leaders couldn't avoid minor mistakes during a day - spins and half-spins, stalls and missing the junctions - all these attributes of the fight "on the teeth". After the stage 11, which had mixed surface (and where Solberg was slower than Loeb by 11 seconds), the Norwegian even blamed the recently crowned 7-times World Champion, that he is cutting the corners on purpose, getting mud on the road! "He knows what he is doing and I expected something like that" - Petter said. Particularly his words were confirmed with the second run of that stage, when there was a plenty of mud on the road for everyone, and Loeb lost 16 seconds to himself on the first run. There was enough of "fun" here for many others, too. Hirvonen had to avoid collision with a flock of sheep on the road, Sordo missed the junction after few blind crests due to a co-driver's mistake and let Latvala to pass him in the fight for the 4th position.

It was easy to notice on the midday remote service, that Loeb feels the rival's pressure. Later Petter also told that he started the day, keeping some cautious reserve, but now has to be completely flat out and the chance to catch Loeb if the Frenchman wouldn't get into some trouble seems to be really slight.

Wales Rally GB 2010

For the second loop of today's stages the roads became more dry, and even the most muddy stage Radnor became not so slippery. Solberg had a little off here, loosing 10 seconds, but Loeb was faster only for 1,3s. There also arrived the reports of some technical problems for some top ten crews, but not the front-runners. Kimi Raikkonen's Citroen got the damage of one damper's coil, and Ken Block could hardly finish on SS12 due to the driveshaft problems, later causing the American to park his Focus WRC aside the road on the way to SS13.

Solberg could score one more stage win only when darkness came. But with that one win he managed to decrease the gap by 1/3. Latvala at the same time almost caught his teammate Hirvonen in their duel for third position, but still there were 8,6 seconds distance between them left. And at the final stage of the day, that again was a Cardiff Super-Special, Loeb was faster than Solberg by 0,2s and 0,2 more than Latvala, that didn't make any changes in general classification.

So still there are at least three "duel points" inside top 10. And even if we see that there are huge 11 minutes between the first and the tenth position - after the two complete days that looks much more normal, as the British events with its usual difficult road conditions displays big gaps on the finish quite often.

Wales Rally GB 2010

 

In S-WRC there is still a fight between Mikkelsen and Ketomaa, and the only retirement of the day was the Eyvind Brynildsen's off on the stage 9, leading the car to be completely stuck. So the six surviving crews are really have an interesting fight even if their general classification times seem quite different. But on every single stage (not speaking about the short super special, of course) all the S-WRC cars are within 8 to 25 seconds, including the cars of title-chasers Pons and Sandell, who suffered on the first day of the event. Though of course even Pons could hardly catch Mikkelsen or Ketomaa in the fight of the exact rally win, being 4 minutes adrift, and these minutes don't display any trend to disappear.

 

In P-WRC the fans of runner-up (both in the rally and in the entire season) Patrik Flodin could see how the Swede was getting close to Tanak, cutting almost a good half of Estonian's lead. But it was all over for Flodin on SS14, from which the Russian-biult Impreza returned without a wheel. There was no chance to get to the public roads, so the day was over for the crew.

Wales Rally GB 2010

 

It is very difficult to say, was the 15th stage result expected or sensational in P-WRC. All the top three times - for the people, who couldn't be named the regular top three finishers of that event. Paddon, Semerad, Raschi... But there was no more pressure on Tanak's leadership (with his reserve of more than two minutes), and Arauju now knew, that the only person, who had a slight chance to steal his second consecutive P-WRC title is now out of the race. So here the leaders are completely satisfied with their position, and the war seems to be over in that category. Though there still a long way to go, and it is too early to speak about final positions in the event, as there is one more complete day left...

Wales Rally GB 2010

Текст: Антон Борисенко (специально для URT.RU)

Фото: Honza Fronek (rally-mania.cz), Petr Elias (ewrc.cz)