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More Heartbreak in Sweden

Day 2: Drama for Thierry and Nicolas in Saturday’s super special


Day 2: Drama for Thierry and Nicolas in Saturday’s super special

The super special stage of a WRC event is intended to be a celebration of rallying. So, it was not in the script for Saturday’s visit to the Karlstad trotting track that we would experience another disappointing retirement from the lead of the rally!

Thierry and Nicolas started the day with a healthy 28-second lead of Rally Sweden but in a situation similar to Rallye Monte-Carlo, they were forced to retire on the final stage of the day after crashing out.

“There are really no words that convey how I feel right now,” said a dejected Thierry. “It was a very sudden end to what had been another good rally.”

Strategy and Pace

Up to the final stage, it had been another strong run for our Belgians, who not only controlled their advantage, but actually extended it to 43 seconds. It was a stage win in the afternoon’s Vargåsen test that put our #5 crew in a strong position.

“We had spent the day with a deliberate strategy to take things steady,” added Thierry. “We didn’t want a repeat of Monte, but that’s what we got. We know we have the pace to win rallies with the Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC.”  

Our Team Principal Michel was equally frustrated. “It’s easy to say that this is rallying, however when you have a 43-second lead these things shouldn’t happen in a super special stage. It’s disappointing for everyone in the team, and of course for Thierry and Nicolas after what had been another commanding performance.”

They will be re-starting Sunday under Rally 2 regulations.

Birthday Battle

On the occasion of John’s 58th birthday, our Kiwi crew also had a tough day. It was not the present that they had hoped for, as power steering problems forced them into a more physical battle.

“Rallying with no power steering is incredibly tough,” said an exhausted Hayden at the end of the morning loop. “It felt like an extended gym session – or like wrestling a lion and coming off second best.”

They were able to get into a rhythm on the afternoon pass, which was shortened after SS12 (Knon) was cancelled.

“With power steering back, it was like driving with a feather at the fingertips,” he added. “We are overdue a change in fortune but I’m determined to end this rally on a high.”

Back to Fourth

In among the troubles of crews ahead of them, Dani and Marc quietly moved up into fourth place. The Spaniards took their second stage win of 2017 with a trouble-free performance in the super special. Even if the podium appears a long way off, it’s proven that anything can happen in Rally Sweden!

“I enjoyed driving on the fast stages today,” said Dani. “We have tried to get into a rhythm and to pick up the pace. Sunday will be about managing the gap behind and securing fourth place.” 

Power Stage Push

Sunday’s schedule consists of just three stages, the 21.19km Likenäs route run twice, followed by the Torsby Power Stage – with extra points available for the five fastest drivers.

Michel concluded: “The old saying is true that it’s not over until it’s over. We have to focus on the potential from our car. Our crews are resilient. We could see that from Hayden and John on Saturday morning. It epitomised our team’s never-give-up attitude.”

Overall Classification after Day Two

1. J. M. Latvala / M. Anttila (Toyota Yaris WRC) 2:04:59.3
2. O. Tanak / M. Jarveoja (Ford Fiesta WRC) +3.8
3. S. Ogier / J. Ingrassia (Ford Fiesta WRC) +16.6
4. D. Sordo / M. Martí (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC) +1:39.5
5. C. Breen / P. Nagle (Citroën C3 WRC) +2:04.5
6. E. Evans / D. Barritt (Ford Fiesta WRC) +3:44.7
7. H. Paddon / J. Kennard (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC) +5:00.2
8. S. Lefebvre / G. Moreau (Citroën C3 WRC) +5:37.0
9. P. Tidemand / J. Andersson (Škoda Fabia R5) +6:36.7
10. T. Suninen / M. Markkula (Ford Fiesta R5) +7:52.9
11. O.C Veiby / S. Skjaermoen (Škoda Fabia R5) +7:58.2
12. K. Meeke / P. Nagle (Citroën C3 WRC) +9:09.2
13. T. Neuville / N. Gilsoul (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC) +9:15.8

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