Two drivers in the top six overall at end of Day Two
July 4, 2015 The team has completed the second day of this weekend’s Rally Poland with all four cars running well. The team tried to progress through the standings during the seven stages held today, but some areas of car performance can still be improved for tomorrow’s final two stages.
Hayden Paddon held onto fifth place overall and is just one place ahead of Thierry Neuville in sixth. Dani Sordo and Kevin Abbring have both continued to build their confidence and hope to make a strong end to the rally tomorrow.
Eight stages were planned for today but the large volume of spectators meant that SS14 was cancelled. The day finished once again with a Super Special Stage held at the Mikolajki Arena.
Hayden continued his solid performance from Friday and sits in fifth. We had another reasonably satisfying day, said the young Kiwi, and we can be pleased to be in the top five. We started strongly this morning with two good stages but the two leading up to lunchtime service didn’t feel so good. The rhythm was missing and we lost some grip. I had a bit of a mental reset over lunchtime and the first afternoon stage went well. The car felt good, the driving was clean and the time was decent. The penultimate stage was tougher. We ran hard tyres on the front and I nearly came off the road a few times as a result of understeer. We now aim to defend our fifth place tomorrow.
Thierry started the day well by moving up one place in the standings to sixth place. A calm and confident drive left him holding onto that position as he heads into the final stages. We have to be pleased with our day, said the Belgian. We used the morning to manage ourselves, checking pace notes and making sure we kept Robert behind. We had no real dramas. After lunchtime service, tyre choice would be important with the increasing temperatures and improving grip. The soft tyres in SS15 worked well and we were pleased with the time. The next stage was not as easy, the car was moving around a lot. We are in the top six, which is good for the Championship. Our target is to retain this position and finish cleanly.
Dani pushed hard to improve today and remains inside the top ten overall. He will use tomorrow to build his understanding of the car on the difficult Polish stages. The opening stages of the day went OK, said the Spaniard, and I felt comfortable to push a bit in the third of the day. I wasn’t able to maintain that into the final stage of the morning and lost some time, but after lunchtime service we approached with new motivation. I couldn’t have done any better in the first afternoon stage but in SS16 we were on the wrong tyres and the dust made life difficult. We are trying new things on the car and tomorrow will hopefully learn more for the future.
Our fourth driver Kevin has had another valuable day of learning in his Hyundai i20 WRC. He built his confidence throughout the stages and will now look forward to completing his second event with our team tomorrow. It’s been another great day, said the Dutchman. We have made progress despite the odd incident here and there. We started the morning well. The car felt better, in terms of traction and balance, and I felt more confident. Unfortunately in SS12 we landed in a bush after a crest and had to slow down because water temperature was high. Then, in the final stage before service, we got stuck in a left corner which lost us over three minutes. The afternoon went OK. We had soft tyres and conditions were better than expected. All in all, I’m happy. We tried some things on the car that work for me and this is positive for the future.
It is a good result to still have four cars running smoothly after two challenging days on the new stages of this weekend’s Rally Poland. It is even better that two of them are in the top six overall. However, we will look to improve more tomorrow.
We can be happy to conclude the penultimate day of this difficult rally with all four cars still running, commented Team Principal Michel Nandan. The day has not been without trouble but on the whole we have seen good pace from the cars and progress from all four driver crews. Of course, we are never happy until we know we have met our potential so we will analyse today’s stages to see what we can do for the final day. With Hayden and Thierry both battling in the top six, and Dani and Kevin looking to make improvements, we will keep pushing to the end.
Sunday will see drivers take on the Baranowo stage twice, the second time being the Power Stage. The distance left before the rally ends is not even 30km but the complicated Polish stages will still demand full respect and attention from drivers.