Atkinson under the pump in Spanish WRC event
- 5th October 2008, 4:20pm
Atkinson started the day in eighth place with the man currently fifth in the Championship, Jari-Matti Latvala, in seventh.
But the Gold Coast driver moved passed the Finn on the first of the day’s six stages, and despite struggling on the afternoon loop, holds a 3.4 second lead over Latvala with one day to go.
Sebastien Loeb has continued to dominate this event and he holds a 27.7 second buffer over his Citroen team mate, Dani Sordo. The two Fords are next, with Francois Duval 51.4 seconds behind Loeb and Mikko Hirvonen 13.2 seconds further back.
Next is Atkinson’s Subaru team mate, Petter Solberg, who holds a narrow 1.4 second lead over Urmo Aava.
At one stage Atkinson was eyeing sixth place, but he slipped back the longer the day went, and is now 34.4 seconds behind the Estonian Citroen driver in seventh.
At the lunch time service Queenslander’s buffer the over the eighth-placed Latvala was down to just 0.4 seconds, and despite struggling with the handling of his Impreza WRC2008 on the dirt-strewn asphalt throughout the afternoon, Atkinson managed to stay in front of his immediate rival.
“We were pushing hard all day and moved up a place this morning on the 38km stage which was good, but Jari-Matti just never went away,” Atkinson said.
“On the final stage of the morning we lost some time though, and on the second pass at the end of the day we had less grip towards the finish and lost a lot of time with oversteer.
“Obviously we don’t want to go backwards, so I’ll be in for another fight tomorrow. I only have a 3.4 second buffer, and that is no where near enough.
“The main job tomorrow is to find out more about this car for the future, but it would be good to take as many points away from here into Rally France next week as possible.”
The final day of Rally Catalunya is more akin to a full day than the usually compressed rally-finale. It consists of six stages, the same as both Friday and Saturday, and a further 93.88 competitive kilometres. The stages are the dirtiest of the weekend, making grip tricky on the loose covering of sand and gravel.
Results after day two – Rally Catalunya, Spain
1. Loeb / Elena, Citroen C4 WRC, 2h 22m 57.2s
2. Sordo / Marti, Citroen C4 WRC, +27.7s (diff. to 1st)
3. Duval / Pivato, Ford Focus RS WRC 07, +51.4s
4. Hirvonen / Lehtinen, Ford Focus RS WRC 07, +1m 04.6s
5. Solberg / Mills, Subaru Impreza WRC2008, +3m 06.9s
6. Aava / Sikk, Citroen C4 WRC, +3m 08.3s
7. Atkinson / Prévot, Subaru Impreza WRC2008, +3m 42.7s
8. Latvala / Anttila, Ford Focus RS WRC 07, +3m 46.1s
9. Mikkelsen / Floene, Ford Focus RS WRC 07, +4m 17.2s
10. Wilson / Martin, Ford Focus RS WRC 07, +6m 25.8s
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