Atko consolidates 6th place in Corsica
- 12th October 2008, 6:45am
Atkinson started the day in a three-way battle for fourth place with fellow Subaru World Rally Team driver Petter Solberg, and Ford’s Jari-Matti Latvala.
However, his challenge was slowed on the day’s third stage when he clipped a rock on the inside of a corner and picked up a front left puncture.
Opting not to stop and change the wheel on his Impreza WRC2008, the Gold Coast driver’s decision to nurse his car to the end of the stage was vindicated when he saved 30 seconds, losing one minute and 25 seconds, rather than the two minutes it would have taken to replace the wheel.
As Solberg and Latvala continued their battle, Atkinson remains secure in sixth place with one day of the event to go.
“There wasn’t anything particularly special for us today” Atkinson said.
“We were pushing hard this morning and were pretty close to Jari-Matti and Petter, but then we got a puncture on the middle stage of the morning. Now there’s one minute and 50 seconds ahead of us and one minute and 40 seconds behind.
“You’ve got to keep pushing on roads like these though, but the idea is to get the points for sixth now and see if anyone else who’s pushing hard has a problem,” he added.
Weather conditions in Corsica were again warm and dry, with temperatures reaching 28 degrees Celsius.
“The conditions today have been really tough, and there have been a lot of punctures which have reshuffled the order,” SWRT Principal, David Richards, said.
“Unfortunately, although he remains in a strong sixth position, Chris’ puncture dropped him from the battle with Petter and Latvala. Petter is still doing a solid job in fifth.”
At the front of the field, World Champion, Sebastien Loeb, continues to dominate the event and now leads by over a minute. The Citroen driver even had the luxury of being able to ease his pace on the final two stages of the day.
Ford’s Mikko Hirvonen and Francois Duval are separated by just 4.3 seconds in second and third place, with a gap back to Latvala in fourth.
The final day of competition in Corsica is the shortest of the rally at 116.26km, but includes the longest stage of the weekend - the 31.81km Agosta – Pont de Calzola test.
The second of the day’s two stages, each of which is run twice, is also a sizeable 26.32 kilometres. The day takes crews south of Ajaccio across winding mountain passes towards the coastal town Propriano.
After Day 2 - Rallye of France
1. Loeb / Elena, Citroen C4 WRC, 2h31m27.9s
2. Hirvonen / Lehtinen, Ford Focus RS WRC 07, +52.4s (diff. to 1st)
3. Duval / Pivato, Ford Focus RS WRC 07, +56.7s
4. Latvala / Anttila, Ford Focus RS WRC 07, +1m50.6s
5. Solberg / Mills, Subaru Impreza WRC2008, +2m13.0s
6. Atkinson / Prévot, Subaru Impreza WRC2008, +4m06.2s
7. Aava / Sikk, Citroen C4 WRC, +5m49.9s
8. Tirabassi / Gordon, Subaru Impreza WRC2008, +7m04.8s
9. Wilson / Martin, Ford Focus RS WRC 07, +7m12.1s
10. Ostberg / Unnerud, Subaru Impreza WRC, +7m12.7s
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