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Scott Pedder has put the disappointment of suffering a puncture during yesterday’s opening Leg of Rally de Portugal, and the subsequent three minute time loss, to power six places ahead on the WRC2 leader board today including claiming his first fastest stage time in the ultra competitive category.

 
Pedder began the day tenth in WRC2, but a determined drive on the opening stage saw him set the fourth fastest time against front runners Teemu Suninen (Toyota factory test driver), Elfyn Evans (M-Sport factory driver) and Pontus Tidemand (Skoda factory driver).

“We actually had one eye on tyre conservation and another on maximum attack, which is a tricky balancing act,” admitted Pedder after the opening test. “We ran with a soft tyre front and rear, and a hard tyre front and rear, because we’re just a little worried about how the abrasive conditions are chewing through our stock of tyres for the weekend.”

Buoyed by the time on the first stage Pedder pushed even harder on the next stage, only to see his hard work evaporate when his Skoda Fabia R5 suffered a front right puncture with just three kilometres of the stage left to go.

“These cars are so hard to drive on a puncture,” explained Pedder’s co-driver Dale Moscatt. “Scott did exceptionally well to limp us through the rest of the stage and only lose a minute while trying not to destroy the car with the flailing rubber from the puncture.”
With the offending tyre replaced Pedder was once again back up to speed on the 37.67km Amarante stage, clocking the second fastest WRC2 stage time and the tenth fastest time overall amongst the outright World Rally Car contenders.

All three morning stages were repeated in the afternoon, and feeling confident with his pre-event preparation, including refined pace notes, Pedder pulled out all the stops, setting his maiden WRC2 stage win on the 26.31km Marão stage.

“Incredible, we pushed so hard, including through a massive patch of fog in the stage that went for maybe six to eight kilometres,” said an elated Scott.

Moscatt was equally impressed; “For Scott to get in a brand new car, with a brand new team this weekend after eight months out of competitive rallying is remarkable in itself. But for him to take stage wins against the quality of the guys running this weekend is something else altogether.”

Confidence soaring Pedder once again clocked an impressive stage time on the days final test, the repeated of the mammoth 37.67km Amarante, finishing second fastest in WRC2 behind Skoda’s Pontus Tidemand. In doing so he moved 14th outright and fourth in WRC2, just 10.2 seconds off current third placeholder Marius Aasen.

“Four stages to go tomorrow, the podium is well in sight, but I’m not getting ahead of myself,” added Pedder. “We have to still get through another tough day and we’ve got a quality driver in Miguel Campos breathing down our necks behind us.”

“Today was probably the best day of my entire rally career! I had the confidence to push and push hard, so it felt great to be able to claim my first WRC2 stage win and show we can be ultra competitive against the top guys in this sport,” Scott continued.

Two loops of two stages round out the 2016 Rally de Portugal, with the 22.47km Vieira do Minho and the short but spectacular 11.19km Fafe. “The first stage is similar to those we’ve already done, tricky with a soft surface. Then Fafe everyone knows for the main spectator jump, but it’s a really demanding stage with lots of short straights and blind crests.”

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