Argentina: Subaru World Rally Team - Leg 2
The second leg was made up of five stages to the north of Villa Carlos Paz, the event's base, and then four tests about 60km to the south, in Calamuchita. The distance included 159.16 competitive kilometres.
Light rain overnight
left the morning's stages wet and there was some fog up in the hills. Conditions improved during the day but most of the roads remained damp. Temperatures ranged from 16-19 Celsius.
Saturday brought mixed fortunes: after setting strong stage times and battling as high as second overall, Petter Solberg and Phil Mills were forced to retire from the leg when a mechanical problem stopped them on SS17.
Chris Atkinson and Stephane Prevot remained on course for points – at the end of the leg they were in sixth position in their first rally together.
Today started very brightly for us, with Petter moving up to second place and Chris holding fifth position. Disappointingly, the afternoon brought retirement for Petter with what we suspect to be an engine problem. During the day Chris experienced a few issues with the handling and slipped back one place to sixth overall, but we'll work on improving things for him for the five stages tomorrow, so that he can consolidate his position and hopefully come home in the points.
Stephane and I are working well together in the car and sixth place overall is a good position to build on, but unfortunately today I haven't been as competitive as I'd wanted to be. We've had a few issues with the feeling of the car during the leg, and I wasn't able to push all of the time. I'll be working with the engineers this evening to see if we can find a solution for tomorrow's stages.
There is still a long way to go and we have the potential to break into the top five.
I didn't want my 100th rally for Subaru to end this way. It is such a disappointment, because we were going well in third position and I had a good feeling with the car. We had no warning of the problem, it just happened suddenly during the stage and that was that. The car showed great potential, in particular on the morning's stages, and we were looking forward to the rest of the rally. It's a great shame, and frustrating because we have not been able to show how we are progressing with the car. It's getting better all the time. For sure, it is not perfect yet, but we have new developments coming for Sardinia which will make it better to drive and hopefully we can compete for a win. As it is we are behind just a little bit, but here the performance was very good from the start.
In light of the eight cancelled tests on Friday, the final leg of the rally has been revamped to include an extra stage. The crews will now tackle the 23.18km Mina Clavero – Giulio Cesare stage twice instead of once.
It means the number of stages tomorrow is now five and the total competitive distance of the leg has increased to 82.40km.
Subaru World Rally Team