Skoda: News from day one
The Skoda Motorsport World Rally Team made a solid start to the Corsica Rally with all three crews successfully completing the opening leg to the south east of Ajaccio.
Alex Bengue completed the four long stages in eighth place with Armin Schwarz
13th and Jan Kopecký 15th on his Corsican debut.
The event began last night with a ceremonial start in the centre of Ajaccio where the fans gathered to collect autographs before an explosive firework display heralded the start of the event. Yesterdays torrential morning rain gave way to sunshine today but there remained several damp patches that served as a warning that this event is always prone to sudden and dramatic weather changes.
Alex took a cautious approach to the opening leg but set three top 10 times to end the leg in a points-scoring position. Armin had power steering problems during the afternoon stages while Jan was conscious of this being his debut on the island and drove very carefully.
Tomorrows leg features four stages to the north of Ajaccio. The route comprises a pair of stages each run twice with the first stage of each pair being the longest of the event at 36.24kms. The days stage distance totals 124.88kms. Quotes:Alex Bengue
: I was a bit too cautious this morning but I didnt want to make any mistakes. We improved the set-up this afternoon but it is very difficult to find a good compromise between the soft suspension you need for the bumpy sections and the hard settings you need for the smooth roads often all on the same stage. Overall Im
pleased with today and I am looking forward to tomorrow. Armin Schwarz
: This morning the car was good but this afternoon I lost the power steering and that is a big problem when the roads are as twisty as they are in Corsica. Jan Kopecký
:It has been very difficult for me today. I spun at the first corner of the first stage and I am very aware that this is a rally where experience counts for everything. I was happy that I could be a lot quicker on the second run through the stages but I will not be taking any risks here. Martin Muehlmeier
(Head of Skoda Motorsport):
Overall I am quite happy with our first day. We have all three cars still in the event and Alex is in the points. Armin drove well to keep the time loss to a minimum and Jan is being very sensible by treating this rally as a test.
Skoda Press Release