Sandell finishes fourth in New Zealand
Patrik Sandell, driving a Red Bull backed Skoda Fabia S2000, has finished a fighting fourth in the Super 2000 World Rally Championship classification on Rally New Zealand.
The result means that the Swede maintains fifth in the drivers'
standings, having set three fastest stage times on the New Zealand event. Patrik unfortunately had a spin on the very last stage of the event, denying him the chance to make further progress.
Nonetheless, Patrik enjoyed the fast and flowing stages in New Zealand: although he was already hit by a setback in the very early stages of the rally. On the second stage, Sandell and his co-driver Emil Axelsson hit a large bird, damaging their car's windscreen and robbing them of confidence.
Having progressively made some changes to the set-up of the BRR Skoda, as Patrik did not get the chance to test before the start of the event, he gradually increased his speed - also winning the first stage on the final day.
On the first day I had a problem to get into the right rhythm or the right speed," reported Patrik. "We felt good on some corners but we didn't find the right timing in the driving or the perfect set-up. From Saturday it was feeling really good so we tried to push more and more and we passed Nasser Al Attiyah in a similar car. We tried to catch Martin Prokop as well and took a lot of time out of him this morning but on the long stage the first time this morning he had an incredible time; 20 seconds faster than everybody else. In the end there was not so much to do but try to keep the fourth place and get to the finish of the rally. Okay it's some more points but we need to get some podiums as well."
Patrik's next scheduled event is Rally Finland in August: a rally that he loves and has contested four times already. However, the Swede hopes to be able to get in another practice event first.
"It's always good to have time in the car to find the brake points and the small, small details," added Patrik. "It's important to be in the car all the time and we need to look to everything now. Our next rally is Finland and we will be very prepared for that one..."