Sweden : Subaru World Rally Team - Leg 2
Chris Atkinson is heading the Subaru World Rally Team's campaign. The young Australian reprised his level-headed performance on last month's Rallye Monte Carlo with another consistent display and vaulted from ninth to sixth in the
He ended the day just 8.6s behind fifth-placed Daniel Carlsson, with five stages left to run tomorrow.
There was disappointment for Petter Solberg, who got stuck in a ditch on SS10 and lost almost 14 minutes. With no chance of clawing his way back into the points, the team opted to withdraw Petter from the rally and conserve his car for next week's Rally Norway.
All of the stages on Leg Two were situated in the countryside close to the service area at Hagfors. The day comprised seven timed stages, and ended with a repeat pass through the 1.87km Hagfors Sprint. The total competitive distance was 141.96km and the action began at 0803hrs with the 10km Lesjofors stage.
"It's been a productive day for us and our strategy has paid off. We've run at a pace that we're comfortable with, rather than try to be too ambitious and push too hard. We're just 8.6sec behind Daniel [Carlsson] going into the final leg, but it will be tough to beat him because this is his home event and remember he finished third here last year. We've been evenly matched with him all day. I think our choice of BFGoodrich tyres gave us a slight advantage this afternoon, but if we both choose the same tyres tomorrow it'll be very hard to make up that time.
Still, we're on course to achieve our objective of a top-six finish and if I end tomorrow in fifth or sixth place, I'll be happy.”
“I'm very disappointed about what has happened, and I'm really sorry to the supporters who were out on the stages for us. It was good to be fighting back near the top and I'd have liked to have carried that fight on tomorrow, but unfortunately losing 14 minutes meant there was no chance. So, we have to look forward, and that means preparing for Norway. It's my home rally and I'm going to try my best to get a much better result.”
Richard Taylor, SWRT Managing Director
"It's been a good day for Chris, and we're pleased to see him up into sixth place now and challenging for fifth. Despite relatively limited snow driving experience, Chris is on target to achieve the result we hoped for here. Clearly it's been a very disappointing day for Petter, especially considering his overall speed and the fact that he was in a realistic podium position. But after the time he lost, we felt it would be better to end his rally early and preserve the car for Norway next week. Tomorrow we're looking forward to Chris pushing on and maintaining his target position.”