Flodin leads super-close Production fight
In front of Semerad and Araujo
Sweden’s Patrik Flodin emerged as the leader of a fascinating day-long tussle at the top of the Production Car World Rally Championship on the opening day of the Jordan Rally.
Winner of the opening round of the 2010 P-WRC, Flodin and his Subaru Impreza WRX enjoyed a largely trouble-free day to take a 10-second advantage into the second day of the Dead Sea-based event.
Former Pirelli Star Driver Martin Semerad (Mitsubishi) is equally pleased with his second place this evening. The Czech Republic driver is enjoying his strongest performance ever at the sport’s highest level. Current P-WRC points leader Armindo Araujo (Mitsubishi) is third just 2.9 seconds behind Semerad.
Fastest through the first stage, Flodin was forced to give best to the charging Semerad who belied his lack of experience of rallying in the Middle East to collect the stage win in Wadi Shueib.
Araujo made it three different winners in as many stages on SS3 - but the Portuguese driver’s advantage was enough to carry him to the top of the leaderboard. Flodin ended the stage with damaged steering. “We hit a really big rock in there,” he said at the end of the stage. “You couldn’t avoid it, I think most people must have hit it. The steering is out now, but we should be fine to get to service.”
Flodin dealt with the drama in the best way possible, posting fastest time and returning his Impreza to the lead in time for the cars to return to service on the banks of the Dead Sea.
The top three drivers enjoyed the afternoon’s re-run stages more, with the surface swept clean of the loose gravel which had left them scrabbling for grip, they were able to exploit the power of their Group N machines. Semerad was fastest on the first two, but remained third at the end of the day. Araujo moved ahead of Flodin in stage six, but an unbeaten run through Mount Nebo 2 ensured Flodin would be P1 at the close of play. “It’s been a good day,” said Flodin. “It’s really close at the top, very exciting.”
Araujo said: “I lost some time in that last stage of the day. I’m not sure why, but everything is still there to race for tomorrow. We want a good result here, we’re looking for the win.”
Semerad was delighted with his position, saying: “I haven’t been pushing too hard. It’s so hard to judge these roads. There are so many crests with corners straight after. I made some mistakes with the notes, but we have been correcting them - even though the mic has broken in my crash helmet!”
Local hero and wildcard P-WRC entry Amjad Farrah (Mitsubishi) is fourth, with Pirelli Star Driver Nick Georgiou fifth in his Lancer.
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