J-WRC: Abbring leads after Burkart retires

Rally de Portugal - After Day 3

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By www.wrc.com

29 May 2010 - 22:16
J-WRC: Abbring leads after Burkart (...)

Most recently, it was Jamie Cullum, but Dinah Washington has had a go at it as well. And now Junior World Rally Championship leader Kevin Abbring should join the small, but select band of people who have sung the song. Because... what a difference a day makes.

This time yesterday, Abbring was in the depths of despair having suffered a puncture and slipped down the leaderboard. But, 24 little hours later, he’s preparing to nurse a four-minute lead through the final day of the Rally of Portugal.

Suzuki driver Aaron Burkart started the day a country mile ahead and he stayed there through the morning. The only thing on the German driver’s mind was conserving his Pirelli tyres for the morning’s three stages. As he returned to Almodovar for the start of the afternoon loop, he still had the look of a driver in complete control.

Unfortunately, it wasn’t to be for Burkart. He slid off the road, continued, but then had to stop with damage to the radiator.

Abbring could scarcely believe it as he powered his Renault past the silent Suzuki. The Dutchman suffered his own problems with a couple of slow punctures on the day’s final two stages. Those deflations focused his mind again.

“It’s been a really tough day,” he said. “There have been a lot of rocks around, it’s been quite difficult. But now it looks like it could be quite good for the championships. We have to see tomorrow and make sure we get through without the problem.”

Where one Suzuki has fallen, Estonian Karl Kruuda’s Swift S1600 is still running, well down on the lead Clio. Only those two drivers have completed the entire route, Burkart is classified third under SupeRally regulations.

Spaniard Yeray Lemes retired from a possible podium position when the engine on his Renault let go on the opening stage.

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