S-WRC: Ketomaa closes in on category victory

Rally de Portugal - After Day 3

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By www.wrc.com

29 May 2010 - 22:15
S-WRC: Ketomaa closes in on category

Jari Ketomaa is five stages away from claiming his second Super 2000 World Rally Championship victory in as many events after completing day two of Vodafone Rally de Portugal with a lead of more than three minutes over fellow Ford Fiesta driver Xevi Pons.

The Finn, who won his class for the first time on Rally New Zealand earlier this month, began Saturday’s first loop of stages 23.2s up on Autotek Motorsport team-mate Nasser Al-Attiyah, who had led for much of the opening day before a powersteering fault struck on Friday’s final test and dropped him to second.

However, when Al-Attiyah stopped five kilometres from the end of Saturday’s second stage with an electrical failure, Ketomaa was left in the clear after P-G Andersson, who was third in the S-WRC division at the start of Saturday, suffered a front-right puncture on the first stage and then lost more time when a right-rear wheel bearing worked loose.

“It hasn’t been easy because on the first stage I went the wrong way at a junction and then I also nearly went into a ditch on the third stage,” said Ketomaa. “But even when Nasser stopped it was difficult to be less attacking because my pacenotes are designed to be fast so I couldn’t just cruise to the finish although I did take less risks.”

Pons, the championship leader, said he was more than satisfied to be second heading into the final day, adding: “So far this is a good result for us for the championship but tomorrow is another day and it’s not easy.”

The Spaniard moved into second when Andersson stopped 10 kilometres into the 25.23-kilometre Almodovar stage after tearing a wheel from his Skoda Fabia. The Swede is currently classified in fifth overall - one place in front of Portuguese wildcard entrant Vitor Pascoal - and is due to restart on Sunday under SupeRally regulations.

Michal Kosciuszko is third in his Fabia after reporting losing approximately 20 seconds stuck behind Janne Tuohino on stage eight when the Finn’s Fiesta suffered a steering problem.

Fourth-placed Bernardo Sousa spent day two with his focus firmly on securing maximum Portuguese championship points in his Fiesta. He achieved his aim despite a puncture on the penultimate stage.

Eyvind Brynildsen set several top times even though his Fabia was still saddled by the engine problem which forced him to stop on day one. He is ninth overall, one place clear of Albert Llovera, after limping into final service with a broken alternator: “The engine is completely dead, we had to push the car into the control,” he said.

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