SS12: Solberg sets the pace

Ford’s Norwegian continues recovery from day two retirement

By Franck Drui

31 March 2012 - 12:52
SS12: Solberg sets the pace

Petter Solberg’s bid to make up lost ground on Vodafone Rally de Portugal is on course after the Norwegian clocked the fastest time in his Ford Fiesta RS WRC.

“I’m pushing a bit,” he said. “The set-up for the first stage was not working but for this one it was perfect - it is what we were expecting. I’m happy with the time so we need to stay focused, not make any mistakes and get to the podium. I would like to get fourth place.”

Dani Sordo completed the stage with a front-right puncture on his MINI John Cooper Works WRC. Nevertheless he managed to record the second fastest time, 4.4s down on Solberg. “It is really slippery all the time in the mud,” said the Spaniard. “But I’m not taking any real risks. I’m happy. The car is really good. I also feel really good.”

Jari-Matti Latvala was third quickest in his factory Fiesta, 9.1s down on Solberg. He said: “We have a job to do and that’s to score points. Dani Sordo is going quite quick but there is no point to make good stage times. We drive at 95 per cent.”

Evgeny Novikov said a misfire developed in his Fiesta after he crossed a watersplash. He is continuing to lose time to second-placed Mads Ostberg as a result.

Citroen factory ace Mikko Hirvonen continues to lead round four of the FIA World Rally Championship powered by Nokia after setting the fifth fastest time. His lead over Ostberg stands at 43.0s with one stage of the morning loop remaining. Ostberg was sixth quickest, 27.6s slower than Solberg.

Running first on the road in his Citroen DS3 WRC, Neuville, who was seventh quickest, said: “Some places there was a little bit more mud than the first stage and that was good for me being first on the road. But later it was drier and we lose time.”



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