Sandell in the points at the end of day one in Jordan
"We will try to get the car back and score as many points as possible"
After the opening day of the Jordan Rally, Swedish driver Patrik Sandell is eighth in the Super 2000 World Rally Championship classification despite being forced to retire from the day’s action on the third stage.
Nonetheless, he will be back tomorrow under the super rally system with every possibility of a strong points-scoring finish.
Jordan is on the calendar for only the second time since 2008, and today’s action presented competitors with seven tough stages. The route consisted of hard gravel roads with a loose sandy surface, which was swept quickly away once the first competitors had passed over the stage.
Several large rocks also lined the rally route, meaning that all the competitors had to watch out for punctures and big stones. Temperatures were hot, climbing to 32 degrees Centigrade.
Sandell, driving a Red Bull-backed Skoda Fabia S2000 run by the experienced BRR team, previously contested the Jordan Rally in 2008, which gave him and his co-driver Emil Axelsson some idea of what to expect from the challenging opening day. However, it did not end exactly as they hoped.
The action got underway with a start ceremony close to the ancient city of Jerash, famed for its preserved Roman remains including a well-known chariot racing circuit, which the drivers visited just before the real action began.
"The first stage was very narrow and tricky, so we just tried to settle ourselves in and not make any mistakes," said Sandell. "On the second stage it was better. Then, after two kilometres on the third stage, the steering arm broke. I just turned into a right-hand corner but the car turned left instead. I don’t recall hitting anything more than normal. There was a hairpin before with a lot of stones but nothing unusual. Now we’ll just have to see for tomorrow: we will try to get the car back and score as many points as possible. Before, I was happy with the way things were going, so that is a positive sign."
His team principal, multiple Austrian Champion Raimund Baumschlager, added: "Patrik was just a bit unlucky today; I think it could have happened to anyone. In fact, there have been a huge number of people retiring in the S2000 class: which goes to show how tough the stages were. The good news is that we will be able to make the car perfect again for tomorrow’s stages and we’ve got every possibility of scoring important points. This rally is still young and anything can happen."
Tomorrow’s action takes in six more demanding gravel special stages, divided into two loops of three stages with service at the Dead Sea resort halfway through the day. Once more, conditions are expected to be dry and hot.
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