Saturday PWRC wrap: Local hero Guerra pulls clear

Mitsubishi driver maintains advantage on home round


By Franck Drui

11 March 2012 - 02:53
Saturday PWRC wrap: Local hero (...)

Benito Guerra has enjoyed another strong day in the battle for FIA Production Car World Rally Championship honours by increasing his lead of the category to more than two minutes.

The Mexican hero, at the wheel of a Mitsubishi Lancer, started the day half a minute up on fellow Ralliart Italia driver Michal Kosciuszko, but was forced to cede time to his rival on the first two stages of the day when they were split by 1.6s on the 29.90-kilometre Ibarrilla stage and 1.9s on the following 41.88-kilometre Otates test.

Kosciuszko’s morning hadn’t quite gone to plan after he clipped a tree while trying to take a wide line into one of the morning’s many hairpins. But things would get considerably worse for the PWRC title leader.

Leaving service following extensive repairs, Kosciuszko radioed his team to tell them he could hear a knocking noise coming from his car. He was told to stop and tighten bolts on the rear suspension, which he duly did. As a result he arrived at the stage start 23 minutes late, incurring 3m50s in penalties and dropping out of the lead fight and behind Nicolas Fuchs. Any hopes of a recovery were dashed when the Pole crashed on stage 17 and retired.

Fuchs had enjoyed the best possible start to day two with fastest time on the opener. His progress was stymied on the next stage when his tyres overheated before gearbox woes caused further delay. He remains a comfortable second going into the final day.

“It’s been a good day,” said leader Guerra. “Yes, okay, the brakes are overheating and the tyres are getting warm, but it’s what we expect when we are doing these very long stages. We know what we have to do when the car gets warm, we switch off the turbo anti-lag system and then we look after the engine a little more. The fight is not so close now, but still, let’s not forget we have a very long stage tomorrow.”

Italian Gianluca Linari is third in a Subaru Impreza but Swede Ramona Karlsson and Mexican Rodrigo Salgado both failed to finish having been hampered by brake and intercooler issues respectively.


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