Wittmann sixth overall after the second day
And a 4th time in SS9
In the afternoon of the second day of the 78th Rallye Monte Carlo the very three special stages that had already been completed in the morning were scheduled once more. The road conditions had somewhat improved compared to the first turn but most drivers still relied on spikes and intermediate tyres.
Franz Wittmann/Klaus Wicha in the Peugeot 207 S 2000 also chose this variant and stood a good chance to keep their sixth place. On SS 8, though, the Austrian was overtaken once again by Stephane Sarrazin and dropped back to seventh overall place. But on SS 9 in St. Bonnet the Interwetten driver gave the best performance so far during this IRC run. On this snow-covered stage he finished fourth behind Ogier, Hanninen and Kopecky but in front of Nicolas Vouilloz and Mikko Hirvonen. He furthermore clearly outdistanced Portuguese Bruno Magalhaes, thereby fighting his way back up to sixth overall place.
On the last stage of today, SS 10 Lamastre over 21,9 km, which was completed after dark, Wittmann was forced to fall back on spikes on all four wheels despite an almost completely dry surface and thus naturally lost some time. And he was also hampered by another, even more severe problem.
Wittmann: “During two stages on the late afternoon things really went our way. Sarrazin was unstoppable on SS 8 but I was able to make up 14 seconds on Magalhaes and was only 20 seconds behind him in the overall ranking. On SS 9 I was very content with my performance, the more so since I reached fourth-best time. Additionally, I was able to overtake Magalhaes and move up to sixth overall place again. Then bad luck hit on SS 10. After ten of 21,9 kilometres overall the intercom once more broke down and I couldn’t hear what Klaus was saying, even though he was shouting at the top of his voice. When he became hoarse he started to fingersign the following turns. We both gave our all and finally managed to keep sixth overall place. Now I am hoping for a successful final day tomorrow on Friday with a result within scoring ranks.”
At the top the fight between the two Finns Mikko Hirvonen and Juho Hanninen continued. Currently the Ford driver still has a clear lead on the Skoda driver.