MUD AND PUDDLES IN POLAND
After thunderstorms during the night, the Rally Poland shakedown quickly turned into a something of a quagmire this morning. Andreas Mikkelsen, Craig Breen and Stéphane Lefebvre took advantage of the session to work on the set-up of their Citroën C3 WRC in the muddy conditions.
- Whereas recce was held in glorious sunshine, thunderstorms struck overnight, leaving the shakedown road and the stages contested this weekend soaked.
- On his first run, Andreas Mikkelsen had a minor electronical problem, which forced him to return to the service park. The Norwegian set off again quickly, but by then the road was already full of holes and ruts following the repeated passes of the cars.
- Throughout the morning, the three Citroën Total Abu Dhabi WRT drivers reviewed the various suspension settings for these tricky new conditions.
- Andreas Mikkelsen set the quickest time of the C3 WRCs on the fourth of his five passes, with a 2:15.2. Stéphane Lefebvre clocked a 2:16.0, just ahead of Craig Breen, who set a time of 2:16.6.
- This afternoon, the crews will head for the main square in Mikolajki for the ceremonial start. They will then complete a first run on the Mikolajki Arena super special stage, from 7.08pm.
Andreas Mikkelsen: "We were unable to do our first run properly due to a minor technical problem. By the time we made our second attempt, the road was already rutted and it wasn't easy to test our set-up because the conditions were so different to those we had experienced in testing. We nonetheless made a few adjustments. If it keeps raining, then the work we did this morning will be useful."
Stéphane Lefebvre: "I feel comfortable in the car, but we still lack a bit of traction and out-and-out performance. We did a lot of work this morning testing the various suspension configurations. The engineers are now going to work on defining the best settings. I'd rather that fine weather returned and that the stages dried out; we'd undoubtedly be more comfortable."
Craig Breen: "With the overnight rainfall, the road quickly became full of holes and rutted. On our final pass, it looked more like a battlefield than a rally stage! We tried out quite a few options for these kinds of conditions, but I think we are preparing ourselves for a tough rally. It'll all depend on what happens with the weather over the weekend…"
1. Neuville / Gilsoul (Hyundai i20 WRC) 2:12.1
2. Tänak / Jarveoja (Ford Fiesta WRC) 2:12.3
3. Paddon / Kennard (Hyundai i20 WRC) 2:12.7
4. Latvala / Anttila (Toyota Yaris WRC) 2:13.3
5. Sordo / Marti (Hyundai i20 WRC) 2:13.8
11. Mikkelsen / Jaeger (Citroën C3 WRC) 2:15.2
13. Lefebvre / Moreau (Citroën C3 WRC) 2:16.0
14. Breen / Martin (Citroën C3 WRC) 2:16.6