ERC14 Rnd 1- Int. Jännerrallye-Austria Jan 3-5 talk/results spoiler **
Round 1 of the ERC 2014 calendar starts with the International Jannerrallye in Austria - - Asphalt/snow
The asphalt showcase first ran in 1969 and attracted 100,000 spectators when it hosted the 2013 ERC season-opener. Based in Freistadt, 40 kilometres north of Linz in Upper Austria, the stages in the spectacular Mühlviertel region use fast, undulating country roads, with ice and snow increasing the challenge. As well as counting as the first event of the 12-round ERC schedule and the first opportunity for drivers to chase ERC Ice Master points, the rally opens the Austrian and Czech national championship seasons. Free Practice and a Qualifying Stage will help to determine the starting order among the priority drivers.
official: Kubica recruits Szczepaniak for ERC season-opener
Formula One race winner Robert Kubica will link up with new co-driver Maciej Szczepaniak for the opening round of the FIA European Rally Championship in Austria this week.
The 40-year-old Szczepaniak, co-driver to Michal Kościuszko since 2007, joins forces with Kubica for the 31 Int. Jännerrallye Oberösterreich, which begins with the Qualifying Stage at 10:30hrs local time today (Friday).
Kubica had spent his first full season of rallying in 2013 – when he took part on four ERC events – with Maciej Baran but he has been searching for a replacement after Baran retired from competition last November.
Like Kubica, Szczepaniak is no stranger to ERC competition having made 30 starts in the series. His most recent appearance was on LOTOS 70 Rally Poland in September 2013 when he co-drove Kościuszko to fourth overall.
Kubica and fellow Pole Szczepaniak will compete in a Ford Fiesta RRC under the RK M-Sport World Rally Team banner. They are one of two all-Polish crews on the asphalt showcase: Slawomir Ogryzek and Mirek Szczepan will also be in action in a Citroën C2R2.
Robert Kubica has gone fastest in Qualifying for round one of the 2014 FIA European Rally Championship, the 31 Int. Jännerrallye Oberösterreich.
Formula One race winner Kubica outgunned fellow Pole Kajetan Kajetanowicz to set the pace on the 1.99-kilometre Freistadt/Trölsberg stage in the Ford Fiesta RRC he is sharing with new co-driver Maciej Szczepaniak for the first time.
Two-time ERC event winner Kajetanowicz, in a new-generation Fiesta R5, was fastest on the first run of Free Practice beating Kubica by 1.3s before Kubica took his turn to top the times on the second run of Free Practice, eclipsing Kajetanowicz by 0.2s. Kubica was 0.9s quicker than his compatriot on the Qualifying Stage, which took place in dry and sunny conditions.
Beppo Harrach was the fastest ERC Production Car Cup runner and fastest Austrian in an impressive third overall, 1.2s down on Kubica in his Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX R4. Czech champion and former Jännerrallye winner Václav Pech was fourth quickest in a MINI John Cooper Works S2000, 1.3s adrift of Kubica. Raimund Baumschlager, who secured his 11th Austrian title in 2013, was fifth quickest, 0.6s further back at the wheel of his self-run ŠKODA Fabia S2000.
Robert Consani was seventh fastest on his competition debut in a Peugeot 207 S2000 with rising Czech star Jan Černy (Subaru Impreza R4 STI) ninth on his first try out with the Japanese machine. ERC Production Car Cup champion Andreas Aigner, who is stepping up to Peugeot 207 S2000 power for his home round of the ERC, was 10th quickest. Jaromír Tarabus was eighth with Vasily Gryazin and Antonín Tlusťák 11th and 12th respectively.
The 12 priority drivers eligible to take part in Qualifying will select their starting position at a ceremony in Freistadt’s Stadtplatz from 16:30hrs today.
The 2014 FIA European Rally Championship is go with Kajetan Kajetanowicz winning the opening stage of the season, the 18.99 kilometres of Pierbach.
Driving a Ford Fiesta R5, Kajetanowicz took 14m18.4s to complete the first run of the 31 Int. Jännerrallye, Oberösterreich with an advantage of 1.5s over Raimund Baumschlager in a ŠKODA Fabia Super 2000. Formula One race winner Robert Kubica was third fastest, 5.4s down on Kajetanowicz on his first drive in icy conditions.
“It was a quick stage but it’s easy to make a mistake,” said Kajetanowicz, who is running sixth on the road. “It was a tricky stage and very demanding. You can’t see where is the ice because everything looks the same. But we are happy, we had fun.”
Eleven-time Austrian champion Baumschlager said: “It was difficult like hell, much more icy than expected. We were sliding and in the ditch sometimes. It was a hard push but it’s so easy to go off the road.”
Kubica, who elected to run 12th on the road after winning Friday’s Qualifying Stage, was third quickest. He said: “It was very difficult and my first time in these conditions and on this stage. There was a lot of gravel but it’s fine. I have not a lot of experience of this car and these tyres and the conditions are very tricky.”
Czech champion Václav Pech was fourth fastest but wasn’t entirely happy with his performance behind the wheel of his MINI John Cooper Works S2000. Meanwhile, countryman Jaromír Tarabus said he was too cautious in the slippery conditions. He was fifth quickest in his Kresta Racing-run Fabia S2000.
Vasily Gryazin was sixth quickest despite inflicting damage to his Ford Fiesta S2000 when the Russian-born youngster slid into a tree. Andreas Aigner was another driver to hit trouble in the stage. The ERC Production Car Cup champion reported “two or three small offs” in his Peugeot 207 S2000, which has sustained a smashed rear windscreen. He was seventh quickest on his debut in the French machine.
After SS2: Kajetanowicz holds lead as Kubica suffers moment
Kajetan Kajetanowicz continues to lead round one of the FIA European Rally Championship despite admitting that he wasn’t entirely happy with the set-up of his LOTOS Rally Team Ford Fiesta R5.
Kajetanowicz scored his second stage best in succession by topping the times through SS2, the 10.22-kilometre Liebenau test. He now leads new second-placed driver Robert Kubica by 10.6s heading to the third stage of the 31 Int. Jännerrallye, Oberösterreich.
Kubica, in a Fiesta RRC, had started the run in third overall behind Raimund Baumschlager but moved ahead of the ŠKODA Fabia S2000 driver when the 11-time Austrian champion was handed a 10-second time penalty for a jumped start.
But Kubica’s stage wasn’t entirely without problems. The Formula One race winner, who was third fastest behind Czech champion Václav Pech, explained: “It was very difficult. I had one moment on the stage two kilometres from the end. It’s very tricky when the stages are fast and you don’t know them.”
Andreas Aigner suffered a spin in his Peugeot 207 Super 2000, while fellow Austrian Beppo Harrach went off the road and hit a snow bank in his Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX R4. Despite his delay, Harrach now tops the ERC Production Car Cup category after Hermann Neubauer lost ground when his decision to run two studded and two winter tyres on his Subaru Impreza backfired.
Meanwhile, Antonín Tlusťák’s damaged exhaust, which occurred on the opening stage, is causing a loss of power in his ŠKODA Fabia S2000.
After SS3: The fight is on as Kubica goes fastest in Austria
Robert Kubica has slashed Kajetan Kajetanowicz’s advantage on round one of the FIA European Rally Championship to 4.9s after winning stage three of the 31 Int. Jännerrallye, Oberösterreich.
Despite his lack of experience driving on ice-coated roads, the Formula One race winner was fastest by three seconds on the 8.30 kilometres of St. Oswald to underline the serious competition ahead in the ERC and his driving prowess.
As well as adapting to the tricky stage conditions, Kubica is also driving his Ford Fiesta RRC for the first time and working with new co-driver Maciej Szczepaniak.
Raimund Baumschlager was second fastest on his home round of the ERC but the 11-time Austrian champion remains in fourth overall having been handed a 10-second penalty for a jumped-start on stage two. Baumschlager was 0.8s faster than Czech champion Václav Pech and 2.6s quicker than Kajetan Kajetanowicz, who continues to lead overall in his LOTOS Rally Team Ford Fiesta R5.
After SS4: Baumschlager blitzes rivals to take rally lead
Raimund Baumschlager has snatched the lead of the 31 Int. Jännerrallye, Oberösterreich by winning stage four in his ŠKODA Fabia Super 2000.
Despite being saddled by a 10-second time penalty for a jumped start, the 11-time Austrian champion now heads the FIA European Rally Championship counter by 2.5s following an inspired tyre choice.
While the bulk of his rivals decided to remain on the studded tyres they were using during the morning loop, Baumschlager is now running without studs on his Pirelli tyres for the improving stage conditions. As a result he was 8.6s faster than Czech champion Václav Pech and 18.2s quicker than erstwhile rally leader Kajetan Kajetanowicz.
“Now it’s better grip but I don't have a good feeling,” said Ford Fiesta R5 driver Kajetanowicz. “I still don’t know where is the ice. The car is still new for me so it’s not easy, especially in these conditions.”
Robert Consani and Kornél Lukács both suffered spins during the second running of the Pierbach stage, while Beppo Harrach said he was far from happy with his driving. “This is not my stage – it’s no good time so we hope for the other stages,” said the Austrian. “Maybe it’s the driver.”
Andreas Aigner, whose Peugeot 207 Super 2000 has been fitted with a makeshift plastic rear windscreen following an earlier indiscretion, said: “The studded tyre was for sure the safe choice. There is still ice but I take it a bit too cautious I think.”
Jan Černý reported going off the road several times in his Subaru Impreza R4 STI, while it was also a troubled stage for Formula One race winner Robert Kubica, who suffered a front-right puncture clipping a rock seven kilometres from the start of the 18.99-kilometre test. He was 22.4s down on Baumschlager at the finish and slips to fourth overall in his LOTOS-backed M-Sport Ford Fiesta RRC.
After SS5: Kajetanowicz hits back with Austria stage best
Kajetan Kajetanowicz has narrowed Raimund Baumschlager’s lead on the opening round of the FIA European Rally Championship to 2.4 seconds.
The quadruple Polish champion, who is embarking on a major ERC campaign in 2014 in his LOTOS Rally Team Ford Fiesta R5, was 0.1s quicker than his Austrian rival through the repeat of the Liebenau stage.
“We are pushing as hard as we can,” said Kajetanowicz, who had led after the morning loop of three stages. “We must be careful and clever, that is the idea but you never know what can happen.”
Baumschlager, in a ŠKODA Fabia S2000, said: “It’s dirty and slippery but we took the right tyre choice [with no studs] for this stage but the gear ratios are not fast enough although for sure we have a good fight.”
Beppo Harrach was third fastest in his ERC Production Car Cup-leading Mitsubishi Lancer with Robert Kubica fourth quickest, 3.5s down on team-mate and fellow Pole Kajetanowicz. Václav Pech was fifth fastest and slips to third overall behind Kajetanowicz. Robert Consani impressed with the sixth fastest time on his first start in a Peugeot 207 S2000.
Jaromír Tarabus spun his Fabia S2000 close to the stage finish, while Andreas Aigner completed the stage with a badly punctured rear-right tyre on his 207 S2000, which the ERC Production Car Cup champion reckoned occurred midway through the 10.22-kilometre test.
Kajetan Kajetanowicz’s hopes of winning the 31 Int. Jännerrallye, Oberösterreich are over after the Polish ace stopped two kilometres from the start of stage six, the 8.30-kilometre St. Oswald run.
Kajetanowicz had been embroiled in a close fight with Raimund Baumschlager for the lead of the FIA European Rally Championship counter. However, reported damage to the rear of his Ford Fiesta R5 means his challenge for ERC glory in Austria is at an end.
Baumschlager now leads Czech champion Václav Pech by 9.8s with Robert Kubica moving to third overall after the Formula One race winner took the stage victory by 0.7s in his Ford Fiesta RRC.
Beppo Harrach impressed with the third fastest time in his ERC Production Car Cup-chasing Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX R4. The Austrian pulled several studs from his tyres prior to the stage, which was virtually free of ice, in an effort to up his pace. Meanwhile, Andreas Aigner reported experiencing a vibration on his Peugeot 207 Super 2000.
Václav Pech has slashed Raimund Baumschlager’s lead on round one of the FIA European Rally Championship to 3.2s after the Czech champion scored his first stage best of the 31 Int. Jännerrallye, Oberösterreich.
Pech, in a MINI John Cooper Works S2000, outgunned Baumschlager by 6.6s after the 11-time event winner said his decision to fit a longer-ratio gearbox in his ŠKODA Fabia Super 2000 had been a mistake.
“I changed to a longer ‘box but it was not right,” said Baumschlager. “I was losing too much because I don’t have enough power, that’s my feeling.”
Robert Kubica is now 7.8s down on Baumschlager in third overall after going 0.1s slower than Pech. However, the Pole said his lowly road position of what is now 11th was proving a hindrance. “Now the road position is very bad. There is a lot of gravel on the road and it was not the easiest stage. It’s very strange to switch from icy roads with studs to a dry set-up and dry tyres.”
Beppo Harrach was third fastest, a mere 0.1s behind Kubica, in his Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX R4, which was well suited to the high-speed 8.76-kilometre Pregarten test. The Austrian reported “two or three moments” during his impressive charge.
Meanwhile, Robert Consani bemoaned his decision to run a mixture of studded and slick tyres in a diagonal formation on his Peugeot 207 Super 2000. Stage eight, the 22.93-kilometre Schönau-St. Leonhard run, gets underway at 16:36hrs local time.
Václav Pech is the new leader of the 31 Int. Jännerrallye, Oberösterreich. The Czech champion started the 22.93-kilometre Schönau-St. Leonhard test 3.2s behind Raimund Baumschlager but moved ahead with another rapid time.
But Pech’s advantage out front is far from secure after Robert Kubica won the stage to overtake Baumschlager and close to within 2.9s of Pech (pictured) with two night stages remaining until the completion of leg one of the FIA European Rally Championship counter.
While Pech, in a MINI John Cooper Works S2000, celebrated his rise in status, Baumschlager was far from satisfied. “We have new tyres for this event and I have to understand them,” said the Austrian ŠKODA Fabia driver. “I am happy with the tyres but we have to understand how to adjust the car to the tyres because we have understeer in some places and too much oversteer in other places. Our goal is to be in the top three and against the turbo cars I am happy.”
Kubica, whose stage win was his 21st in the FIA European Rally Championship, said: “It was a very difficult stage and for sure the road position doesn’t help. We did the stage completely in the dark and it was very slippery and very tricky. But for our first time through we have done a good job.”
There has been plenty of drama in the ERC Production Car Cup. While Beppo Harrach continues to lead, Jan Černý has retired with a broken engine on his Subaru Impreza R4 STI with Kornél Lukács suffering a major handling issue on his category debut. With Černý stopping, Hermann Neubauer is now second in class behind his fellow Austrian.
A 30-minute service halt in Freistadt is next. The rerun of Pregarten begins at 18:47hrs local time.
After SS9: Pech under pressure as Kubica gets close
Robert Kubica is just 1.9s behind leader Václav Pech heading to the final stage of Saturday’s opening leg of the 31 Int. Jännerrallye, Oberösterreich after he claimed his fourth stage win of the FIA European Rally Championship qualifier.
Kubica edged Pech by one second through the 8.76-kilometre Pregarten night stage to narrow the Czech champion’s overall margin and underline the serious competition ahead in the ERC.
Having overcome an alternator issue on the road section heading back to service in Freistadt earlier this evening, Raimund Baumschlager set the third fastest time and now trails Pech by 8.1s in third overall.
“We managed to fix it in the last seconds so we’re lucky to be here,” said the 11-time Austrian champion. “Now it’s fine and my stage time was okay. My target was to be in the top three so we are doing this.”
Robert Consani lost time when his lamp pod worked loose on his Peugeot 207 Super 2000. Beppo Harrach continues to top the ERC Production Car Cup category with Michael Böhm ahead in the ERC 2WD Championship.
Stage 10, the repeat of Schönau-St. Leonhard, gets underway at 19:30hrs local time.
Robert Kubica will start the final day of the 31 Int. Jännerrallye, Oberösterreich leading by 6.4s following another charging performance in his Ford Fiesta RRC.
Kubica was 8.3s faster than Václav Pech through the day-closing 22.93 kilometres of Schönau-St. Leonhard to move to the top of the overall classification despite a moment when he ran wide on a right-hand corner.
“We had some snap oversteer and we hit something but it was nothing big,” said the Formula One race winner. “When it’s tricky and you don’t know the stages or the car and you are with the co-driver for the first time it’s not easy, especially in these [slippery] conditions. We lost quite a lot of time this morning with the puncture but we are here for testing. I need to finish and it’s not easy to do it.”
Czech champion Pech, who is driving a MINI John Cooper Works S2000, said: “Now I am really pushing and had two hot moments. It’s very good we are here.”
Raimund Baumschlager was third quickest but is now more than 20 seconds behind Kubica in the overall standings having led earlier on.
Fellow Austrian Hermann Neubauer was slowed when a broken front differential dropped his Subaru Impreza onto rear-wheel drive only and caused the youngster to spin twice. He holds on to second place in the ERC Production Car Cup behind runaway leader Beppo Harrach. Michael Böhm continues to top the ERC 2WD Championship classification in his Suzuki Swift S1600.
Crews are heading back to Freistadt for service and the overnight halt.
After SS11: Pech fastest to close up to Kubica
The battle for victory on round one of the FIA European Rally Championship remains tightly poised after Václav Pech narrowed Robert Kubica’s advantage to 4.7s on Sunday’s opening test.
Pech, in a MINI John Cooper Works S2000, was 1.7s faster than Kubica through the 8.27-kilometre Gutau run, which Kubica completed with flaming brakes on his Ford Fiesta RRC.
Beppo Harrach was the fastest Austrian driver in third with Jaromír Tarabus fourth quickest. However, it was a troubled stage for 11-time Austrian champion Raimund Baumschlager, who is now 28.4s adrift of leader Kubica after struggling with excessive oversteer during the stage, which was held in dry conditions.
“Tyre compound was too hard and the car was sliding too much with a lot of oversteer and I can’t stop the rear,” said Baumschlager, who pilots a self-run ŠKODA Fabia Super 2000. “We do not have the softest tyre. It will be a bit warmer in the next hour so we try to stay on the road, it’s useless to push. We had three big moments for nothing. It was really dangerous and I was so close to going off the road.”
Andreas Aigner was sixth fastest in his Peugeot 207 S2000. The ERC Production Car Cup champion said: “There was more grip than I expected and I was a little bit too cautious.”
After SS12: Lead battle intensifies on ERC season-opener
Formula One race winner Robert Kubica continues to lead the 31 Int. Jännerrallye, Oberösterreich but Václav Pech remains firmly in contention for victory on the FIA European Rally Championship counter.
Pech, a three-time Jännerrallye winner, outgunned Kubica by 0.3s to narrow the Polish driver’s advantage to 4.4s heading to the final stage of Sunday’s opening loop.
Czech champion Pech’s fastest time through the 12.54 kilometres of Unterweisenbach was his second consecutive stage win of the day at the wheel of his MINI John Cooper Works S2000.
Multiple Austrian champion Raimund Baumschlager continues to lose time on his hard compound tyres, which proved to be far from ideal for the cold conditions, particularly with patches of ice forming on the stage. He is now 47.7s behind Kubica in the overall standings.
ERC Production Car Cup leader Beppo Harrach continues to impress with the third quickest time in his Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX R4.
After SS13: Unlucky 13 for Kubica as Pech reclaims top spot
Václav Pech is the new leader of 31 Int. Jännerrallye, Oberösterreich after a “small moment” cost Robert Kubica top spot on the FIA European Rally Championship season-opener.
Kubica, the winner of the 2008 Canadian Grand Prix, was 4.4s in front of Pech starting the 7.79-kilometre Arena Königswiesen test but slipped behind when Pech outpaced him by 4.6s for his third stage win of Sunday morning. Pech now leads by 0.2s heading to mid-morning service in Freistadt.
Afterwards, Kubica revealed that a brake issue had hampered his performance behind the wheel of his M-Sport-run Ford Fiesta RRC.
“We put new brakes [on this morning] and unfortunately they were not bedded in properly and I cooked the brakes,” said Kubica. “I have not performing brakes and we had a small moment [in this stage] when we lost a couple of seconds.”
And it’s not just the battle for victory that’s thrilling the fans in Austria with ERC Production Car Cup leader Beppo Harrach now 4.3s behind Jaromír Tarabus in the fight for fourth overall. “I had a big moment on the previous stage and Beppo is pushing hard,” said Tarabus.
Raimund Baumschlager was second fastest and reported that his hard compound tyres were working better in the slightly warmer conditions. “It’s a bit more warmer here with the areas in the open fields and the tyres are working better,” said the third-placed Austrian. “The chances of victory are gone but I am happy to be third.”
Robert Consani suffered a spin in his Peugeot 207 S2000, while Roman Odložilík lost approximately 15 seconds when he went off the road in his Ford Fiesta R5.
After SS14: Harrach up to fourth on home ERC counter
Beppo Harrach has demoted Jaromír Tarabus for fourth place on the 31 Int. Jännerrallye, Oberösterreich.
Harrach, who is leading the FIA ERC Production Car Cup category, was 5.8s faster than Tarabus through the 8.27-kilometre Gutau test and now heads his Czech rival by 1.5s in the overall classification with four stages of the European Rally Championship season-opener left to run.
Out front, Václav Pech’s lead has been trimmed to 8.3s after Robert Kubica went 2.2s faster than him through the stage.
Andreas Aigner was fourth quickest after set-up changes in service improved the handling of his Peugeot 207 Super 2000. Robert Consani completed the stage with minor damage to the right corner of his front bumper after the Peugeot driver nudged a tree.
After SS15: Fog foils Kubica as Tarabus retakes fourth
Václav Pech leads the 31 Int. Jännerrallye, Oberösterreich by 12.8s with three stages remaining as heavy fog and patches of ice on the rerun of the Unterweisenbach test made for difficult conditions.
Robert Kubica was 8.3s down on Pech starting the stage but a cautious run meant he was 4.5s slower than Pech through the 12.54-kilometre test.
“It was very difficult and to understand where you are and the grip level is so I took it very safe,” said Kubica. “There is no point risking in this kind of fog. We’ve lost some time but that’s how it is.”
Andreas Aigner didn’t complain about the lack of visibility on the FIA European Rally Championship counter but did report spinning his Peugeot 207 Super 2000. “It was a good stage but we had a spin and had to reverse so I don’t think the time will be so good,” said the ERC Production Car Cup champion.
Despite reporting a “really big moment” 200 metres from the stage start, Jaromír Tarabus is back up to fourth place after Beppo Harrach hit trouble. The ERC Production Car Cup leader completed the stage with damage to the right rear of his Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX R4 after the Austrian hit a tree. “It was in third gear and we lost for sure 20 seconds,” he said. “We got stuck and had to reverse. We made full attack after that but we have to check for the damage.”
Hermann Neubauer lost 40 seconds when a suspected brake issue resulted in him overshooting a junction at 140kph.
Czech champion Václav Pech continues to lead the 31 Int. Jännerrallye, Oberösterreich despite hitting a rock with the rear of his MINI John Cooper Works S2000.
Pech was fastest through the mud-coated Arena Königswiesen stage, which took place in foggy conditions and now heads Robert Kubica by 13.8s with two stages of the FIA European Rally Championship counter left to run.
“It was very difficult, very muddy and fog additionally,” said Kubica, who was 1.0s slower than Pech through the 7.79-kilometre test. “Okay it’s a good test and something new for me but it was very difficult.”
Raimund Baumschlager reported hitting a signpost with the rear of his ŠKODA Fabia Super 2000. He was sixth quickest as a result. “It was not so good, it’s useless to push because it’s so easy to make a mistake.”
Jaromír Tarabus impressed with the third fastest time, while a windscreen wiper switch issue affected Andreas Aigner’s ultimate pace. Beppo Harrach adopted a cautious approach following a brush with a tree on the previous stage while he continues to assess the level of damage.
The first of two runs through the 25.00-kilometre Bad Zell-Tragwein-Aisttal test is up next at 14:00hrs local time.
After SS17: Aigner slows, Harrach flies in Austria
While the loss of fifth gear has slowed Andreas Aigner on the 31 Int. Jännerrallye, Oberösterreich, Beppo Harrach has moved back up to fourth overall with a rapid run through the rain-hit 25.00-kilometre Bad Zell-Tragwein-Alsttal stage.
Harrach had trailed Jaromír Tarabus starting the stage but he overhauled the Czech who reported a “bad feeling” in the wet conditions. “It was a good time, a good time,” said Harrach, who extends his ERC Production Car Cup lead as a result. “We catch up now what we lost on the tree two stages before.”
Aigner, meanwhile, was more than 40 seconds off the pace due to the faltering gearbox on his Peugeot 207 Super 2000. “It’s a new thing for me, quite a bit of aquaplaning. We have no fifth gear anymore, it’s a six-speed gearbox. We decide in service if we change the gearbox or not.”
Hermann Neubauer struggled through the stage after his Subaru Impreza suffered brake failure one kilometre from the start. “We only had the handbrake,” he said.
Meanwhile Robert Kubica was fastest through the stage, beating Václav Pech by 1.1s to close to 11.8s of the Czech with one stage remaining. “They were very difficult conditions,” said Kubica. “In many places there was huge aquaplaning. On this rally you get every condition, ice, gravel, mud, rain and a bit of dry so it’s been good training.”
A 30-minute service in Freistadt is next. The final stage, the repeat of the Bad Zell run, goes live at 16:20hrs local time.