Van Merksteijn learns fast during WRC Rally Norway

13.02.2009: Van Merksteijn Motorsport has had a good day during the first day of the Rally Norway, part of the FIA World Rally Championship. Despite some small problems on both cars, father and son Van Merksteijn have returned to the service park at the Vikingship in

Van Merksteijn Motorsport has had a good day during the first day of the Rally Norway, part of the FIA World Rally Championship. Despite some small problems on both cars, father and son Van Merksteijn have returned to the service park at the Vikingship in Hamar for the cars to be checked for continuation of the rally tomorrow.
 
Today, Peter van Merksteijn made his first stage kilometers with his new Belgian co-driver Erwin Mombaerts which proved to be a good match. On the second stage of this morning Peter hit a snow bank and collected a lot of snow in the air intake of the engine causing a major loss of power.

On this second stage and the next stage at Kirkenaer Peter and Erwin lost some time as a result of the blocked air filter but after this was resolved they had a trouble free day. “We took it easy during this first day of the rally because driving in the snow is something I have to get used to. Basically it is the first time for us that we drive in these conditions as the Swedish Rally last year was only mud”.
 
The Ford Focus WRC 06 driven by Peter van Merksteijn jnr. encountered a problem with the clutch early during this first day. Probably caused by the cold conditions last night, the clutch did not function properly  and after a spin on the fourth stage Peter had a lot of trouble to get moving again and lost some time. During the 15 minutes remote service in Kongsvinger the clutch was replaced which solved the problem.

On the penultimate stage of the day, the young Dutch WRC driver got stuck in a snow bank. After a few hundred meters, he had to stop the car on the stage to clear the front of the Focus WRC of the snow which blocked the cooling of the engine. Although they lost over 6 minutes, Peter and Eddy keep their spirits high. “This is really a lot of fun. This is something completely different from what we are used to but we are really enjoying ourselves here” according to Eddy Chevaillier.
 
Apart from the few small troubles, father and son Van Merksteijn are satisfied with the results that they achieved during the first day of the Rally Norway. Peter van Merksteijn in the Ford Focus WRC 07 is in 16th position trailing Loeb in the Citroën by 7:53”. Peter van Merksteijn jnr. is a bit further back at 14 minutes, partly due to the lost 6 minutes on stage 8. Tomorrow there are 8 more stages planned with a total length of 118km with a special stage within the city limits of Hamar.
 
 
Standing after the first day:

1 Loeb (Citroën) in 1:13:41
2 Hirvonen (Ford) at 2 seconds
3 Latvala (Ford) at 26 seconds
16 Peter van Merksteijn (Ford) at 7:53”
28 Peter van Merksteijn jr. (Ford) at 14:22”
 


 - Willy Weyens - also photo

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13.02.2009 / MaP

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