Eleverum stage 9 will stay in memory for the drivers - comments

17.02.2007: Eleverum stage 9 will stay in memory for the drivers - comments

WRC RALLYES -Rally Norway Leg 2
End of stage comments stage 9 Eleverum 1
Overcast, -1 ºC

17 Andreas Mikkelsen/Ola Fløtene (Ford Focus)

There’s so much snow on the road it’s almost impossible to drive. I stopped twice and lost about 20 seconds. The driving is good but the conditions are very tricky.

23 Mads Østberg/Ole Kristian Unnerud (Subaru WRC S10)

The snow is really thick but it’s good fun. It’s a really big challenge and I’m sideways all the time. I don’t know what our time was but I really enjoyed myself.

25 Juho Hänninen/Mikko Markkula (Mitsubishi Lancer WR05)

Today has definitely started off more difficult than yesterday. We were sliding all over the place. We went straight on at one junction and had to reverse out. That cost us a bit of time but at least we are still here.

6 Daniel Carlsson/Denis Giraudet (Citroen Xsara WRC)

That was probably the most difficult stage of my career. I was really struggling to keep the car on the road. It’s not helping my self-esteem.

9 Jari-Matti Latvala/Miikka Antilla (Ford Focus RS WRC 06)

One of the most difficult stages in the whole championship. I reckon there were layers of snow 20 centimetres thick in places. We were on the 7mm long studs. They worked okay but I’m very relieved to make it to the end.

5 Manfred Stohl/Ilka Minor (Citroen Xsara WRC)

I only had short studs available to choose from. It was a very very difficult stage. The biggest problem was just to keep on the road. I need to find more confidence from somewhere but in conditions like this that’s almost impossible.

10 Henning Solberg/Cato Menkerud (Ford Focus RS WRC 06)

I’m not happy because it was totally the wrong tyre choice. That was my mistake. Apart from that it’s been a good stage and there’s been loads of people out watching.

19 Gigi Galli/Giovanni Bernacchini (Citroen Xsara WRC)

It felt like a very very long stage. I really could not understand if I was driving at the right pace or not. Knowing how hard to push is the most difficult part. I’m trying to drive safely but the car is still quite new to me and that does not help.

21 Toni Gardemeister/Jakke Honkanen (Mitsubishi Lancer WR05)

We spun on a corner then straight into a snow bank somewhere in the middle of the stage. We lost a lot of time which was a real pity as we could have done very well here.

7 Petter Solberg/Phil Mills (Subaru Impreza WRC 2006)

I’m just trying to keep the pressure on. We need to finish the rally and take no risks. It was better to back off here because there were many guys having problems.

1 Sébastien Loeb/Daniel Elena (Citroen C4)

The feeling with the car was okay. But it’s snowing a lot so it was very difficult to keep it on the line. I did the best I could but it seems that the Fords are faster.

3 Marcus Grönholm/Timo Rautiainen (Ford Focus RS WRC 06)

For me it was okay. But there was a huge amount of snow on the road. I thought my driving was fine, but Mikko is going even faster. So maybe we have to try a little harder now.

4 Mikko Hirvonen/Jarmo Lethinen (Ford Focus RS WRC 06)

That stage was fairly crazy. I’ve taken a little bit more time but the rally is still a long way from being over. It was really not easy at all. But I’m very happy to set the time that I did. The gap is certainly not big enough for me to feel comfortable.

8 Chris Atkinson/Glenn MacNeall (Subaru Impreza WRC 2006)

I lost a huge amount of time stuck in a snow bank. It was the usual thing, understeer then oversteer then straight into the ditch. Some spectators pushed us out, but it’s all over for us really. It was disappointing but it never really happened for us on this rally. We’ll just have to look forward to the future.

16 Matthew Wilson/Michael Orr (Ford Focus RS WRC 06)

Lots of snow fell overnight but it’s not cold enough to make it compact so it’s a sort of slush. That’s probably the worst surface to drive on because there’s no grip at all. Somewhere towards the start of the stage we hit a big pothole in the road on a left hand bend. That knocked the steering out a little bit so the handling was not as precise as I would have wanted.

22 Xavier Pons/Xavier Amigo (Mitsubishi Lancer WR05)

It was a good time but to be honest I don’t quite understand why. My feeling was about the same as it was yesterday. We had no real problems on this stage just the usual thing with lots of snow. I’m finding quite hard to get my head around this rally.

20 Jan Kopecky/Filip Schovanek (Skoda Fabia WRC)

I did the first 5 kilometres and then I saw that Wilks had spun and was blocking the road. We were stopped behind him and then we drove the rest of the stage at road pace. I think Wilks’s engine is damaged so it would be difficult for him to restart.

45 P-G Andersson/Jonas Andersson (Suzuki Swift S1600)

I was stopped behind Guy. It was no problem for me then we drove the rest of the stage at road pace and to be completely honest that was probably a good thing.

31 Patrik Sandell/Emil Axelsson (Renault Clio R3)

They held me at the start line because of Wilks’s accident but then they said I could start. I drove past where Wilks’s accident was but then I caught all the other cars that were driving the stage as a road section. I don’t understand why they started me competitively.

32 Urmo Aava/Kuldar Sikk (Suzuki Swift S1600)

That’s really stupid. I took a lot of risks and destroyed two tyres. It’s not fair. There should have been better communication.

37 Aaron Burkart/Timo Gottschalk (Citroen C2 GT)

I got stuck in a ditch a third of the way in. It was really difficult to judge the amount of grip – sometimes it was good sometimes there was nothing. We lost three minutes as some spectators had to push us out. It would be very lucky for us if the stage were cancelled as that way we can get a notional time.

46 Shaun Gallagher/Clive Jenkins (Citroen C2 R2)

The car was very loose at the rear. It was wandering around even on the straight. We changed the setup last night in order to reduce our tyre wear and we probably went a bit too far. The stage was one of the most difficult I’ve ever competed on.

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17.02.2007 / MaP

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