Petter Chasing Seconds For Lead

Petter Chasing Seconds For LeadFrom Subaru Press [ 05/09/2003 ].
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After last night's sprint around the Perth City Super Special, all 122 of the original starters left parc ferme this morning. At the end of Leg 1, Petter Solberg holds second place overnight. The Norwegian has been locked in a thrilling battle for the lead with another young star of the sport, Sebastien Loeb. Going into Leg 2 the pair are separated by less than five seconds. Solberg's team-mate Tommi Mäkinen holds overnight fourth, and with more than 240 stage kilometres to go he's aiming for a strong finish on Sunday.

Petter Solberg: "It's too bad what happened to Marcus. Sebastien has been very impressive and quick, and it will be a very good fight for the next two days. But don't forget, this is only Friday, it's just a warm up, we're not taking big risks. But we're in a good fighting position and we'll push a bit more tomorrow."

Tommi Makinen: "On the last stage (SS9) 3kms from the start the power steering felt very stiff and we lost a little time, but overall things are okay. For now, we have a serious plan to catch Richard. We still have two more days to go and I'm aiming to finish on the podium."

David Lapworth: "Petter's got off to a very good start today, he set a consistently fast pace and is nicely poised to fight with Sebastien tomorrow. Tommi too has put in a good solid drive. He's kept in touch with the leaders and is well placed for a good podium finish. The tricky conditions we've experienced have seemed to suit our car and team today and we're feeling positive ahead of tomorrow's second Leg."

Fiore Brivio, Pirelli Tyres Rally Manager: "We're continuing to use the new construction of gravel tyre which proved itself so well in Finland. Since that event we have done over 500kms of extra testing and have been running triple shifts within our motorsport factory in preparation for Australia. Both Tommi and Petter have chosen the KM pattern for all stages today, using the softer compound in the morning due to the cold and damp stages. We have been delighted with the way in which the Subaru Pirelli package has worked again."

Leg two starts tomorrow from Perth City Parc Ferme. The first car will leave at 0730hrs for the first service at Jarrahdale, before travelling 50km northeast for the first stage of the day. Competitors will contest ten stages, including a further two passes around the Perth Super Special, and a total of 124.00 competitive kilometres. The first stage is due to start at 0949hrs.