Terrible Start to Tarmac Trio

Terrible Start to Tarmac TrioFrom Adrian Kirk-Burnnand [ 03/10/2003 ].
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Subaru were as hopeful as ever coming into San Remo, and knowing there were two more tarmac rounds ahead, to start things off well and keep Ford at bay. Ford being their closest rivals in the championship as the two teams strive for third place. But the challenge never looked serious. Both Petter and Tommi were off the pace from the start, Petter ending the leg eighth and Tommi ninth. Then to top it off with a dose of insult, at the end of Leg 1 only kilometres from time control and final service Petter Solberg retired when his car after running out of fuel. Petter and Phil must be congratulated with their never-say-die attitude - the guys tried to push the car the final kilometres!

With almost 200 competitive kilometres remaining, Tommi and the team remain committed to achieving the best result over the next two days. However, Markko Martin for Ford lies in a threatening second place and Francios Duval in Fifth.

David Lapworth, 555 Subaru World Rally Team Principal: “It’s been a disappointing day for the team who have worked very hard. We've made some good progress but clearly other teams have made steps too. On a positive note we have learnt a lot here today and know what we need to do to close the gap in these conditions."

Petter Solberg: “The team tried their best this weekend and I've tried my hardest too. The car felt really good to drive but looking at the times I'm scratching my head. We've come straight from winning first place on gravel, but now we seem to be missing something. The only thing to do is keep working hard, remain positive and work for a better result on the next event.

Tommi Mäkinen: “The car felt better with the tyres I used at the end of the day and I'd say the set up is quite good now. Tomorrow everything needs to be sorted for the long stages. Those are the ones that make all the difference here. I'm going to try my best."

Fiore Brivio, Pirelli Tyres Rally Manager: "Prior to Rallye Sanremo we carried out extensive testing on a new type of Pirelli PZero RX tarmac rally tyre. Test results had been very positive however today's position is disappointing. We had hoped to be part of the leading pack. Both drivers have used the new construction, which has proved faster than the previous evolution. We hope for an improved performance tomorrow and will work with the team in order to improve things ahead of Corsica and Catalunya this month."

On another worrying note, Petter's teammate next year - Richard Burns lies in eleventh.

Two more tarmac rounds, Catalunya and Corsica lie only weeks away. The team will be at battle stations attempting to pin point their loss of time over the field - but for now Tommi is in with a chance of a few more points over the next two days. Let's see the speed we know Tommi is capable of.

Leg two is the longest in terms of competitive kilometres, but it's also the one with the least number of stages. Competitors will collect their cars from Sanremo Parc Ferme from 0700hrs and drive the 40km along the coast to the Imperia service park. The real action starts at 0920hrs with the legendary Teglia stage, which at 52.3km is the longest tarmac stage in the WRC. Crews then repeat the Cosio and San Bartolomeo sections, previously run on Leg one, before a second pass through Teglia and a return to parc ferme in Sanremo.