Toni to fight to the finish

Toni to fight to the finishFrom Skoda Press [ 18/09/2004 ].
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The Škoda Motorsport World Rally Team is being led by Toni Gardemeister on the second day of Rally GB. Toni was in tenth position until he slid off the road for 30 minutes on SS14. The team lost Jani Paasonen following a clutch problem that forced him to stop during SS12 today. Once again the weather conditions were extreme with heavy rain this morning turning roads into rivers of deep water and mud but both Toni and Jani set leading times. Unfortunately the damage sustained by the Fabia WRC when Armin Schwarz rolled on yesterday’s final stage proved impossible to repair safely for him to rejoin today. However, Jani has the opportunity to take advantage of the SupeRally system to contest the final leg of the rally.

Tomorrow’s four-stage final leg is the shortest of the event (90kms) but includes two visits to the second-longest stage of the rally. The event finishes with a final visit to the Cardiff superspecial to be shown live on TV at 1415.

Quotes:

Toni Gardemeister: “The first three stages today were so wet and slippery but we managed to find good grip and were able to set fast times. When the stages are run the second time it is like driving on solid rock but with a sheet of mud on top. Then there is almost no grip at all. When we slid off I thought we were out of the rally but eventually Paavo found enough spectators to get us going once again although we lost any chance of a good overall result.”

Jani Paasonen: “It was very disappointing to retire as everything was going well this morning and we were seventh fastest on the second stage. We had a problem changing gear on SS11 and we tried to fix it after the stage but on the next stage the problem was still there and we couldn’t continue.”

Martin Muehlmeier (Head of Škoda Motorsport): “It was a shame to lose Jani today as this was the first technical problem we have had this weekend. Toni and Jani showed good speed this morning but a small mistake means that Toni has lost the chance to finish in the top places.”