From Adrian Kirk-Burnnand [ 21/09/2001 ].
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The 2001 Rally of New Zealand is producing changing leaderboard positions with every stage as the leading crews suffer severly from sweeping the gravel for the following cars.Incredibly after the main stages of the first day, there are only two Super Special Stages left, Hyundai's Kennith Eriksson is leading by almost 20 seconds and championship leader Makinen is fourteenth!
The Marlboro Mitsubishi Ralliart crew of Tommi Makinen and Risto Mannisenmaki continue to suffer the worst from leading the 2001 FIA World Rally Championship. The Finns, who are running first on the road in the opening leg of Rally New Zealand, are lying in 14th after the quantity of loose gravel and spins.
"There is absolutely no grip at all", stated Makinen. "There is about one inch of dry gravel on the roads, the car is sliding around all over the place and it’s impossible to slow down. I’ve never seen it like this before and it is very unfair. We are losing so much time because I can’t put the power on and we’re having to brake so early to avoid going off".
The weather conditions were changeable. After patchy rain on SS1, gravel crews were reporting further showers on SS2. The stage surface were damp, which should have lessened the disadvantage of running first on the road.
Unofficial overall results after SS6:
10/Bourne + 50.2
Stay tuned for more news soon.