Strong Shakedown for OMV

Strong Shakedown for OMVFrom Peugeot Press [ 28/04/2006 ].
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The differences to recent years at the „Rally Argentina 2006“, sixth run to the FIA World Rally Championship, were already obvious during the shakedown on Thursday. Prior to 2006 the rally was held in July, the Argentinan winter, while this year’s run takes place in April, the South American autumn. Which means that temperatures are no longer aroung zero degrees but almost 30 degrees. And the drivers already had to show all their skill during the 3,48 kilometres long shakedown close to Cordoba. But the OMV Peugeot Norway World Rally Team proved that it is top. Manfred Stohl/Ilka Minor (Aut) reached fourth-best time, Henning Solberg/Cato Menkerud (Nor) finished in sixth place.

Stohl takes full advantage of shakedown

Manfred Stohl took eight turns at the 3,48 kilometres long gravel course in his Peugeot 307 WRC. This turned the OMV driver into the shakedown-king, as far as the number of turns was concerned. But his times also showed that the 33-year-old Austrian is ready for a top place at his 100th WRC assignment. 2:06,5 minutes meant fourth-best time behind Petter Solberg (Nor/Subaru), Gigi Galli (Ita/Peugeot) and Marcus Grönholm (Fin/Ford). Stohl: „Everything was smooth. It was important to me to take full advantage of the shakedown since we hadn’t had time to test prior to Argentina. Thus we were able to do all functional tests. Bozian-Racing had the Peugeot well prepared. Still, the shakedown has different characteristics to the special stages.“ 

Solberg anxious prior to premiere

OMV Peugeot Norway-teammate Henning Solberg is all sweaty prior to his premiere in Argentina – which has not only to do with the weather. The timing for the turns on the special stages was so tight that it was difficult to get the pace notes ready. Co-driver Menkerud had to do overtime during the night to finish the notes. Solberg: „Since it is our first time here all special stages are unchartered territory to us. This makes it hard to get every detail right during only two turns. We were unter constant pressure. During the shakedown we were able to relax more. I’m very satisfied with the time.“ The Norwegian OMV driver reached sixth place in 2:07,1 minutes, close up to Manfred Stohl.

Presents for Stohl

During the Argentina Rally there will hardly be any presents for Stohl – the more the OMV driver was delighted to receive some on Wedenesday evening. Reason: a celebration on the occasion of his 100th WRC-start. OMV Peugeot Norway Team Manager Jackie Bozian, for instance, presented him with a caricature. Czech OMV driver Stepan Vojtech surprised him with an original World Championship outfit of the Czech National Football Team with number 100 and the writing “MANFRED”. Also congratulating were Stohl’s former Team Manager Marc van Dalen (Citroen) and a FIA delegation.Prior to this the OMV duo had experienced a moment of shock. On their way from the hotel to the service the right front wheel of the Mitsubishi broke away on the highway. Fortunately Romanian journalist Radu Roman happened to pass by a short while later. He stopped and borrowed Stohl his rental car, since he had to train for the super stage in the stadium of Cordoba. „It was rather fortunate that it happend on the highway. If the wheel breaks away during training for the special stages ,El Conor’ or ,Mina Clavero’, things could have been nasty “, says OMV Co-driver Ilka Minor, thanking her guardian angels.