Aigner ups the pace

Aigner ups the paceFrom Skoda Press [ 14/10/2006 ].
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On today’s 2nd leg of this 13th WRC event in Kemer near Antalya, things were back to normal this morning with regard to the weather conditions. In the afternoon however the tables were turned once more, resulting in heavy thunderstorms and even brief snowfalls on one particular mountain stage.

The Red Bull Skoda drivers were able to slightly improve their overall positions, but it was even more gratifying that Aigner’s and Rovanpera’s pace has been improving substantially today. Aigner managed a sensational fourth-fastest time on SS 14, ahead of people like Colin McRae, Mikko Hirvonen and Manfred Stohl. On stages 10 and 15 the Styrian finished tenth and seventh. Harri Rovanpera too was pushing hard and was able to post a ninth-fastest time on SS 11.

Appropriatly, the two team bosses Raimund Baumschlager and Armin Schwarz were in a positive mood: “First of all we are happy about the excellent split times of our drivers, of course also about the fact that both Fabia WRCs were running trouble-free and that we chose the right compound of BF Goodrich tyres most of the time. This wasn’t too easy considering the changeable conditions.”

Andreas Aigner about his great drive on SS 14: “It was a lot of fun, Raimund had already told me that we had fitted the right tyres. I’m very satisfied with today’s peformance, a further two top ten times in addition to my fourth-fastest time are good results.”

Harri Rovanpera fought like a lion today: “I tried to push all the time and drove right on the limit. Unfortunately I had two tyre failures on a single stage which again lost me a lot of time. The conditions on the special stages were very hard to assess and very changeable, there was still a lot of mud on the road.”

After the retirement of Petter Solberg, Marcus Gronholm is now the uncontested front runner. The Finn has a lead of more than two minutes over his Ford team-mate Mikko Hirvonen and is almost three minutes ahead of Norway’s Henning Solberg, whose brother Petter had to retire on SS 15 while running in second, when a rock damaged the Subaru’s steering and the car left the road. Manfred Stohl is in P9.