Duval aims for Gronholm's 2nd

Duval aims for Gronholm's 2ndFrom Citroen Press [ 18/08/2007 ].
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The fight between the OMV Kronos Citroen World Rally Team and Ford works driver Mikko Hirvonen in the afternoon of the second day of the “ADAC Rallye Germany” was well worth seeing. In the end Francois Duval remained 5,1 seconds ahead of the Finn. And there are yet things to come. On Sunday Marcus Grönholm, currently second-placed, will not enjoy one quiet minute. Sebastien Loeb, on the other hand, seems out of reach.




Fight with unequal weapons
Francois Duval once again gave an impressive performance in the afternoon of the second day. The Belgian OMV driver made up three seconds on Marcus Grönholm (Fin/Ford Focus WRC). At the same time he kept Mikko Hirvonen (Fin/Ford Focus WRC) on distance. An exceptional achievment according to OMV Kronos Citroen World Rally Team Principal Marc van Dalen: “One mustn’t forget that this is only the second WRC-rally this year for Francois. Additionally he has to compete with the works teams in a private car. This third place cannot be valued high enough.” But the 26-year-old tarmac specialist still isn’t satisfied. For Sunday he has his sights on Grönholm. Duval: “Then the streets will be cleaner as compared to today. This will give me the opportunity to tap the potential of the Citroen Xsara WRC to the fullest. We will do our all to finish the rally in second place, just like in 2004 and 2005.”

To Manfred Stohl the drop out on special stage nine is history already. Therefore the Austrian OMV driver doesn’t ponder on the engine failure for too long but is already focussing on the next run to the FIA World Rally Championship in New Zealand at the end of the month. Stohl: “That is my favourite rally and I hope that we will find our way back on the road to success there.”

Loeb in impressive form
Sebastien Loeb (Citroen C4 WRC) was once more in control in the afternoon at the Rally Germany. The Alsatian, who has won all five editions of this event, boasts of a comforting lead of 37,8 seconds on Marcus Grönholm prior to the final leg.

Circus Maximus on Sunday
On Sunday another 62,81 kilometres and five special stages are scheduled at the Rally Germany. The restart will take place at 8.10 in Trier. The finish line will be crossed at 15.00 in front of the Porta Nigra. But the 4,37 kilometres long town circuit in Trier (“SSS Circus Maximus”), starting at 11.11, will be the true highlight of the day.

Intermediate standings after 14 of 19 special stages
01. Sebastien Loeb/Daniel Elena (F) Citroen C4 WRC 2:48:40,4 hrs.
02. Marcus Grönholm/Timo Rautiainen (Fin) Ford Focus RS WRC 07 +37,8 sec.
03. Francois Duval/Patrick Pivato (Bel) Citroen Xsara WRC +50,4 sec.
04. Mikko Hirvonen/Jarmo Lehtinen (Fin) Ford Focus RS WRC 07 +55,5 sec.
05. Jan Kopecky/Filip Schovanek (CZ) Skoda Fabia WRC +2:48,7 min.
06. Toni Gardemeister/Jake Honkanen (Fin) Citroen Xsara WRC +2:51,4 min.
07. Petter Solberg/Phil Mills (GB) Subaru Impreza WRC +3:07,1 min.
08. Xavier Pons/Xavier Amigo (Spa) Subaru Impreza WRC +4:16,4 min.