Octavia update after stage seven

From Skoda Press [ 19/01/2002 ].
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The Skoda Motorsport World Rally team has suffered a disappointment at today´s Monte Carlo Rally, with the youngest driver on the team Roman Kresta, crashing in the second stage of the day. The two remaining Octavia WRCs of Kenneth Eriksson and Toni Gardemeister continue keep up the pace, which was fast and furious despite long stretches of black ice, which turned into water as the sun took the temperatures up from below zero.

Kresta, alongside long serving co-driver Jan Tomanek, crashed 3km into the start of the 26,73km Puget Theniers to Toudon run, damaging the right flank of their Octavia WRC. It was disappointing for the younger driver, who had put in some excellent times across the rally, including being 6th fastest across the first stage of the first day. He said: " I was braking too hard into a hairpin bend. It was too late and the engine cut out, so I was forced to use the handbrake." The car hit a stone wall, demolishing a 5m section of it, but luckily stopped before a nearby ditch. He said: "I am really disappointed since I was trying to drive cautiously to avoid this kind of thing. I wasn´t taking risks so I am really unhappy."

Meanwhile twenty six year old Toni Gardemeister had a strong morning and continues to remain in the top ten. But he too left the road during stage 7, clipping a wall at a hairpin bend and damaging the rear left side of his Octavia WRC and crushing the exhaust outlet. He said: "It was very slippy today and we were on too soft tyres. After hitting the wall I could also feel we lost some engine power. So I have been driving quite carefully."

Eriksson, 45, also had some concerns about his tyres. He said: "We could do with harder tyres, by the end of the stage they were getting really hot and we could do with better grip. I am also having problems again with the power shift, so I am driving on the clutch, which is definitely costing us some time."