Cave Edges Ahead as Gilbert Retires

Cave Edges Ahead as Gilbert Retires

Tom Cave leads at the end of day two, as overnight leader Quentin Gilbert damaged his front and rear suspension and is forced to retire. Spanish driver Nil Solans takes his first stage victory of the trophy on SS7 and finishes the day second overall, one second behind Cave. Max Vatanen completes the top three with trophy leader Sander Pärn following 24 seconds behind.

French driver Gilbert managed to take three stage wins, bringing his race total to four, having won the previous evening’s Super Special Stage in Barcelona.

Cave and Pärn set the same stage times on the seven kilometer opener today. They were both denied an early stage point however as Gilbert edged his first win of the day by just two seconds.

The more substantial distance of SS3 brought the first twist of the day when Pärn lost over a minute when he became embroiled in the dust kicked up by WRC3 driver Simone Tempestini, who after stopping for six minutes by the side of the road, rejoined the race just 30 seconds ahead of Pärn.

The first pass of Terra Alta allowed Gilbert to secure his fourth stage win, finishing 28 seconds ahead of Cave and one minute ahead of local driver Solans.

Following the mid day service, race leader Gilbert went off the road, heavily damaging the vehicle, making way for Cave to take stages five and six.

The final stage of the day saw Solans take his first stage win of the trophy. Lebanon’s Nicolas Amiouni fell out of the running when he crashed and could no longer continue.

Tom Cave said: “The first two stages this afternoon were really good and we had a positive feeling with the car and tyres but about 15 km into the last sage of the loop, we lost the intercom. We were forced to use hand signals to make it to the end of the stage. It’s been a really good first day, and a really challenging one but to be leading on my first time here is really encouraging.”

Nil Solans said: “It was great to get a stage win on my home rally, the people and the fans make it so easy to relax into the driving. Familiarity with the roads and the surface conditions has definitely help today. I hope to go faster tomorrow!”

Max Vatanen said: “I am surprised to find myself sitting in third place overall this evening. The road conditions were really bad and I was expecting better to be honest. I took a steady approach this morning, but it’s frustrating when you don’t see any gains and you want to race. My main aim is to win the rookie award this season and this position has gone a long way to achieving that.”

1. Tom Cave / Craig Parry 1h 43m 18.9s
2. Nil Solans / Miquel Ibanez 1h 44m 22.1s
3. Max Vatanen / Mikko Lukka 1h 45m 15.3s
4. Sander Pärn / James Morgan 1h 45m 39.4s
5. Szymon Kornicki / Przemyslaw Mazur 1h 46m 30.6s
6. Leo Urlichich / Darren Garrod 1h 46m 57.4s
7. Ghislain de Mevius / Johan Jalet 1h 48m 41.7s


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