Vatanen Controls the Pace to Extend Lead

Vatanen Controls the Pace to Extend Lead

Max Vatanen of Finland blitzed the opposition winning all but one stage and extending his lead to 1m32s.

The second pass of the Baião stage (SS11) was taken by Vatanen from Brit Tom Cave who followed 8.7s back. Mats van den Brand of the Netherlands sustained damage to the front suspension of his Ford Fiesta R2 and retired for the day on the road section after stage 11. He hopes to continue in the morning pending a service assessment.

Belgian Ghislain de Mévius retired in more spectacular fashion after he had an altercation with a tree early on in the tenth stage.

On stage 12, Vatanen’s run of form continued finishing 7.8s ahead of Marius Aasen with Spaniard Nil Solans coming in third. Cave’s frustrating rally was compounded when he suffered a double puncture on SS12, dropping over three minutes from the pace. It meant he finished eighth and slipped to sixth overall. This made way for the Trophy rookie Gus Greensmith to move into third overall.

Vatanen closed the day winning his sixth stage of the event and widening his overall lead to over one and a half minutes from Aasen. Solans did enough to snatch third overall place from Greensmith; just 12sec ahead. SS13 came to a dramatic close for Will Hudson (USA) when he rolled into retirement and out of the rally.

Max Vatanen said: “The conditions were better today and we recorded some good wins. I’m beginning to understand the car now and how to get the best from it. I’m happy with my drive so far, making fewer mistakes, but nothing is done till it’s finished.”

Marius Aasen said: “We continue to drive safely and the stages were not so rough as yesterday. I drove out of line many times to avoid the ruts and the rocks within them. There is a nice gap between us and Nil so I look forward to Fafe tomorrow; we will hopefully hold on to our position.”

Nil Solans said: “We drove with more aggression than we did yesterday. We had been trying to conserve the tyres but as the stages were not as rough today, we felt we could push. The driving feels good so we will push for more speed tomorrow.”

Overall Standings End of Saturday

1. Max Vatanen / Jacques-Julien Renucci 3h 28m 33.3s
2. Marius Aasen / Veronica Engan 3h 30m 06.1s
3. Nil Solans / Miquel IbaƄez 3h 33m 25.2s
4. Gus Greensmith / Elliott Edmondson 3h 33m 37.6s
5. Kevin van Deijne / Harmen Scholtalbers 3h 35m 12.3s
6. Tom Cave / Craig Parry 3h 38m 06.8s
7. Will Hudson / Alex Gelsomino 3h 43m 02.6s
8. Mats van den Brand / Martijn Wydaeghe 3h 47m 58.3s
9. Edoardo Bresolin / Rudy Pollet 3h 53m 48.4s
10. Ghislain de Mévius / Geoffrey Brion 3h 57m 40.4s
11. Nicolas Amiouni / Joseph Matar 4h 52m 10.1s


Vatanen Controls the Pace to Extend Lead
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