Whichever greater force is responsible for the weather in Wales … it can only be a capricious diva. An extract from the weather and stage conditions: Mist so thick that one is unable to even discern upcoming corners. Sun which selectively dissolves the mist as morning breaks. Crystal clear vision at midday, mixed with drizzle falling from threatening dark clouds. And, then, constant switching from loose gravel to slimy mud and back, and even: dust clouds. Perfect wet grip here; zero grip there. Incalculable, unless, that is, a conservative path is followed.
That is precisely the option chosen by MINI drivers Chris Atkinson and Paulo Nobre. No unnecessary risks. Both MINI John Cooper Works WRC entries – bearing the numbers 12 and 14 respectively – acted as road sweepers. Paulo Nobre opened the stages, with Chris Atkinson running third on the road. “The conditions were in part very, very difficult,” according to Paulo. “One could not cut the corners too much for fear of hitting some big rocks which could easily damage the car.” Still, the Brazilian spun twice. “Only when the mist evaporated was I able to attack a bit more.”
Tyre choice played a critical role on the second day. Soft tyres? Not durable enough to survive three of the gradually drying stages without damage. However, they offered the best levels of grip under difficult stage conditions. In the end only one driver went for hard tyres: Chris Atkinson. “Unfortunately on the first afternoon stage it proved muddier than I had expected, causing us to lose time on the hard tyres,” explained Atko. “We were only able to make up for the time lost on the next stage.”
Result Wales Rally GB, Day 2
1. J. Latvala, Ford, 2:18:05.3 hours.
2. P. Solberg, Ford, + 25.5 seconds
3. S. Loeb, Citroen, + 30.9 seconds
11. C. Atkinson, MINI, + 6:24.8 minutes
19. P. Nobre, MINI, + 17:50.6 minutes
As always, the latest information on the rally exploits of the MINI John Cooper Works WRC entries is available at Facebook.com/MINImotorsport and Twitter.com/MINImotorsport.
After a difficult start to the second day of the Rally Spain, Dani Sordo delivers a spectacular show for his fans with the MINI WRC.
The MINI Motorsport family is large and embraces the whole world. Find out more about the MINI Stars worldwide.
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Ultimate cornering, breathtaking acceleration.
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