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WRC2 QUOTES, 2017 RALLY DE PORTUGAL, SECTION FIVE

Teemu Suninen (3rd) said:

“Today has been good. In the morning loop we set some strong times but had an issue with the pop-off valve through the last stage of the loop [SS12]. We then improved our pace over the second pass to climb back in front of Tidemand for second position, but got a puncture – again on the last stage [SS15] – and lost out.

“Tidemand also had a puncture on that stage and it became a race of who could change the tyre faster and, unfortunately, we lost out on that one. The gap is now 19 seconds which is quite a lot for 40 kilometres but we need to show our speed and we will try to keep the pressure on. It will be difficult, but there is nothing else we can do.”

Gus Greensmith (8th) said:

“I think it’s been a good day for us – especially in the morning when I got my first fastest split time. The second stage of the day [SS11] would probably have been my best ever stage – just one second down on Mikkelsen after 15 kilometres before losing the power steering. Over the remainder of that stage and the next, we had to do around 40 kilometres with no power steering – that was a bit of a challenge to say the least.

“With everything repaired this afternoon I was a little bit conservative in looking after my tyres on the first stage [SS13], but picked up the pace for the next two. We started the last stage [SS15] well – only two seconds down on Teemu at the second split – but then we broke the rear anti-roll bar about 15 kilometres in. We had to nurse the car through but – with a lot of others also having issues – we still managed to complete with the second fastest time!”

Éric Camilli (9th) said:

“It was a good morning for us but we knew that the second pass would be tricky. The car was working well in the afternoon but we were not really on the pace for the first stage [SS13]. Then on the third stage [SS15] we took a rock under the sump-guard which became blocked between the wheel and the brake disc. We had to stop and remove the rock which cost us about five minutes – finishing the stage with no rear brakes. We know we are able to set strong times, but this is not our rally!”

Pedro Heller (10th) said:

“Today was better than yesterday. We made some changes on the car set-up overnight and had great help from our engineer and mechanics to get a good feeling with the car. We improved our pace from one pass to the next and that is very important as we are here to learn. This is our first year here in Portugal and we are happy with our progress and happy to be here.”

Pierre-Louis Loubet (12th) said:

“It’s maybe been the most eventful and difficult day of my career. This morning we hit a cow! We were very unlucky. She was in the middle of the road when we arrived and there was no chance to miss her… but thankfully I think she was okay… she walked away at least.

“Then this afternoon we broke the steering rack and weren’t able to make a repair in the stage. Sometimes it is like this and I hope that we will have more luck in Sardinia. Tomorrow, we will try to take the maximum pleasure from these famous stages and try our best.”

Max Vatanen (15th) said:

“I was quite surprised when we got an alarm on the dashboard through the first stage of the day [SS10]. At the end of the stage we checked what was wrong and we had a radiator leak. If you look at the car now, there is not a scratch on it so we’re not too sure where or even how we picked up the problem.

“It’s a shame to be in this situation and not get the kilometres under our belt. The aim was to build our pace step by step and we wanted to continue that today – to take the next step and increase our speed. It’s always a pity not to be driving, but rally can sometimes be really cruel.

“We hope to end on a positive tomorrow with more kilometres and the famous Fafe stage which I’m really looking forward to.”