After a strong start to the Rally Great Britain 2016 on Friday, ŠKODA works driver Esapekka Lappi and his co-driver Janne Ferm continued to dominate the second day of this traditional event in the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) in the WRC2 category.
Knowing that they had to make it through almost 100 stage kilometres in Wales with no service and without damaging the tyres on board their ŠKODA FABIA R5 if possible, the winners of the WRC2 rounds in Finland and Germany cleverly opted for a steady pace and avoided any risks. With this tactical tour de force, they succeeded in defending their position at the top of the overall standings against Teemu Suninen / Mikko Markkula in their privateer team Oreca’s ŠKODA FABIA R5. Behind them, the remaining two ŠKODA works teams – Pontus Tidemand / Jonas Andersson and Jan Kopecký / Pavel Dresler– are lurking in third and fourth places.
As on the previous day, the duel between the WRC2 title contenders, Lappi and Suninen, dominated the action during the eight special stages in Wales on Saturday. Suninen initially scored wins on two of the morning’s three stages and thereby reducing Lappi’s lead in the overall rally standings from 46.7 to 34.3 seconds. Lappi then countered by winning two stages and goes into the final day with a total lead of 55.6 seconds. There are just 52.08 kilometres on the programme for Sunday, split into six special stages.
Meanwhile, works driver Jan Kopecký – who also started the Rally Great Britain with a chance of winning the title – continued to drive consistently in Wales on Saturday and is currently in fourth place overall. Ahead of him is his Swedish team-mate Pontus Tidemand, who also put in a strong, flawless performance on Saturday with best times in four stages and is justified in hoping for a podium finish on Sunday.
|Wales Rally GB 2016 – WRC2 standings after the Leg 2:|
|1.||Esapekka Lappi / Janne Ferm
|ŠKODA FABIA R5||2:51:43.3 hrs|
|2.||Teemu Suninen / Mikko Markkula
|ŠKODA FABIA R5||+ 55.6 sec|
|3.||Pontus Tidemand / Jonas Andersson
|ŠKODA FABIA R5||+ 1:07.9 min|
|4.||Jan Kopecký / Pavel Dresler
|ŠKODA FABIA R5||+ 2:13.9 min|
|5.||Marius Aasen / Veronica Gulbæk Engan
|Ford Fiesta R5||+ 4:15.7 min|
The number of the day: 16
The Rally Great Britain has primarily been held in Wales in recent years. This season, the classic rally – which was established in 1932 – returned to English soil for the first time since 1999. Special stage 16 at Cholmondeley Castle brought the action to a close on Saturday evening. “Welcome back,” said Pontus Tidemand. The ŠKODA works driver put in the best time among the WRC2 teams.