Tussle at the top as competition ignites

Tussle at the top as competition ignites

The first full day of racing got off to a scintillating start as crews made their way north east towards the town of Goldap. Marius Aasen of Norway claimed the first fastest time of the day finishing two seconds ahead of Max Vatanen and Tom Cave. Popular Spanish pilot Nil Solans finished fifth, meaning his slim overnight lead slipped to a fourth position.

The first pass of Goldap was hotly contested in SS3 with less than one second separating the top three crews. Finn Vatanen claimed his first stage win of the race followed by Aasen and Cave. Solans dropped further off the pace and down overall. The top three remained unchanged with just 5.6sec between first and third.

SS4 saw Vatanen take his second stage win finishing 1.6sec ahead of Aasen and 2.0sec from Cave. Nicolas Amiouni lost over five minutes and moved to 11th place overall after getting stuck in a ditch.

Next our drivers faced the longest stage of the rally; 39.12km of fast gravel roads that would test the cars and the crews.

Aasen chalked up another stage victory and 2014 Drive DMACK Fiesta Shoot-Out winner Mats van den Brand finished second, a mere five seconds off the pace on only his second gravel event. Tom Cave of the UK is driving a consistent rally so far, having finished third in all this morning’s stages. Vatanen suffered a puncture which cost him over a minute as well as his overall lead. He slips to fourth, making way for Aasen at the top. The driver from Norway is followed by Cave 13 seconds back and Dutch driver van den Brand in +25sec.

Solans went off the road at a junction and was stuck there before being helped back on by spectators. After some stopping and starting, he managed to finish the stage, having lost over twenty minutes in the process.

Edoardo Bresolin of Italy reported engine problems and had to retire in SS5.

A big accident for the American driver Will Hudson meant he wouldn’t complete the stage - both drivers are ok but understandably disappointed.

03-07-2015

Tussle at the top as competition ignites
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