Patrik Sandell caught up massively today, running second after 11 special stages, just 16.5 seconds behind Araujo!
Everything suggests a very close thriller on the final day! And now, more than ever, the Red Bull Rally Team is firmly in the hunt for the win in the PWRC classification of the Cyprus Rally!
Because Patrik Sandell/Emil Axelsson (SWE) – Skoda Fabia S2000 – made up a lot of time today and are trailing Portugal’s Araujo, who continues to lead the PWRC, by just 16.5 seconds after the second day and eleven special stages!
After the tarmac stages of Friday, today’s leg was run exclusively on gravel – the same goes for tomorrow’s final day. Thus the organisers have revived an old tradition – for the first time in ten years, a WRC rally has been run on two surfaces!
Today’s loop included the notorious, extremely rough gravel roads in the mountainous region above the Rally HQ in Limassol, with many huge stones.
Hence the drivers naturally had to proceed very cautiously and relatively slowly over these narrow and twisty special stages.
Patrik Sandell: “I’m really very satisfied with today’s performance. We played it pretty safe this morning – conditions were just incredibly dangerous, and I didn’t want to make any mistakes. But later we pushed like mad and thus closed in on Araujo in decisive fashion. Let’s see what’s going to happen tomorrow.”
Team boss Raimund Baumschlager: “It has been a very tough and strenuous day for all the competitors. On the one hand because today’s stages were very narrow and twisty, on the other hand because it was extremely slippery this morning. Since Patrik halved his deficit today, a very thrilling final day can be expected. Our goal, of course, still is to win this rally. But I could also live well with a second place with regard to the championship.”
The rally will be concluded tomorrow with another three – very difficult – stages, one of those over 40, one over 30 kilometres!
PWRC standings, Cyprus, after eleven special stages:
P1 Araujo/Miguel (POR) Mitsubishi EVO IX 3:47:31.7 hrs
P2 Sandell/Axelsson (SWE) Skoda Fabia S2000 + 16.5 sec
P3 Al-Attiyah/Bernacchini (QAT/ITA) Mitsubishi EVO IX + 1:02.8 min
Daily log of Sandell/Axelsson: PWRC/overall
SS 7: Anadiou Dam 1 / 11,70 km – P 05/17
SS 8: Pano Panagia / 28,17 km – P 03/13
SS 9: Orkontas / 18,54 km – P 01/12
SS 10: Xyliatos / 30,94 km – P 02/14
SS 11: Kourdali / 26,25 km – P 02/14