Conditions concern stars

In the aftermath of this morning's two large accidents that caused the retirements of reigning champion Petter Solberg and Mitsubishi's Gilles Panizzi, Markko Martin has conceded that he will happy just to finish the Rally Deutschland

Conditions concern stars

Martin, who suffered an enormous accident in the Rally of Argentina, is currently lying fourth overall behind Sebastian Loeb, Carlos Sainz and Ford team-mate Francois Duval. The Estonian admitted the torrential rain has caused some of the most difficult driving conditions he has seen this year.

"Water was running down the inside of the roads and the car was aquaplaning," he said. "Apart from the last stage, when I hit mud and slid into a field, I stayed on the road, but I was lucky.

"We must nominate our tyres so early now that conditions can change, and the rules banning gravel crews means that we have no idea what the conditions will be like. Tyre choice is a gamble, and I will be happy if I can just see the end of every stage today."

Solberg prophetically remarked on the conditions before setting off on SS12 - the one he crashed in. "They are the most difficult I have come across this year," he said. "It was absolutely incredible. I think we just hit a cloud burst in the middle of the first stage and the wipers just couldn't take the water off the screen quick enough."

"There's lots of mud and standing water everywhere so it was making it very slippery."

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Day 2am: Loeb holds firm
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