Day 2, am: Gremlins strike

Day Two in Cyprus began with disaster for Peugeot when Marcus Gronholm's propshaft failed on the opening stage, dropping the Finn to fourth place with only front-wheel drive. Subaru's Petter Solberg was on hand to step into the lead, and Harri Rovanpera into second, as Gronholm eventually lost all forward drive and reversed out of the rally

Day 2, am: Gremlins strike

Gilles Panizzi had been running second up to that point, in the Bozian-run Peugeot 206, but the oil pressure mysteriously dropped and very soon the engine failed. The Frenchman made it most of the way through Special Stage Six (SS6) before the gremlins struck.

Rovanpera may have inherited second place from Pannizi but he also looked like he'd inherited the Frenchman's bad luck. The Finn explains: "My car's been overheating on every stage. It starts off well, then the temperatures rise and the engine goes onto safe setting. That means not much power, no anti-lag system, no air conditioning - the car just feels really lazy."

By now the gravel gladiators could be forgiven for shying off the leading positions - as jinxed as they seemed - but there was no place to hide. Both the Fords of Markko Martin and Francois Duval spookily went out with exactly the same problem as Panizzi and close to the same spot.

The supernatural forces then invaded Richard Burns' gearbox which, like a glass at a séance, started selecting whatever it pleased, seemingly at random. The entire hydraulic system will have to be changed at the next service, the Englishman is still circulating in sixth.

By contrast Citroen must have filled it's washer bottles with holy water, with Sebastien Loeb, Colin McRae and Carlos Sainz living a charmed existance, in third, fourth and fifth.

But there were no prayers or incantations sufficient for the luckless Tommi Makinen. The Finn broke a wheel and lost 40 minutes this morning, adding to his 10-minute loss with steering problems yesterday. He is still in the event but well out of the running.

Other casualties included Freddy Loix, whose Hyundai choked on dust in SS6! Stay tuned for the next chilling installment...

shares
comments
Day 1: Gronholm vaults ahead

Previous article

Day 1: Gronholm vaults ahead

Next article

Day 2: Solberg survives

Day 2: Solberg survives
Load comments
How Finland’s newest rally hero made WRC history in Estonia Plus

How Finland’s newest rally hero made WRC history in Estonia

Kalle Rovanpera broke a decade-old record in becoming the World Rally Championship's youngest-ever winner in a truly dominant performance on Estonia's fast gravel roads. Staving off the challenge of Hyundai's Craig Breen, his committed drive showed a maturity beyond his 20 years that gives Toyota's post-Ogier era a far brighter complexion

WRC
Jul 19, 2021
How WRC's new Safari adventure ended with a familiar tale Plus

How WRC's new Safari adventure ended with a familiar tale

The World Rally Championship’s delayed return to the Safari Rally was always set throw up some surprises, but aside from a spirited showing by Thierry Neuville it became another painful event for Hyundai in 2021. Once again it was Sebastien Ogier who took full advantage as he completed a stunning comeback drive

WRC
Jun 28, 2021
Remembering Colin McRae’s final WRC win Plus

Remembering Colin McRae’s final WRC win

The Safari Rally returns to the World Rally Championship this weekend for the first time since 2002 - when crowd favourite Colin McRae set aside the maximum attack style for which he was renowned to deliver a textbook third win

WRC
Jun 23, 2021
How Hyundai's broken record gave Toyota a special Sardinia 1-2 Plus

How Hyundai's broken record gave Toyota a special Sardinia 1-2

For the second WRC gravel rally in a row, a promising Friday for Hyundai turned into desolation as Toyota gratefully picked up the pieces. This time it was championship leader Sebastien Ogier who took full advantage after Ott Tanak and Dani Sordo retired to score a memorable victory, having swept the road on the first two days

WRC
Jun 7, 2021
How Hyundai's latest self-destruction handed Evans Portugal victory Plus

How Hyundai's latest self-destruction handed Evans Portugal victory

At one point Hyundai held the top three positions in Portugal, but when trouble struck the Korean marque's two leading chargers, a grateful Elfyn Evans was on hand to see off Hyundai third man Dani Sordo and become the third different winner in four rallies

WRC
May 24, 2021
Why the success of AVB's WRC debut won't be defined on the stages Plus

Why the success of AVB's WRC debut won't be defined on the stages

Three years after a Dakar Rally crash resulted in him being airlifted to hospital, Andre Villas-Boas is preparing to make his debut on his home round of the World Rally Championship later this month. His goals for the event are modest, but the same cannot be said for the charities he plans to promote where his true impact could be felt

WRC
May 13, 2021
Why there's no easy fix for Hyundai's operational Achilles Heel Plus

Why there's no easy fix for Hyundai's operational Achilles Heel

Hyundai Motorsport boss Andrea Adamo was vocal in his criticism of his team's tyre choices on Rally Croatia and declared that he "had better move my ass and solve it". Doing so will be vital to getting Hyundai's 2021 WRC title hopes back on track, but finding the root of the problem won't be the work of a moment

WRC
Apr 28, 2021
How Ogier held on after a shock bump in the road to triumph in Croatia Plus

How Ogier held on after a shock bump in the road to triumph in Croatia

Sebastien Ogier was already in an incredibly tight fight at Rally Croatia before a surprise collision with public road traffic at the start of the final day. But the defending champion held his nerve to take a narrow victory and create further World Rally Championship history

WRC
Apr 26, 2021