Solberg: Conditions are Tough

Japan Rally leader Petter Solberg has claimed that the biggest problem he has faced so far is not his rivals but the tricky conditions

Solberg: Conditions are Tough

The wet weather that has greeted the teams has left many of the stages in a far from ideal condition - which has meant the drivers have had extra challenges thrown at them.

And Solberg admitted that he had tried to push too hard in the first of this morning's second leg stages in a bid not to lose his advantage after picking a too hard tyre - and it resulted in him losing some of his valuable lead.

"It feels good, we're on target but there's still a long way to go," said Solberg, who ended the day with a 32 seconds advantage over Peugeot's Marcus Gronholm. "I've pushed to the maximum today, perhaps a little too much in the morning but my tyre choice was too hard and I had no option.

"We gave away a lot of seconds for free on the first group of stages but the afternoon was much better. It's not easy out there, the stages have been terrible. My biggest fight today was not with Marcus, it was with the roads.

"It's been a long time since I won a rally and it's a feeling I want back. I'm sure Marcus will attack very hard tomorrow, but I want this win very much indeed."

Subaru's team principal David Lapworth had nothing but praise for the job that Solberg and teammate Chris Atkinson had done.

"It's been another great day for Petter," he said. "The conditions were very difficult this morning and in hindsight we could have chosen a softer tyre, but Petter did a great job of damage limitation and then more than made up for it in the afternoon. At the end of the day he has extended his lead slightly and, in such difficult conditions, that's no mean feat.

"For Chris this has been probably the most important day of his time with our team. After such a great start yesterday he was under massive pressure and in such difficult conditions even an experienced driver could easily be caught out. In fact, he hasn't put a foot wrong and has ended the day in a very strong position and in a great fight with some of the world's top drivers for fourth, fifth and sixth places."

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