Solberg hits major trouble in shakedown

Petter Solberg could be forced out of the Tour de Corse before the event has even started. The Norwegian had an accident in today's (Thursday's) non-competitive shakedown, with enough damage to his Subaru to prevent him taking the ceremonial start this evening

Solberg hits major trouble in shakedown

Solberg, placed fourth in the world championship, struck a telegraph pole on the Capo de Feno stage. His best hope of starting the rally now is either an emergency spare car being flown in from England (difficult at this late stage) or team-mate Tommi Makinen handing his car over to Solberg.

A failure to start the rally would almost certainly kill off Solberg's championship challenge. He'll have to await a decision from the team on what is to be done.

Ford's Markko Martin was fastest on the shakedown. The Estonian has shown good asphalt pace this year and is arguably owed some luck this weekend.

Peugeot's Marcus Gronholm was the fastest non-Ford, over a second quicker than team-mate Gilles Panizzi. Colin McRae was the quickest of the Citroen drivers, but McRae's co-driver Derek Ringer says the stage was not representative of the stages they will face this weekend.

"It was more open, faster and wider, so it is tricky to draw any meaningful conclusions," said Ringer. "Although the car must be good because Colin has not made any changes."

The weather will have a role to play, as it did in Sanremo. Rain is predicted for both Friday, although the skies are expected to clear by Sunday at the latest.

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