The WRC Minis of Dani Sordo/Carlos del Barrio and Kris Meeke/Paul Nagle ran in the top ten at Rally Finland, but both dropped out on the final day with overheating problems.
Kris Meeke, who had not run in Finland for five years, was holding on to tenth place after four stages on the rally’s final day. Then, on stage seventeen, the fifth stage of the day, he was set back by a puncture.
Both Minis had problems on stage eighteen. Sordo, who had run the rally last year, was seventh at the time, while the puncture had dropped Meeke’s car to fourteenth. Both cars lost parts from the front trim panel on the stage and began to get sand in their radiators. The drivers and navigators had to remove the sand themselves, aided by radio instructions from the crew.
Both cars began stage nineteen. It was the final stage for Meeke, while Sordo’s car, down on power, was kept in for one more stage. The team withdrew the cars rather than risk major damage to the engines.
Rally Finland is the second of six World Rally Championship events that the team is running this season in preparation for a full season in 2012. As this is a learning season, there was little to gain from continuing. (Text continues after photo)
The overall win went to the Citroen of Sebastien Loeb/Daniel Elena.
Technical director Dave Wilcock said, “The first loop of stages today was very good, and these were stages Dani was familiar with. Here he showed us that the pace of the car on certain splits was very, very good. This was encouraging for us, so in general we were very happy with his performance. Kris was surprised by the speed of the others this morning, but, as we have always said, for him it was just about getting experience and getting through the stages. On the second loop it all started to go wrong for us. The stages had cut up far worse than expected and, even though we had raised the car for the second pass, we ran into some problems with collecting sand into the cooling and air intake systems, which eventually made us call an end to our rally and retire the cars rather than suffer any damage. This was mainly because we didn’t want to damage the engine with dirt getting into or through overheating.”
The team will run again on August 18-21 at Rally Germany. Team principal David Richards notes, "We now go to a very different surface, with the asphalt rally of Germany which will present further challenges and another step in the learning curve for our new team.”Back to News