Duval charges to third with Stobart
François Duval/Patrick Pivato have moved into third place with one day remaining of the ADAC Rallye Deutschland; round 10 of the FIA World Rally Championship. After the unfortunate exit of Gigi Galli/Giovanni Bernacchini from the event yesterday the Belgian continues to hold things strong for the Stobart VK M-Sport Ford rally team.

An impressive day of competition sees team-mates Henning Solberg/Cato Menkerud climb to a comfortable seventh spot while Matthew Wilson/Scott Martin also advanced on their overnight position as they occupy 12th spot.

Despite not being entirely comfortable with the feeling of his Stobart Ford Focus RS WRC07 Duval set a multitude of top-three stage times to move into the final rostrum spot. The only drama for the Belgian came on stage 10 when he lost some time after a sharp dip in the road ripped off the front bumper, slightly affecting his cooling system and causing him to drive with caution for the engine temperature.

Solberg began today as he did on Friday driving his own rally and continuing to learn the ways of tarmac driving and was rewarded with his advancement into the points. The only real issue for the Norwegian was a small amount of time lost when he ran wide on a corner before a long straight on stage 13 which scrubbed off a lot of speed for the straight.

Wilson began this morning in 13th position still struggling with the feeling in his Focus RS on the slippery German stages. Some setup changes to the suspension of his car in midday service quickly rectified the situation, however, as they massively helped with the feeling of the brakes; boosting the 21-year-old’s confidence for some quicker stage times in the afternoon.

Tyre selection became a major factor today with crews gambling on the choice between the hard or soft compound Pirelli PZero tyre. Despite a dry day the roads still became tricky when gravel and mud was dragged onto them which also caused heavy dips and cuts on the inside of numerous corners.

Today saw a repeated loop of four stages all run to the east of Rally HQ in Trier. Crews were again treated to sunshine and warm temperatures as they tackled the 159.76 kilometres of competitive stage distance which included two passes over the monster Arena Panzerplatte test. Based in the Baumholder military complex, it is the longest stage of the event at 30.38 kilometres in length.

Tomorrow’s final leg will see all three Stobart drivers tackle two repeated special stages before the rally closes with a pass over the ever-popular Circus Maximus super special which runs through the heart of the city in Trier.

Stobart VK M-Sport Ford Team Driver François Duval said:
“The feeling is starting to come now and I’m much happier than yesterday. The bumper came off in Panzerplatte on a sharp dip in the road which affected the cooling system so the engine temperature went up and we had to back off in some places to keep an eye on the temperature. But the setup of the car is not 100 percent perfect so we will try some more things tonight. I always drive for the win and will continue to push tomorrow even though Mikko is close behind.”

Stobart VK M-Sport Ford Team Driver Henning Solberg said:
“It hasn’t been a bad day, we haven’t had any problems and are still just continuing to get to grips with the car on tarmac. I am not planning to make any big changes to the car now because I have to concentrate on my driving and learn more about how to do it on tarmac. We are in the points and things are getting better every stage. But generally we have been improving things throughout the day and hopefully this will continue tomorrow.”

Stobart VK M-Sport Ford Team Driver Matthew Wilson said:
“We need to make some good changes in midday service and the car felt much more comfortable under braking. This obviously helped my confidence and the feeling with the car. The stages are tricky as the roads get very slippery when there is a lot of gravel pulled out. Our safety crew are doing a brilliant job i noting down the bad sections and that is definitely helping me. The roads are very slippery because there is starting to be a lot of gravel pulled onto the roads which is hard to get the confidence so we need to be careful in these sections.”

Stobart VK M-Sport Ford Team Principal Malcolm Wilson said:
“It’s been a very positive day for the Stobart team after what happened yesterday and it’s really encouraging to see François moving up to a podium position and Henning into the points. Matthew has improved well today after finding a good setting for the afternoon stages. Hopefully François and Henning can maintain point scorning positions for tomorrow.”

Day 2 Leaderboard
1. S Loeb/D Elena 2h32m22.6s
2. D Sordo/M Marti +40.3s
3. F Duval/P Pivato +1m44.3s
4. M Hirvonen/J Lehtinen +1m48.2s
5. P Solberg/P Mills +2m28.7s
6. C Atkinson/S Prevot + 3m32.1s
7. H Solberg/C Menkerud +4m33.4s
8. U Aava/K Sikk +4m57.1s
9. J-M Latvala/M Anttila +4m59.7s
10. T Gardemeister/T Tuominen +5m43.7s

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