Stobart VK M-Sport Ford drivers Henning Solberg and Matthew Wilson are lying in eighth and ninth place midway through day two of Rally díItalia Sardenga after a difficult morning on the rough roads to the south-west of Service Park in Olbia.

Solberg had a strong start to the day overhauling Evgeny Novikovís overnight lead on SS7 Sa Linea to move up to fifth place overall completing the stage just 0.6 seconds slower than leader Jari-Matti Latvala. But the Norwegian suffered a right rear puncture just a few kilometres into the 29.15km SS9 Monte Lerno, and dropped over a minute on the leading crews as he battled to the end of the longest stage of the day.

Wilson has had a relatively trouble-free morning despite the rocky, dusty conditions that have caused problems for many of todayís 56 starters. He and co-driver Scott Martin have again proved their ability to remain consistent in challenging conditions and have started to make headway in the gap to the crews in front despite a heavy landing at the big jump in the Monte Lerno stage.

This afternoon is expected to be even tougher for the crews as temperatures rise to nearly 35 degrees on the same loop of three stages. Driversí concentration levels will be tested in the heat while tyre wear is set to be an issue as the stages have been left heavily rutted after this morningís pass.

Stobart VK M-Sport Ford driver Matthew Wilson said:
ďWe found the first stage really difficult. There was lots of loose gravel which made it difficult to pick a line and even to hear Scott calling the pacenotes. The second stage was dusty and it was hanging in patches but we had a good run though and everything felt fine with the car. We had a heavy landing over the big jump in Monte Lerno. I just didnít have a good feeling on that stage and I couldnít get it to flow very well.Ē

Stobart VK M-Sport Ford driver Henning Solberg said:
ďItís been a mixed morning. The first stage was really good and the feeling with the car was quite positive. On the second stage we had two small spins and it got worse on the third stage. We lost some power with the car, slid wide and hit something hard and got a puncture. We were lucky not to lose more time and this afternoon it will be important to get that time back; although for sure it will be difficult on the second pass with all of the ruts.Ē

Leaderboard after SS9
1. J-M Latvala/M Anttila (FIN) Ford Focus RS 2h11m38.4s
2. M Hirvonen/J Lehtinen(FIN) Ford Focus RS +27.0s
3. S Loeb/D Elena (FRA) CitroŽn C4 +34.5s
4. P Solberg/P Mills (NOR) CitroŽn Xsara +1m00.3s
5. D Sordo/M Marti (ESP) CitroŽn C4 +1m26.9s
6. M Ostberg/V Engen (NOR) Subaru Impreza +1m54.7s
7. E Novikov/D Moscatt (RUS) CitroŽn C4 +2m05.2s
8. H Solberg/C Menkerud (NOR) Ford Focus RS +2m42.7s
9. M Wilson/S Martin (GB) Ford Focus RS +3m35.4s
10. C Rautenbach/D Barritt (ZIM) CitroŽn C4 +4m52.7s

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