Rain in Spain provides tricky opening test
Matthew Wilson overcame early brake issues to finish the first morning of the Rallye de EspaŮa, the penultimate round of the FIA World Rally Championship, in the points. But Stobart VK M-Sport Ford team mate Henning Solberg took it steady on the opening stages, adjusting to the slippery Tarmac in his Focus RS WRC to finish the morning just inside the top ten.

Heavy overnight rain meant that road conditions on the opening loop were difficult for all 70 starting crews. And Wilson suffered early-on as he lost braking on a fast section of the 20.48km SS1 La Mussara. But the young Brit and co-driver Scott Martin recovered well and showed improvement on the next two stages, outpacing Solberg to stay in the points.

Norwegian Solberg and co-driver Cato Menkerud used the opening loop of stages to adjust to the conditions in the first asphalt event since Rally Ireland at the start of the season. Finishing the morning just outside the points, Solberg is confident that he will be able to close the gap on his team mate over this afternoonís pass which sees the cars head back to the same three-stage loop to complete the 131.76kms total for the day.

Stobart VK M-Sport Ford driver Matthew Wilson said:
ďThe first stage was really difficult as there were a lot of wet patches and we lost our brakes around 2kms into it on a very fast section, but they seemed to come back towards the end. SS2 was really good, the grip was much better as the road surface was more abrasive. There were some surface changes in the last stage which meant that it was difficult to find a consistent level of grip but I think it will be better this afternoon because the roads will be drier. The car feels good and we wonít be making any changes in service.Ē

Stobart VK M-Sport Ford driver Henning Solberg said:
ďWe had a very good first stage, but it was damp and wet in some places and I am trying to drive as neatly and carefully as I can to get a clean line through the corners. But I think I was just too careful and slow on the second stage. I pushed a bit more on the last one which felt good but if you push too hard then itís easy to end up overdriving it and losing time.Ē

Leaderboard after SS3
1. D Sordo/M Marti (ESP) CitroŽn C4 35m33.0s
2. S Loeb/D Elena (FRA) CitroŽn C4 +4.8s
3. M Hirvonen/J Lehtinen(FIN) Ford Focus RS +19.1s
4. P Solberg/P Mills (NOR) CitroŽn C4 +37.9s
5. S Ogier/J Ingrassia (FRA) CitroŽn C4 +59.2s
6. J-M Latvala/M Anttila (FIN) Ford Focus RS +1m0.0s
7. E Novikov/S Prevot (RUS) CitroŽn C4 +1m49.4s
8. M Wilson/S Martin (GB) Ford Focus RS +1m53.5s
9. H Solberg/C Menkerud (NOR) Ford Focus RS +2m09.7s
10. F Villagra/J Perez Companc (ARG) Ford Focus RS +2m21.3s

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