PG Andersson’s lead in Rally New Caledonia suffered a serious setback when a loss in power dropped him to fourth position among the Asia Pacific Rally Championship (APRC) contenders.
Leading the rally into day 2, Andersson was forced to nurse his Satria Neo S2000 to service after experiencing a loss of power as a result of possible water ingestion by the engine during the many water crossings on the stages. After having a close battle for the lead in the first three stages of the day, Andersson was forced to run the remaining six stages of the day down on power. This cost him not only the lead but put him more than 14 minutes behind the leader. Andersson is currently fourth, 1 minute 10 seconds adrift of Brian Greene. Skoda’s Gaurav Gill inherited the lead ahead of team mate Chris Atkinson.
“Everything was going really well and we were maintaining a good pace at the front of the pack. Something must have happened during one of the many water crossings and we lost a lot of power after that,” said Andersson who had been fastest through the opening day of the rally.
“The team however, has worked hard to resolve the problem during the last 45-minute service interval of the day and we hope to be at 100 percent starting the final day tomorrow.”
The third and the final day of rallying will involve six special stages including the longest which is a 24.41km charge through Pirogues Almameto.
The second day of rallying also brought about further disappointment for PROTON with defending APRC champion Alister McRae only being allowed to rejoin the rally under Super Rally format on the final day after retiring on the opening day due to damage to the car caused by a puncture.
“The day’s outcome was not what we had hoped for, but this is the harsh reality of rallying. Having said that, we still have another day and six more special stages to run. Andersson is not known for giving up easily and you can bet he will be on full attack tomorrow,” said Datuk Abdul Razak Dawood, the Head of PROTON Motorsports.
“The same can be said of McRae who will be out to salvage as many championship points as he can.”
words & pix: PROTON