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By Ketan Patel


Skoda Fabia S2000 Rally Car

Škoda UK Motorsport stuck to its plan and made a solid start to its 2010 Intercontinental Rally Challenge campaign today, when its star driver Guy Wilks completed the opening day of the Rallye Monte Carlo in 10th position.

Freezing conditions, rain and low cloud made conditions extremely difficult as Guy, partnered by co-driver Phil Pugh, successfully completed his first day rallying a Fabia S2000 on asphalt. Having only previously attempted the Rallye Monte Carlo in smaller 1.6-litre, front-wheel drive machinery, Guy planned and executed a no-thrills start in the smart 2-litre, four-wheel drive, 265bhp Škoda.

Solid start for Škoda UK on Rallye Monte Carlo

Škoda UK Motorsport stuck to its plan and made a solid start to its 2010 Intercontinental Rally Challenge campaign today, when its star driver Guy Wilks completed the opening day of the Rallye Monte Carlo in 10th position.

Freezing conditions, rain and low cloud made conditions extremely difficult as Guy, partnered by co-driver Phil Pugh, successfully completed his first day rallying a Fabia S2000 on asphalt. Having only previously attempted the Rallye Monte Carlo in smaller 1.6-litre, front-wheel drive machinery, Guy planned and executed a no-thrills start in the smart 2-litre, four-wheel drive, 265bhp Škoda.

With two stages successfully completed in the morning, Guy was 1minute 21seconds quicker over the same stages in the afternoon, despite losing 30 seconds with a spin on the final stage of the day.

Guy Wilks: “Conditions have been relatively stable today, but in the morning the set-up of the car was too firm and we struggled a little with confidence. It wasn’t a problem with the car, just how collectively we’d prepared the car for the conditions.

“For the afternoon we softened the car quite a bit, but were too cautious on tyre choice. We used snow tyres when wets would have been better, but despite this we had a good run through SS3. We put slicks on the front for SS4, but with snow tyres on the rear, the back of the car was loose and it was oversteeering quite a lot.  Unfortunately after 43kms driving like that we spun on a narrow section and lost about thirty seconds getting going again.

“This is the our first day rallying a Fabia S2000 on asphalt, so it’s been our dry asphalt test today – and we’ve done it in fog, snow and ice. We have to be patient regarding the stage times.  We’re not going to drive like the guys who are doing Rallye Monte Carlo as a one-off event and throwing caution to the wind – we have to think of the IRC and try to score some points. If we get our heads together and really sort out set-up and tyre choice then we can definitely go forward.”

Leg 2 begins tomorrow at 08.30 and contains three stages north-west of Valence in the morning and a repeat run in the afternoon. The total competitive distance is 90 miles (145kms), which makes it the longest day of the event.

Leg 1 results (top 6 after SS4)
1. Mikko Hirvonen/Jarmo Lehtinen (Ford Fiesta S2000)…1hr 34min 01.8secs
2. Kris Meeke/Paul Nagle (Peugeot 207 S2000)…+41.9secs
3. Juho Hanninen/Mikko Markkula (Škoda Fabia S2000)…1min 04.4secs
4. Nicolas Vouilloz/Benjamin Veillas (Škoda Fabia S2000)…1min 20.3secs
5. Sébastien Ogier /Julien Ingrassia (Peugeot 207 S2000)…1min 51.1secs
6. Bruno Magalhaes/Carlos Magalhaes (Peugeot 207 S2000)…2mins 28.1secs
10. Guy Wilks/Phil Pugh (Škoda Fabia S2000)…4mins 27.1secs

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