Peter van Merksteijn jr. and Erwin Mombaerts are looking with mixed feelings back on the second day of the WRC Rally Catalunya. With the Van Merksteijn Motorsport Citroën DS3 WRC they set a fantastic quick time on the longest stage of the 2011 season in the World Rally Championship but a puncture prevented them from repeating this performance later in the day.
After experiencing a difficult opening day with many gravel roads, the remaining entrants were treated today with the famous beautiful tarmac roads in the mountains west of the holiday resort of Salou. The day started with the longest stage of this year, the 46 kilometer long El Priorat special stage where Peter van Merksteijn jr. showed that on these roads he is certainly able to match the pace at the top. With the 7th time, the young driver started the day very well in his Citroën DS3 WRC on the roads to which he was looking forward. As a result of a spin in a fast section during the third stage of the morning, Peter jr. and Erwin lost again some of the previously won time and a position in the classification but brought the Citroën undamaged back to the service park in 18th position.
The repeat of the long El Priorat special stage in the afternoon saw unfortunately no repetition of the fast time of earlier on the day. After having driven 6 kilometers a tyre was punctured and on the narrow roads there was no place to safely park the car to change the wheel. A normally quick wheel change took as a result of that a valuable three and a half minutes which caused the team to drop 4 places in the classification. The remaining two special stages Peter jr. had a good drive and managed to regain one of the previously lost positions.
“The day started really fantastic. Finally the tarmac stages and I was really looking forward to it. On the opening stage I git immediately into my rhythm, everything worked and I am very excited with the time we achieved” according to Peter van Merksteijn jr. “We suffered the puncture this afternoon on one of the worst places. It was a very small section and I had to continue to find a place to change the wheel. That took a long time which is a real shame after the great time of this morning.”
Standing after day 2
1 Sebastien Loeb (Citroën) in 3:06:01.3
2 Jari-Matti Latvala (Ford) at 27.6 seconds
3 Mikko Hirvonen (Ford) at 1:51.8
21 Peter van Merksteijn jr (Citroën) at 15:27.2