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The Prodrive WRC Team choose to put Dani Sordo’s #37 MINI John Cooper Works WRC on the hard compound Michelin tyre for the first loop of stages on day one of the Brother Rally New Zealand, a decision which ended up costing the Spaniard considerable time. The team estimates he lost approximately a second a kilometre on stages one and two and around half a second a kilometre on stages two and three. While Sordo was back on the pace in the afternoon, he ended the day just over two and half minutes off the lead in seventh place.

On stage one, Sordo’s car also developed a gear selection issue which continued on stage two. The team identified the cause as a faulty gear cut sensor – which cuts power to the engine during a gear change. Dani quickly adapted and lost minimal time as a result. The sensor was deactivated after stage two and then the team replaced it during the lunchtime service with no further issues.

Dave Wilcock, Prodrive WRC Team Principal said: “All the information we received relating to weather, road conditions and temperatures combined with the data we had established from testing on both compounds pointed towards hard tyres as being the best for this morning’s loop. However, it was immediately clear as the splits came through that this was the wrong choice even though many of the cars running on soft were down to the canvas by the end of the loop.”

For the afternoon’s second loop of stages, Sordo’s MINI WRC was put on the soft compound, as all the front running teams, and he was back on the pace taking fourth place on stages seven and eight.

“It is frustrating to have made the wrong tyre call this morning, but with more rain expected, particularly on Sunday, we are one of the few teams to still have a full set of soft compound tyres and with Dani only a minute off the podium, this could play into our hands. The car is running perfectly and Dani is very happy with the balance, particularly in the flowing high speed sections. We will push tomorrow and see if we can close the gap on the leaders,” added Wilcock.

Dani Sordo #37     7th +2:34.3

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