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‘OK release No. 4 and I’m still Katie, still with WRC Team MINI Portugal and still reporting on Rally d’Italia.

‘I have a new idea for today’s release. I believe we should all work to our strengths. It’s my job to take on board what everyone in the team has to say and communicate it. So, after I’ve given a brief overview of the day, I’m going to share some words from Stéphane Prévot and Paulo Nobre on the highs and lows of their days.’

‘Chris set out in fifth, determined to hold onto his Top 5 spot. His MINI John Cooper Works Countryman WRC was on much better form and he had more confidence to push. The set-up still needed a few tweaks before he could go all out, but his times were strong and consistent.

‘He was successfully tracking down then fourth-placed Ogier throughout the morning. Unfortunately, the hunter became the hunted as Ostberg in sixth started the day on fire, clocking stage win on stage win and with them eating into Chris’ advantage. This pattern continued until on SS12 just as Chris got passed Séb, Mads passed Chris. So it was all change to end up in the same position!

‘Frustratingly, on the third corner of SS14, Chris’ then hit a bank with the rear of his MINI, which cost him vital time and let Ogier sneak back ahead of him by 3.9 seconds. One thing’s for sure – tomorrow will be a battle for fifth. With the S2000 being suited to the first downhill part of tomorrow’s Gallura stage as well as the quick twists and direction changes that follow, Chris needs to find something special to reclaim the advantage!

‘Meantime, Paulo’s misfortune on both the Qualifying Stage and last night’s road section home shouldn’t taint the fact that he’s successfully completed every stage so far of a tough rally. It’s a challenge for any driver to master the Sardinian gravel, but let’s not forget it’s also Paulo’s first time!

‘So all is well in camp Motorsport Italia at tea-time, sorry, final service, and I think it’s high time you heard from someone else!’ ☺

“It’s been a frustrating day. Something doesn’t feel right in the car, but we can’t work out exactly what. Then finally we clipped a bank on the third corner of SS14 and it cost us around 15 seconds – which we really needed to stay ahead of Ogier! The main problem seems to be that on rougher stages like SS14, we loose some chassis control and without too many kilometres under our belt, we sometimes end up testing the car on the stages! Anyway, we’re happy to be in sixth and hope to make it home safely again tomorrow.”

“After SS10, we stopped as always on the road section to have a drink, take our helmets off and breathe. We saw some guys on motorbikes approach us. One of them came in our direction. I was ready as always to talk and take photos – like I am with all fans! The guy gave me a thumbs up sign, so I moved towards him and as I got closer I thought, ‘Wait I know you from somewhere!’ He lifted his visor and I immediately saw it was Sébastien Loeb!! We chatted for two or three minutes and then I headed off the stage and he zoomed off on his motorbike. It was incredible – I really didn’t expect that the best driver ever would come to me and just ask about my day and how my rally was going, but I can tell you, it made my day!”

‘That’s all for now from another sunny day Rally d’Italia.’ ☺


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