PWRC A FULL 2014
Rendina to restart on Day Two
7 June 2014
After a cautious, but solid start to the day, Italian driver Max Rendina unfortunately retired from Day One of his home event on SS7, second stage of the afternoon loop. After retrieving his Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X, his team Ralliart Italy is pleased to confirm that Rendina will restart under the Rally 2 regulation and take to the stages again tomorrow morning.
The Rally d’Italia itinerary kicked off Day One proper with SS2. Rendina decided to approach the opening stage this morning cautiously after an unfortunate incident on Shakedown yesterday which left him minus a wheel.
Clipping a small rock around five kilometres into SS2, Rendina bent an arm on his Lancer, throwing the Mitsubishi’s alignment off for the rest of the morning loop, but kept going. Quickly alerted to how rough and rocky the conditions of the Sardinian gravel roads can be, Rendina continued the stage with more caution to complete the first test 41 seconds off the pace of the faster driver in the WRC 2 Championship Group N Cup.
Topping the timings on SS3, Rendina found a new, confident and better rhythm as he began to familiarise himself with the sandy-surfaced stages.
Despite growing up rallying on Italian roads, Rendina has only competed in Sardinia twice before and never in the WRC field. The unusual characteristics of the roads alongside the deep ruts – especially on the second pass – are as foreign to Rendina as many of his rivals from overseas.
Determined to overcome the dust, the scorching temperature both in and out of his rally car and any stray rocks thrown in his path, Rendina continued to pick off today’s stages one at a time. Strong times on SS4 and SS5 brought Rendina safely into Remote Service at Buddusò.
A quick replacement of the bent steering arm with a spare which Rendina had fortunately been carrying in his Lancer realigned his Mitsubishi. This increased Rendina’s confidence in his car, leading to his third Group N Cup stage win of the rally on SS6, completing the stage a full 51 seconds faster that on the first loop.
Lying third on the Group N Cup leaderboard after SS6, Rendina only had 10.1 seconds between him second place and took to SS7 with renewed vigour. It wasn’t to be though – approximately six kilometres into the stage, Rendina saw a big rock in the middle of his path and couldn’t avoid it. He hit the stone, which lay immediately after a crest, damaged his suspension and on the following downhill stretch of road he lost his front right wheel, forcing him to retire for the day.
Disappointed not to be able to continue in front of his home crowd, Rendina is still looking forward to tomorrow’s challenge: “It wasn’t an easy day today. The condition of the stages is incredible – especially on the second loop. They’re much rougher than we could have anticipated on recce. I don’t want to make excuses, but I honestly believe we were really unlucky to find the rock that was our downfall on SS7. We can see from the WRC field that rally’s unpredictable and anything can happen to anyone, so we just need to focus, sit tight and do our best again tomorrow.”
Team Manager Bruno De Pianto also regrets Rendina’s misfortune: “Tomorrow’s another day. The longest stage of the rally is 59,13km, fast and run twice on tomorrow’s itinerary. I think that could be the defining stage of the rally and a real survival test. With 156,80 competitive kilometres in total on Day Two everything could change again. I’m confident that Max and his co-driver Mario will do the best they can and I hope to see them in a stronger position by evening service tomorrow.”
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Photos: Leonardo D’angelo
Categories: Rally Report Magazine Argentina 14 años