06 Mar 10
Former Junior World Championship front-runner Michal Kosciuszko heads the Super 2000 category of Rally Mexico at Friday's midpoint.
The Pole, tackling his first WRC event in a Ford Fiesta S2000, heads reigning J-WRC champion Martin Prokop, also in a Fiesta, by 18 seconds.
Kosciuszko was the fastest S-WRC driver on three of Friday's four stages, only losing out to his closest rival Prokop on SS2.
"It’s going really nicely," said Kosciuszko. "The stages are not terrible, just a bit slippery in places, and my pace notes have been spot on so far. I'm not taking any risks. In fact I took things a little too carefully on the second stage when I slowed down far too much for a river crossing. I'm getting used to the car - that's the main priority. We only did a 40km test here on Monday - so everything is new for me."
Prokop meanwhile was relived to get his car back to service at all after a problematic morning. "We hit a speed bump very hard on SS3 and I think that ruptured something in the fuel system," he explained. "There was a very strong smell of petrol in the car. Then we hit another bump or a rock later on and perhaps that sealed the hole again - I'm not sure how but we got back here. The car has taken a battering, though, so my mechanics have some work to do."
Less than a second behind Prokop, Xevi Pons holds third place after a solid morning at the wheel of his Fiesta S2000.
Fifty-one seconds 51.5sec further back, Nasser Al-Attiyah is fourth in his new Skoda Fabia S2000. "It's not easy because I need to learn a lot about this car," he said. I decided from the first stage that I just wanted to clear the first three stages and then see how it was going. I want to talk with engineering and make car a little more comfortable for this afternoon because at the moment I don't feel confident."
Norwegian driver Eyvind Brynildsen was third in the class after Friday's opening stage, but retired when his Skoda Fabia stopped on SS2.