Saturday | 14 Aug 2021

WRC2: Solberg leads despite Saturday struggle

Oliver Solberg extended his WRC2 lead at Renties Ypres Rally Belgium - despite completing most of Saturday’s stages without power steering.

After Friday’s fraught finale, which saw both Teemu Suninen and Jari Huttunen suffer punctures, Solberg started the day with 2min 48.7sec in hand.

But the Swede’s day suddenly turned tricky when the power steering on his brand-new Hyundai i20 N Rally2 failed during the morning loop.

He managed to manhandle the car back to service with help from co-driver Aaron Johnston, who pulled the handbrake during tighter corners.

Jari Huttunen was Solberg's closest challenger

Huttunen was unable to capitalise on his team-mate’s troubles. Instead, he had problems of his own, and a double puncture on the Hollebeke speed test cost almost four minutes.

Despite the mechanics’ efforts at service, Solberg’s steering gremlins returned again in the afternoon. He haemorrhaged time to Huttunen, but the gap was still big enough for him to end the day 3min 36.1sec in front.

"I have done 85km without power steering now, and I tell you, it's absolutely crazy," said the exhausted youngster.

"It's a shame we lost a good position in the overall standings, but the main thing is for Hyundai to be in a good position in WRC2, and we are leading it," he added.

Video: Renties Ypres Rally Belgium Friday WRC2 highlights

Nikolay Gryazin restarted after sliding his Volkswagen Polo GTI R5 into a ditch on Friday and ended 47min 22.2sec off the lead. His only drama was a navigational issue, which resulted in him driving to the wrong stage after service.

It was a bad day for the M-Sport Ford crews. Suninen retired his Fiesta Rally2 with mechanical issues in the morning loop, a consequence of yesterday’s unscheduled trip into a field. His team-mate Tom Kristensson didn’t restart due to damage sustained in a crash on the opening day.

• Full coverage from Renties Ypres Rally Belgium is available on WRC+ All Live here, including every stage broadcast as it happens as well as key interviews, features and expert analysis from the service park.

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