Yurii Protasov continues to lead the WRC2 category at the end of day two on Rallye Monte-Carlo – but the Ukranian is lucky to still be in the race for maximum points.
The Ford Fiesta R5 driver enjoyed a 36.1-second lead going into the daunting 49-kilometre opening stage.
But when he emerged at the finish, he had lost more than two minutes and dropped to third place behind new leader Armin Kremer.
“We hit something on the road and picked up a puncture,” he explained. “We had to stop and change it. I’m not sure if we can fight for first place now.”
Luckily for the Protasov, he didn’t have to. Kremer returned the favour when he also picked up a puncture on the next stage. Unfortunately for him, he lost a massive four minutes and duly handed the lead back to Protasov.
Second-placed Lorenzo Bertelli would have been expected to take over the rally lead himself, but he was also slowed on the same stage. “I have a brake pressure problems,” the Italian explained. “The pedal was very soft and we couldn’t go properly.”
Protasov kept his cool in the afternoon to hold station at the end of the leg in Monte Carlo. But the same couldn’t be said for Kremer.
He crashed out of second place on the final stage. That gifted second place to Ireland’s Robert Barrable [main picture]. Lorenzo Bertelli completed the day in third, only 22s off Barrable’s Ford Fiesta R5.
In the WRC3 category, Gilbert Quentin – the only entrant – remains on course for maximum championship points in his Citroen DS3.