Another day of drama in the Azores – it’s was all about survival today. Well, for some it was, and some actually had a rally on their hands, and they tried hard to keep it on the road and going fast. Heavy rains and thick fog made for some challenging passes on today’s stages, and ultimately led to cancellation of final stage of the day, SS 12. Organizers said this stage had to be cancelled on safety grounds – after seeing some of the pictures coming from the stage, no surprise – fog was so think that co-drivers would probably be reading pace notes backwards.
Robert Kubica was once again a tad bit too fast and payed the price, but first he was actually too slow. On special stage 8, he suffered in the foggy, rainy, muddy, wet hell just like all other drivers, even though fog was playing tricks and changing it’s intensity. For Kubica, fog was thick enough to force him to slow down and give away huge chunks of time to Jan Kopecky. Former Formula 1 ace lost over a minute on that stage alone, and dropped out of top five.
But real drama for Kubica came on Special stage 11, which was later announced as the last one of the day. And it’s good that it was, because Polish driver made a mistake and slid into a roll on one corner, damaging the wheel and the suspension on his Citroën DS3 RRC. Crew attempted to repair the damage after the stage and managed to limp back to service. I understand they’ll be able to continue tomorrow.
At the top, Kopecky leads Craig Breen by little over 13 seconds. It’s nothing really, one stall or a spin, so Kopecky must be very focused, which is exactly what Breen is doing in his Peugeot. Excellent drive by both drivers, and I am hoping for more tomorrow. Dare I even mention the duel for third – it’s B. Magalhaes vs. B. Moura and there are no prisoners! Current gap – 1.6 seconds!