Day one (Friday) of Rally New Caledonia has seen plenty of action already and there is still one stage to go – the super-special tonight. After three stages and 37 kilometres of competition Proton’s PG Andersson leads Chris Atkinson by 4.3 seconds.
Atkinsons MRF Tyres team-mate Gaurav Gill dropped over a minute with a puncture on stage 2, but for Alister McRae a puncture on the same stage ended his rally. Four kilometres from the finish-line and by that stage driving on the rim, the suspension collapsed and the Proton went no further. “We can restart but not until Sunday” said a very disappointed McRae as he surveyed the damage.
Jean-Louis Leyraud in his Citroen DS3 led the Mitsubishi of Brian Green by 11. 2 seconds after the first two stages but then lost time in the first of the superspecials and the gap is now back to only 3 seconds.
Several cars retired in the super special including French driver Emmanuel Guigou who ripped a wheel off on the bridge. The Renault Clio R3 will restart tomorrow as he retired in a super-special, unlike the unfortunate McRae who’s retirement took place in an actual stage.
The main action is tomorrow with 130 kilometres of stages south of Noumea.