Pedder Eases his way into first wrc2 stage
- Pedder 15th fastest, of 28 WRC2 entrants, on opening Super Special Stage
- Ceremonial start in Campo de São Mamede
- Official shakedown stage presents some fresh challenges
- Moscatt describes tomorrow’s stage as extremely tricky and demanding
Scott Pedder and co-driver Dale Moscatt have completed their very first stage of WRC2 action at Rally de Portugal, finishing the opening 3.36 kilometre Lousada Super Special Stage in a time of 2m52.2s.
That time put Pedder just 5.5 seconds behind the hugely experienced reigning Dakar Champion Nasser Al-Attiyah who claimed the stage win.
Pedder’s result though makes for interesting reading, his time was just six tenths of a second off RMC Motorsport team mate Nicolas Fuchs, the 2013 WRC Production Champion, and just three tenths off the pace of highly regarded Frenchman Julian Maurin and Norwegian Anders Grondal.
“That wasn’t too bad, it was a nice clean start to the rally,” said Pedder at the stage finish. “The stage itself was quite tricky, the World Rally Cars ahead of us had really cut the road up and it was very soft.”
“I think what I’m finding is that my inexperience with this car really begins to show in those conditions. On the fast, open stages like we had in testing I can make up for that with good speed and pace notes. But on the very tight stuff, where you need to be super precise, that’s where the other guys I’m up against who have far more experience in these cars are getting away from me,” he added.
Earlier in the day Pedder completed the shakedown stage, the last chance for crews to prepare their cars before competition gets officially underway, making three timed runs. For co-driver Dale Moscatt it was another solid chance for Scott to familiarise himself with the Ford Fiesta R5 against competitors in identical cars.
“Unfortunately our first run wasn’t the best,” Moscatt said of the shakedown. “With so many options on these cars we didn’t realise the car had the anti-lag turned off, I know Scott immediately though the car had an engine problem. But we fixed that and the second and third runs were much better.”
The stage, some four and a half kilometres in length, challenged even the sports top drivers with Mads Ostberg rolling his factory Citroen earlier in the morning.
“Our times were much better on the second run. While on the third we made some adjustments to the rear of the car to try to give Scott a bit better feeling, and that seemed to make a positive step forwards,” Moscatt continued.
Drivers are preparing for tomorrow’s first full day of competition, with six competitive stages waiting, including the 27.53km Ponte de Lima stage.
“That is actually the trickiest stage of the entire rally,” commented Dale. “It’s very tight, very twisty, and I think the longest straight is probably no more than one hundred metres long. It’s going to be daunting for Scott, but it is also going to be the perfect test for him. If we can have a clean run through he’s certainly going to know what he’s up against in WRC2.”
Pedder agreed, saying the biggest challenge he foresees tomorrow is the road conditions behind the outright World Rally Cars. “They have a habit of pulling lots of big rocks out of the edges of the road and leaving them behind for cars like us,” he said.
“Today we were between half a second and a second off the pace of the fastest WRC2 cars. Tomorrow I’d like to close that gap a little. I’m confident if we can have a good run tomorrow there is a chance we can be inside the top 10 of the WRC2. By the end of the rally, with I’m sure people having problems, if we could finish in the top 5 that would be amazing!”
WRC2 Rally de Portugal Results After SS1
1. Nasser Al-Attiyah / Matthieu Baumel (Ford Fiesta RRC) 2m46.7s
2. Jari Ketomaa / Kaj Lindstrom (Ford Fiesta R5) 2m47.0s
3. Pontus Tidemand / Emil Axelsson (Skoda Fabia R5) 2m48.2s
4. Karl Kruuda / Martin Järveoja (Peugeot 208 T16) 2.48.4s
5. Abdulaziz Al-Kuwari / Marshall Clarke (Ford Fiesta RRC) 2m48.5s
15. Scott Pedder / Dale Moscatt (Ford Fiesta R5) 2m52.2s
About The Rally
The Rally de Portugal is Round 5 of the FIA World Rally Championship and marks a major change for the event as it moves to Northern Portugal for the first time since 2001.
Based out of Matosinhos, north of Porto, the event will consist of a ceremonial start at Guimarães on Thursday afternoon, and then will be followed by an evening Super Special stage at Lousada rallycross circuit.
The first full day heads north for stages around Ponte de Lima, near the Spanish border. Then Saturday’s route, the longest of the rally, journeys east for tests near Amarante. Before finally
Sunday’s leg has just three stages, with the focus on the classic Fafe test, an icon of World Rallying with huge crowds expected to line the famous jump.
The Rally de Portugal was first held in 1967 and one of the founding events in the inaugural 1973 WRC.ocus on the classic Fafe test, an icon of World Rallying with huge crowds expected to line the famous jump.
The Rally de Portugal was first held in 1967 and one of the founding events in the inaugural 1973 WRC.