Oliver Solberg sets two consecutive fastest times, but Paddon remains close

Oliver Solberg clocked two consecutive fastest times on Saturday morning in the Royal Rally of Scandinavia.
Oliver Solberg
Oliver Solberg. Photo: @World / Red Bull Content Pool
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The Swedish driver, competing in his home rally, extended his lead over New Zealand’s Hayden Paddon. After 11 special stages, Solberg’s lead stands at exactly seven seconds.

“I had a few sideways moments, very slippery. 2.0sec is nothing in such a long stage, so fast, so slippery, we just have to keep driving,” Solberg said.

“Struggling at the moment, just have no grip. Got no feeling in the car and can’t push how I want to, but the day is early and we’ve got a long way to go. I have to adapt and so does the car,” Paddon commented.

Finnish driver Mikko Heikkilä has secured third place. However, ERC leader Mathieu Franceschi is just 4.4 seconds behind Heikkilä. In the overall standings, Heikkilä is 19.6 seconds off the lead.

“Very fun, the car feels perfect. Really, really nice stage. At the end it was very slippery, I think I was too sideways,” Heikkilä enjoyed.

Latvian driver Martins Sesks, like Heikkilä driving a Toyota Rally2 car, had issues on the morning’s opening stage when his car stalled multiple times. As a result, Sesks dropped to seventh place behind the Norwegian duo Frank Tore Larsen and Mads Østberg.

“The biggest problem is that you drive and you don’t know what is wrong, we tried [on the road section] and we stalled every third time. I am so nervous and this stage does not allow you to make mistakes. Sometimes it feels like it is close to stalling. It is not nice,” Sesks wondered.

Six more special stages remain in the Royal Rally of Scandinvia.

Royal Rally of Scandinvia standings after SS11/17:

1. Oliver SolbergSkoda54:01.2
2.Hayden PaddonHyundai+7.0
3.Mikko HeikkiläToyota+19.6
4. Mathieu FranceschiSkoda+24.0
5.Frank Tore LarsenVW+34.1
6.Mads ØstbergCitroen+50.2
7.Martins SesksToyota+54.0
8.Isak ReiersenSkoda+55.1
9.Miko MarczykSkoda+1:13.4
10.Andrea MabelliniSkoda+1:23.1
11.Eyvind BrynildsenVW+1:25.2
12.Simone TempestiniSkoda+1:34.6

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