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Rivals split on start order choice in NZ

21 June 2012


Ford's Jari-Matti Latvala has chosen to run 13th in the order on the opening day of Rally New Zealand, a different strategy to his key rivals.

Latvala got first pick of position after he was quickest in the qualifying stage [see separate story - here]. He then opted for a position as far down the order as possible so as to avoid having to clean the road. Mikko Hirvonen was next up to choose after being second quickest in qualifying, but with the possibility of rain, he elected to run at the head of the pack, a choice mirrored by Petter Solberg and Sebastien Loeb, who will run second and third respectively.

“The plan was that obviously as we are [heading] south tomorrow there is more gravel on the top surface than ever before. I know it's winter and there is still a risk with the rain but I still believe when you do 200 stage kilometres and it will be dry at some point so I think the road will need cleaning, so that's why we want to be further back. I'm not so scared about starting so far back,” Latvala explained.

The full starting order for the 13 priority seeded drivers is as follows:


Rally New Zealand: Day 1 running order:

1. Mikko Hirvonen Citroen Total WRT DS3 WRC M
2. Petter Solberg Ford WRT Fiesta RS WRC M
3. Sebastien Loeb Citroen Total WRT DS3 WRC M
4. Ott Tanak M-Sport Ford WRT Fiesta RS WRC M
5. Dani Sordo Prodrive WRC Team MINI John Cooper Works WRC
6. Jari Ketomaa Ford Fiesta RS WRC
7. Evgeny Novikov M-Sport Ford WRT Fiesta RS WRC M
8. Manfred Stohl Brazil WRT Ford Fiesta RS WRC
9. Ken Block Monster WRT Ford Fiesta RS WRC
10. Armindo Araujo WRC MINI Team Portugal John Cooper Works WRC
11. Paulo Nobre WRC MINI Team Portugal John Cooper Works WRC
12. Thierry Neuville Qatar WRT Citroen DS3 WRC M
13. Jari-Matti Latvala Ford WRT Fiesta RS WRC M


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