WRC » 1 January 1901
STOP PRESS: Hirvonen wins in Jordan.
BP Ford Abu Dhabi's Mikko Hirvonen has come through to take the victory on the inaugural WRC event in Jordan.
Mikko and his team-mate Jari-Matti Latvala both eased off in the final test on day two, in order to give them a more advantageous road position on Sunday and the tactic worked, leaving Dani Sordo to play the road sweeper.
Initially Latvala took the lead in SS17, albeit just 0.3 seconds up on Mikko, but when Jari hit a rock in the next test and damaged his suspension he was left to limp through SS18 and SS19, and lost over 10 minutes.
Mikko thus moved up into P1 and he was 5.4 seconds up on Sordo after Wadi Shuelb 1. The Finn then proceeded to stretch the gap further in SS19 and returned to service G, 7.7 seconds ahead, before taking more time on the repeat loop and eventually taking the victory - his first of the season - by over a minute.
The result puts him back top in the drivers' championship, as Citroen's Sebastien Loeb failed to score drivers' points following a head-on collision with Conrad Rautenbach on day 2.
Sordo meanwhile had to settle for the runners-up spot, and while he led throughout the opening day, he was at a disadvantage on days 2 and 3 as he had to run first in the order. He kept pushing to the very end however, and his off in the final stage, which cost him over 30 seconds, was proof of that.
Subaru's Chris Atkinson completes the podium, having gained the position after Latvala had problems. He finished just over 5 minutes off the top two.
Stobart Ford duo Henning Solberg and Matthew Wilson came in fourth and fifth, the latter losing out to his team-mate after picking up a puncture in the first run through the long 41.45 kilometre Jordan River test.
Munchi's Ford's Federico Villagra and Latvala were next up, while Gigi Galli took the final drivers' point, with Khalid Al-Qassimi a disappointed ninth, having lost around 8 minutes with two punctures in the final test, which dropped him out of the points.
Sebastien Loeb completes the top ten, having restarted under the SupeRally. The Frenchman took the final manufacturers' point, although that was little consolation, as he had been leading by over 30 seconds prior to his head-on crash with Rautenbach.
Full report and result to follow...
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