WRC »

Hirvonen pushes to secure Sweden victory

Mikko Hirvonen now holds a 13.7 second advantage over Mads Ostberg following SS19; Petter Solberg has dropped further back, as has Sebastien Ogier and Jari-Matti Latvala.

Ford Abu Dhabi WRT number one Mikko Hirvonen almost doubled his lead on Rally Sweden this morning as the opening round in the 2011 World Rally Championship heads for its conclusion.

Hirvonen began the day just 7.4 seconds up on Mads Ostberg, with Petter Solberg, Jari-Matti Latvala and Sebastien Ogier also in touch. Indeed with the top five covered by 15.8 seconds, the stage looked set for a nailing biting finale.

However, Hirvonen had other ideas and promptly set the pace in all three tests this morning to head to back to service in Hagfors with his cushion up to 13.7 seconds: "It was a perfect run," said the Finn, "My driving was just perfect. I try - I really try now [to win]."

Ostberg, who was second in SS17 and SS19 and third in SS18, was philosophical about losing ground: "I'm very, very happy," said the M-Sport Stobart Ford man. "I'm pushing really hard and I know Mikko is doing the same. But there is not much more I can do. If you lose time to these guys you must be aware that they are the absolutely best drivers in the world and I have the future ahead of me."

Petter Solberg meanwhile remains third, but he is now 30.5 seconds off the lead having struggled with a front damper issue: “The car is very difficult to handle,” 'Hollywood' remarked after SS19, “It has a life of its own.”

Further back Sebastien Ogier has moved up to fourth and ahead of Jari-Matti Latvala, despite picking up a puncture towards the end of the opening test. Latvala lost out after hitting a snow bank in that same stage and also had intercom issues in Rammen 1.

Of the rest, Sebastien Loeb is a lonely sixth after his woes on day one and the Frenchman is just pacing himself to the end: “We had a little bit of snow dust [in the last test] but that wasn't a big problem. We will just go to the finish now - no pushing,” he confirmed.

Per-Gunnar Andersson and Kimi Raikkonen are seventh and eighth, the former continuing his fightback and overhauling 'the ice-man' in Torntorp 1. Khalid Al-Qassimi and Matt Wilson complete the top ten, split by just 0.4 seconds, both having had a less than perfect morning. Al-Qassimi hit a snowbank, while Wilson picked up a 10 second penalty for a jump-start.

In the Production Car World Rally Championship, Martin Semerad is still comfortably on course for the class victory, as he has been since Anders Grondal retired in SS12 on Saturday. Semerad lies over 5 minutes up on Yuriy Protasov, with Nicolas Fuchs third.

The action now continues at 12.09 hours, with a repeat-run through the 19.21 km Torntorp test [SS20]. It is then on to Rammen [SS21] at 13.31 hours, before the concluding Power Stage [SS22], which will be broadcast live around the world and which will award bonus points to the three quickest drivers, starts at 15.08 hours [all times local].


Rally Sweden: Overall standings after Stage 19 (Top 10):

1. Mikko Hirvonen Ford Abu Dhabi WRT Fiesta RS WRC 2hours 59mins 02.7secs M
2. Mads Ostberg M-Sport Stobart Ford Fiesta RS WRC +00mins 13.7secs M
3. Petter Solberg PSWRT Citroen DS3 WRC +00mins 30.5secs A1
4. Sebastien Ogier Citroen Total WRT DS3 WRC +00mins 39.2secs M
5. Jari-Matti Latvala Ford Abu Dhabi WRT Fiesta RS WRC +00mins 51.6secs M
6. Sebastien Loeb Citroen Total WRT DS3 WRC +02mins 16.7secs M
7. PG Andersson Ford Fiesta RS WRC +06mins 08.8secs A1
8. Kimi Raikkonen ICE 1 Racing Citroen DS3 WRC +06mins 38.2secs M
9. Khalid Al-Qassimi Team Abu Dhabi Fiesta RS WRC +09mins 34.7secs A1
10. Matt Wilson M-Sport Stobart Ford Fiesta RS WRC +09mins 35.1secs A1

Others:

11. Patrik Sandell Skoda Fabia S2000 +11mins 03.2secs A2
12. Martin Prokop Ford Fiesta S2000 +11mins 42.5secs A2
13. Denis Kuipers FERM Powertools Ford Fiesta RS WRC +12mins 39.9secs M
14. Ken Block Monster WRT Ford Fiesta RS WRC +15mins 40.6secs M


PWRC standings after Stage 19 (Top 3):

1. Martin Semerad Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX 3hours 19mins 00.6secs P
2. Yuriy Protasov Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X +05mins 14.6secs P
3. Nicolas Fuchs Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X +06mins 43.1secs P


Notable retirements:

SS8. Henning Solberg M-Sport Stobart Ford Fiesta RS WRC Accident M
SS8. Eyvind Brynildsen Skoda Fabia S2000 Mechanical A2
SS12. Anders Grondal Subaru Impreza STi Engine P

EXC. Patrik Flodin Subaru Impreza STi Excluded P


all times unofficial



Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Mikko Hirvonen (FIN) Jarmo Lehtinen (FIN), Ford Fiesta RS WRC,  BP Ford Abu Dhabi World Rally Team
Mikko Hirvonen (FIN), Ford Fiesta RS WRC,  BP Ford Abu Dhabi World Rally Team
Mikko Hirvonen (FIN) Jarmo Lehtinen (FIN), Ford Fiesta RS WRC,  BP Ford Abu Dhabi World Rally Team
Mikko Hirvonen (FIN) Jarmo Lehtinen (FIN), Ford Fiesta RS WRC,  BP Ford Abu Dhabi World Rally Team
Mikko Hirvonen (FIN) Jarmo Lehtinen (FIN), Ford Fiesta RS WRC,  BP Ford Abu Dhabi World Rally Team
Mikko Hirvonen (FIN) Jarmo Lehtinen (FIN), Ford Fiesta RS WRC,  BP Ford Abu Dhabi World Rally Team

Join the conversation - Add your comment

Please login or register before adding your comments.

Although the administrators and moderators of this website will attempt to keep all objectionable comments off these pages, it is impossible for us to review all messages. All messages express the views of the poster, and neither Crash Media Group nor Crash.Net will be held responsible for the content of any message. We do not vouch for or warrant the accuracy, completeness or usefulness of any message, and are not responsible for the contents of any message. If you find a message objectionable, please contact us and inform us of the problem or use the [report] function next to the offending post. Any message that does not conform with the policy of this service can be edited or removed with immediate effect.




© 1999 - 2016 Crash Media Group

The total or partial reproduction of text, photographs or illustrations is not permitted in any form.