The Skoda Octavia WRCs of Kenneth Eriksson and Roman Kresta had no problems during the final leg. Both of Skoda's drivers, Kenneth Eriksson and Roman Kresta, had little to gain but experience today. But they both knuckled down, experimented a little with driving style and car set-ups and reached the finish. Eriksson, who'd tried to introduce a new driving style for asphalt events, finished 11th, while Kresta gained valuable experience of the Sanremo stages as he claimed 12th.
Kenneth Eriksson said: ''We had a clean run today and I've still managed to learn a lot about how differently you can drive on the asphalt. But it's a shame that we haven't been able to score a point for Skoda - we just weren't quick enough to do that. However, there are three good events coming up where the Octavia should be a stronger package. It's New Zealand next and I've won there in the past so hopefully we can have reliability, take advantage of road position and surprise a few people.''
Team-mate Roman Kresta continued: ''I found the roads here very difficult. Sometimes the surface has lots of grip and then it will change, even in the same corner, to very slippery. I know I could have been quicker in places but the idea was always to get a good look at the stages and learn more about the Octavia on asphalt, and we've done that.''
The third Skoda piloted by Toni Gardemeister was going well when disaster struck yesterday, when he slid off the road and out of the event. Up to that point he was running tenth overall, and on course for a manufacturers' point.
Freddy Loix's Hyundai Accent WRC3 was reliable today, as the Belgian played with anti-roll bar settings after his major time loss yesterday afternoon.
After his accident and substantial time loss yesterday afternoon, Loix knew he'd have to treat today's closing four stages as an extended test session, and that's exactly what he did. The Belgian played with the anti-roll bar settings on his Accent throughout the day, adjusting it between stages to experience as many options as possible. He finished 28th overall.
Loix said: ''It was a shame that we lost so much time in the accident last night - I feel really bad for everyone in the team, because we have clearly made some more progress and found some more performance. Today was all about trying some new things, some different settings and experimenting. After the time loss yesterday, position didn't really matter. I'm not even going to talk about the next round in New Zealand and what we might achieve there - I'm just going to go there, try my best and see what happens.''
His team-mate, Armin Schwarz crashed out on day one, in stage one. Not a good rally then for Hyundai.
Of the other entries Jesus Puras won a hotly-contested fight to be the top privateer World Rally Car driver on this event. The Spanish champion's Xsara finished sixth overall after he consolidated his overnight placing today. He finished 22 seconds clear of the young Frenchman Cedric Robert, who bagged seventh on his first world championship appearance in a customer-specification Peugeot 206 WRC.
In the Junior World Rally Championship Italian driver Andrea Dallavilla took the class win, beating Giandomenico Basso by ten seconds. Daniel Sola was third. Dallavilla's win puts him top in the JWRC table, one point ahead of Sola, with one round to go.
Rally Statistics - Leg three:
36 crews (35 Group A and 1 Group N) started this morning.
1 non-seeded driver.
Today - Sunday 22 September:
Leg 3 started from Sanremo at 06h00 and covered 327.28km, including 88.02km on four special stages.
Stage by stage summary - Leg three:
SS15 Pantasina 1 (25.03kms):
1. Solberg (N) Subaru 14m 55.2
1. Panizzi (F) Peugeot 14m 55.5
3. Burns (GB) Peugeot 14m 56.1
Leaders after SS15:
1. Panizzi (F) Peugeot 3h 31m 13.3
2. Grönholm (FIN) Peugeot 3h 31m 36.9
3. Solberg (N) Subaru 3h 32m 12.7
SS16 Mendatica 1 (18.98kms):
1. Grönholm (FIN) Peugeot 12m 03.0
2. Burns (GB) Peugeot 12m 06.1
2. Panizzi (F) Peugeot 12m 06.1
4. Martin (EE) Ford 12m 11.2
Leaders after SS16:
1. Panizzi (F) Peugeot 3h 43m 19.4
2. Grönholm (FIN) Peugeot 3h 43m 39.9
3. Solberg (N) Subaru 3h 44m 24.9
SS17 Pantasina 2 (25.03kms):
1. Burns (GB) Peugeot 14m 51.4
2. Panizzi (F) Peugeot 14m 52.6
3. Solberg (N) Subaru 14m 53.4
Leaders after SS17:
1. Panizzi (F) Peugeot 3h 58m 12.0
2. Grönholm (FIN) Peugeot 3h 58m 35.5
3. Solberg (N) Subaru 3h 59m 08.3
SS18 Mendatica 2 (18.98kms):
1. Grönholm (FIN) Peugeot 12m 01.0
2. Burns (GB) Peugeot 12m 02.3
3. Panizzi (F) Peugeot 12m 03.6
Leaders in Sanremo after SS18:
1. Panizzi (F) Peugeot 4h 10m 15.6
2. Grönholm (FIN) Peugeot +20.9
3. Solberg (N) Subaru +1m 06.4
4. Burns (GB) Peugeot +1m 18.9
5. Martin (EE) Ford +1m 54.9
6. Puras (E) Citroen
7. Robert (F) Peugeot +3m 01.3
8. C. McRae (GB) Ford +5m 17.5
9. Rovanperä (FIN) Peugeot +6m 18.9
10. Delecour (F) Mitsubishi +7m 24.4
JWRC Leaders in Sanremo after SS18:
1. Dallavilla (I) Citroen
4h 28m 26.4
2. Basso (I) Fiat +9.6
3. Sola (E) Citroen
4. Caldani (I) Fiat +30.1
5. Galli (I) Fiat +2m 08.2
6. Duval (B) Ford +3m 03.0
Final rally statistics: