“It was a great fight and I took big risks today to try to close the gaps, driving over every bank and rock,” Hirvonen said. “There's no way I would have survived all three days driving like that! It's the second consecutive rally though where I've lost a final day battle by a handful of seconds and that's frustrating.”
Solberg was also disappointed, especially given how good things had looked at the end of Friday when he had a 51.6 second advantage. Sadly though, the Norwegian was unable to hold off the 'works' Citroen's and Hirvonen's works Ford on days two and three.
“I don't know why we lost,” 'Hollywood' lamented. “I tried hard and did everything I could. I am still happy with my driving. All the team worked very well and fourth place is better than fifth. It looked good on Friday. But there was nothing else we could do. A private team is always a private team.”
Further back Petter's brother Henning took fifth - and his best result of the season on his return to the fold after he skipped Argentina to sort sponsorship issues. Although he was more than 4.5 minutes off P4, he was still pleased.
“I am very happy with my position. I just hoped to come back today and drive to the finish with no problems and that has been the case so that is good. We have had our share of bad luck at times, mostly with the brakes yesterday but the car worked very well on Friday and for today,” Henning noted.
“I've also been awarded the Spirit of the Rally award which I'm very pleased about. It just feels great to be back in the WRC and we hope to come back even stronger for the second half of the year.”
Henning's M-Sport Stobart
Ford team-mate, Matthew Wilson
was next up and took sixth, 1.5 minutes further back, despite problems with an intermittent misfire: “I was a bit frustrated with the problems,” he conceded, “But this is how it is with a rough rally like this. It was very good that we got the points. It would just have been nice to have a clean run yesterday.”
F1 2007 world champion Kimi Raikkonen came in seventh and considering his last WRC event was back in mid-April, he put in a very solid drive – setting eleven top-ten stage times in total in his Citroen
“We did a good job,” said Kimi. “It was our first time here. The first day we had a puncture and the differential problem. Otherwise we had no problems. I liked the rally and I am now looking forward to my home event.”
Of the rest Juho Hanninen was eighth and also took the SWRC win, almost 5 minutes up on Bernardo Sousa, his closest class rival. Jari-Matti Latvala
and Dennis Kuipers rounded out the top ten, the former slowed by transmission problems in the final stage on Friday and then turbo problems on Saturday morning.