13 February 2005
Solberg re-asserts Nordic dominance in Sweden.
Harri Rovanpera was fourth for Mitsubishi, to justify his position as team leader. Rovanpera had been rather shown up by team-mate, Gigi Galli on Friday however in the end he got the upper hand, although to be fair the Italian had a few technical issues yesterday, which dropped him down the leader-board.
"In the end it was a good weekend for Risto and I," noted Harri. "During the first day and a half I never thought a result like this was possible, but now the feeling is good and my confidence with the car is much better. Next week we will be gravel testing and I am looking forward to going to Mexico."
Galli finished seventh in the sister Lancer WRC, one place behind, Daniel Carlsson, in the third works 307.
Skoda duo, Jani Paasonen and Mattias Ekstrom completed the top ten, with Antony Warmbold eleventh, the top privateer. The only other works drivers at the finish were Francois Duval, in 12th, Stephane Sarrazin, in 13th and Chris Atkinson, who ended up 19th.
Atkinson had been on course for a top ten finish on his debut WRC event however he went off the road in SS18 and lost handfuls of time stuck in a snow bank - more than 12 minutes.
In addition to Gronholm and Loeb, Janne Tuohino was also forced out, the Swede retiring after losing a wheel in the penultimate test.
In the Production Car WRC category meanwhile Toshi Arai led from start to finish, finishing one place behind overall Group N winner, Jukka Ketomaki.
The FIA World Rally Championship now heads to North America for the first long-haul event of the season. Corona Rally Mexico [March 10-13], running for the second year in the world series, is the first full gravel event of the year and promises more fast and furious action in the mountains high above the host city of Leon.
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