WRC » 7 October 2007
Spain - leg 3: Spanish hat-trick for Loeb.
Much was expected from the Belgian after his performance in Germany, when he ran right at the front of the pack before eventually finishing second. However he was unable to repeat that form this time out - although there were flashes of speed from him when things went well, including one stage win and an additional four top three times. Duval will now be hoping for better in Corsica.
Petter Solberg brought his Subaru home in sixth albeit 25 seconds behind Duval and nearly 3 minutes off the eventual winner.
Despite being unable to match the front runners though 'Hollywood' was reasonably content and reckons that they have taken a 'good step forward', even though he managed only seven top-five stage times from a possible 18.
Stobart Ford's Jari-Matti Latvala and Chris Atkinson rounded out the points' scorers in seventh and eighth, the former growing in confidence as the event wore on.
Of the rest, Subaru third driver, Xavier Pons was ninth on his home event - 40 seconds off Atkinson in the sister Impreza, and then came Henning Solberg, who was competing in Spain for the very first time.
Matthew Wilson finished just outside the top ten in eleven, while fellow Ford runners, Thomas Schie, Munchi's man, Federico Villagra and BP Ford 'third' man, Khalid Al-Qassimi completed the top 14.
In the FIA Junior World Rally Championship category Per-Gunnar Andersson took the win in his Suzuki Swift having taken over at the head of the class on Saturday when his team-mate, Urmo Aava lost time with a puncture.
P-G eventually took the honours by 33.9 seconds, with Citroen C2 runner, Martin Prokop second, just ahead of Aava, who finished 6 seconds further back.
Renault Clio runner, Jozef Beres and Citroen C2 man, Conrad Rautenbach were fourth and fifth in the class, while Jaan Molder and Aaron Burkart came in sixth and seventh. Yoan Bonato took the final JRC drivers' point in eighth in his Citroen C2-R2.
In terms of retirements there were a number of casualties, the biggest probably Manfred Stohl, who crashed out in the third stage on Friday. The OMV Kronos Citroen pilot heavily damaged his Xsara in the off and as a result was unable to re-start under the SupeRally format.
There was also some doubt over his participation in Corsica too, but that problem has now been resolved, as he will use the car that had been scheduled to go to Japan.
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