6 September 2009
Loeb ends win drought on Rally Australia
Sordo eventually finished just 4.6 seconds off Hirvonen and only 17.1 seconds off P1. Despite having to settle for 'bronze', the Spaniard was happy with his performance.
"Mikko was quite simply faster than me today. That said, I am absolutely thrilled to have finished on the podium here,” Sordo stated. “I was in the thick of the scrap for first place from the beginning of day 1 all the way to the end, and the Manufacturers' points we've scored mean that Citroën could potentially wrap up the title in Spain."
Next up was Sebastien Ogier and the Citroen Junior driver put in an impressive performance, winning eight stages in total, just one less than Loeb, and the same as BP Ford Abu Dhabi's #2 Jari-Matti Latvala. Ogier's only real problem came on day 2 when he hit a bank.
“It was a very good weekend for us,” he said. “Apart from a small mistake yesterday, we were able to fight with the best of them. The C4 WRC was extremely competitive on this event and the Citroën Junior Team did an excellent job. I'm delighted to be able to deliver the team a result like this.”
Further down the order, Latvala had to settle for fifth, 30 seconds off Ogier and around 2 minutes off the winner. He lost time running first on the road on Saturday and also lost more ground with two punctures, one in SS23 and another in SS27, both the result of hitting a bank in his Ford Focus.
"I made a fantastic start on Friday but the rally turned round on me on Saturday afternoon and today,” Latvala explained. “Two mistakes that caused the tyre to come off the rim on each occasion cost me dearly, but who knows what may have happened without those errors?”
Of the rest Stobart Ford's Matthew Wilson rounded out the top six, eventually finishing more than 2 minutes up on his team-mate, Henning Solberg.
Solberg lost ground with an off on day 2, when he went into a ditch and smashed his windscreen. He was further hampered by a spin and brake problems on Sunday, but while this did drop him to eighth in SS33, and behind Federico Villagra, he fought back and re-took P7 in the final test.
"I was very unlucky today,” Henning stated. “We had lots of problems and it was a long day. We are here though, and I'm happy to finish, I'm just not happy with my performance this weekend."
After Villagra, Hayden Paddon and Martin Prokop came in ninth and tenth, the former securing the Group N victory, while the latter took the glory in the Production Car World Rally Championship category.
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