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Hirvonen, Ford strike back with Rally Oz 1-2

Loeb meanwhile fought back to finish tenth under the SupeRally, moving up into the final points paying position in SS25, when Citroen ordered the sister car of Sebastien Ogier to drop back.

Loeb also further minimised the damage by winning the Power Stage and taking all three bonus points. Latvala was second in the Power stage and Petter Solberg third.

“I cannot be happy with the rally we have done,” Loeb said. “We [Ogier and I] crashed both cars and while we could re-start we lost a lot of time. Finally we did the only thing we could do since we crashed, which was to score four points – one in the rally and three in the Power stage. I am not really happy but it is better than nothing.”

Petter Solberg took the final place on the rostrum in his privately entered Citroen DS3 WRC car, finishing 30.1 seconds off P2 and 44.8 seconds off P1. It was his first podium since Sardinia back in May.

“I'm so happy with the weekend and to have a podium again,” Petter said. “Everything has worked perfectly over the weekend and to be able to be up there, doing the same pace as the others is so great. I have really enjoyed driving this weekend, and am happy with both the car and my own performance.

“For sure, I want to be even faster, but this is as good as it gets at this moment. It's been good fun this weekend and to manage to get that extra point for the power stage is just an extra bonus today!”

Behind, Matthew Wilson was fourth for the M-Sport Stobart Ford team, albeit eight minutes adrift of Petter. The result equalled his career best finish: “It's been a really difficult weekend but I'm really happy with our result, especially with Scott [Martin] beside me as this is our best finish with him as my co-driver,” Wilson reflected. “Today I haven't been trying to push - we needed to do the sensible thing and find a comfortable pace to ensure we didn't make any mistakes.

“Friday was incredibly difficult – the roads were so slippery and it was one of the hardest days rallying I've had. You know it's a difficult day when a seven-time World Champion retires! We enjoyed yesterday's stages and the conditions but I was disappointed when [team-mate] Henning [Solberg] stopped with his problem as it wasn't the way we wanted to move up the leaderboard.

“The car has been working well today and we were just driving at our own speed as the gap to Petter was too much to risk making any silly mistakes. I'm now hoping that this result will help to get us something sorted for next year.”

Khalid Al-Qassimi completed the top-five in his Team Abu Dhabi-Fiesta RS WRC, taking advantage of all the causalities on day one, like Wilson, to score good points. Indeed P5 is actually his best-ever WRC result.




Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Mikko Hirvonen (FIN) Jarmo Lehtinen (FIN), Ford Fiesta RS WRC, BP Ford Abu Dhabi World Rally Team
Mikko Hirvonen (FIN) Jarmo Lehtinen (FIN), Ford Fiesta RS WRC, BP Ford Abu Dhabi World Rally Team
Mikko Hirvonen (FIN) Jarmo Lehtinen (FIN), Ford Fiesta RS WRC, BP Ford Abu Dhabi World Rally Team
Podium, 1st, Mikko Hirvonen (FIN) Jarmo Lehtinen (FIN), Ford Fiesta RS WRC, BP Ford Abu Dhabi World Rally Team, 2nd, Jari-Matti Latvala (FIN) Miikka Anttila (FIN), Ford Fiesta RS WRC, BP Ford Abu Dhabi World Rally Team, 3rd, Petter Solberg (NOR) Chris Patterson (GBR), Citroen DS3 WRC, Petter Solberg Rallying
Mikko Hirvonen (FIN) Jarmo Lehtinen (FIN), Ford Fiesta RS WRC, BP Ford Abu Dhabi World Rally Team
Mikko Hirvonen (FIN) Jarmo Lehtinen (FIN), Ford Fiesta RS WRC, BP Ford Abu Dhabi World Rally Team
Podium, Mikko Hirvonen (FIN) Jarmo Lehtinen (FIN), Ford Fiesta RS WRC, BP Ford Abu Dhabi World Rally Team

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bojan - Unregistered

September 12, 2011 10:21 AM

When will some people get it into their heads that motor racing and rallying at this level are team sports? The drivers are professionals contracted to the team, the team pays the bills etc... So of course the team will try to arrange things as far as possible to ensure that one or other of their drivers can win the championship. Personally I applaud Latvala (and apparently Ogier also) for their professionalism in putting team before self. And finally, though I still believe Loeb and Citroen are the class of the field, congratulations to Ford on scoring a deserved 1-2 for a change.

Taz - Unregistered

September 12, 2011 9:10 AM

Completely deluded by m-sport. Ford will be out paced comprehensively on the tarmac rounds. There was no need to do that, Malcolm still favours Hiroven....for reasons best known to himself.



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