23 October 2011
Loeb claims Spanish win, Citroen secure manufacturers'
“Overall I am very happy with my performance and I've even had some fun today on the stages,” Ostberg said. “The asphalt has been very enjoyable and I have been really happy with my pace compared to France and Germany. The last two stages today have been very good and I am feeling a lot more comfortable driving on Tarmac.
“We wanted to try to push for the Power Stage so we made some changes after the first run but at the same time we didn't want to do anything stupid. Friday was a difficult day which is something that I didn't expect going into this rally but it's been an encouraging weekend and I think I have learned a lot of valuable lessons.”
Evgeny Novikov, who was trying out a Citroen DS3 WRC car in Spain, came through to secure seventh, getting the better of Henning Solberg on the final loop. He eventually finished 8.3 seconds ahead.
“It's my best result of the season,” Novikov said. “We've done a lot of work with the team and I felt more and more at home behind the wheel. My main aim was to see the finish and get to know the car. I've done so and on top of that I've scored points!”
Dennis Kuipers and Juho Hanninen took positions 9 and 10, the latter also taking both the SWRC class win and the SWRC title. Hanninen moved into the lead in the SWRC this morning when Nasser Al-Attiyah lost time with brake problems. His main championship rival, Ott Tanak finished sixth in the class and well out of contention after having had to retire on Friday when he damaged his car in SS1.
“It'll take me a few days really to realise what's happened,” Hanninen noted. “It's fantastic, I'm so happy, maybe I will dance on the roof of my car! I made a big mistake in France so I made my life difficult here in Spain, but now it feels very, very good to win the rally and the Championship.”
In the PWRC, Patrik Flodin was victorious, eventually edging out Michal Kosciuszko by two seconds.
In terms of retirements, in addition to Ogier, Matthew Wilson also stopped in the penultimate stage in his M-Sport Stobart Ford Fiesta RS WRC. He had been running tenth until he took a wheel off.
Petter Solberg and Kimi Raikkonen also retired, but both went out on Friday. Solberg ripped off a wheel in SS1, when he got caught out by hanging dust, while engine issues stopped Raikkonen in SS3.
Ken Block retired on Friday too, but could rejoin under the SupeRally on Saturday. However he went out again today, crashing in SS13.
The 2011 WRC now gears up for the finale next month in Cardiff, with the event running from November 10-13.
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