“I didn't lose total faith [on Friday],” Ostberg insisted, “But it was a big fight to get back into third. I am very pleased to have won the battle with Jari-Matti. It is a great feeling.”
Latvala in contrast was a bit disappointed with fourth in the second Volkswagen and while he showed flashes of speed – including winning SS10 on Saturday – he has still to get to grips with the Polo R WRC: “My driving hasn't been so great,” said the Finn. “I haven't found it (the speed) yet. But it is good to get points for the team and myself. I had a good feeling in the last stage too.”
Thierry Neuville rounded out the top-five after a very solid performance for the Qatar WRT, one spot ahead of team-mate, Juho Hanninen. Fellow Ford Fiesta RS WRC runners Martin Prokop and WRC returnee Henning Solberg were seventh and eighth, with Evgeny Novikov eventually taking ninth after an off in SS20. The Russian had been fifth pretty much throughout until that late mistake.
WRC2 class winner Yazeed Al-Rajhi took the final senior WRC drivers' point in tenth in his Ford Fiesta RRC, having overhauled Anders Grondal this morning. Sepp Weigand was third in WRC2.
Of the rest, Michal Kosciousko took 14th in his Lotos Team WRC-run MINI John Cooper Works WRC, with Citroen's Mikko Hirvonen 17th. Hirvonen had been one of the pre-event favourites, but he went off in the first test on Friday and got stuck in a snow bank, losing over 20 minutes. Matt Wilson, who was drafted in late for an unwell Khalid Al-Attiyah, also had some problems on day one and then suffered another off on Saturday. He was eventually classified 27th, re-starting today under the Rally 2 regulations.
In terms of major retirements, four notable drivers' failed to finish, namely Pontus Tidemand, Khalid Al-Qassimi, Jari Ketomaa and Dani Sordo. Tidemand starred early on and was sixth overall until engine problems forced him out in SS9 on Saturday. Khalid Al-Qassimi also retired on day two after an off in SS14. Ketomaa had to pull out this morning as his co-driver was ill, while Sordo, who was running eighth overall today, went off and got stuck in a snow bank in SS20, with just two stages remaining.
The WRC now moves to Mexico next month for round three, with that event running from March 8-10.
To view the result for the 2013 Rally Sweden - CLICK HERE