Rally Griekenland 12 t/m 14 juni 2009
Einduitslag Rally Griekenland 2009
Officieel persbericht van M-Sport:
Hirvonen wins in Greece as Ford claims landmark
Mikko Hirvonen and Jarmo Lehtinen won the Acropolis Rally of Greece
today to secure Ford's 70th world rally victory. The Finns won this
seventh round of the FIA World Rally Championship, the toughest
encounter in the 12-event series, by 1min 12.9sec in their Ford Focus RS
World Rally Car. BP Ford Abu Dhabi World Rally Team colleagues
Jari-Matti Latvala and Miikka Anttila were third in another Focus RS WRC
to secure maximum points in the manufacturers' series for the Blue Oval.
Between them Hirvonen and Latvala led from
start to finish of the three-day event to secure Ford's seventh win in
10 seasons in Greece. It was also the 40th world rally win for M-Sport,
Ford's partner in the WRC and the British-based preparation company
which runs the programme. It completed a perfect weekend for team
director Malcolm Wilson, who received an OBE in The Queen's Birthday
Honours list yesterday.
The result, the team's second consecutive victory following Latvala's
success in Italy last month, rejuvenated its challenge in both
championships. Ford is now just 15 points from the lead in the
manufacturers' standings and second-placed Hirvonen has closed the gap
in the drivers' series to just seven points.
Rock-strewn and abrasive gravel roads west of Athens and blistering
temperatures, which topped 36ºC, ensured this year's event lived up to
its gruelling reputation. It was a rally of attrition and a long string
of frontrunners fell by the wayside during the 15 speed tests covering
341.01km (two tests were cancelled). However, neither Focus RS WRC
missed a beat and both drivers looked after their cars and Pirelli's
Scorpion tyres superbly, mixing pace with caution in the tough
Latvala led from the start before falling to 11th when he slid into a
ditch on the last special stage of the opening day. Hirvonen was
promoted into top spot but was fearful of running first in the start
order yesterday, sweeping the gravel from the road surface to offer
cleaner and faster conditions to his pursuers. However, as others
struggled, Hirvonen stretched his lead and Latvala charged back to third.
Both drove at a measured pace on today's short final leg to seal a
"I drove a clever rally and my plan worked perfectly, with no mistakes
and no punctures," said 28-year-old Hirvonen. "I knew that if we
finished the rally without problems then we would be high in the order
and that was the case. The key to success was to stay on the road and be
cautious rather than drive flat out all the way. The car was amazing all
weekend, especially the last stage which was so rough. I was fortunate
to have such a large lead that I was able to drive steadily.
"We're back in the championship fight and the final five rallies of the
year will be exciting. The next two events, in Poland and Finland, are
on fast gravel roads which should suit me," he added.
Latvala admitted he was relieved to climb back onto the podium. "I
thought I had lost everything on Friday evening. A place on the podium
was never in my dreams but others made mistakes and their cars broke and
that's exactly what I achieved. My strategy yesterday was to save the
tyres, save the car and drive round the rocks and it paid off. This
rally required respect and the result is so important for me and the
team from the championship perspective," said the 24-year-old Finn.
Abu Dhabi's Khalid Al Qassimi and Michael Orr finished sixth in the
team's third Focus RS WRC, a career best result for the 37-year-old
BP Ford Abu Dhabi team director Malcolm Wilson said: "It was a masterful
drive from Mikko. Although he led after the first day, we were worried
about the effect his start position would have on Saturday, but he knew
exactly what to do and did it to perfection. Jari-Matti did a great job
after his error and capitalised on the mistakes of others. It's the
first time a Focus RS WRC has won a world rally with an engine built
entirely at M-Sport, and that's a proud achievement. Our championship
hopes were written off before Sardinia but we didn't give up and we're
back in the fight."
John Fleming, Chairman and CEO of Ford of Europe received the
manufacturers' trophy on the podium before saying: "Rallies don’t come
any tougher than the Acropolis and to win the most demanding round of
the WRC for the seventh time in 10 years is a fantastic achievement. To
take two podium places and position four of our Focus RS WRCs in the top
six is further testament to its strength, reliability and speed."
News from other Ford teams
Munchi's drivers Federico Villagra and José Diaz matched their
career-best result with fourth in a Focus RS WRC. Stobart drivers
Matthew Wilson and Scott Martin and Henning Solberg and Cato Menkerud
both claimed manufacturer points after finishing under SupeRally rules,
following first and second day retirements. Wilson was 14th, after
winning the penultimate stage, and Solberg was 15th.
Rally Poland (25 - 28 June) returns to the championship for the first
time since 1973 as round eight of the series. The fast gravel event is
based in Mikolajki
1. M Hirvonen/J Lehtinen FIN Ford Focus RS 4hr 09min 42.5sec
2. S Ogier/J Ingrassia FRA Citroen C4 4hr 10min 55.4sec
3. J-M Latvala/M Anttila FIN Ford Focus RS 4hr 11min 27.5sec
4. F Villagra/J Perez Companc ARG Ford Focus RS 4hr 13min 30.8sec
5. C Rautenbach/D Barritt ZIM Citroen C4 4hr 13min 42.3sec
6. K Al Qassimi/M Orr UAE Ford Focus RS 4hr 16min 46.8sec
7. M Østberg/J Andersson NOR Subaru Impreza 4hr 22min 07.4sec
8. L Athanassoulas/N Zakheos GRC Skoda Fabia 4hr 22min 30.1sec
9. N Al-Attiyah/G Bernacchini QAT Subaru Impreza 4hr 22min 52.4sec
10 A Araujo/M Ramalho POR Mitsubishi Lancer 4hr 24min 47.0sec
Verslag van wrc.com:
Mikko Hirvonen wins the Acropolis Rally!
BP Ford Abu Dhabi Team driver Mikko Hirvonen has won the Acropolis Rally
of Greece, round seven of the 2009 World Rally Championship, after a
perfect drive through the toughest conditions of the season in his Focus
The 28-year-old Finn carried a comfortable lead into Sunday’s final five
stages, and kept out of trouble to finish 1min 12.9sec ahead of the man
in second place, Citroen Junior team driver Sebastien Ogier.
The win was the eighth of Hirvonen’s WRC career and ended a victory
drought that extended back to Rally Japan in 2008. After four second
places this year, a perfect 10 point finish reignites his battle with
Citroen’s Sebastien Loeb for this year’s drivers’ championship title.
Two rallies ago, Mikko trailed Loeb by 20 points, but a maximum score
here, combined with Loeb’s exit on Saturday, means he’s now just seven
behind. It was a remarkable turn around for the Finn who looked in a
vulnerable position as road sweeper on Saturday morning.
“It really did look very difficult at the start but it worked out okay -
a perfect weekend!” said Hirvonen. “It’s been a clever drive with no
mistakes and no punctures. We thought before this event that if you get
through without any problems you’ll be okay. It’s great for the team.
Now we’re back in the game again - the timing couldn’t have been better!”
On the occasion of his first ever WRC podium finish, Ogier was
celebrating too: “Perfect!” said the Frenchman. “This weekend was all
about conservation. We made no mistakes and we looked after the car and
the tyres. Just one puncture all weekend and the car has run perfectly.
I couldn’t have hoped for a better result that this.”
Hirvonen’s team-mate Jari-Matti Latvala finished third, 32.1sec behind
Ogier’s C4, to conclude a remarkable salvage job after going off the
road on Friday. Latvala’s efforts earned Ford a maximum 18 points in the
manufacturers’ championship, and went some way to restoring his team’s
faith in him after his Day one disaster.
“Things can turn around quite quickly,” he grinned. “It was important
for me to get this result, because now we have a better chance against
Citroen. It’s my second podium in a row, so that’s a positive too. The
next rounds in Poland and Finland are important for me and the team - I
want to do better there.”
Uitslag na dag 2:
Hirvonen extends Ford's lead in Greece
Finland's Mikko Hirvonen and Jarmo Lehtinen increased their lead in the
Acropolis Rally of Greece today during a dramatic second leg. On a day
of remarkable attrition, the BP Ford Abu Dhabi World Rally Team drivers
steered clear of trouble in their Focus RS World Rally Car to extend
their advantage to 1min 40.1sec. Team-mates Jari-Matti Latvala and
Miikka Anttila also kept their cool in the Greek heat to charge up the
leaderboard from 11th to third in a similar car.
Today's route took competitors across the historic Corinth Canal into
the Peleponnese peninsula, south-west of the rally base in Loutraki.
Drivers tackled two identical clockwise loops of three speed tests
covering 135.36km, split by a lunchtime service in the town. Blistering
early morning sunshine gave way to cooler conditions this afternoon as
clouds offered respite for the crews and cars alike.
The Peleponnese was a traditional Acropolis venue in the 1980s, but has
been unused since and the gravel special stages were narrow, highly
technical and strewn with rocks. The arduous roads took a fearsome toll
on the frontrunners as three of the top five crews retired this morning,
with two more giving second best to the conditions this afternoon.
However, the Focus RS WRCs never missed a beat, displaying the
combination of strength, reliability and speed that is the key to
Overnight leader Hirvonen was fearful of
running first in the start order today, sweeping the slippery loose
gravel from the road surface to offer cleaner and faster conditions for
his pursuers behind. However, the 28-year-old extended his 3.0sec
advantage into a 24.8sec lead during the first loop, protecting his
Pirelli Scorpion tyres on the abrasive tracks during the opening two
tests to give him the opportunity to win the third. A sensible pace this
afternoon allowed him to stretch his lead further, as the conditions
proved too much for his rivals.
"It was an incredible, but perfect, day for me," he said. "I made no
mistakes and drove fast enough to lead and cautiously enough not to
damage the car. My lead is good but I must remember that this is Greece,
conditions are rough, and to take it steady tomorrow. I looked after my
tyres and didn't hit any rocks. I'm surprised so many people made
mistakes but it shows things go wrong under pressure, especially on
technical stages like these.
"I never drove at maximum speed, it was a controlled drive and that paid
off. Tomorrow's roads are easier than today but there will still be a
lot of rocks to avoid. It's good to have such a strong lead because that
gives me the time to drive around the rocks, and if I lose a few seconds
here and there it doesn’t matter," he added.
Latvala, who lost the lead after sliding off the road on yesterday's
final stage, stormed back up the leaderboard as others fell by the
wayside. He made the most of the cleaner road conditions to win this
morning's first test and completed the opening loop in fifth. A measured
pace this afternoon, which included winning the first stage for a second
time, sealed his recovery into a podium position.
"This rally requires respect and once you start to push then you
encounter problems," said Latvala. "I knew something would happen today,
but I'm surprised how much happened. The Acropolis showed its true
nature, but I survived it. The roads were narrow, with rocks and small
walls on the edge, so it was easy to hit a stone by cutting the bends. I
kept a steady speed and can't believe I have climbed to third. I was
thinking about seventh this morning, and I couldn't have imagined this.
"I want to control my pace again tomorrow. Third is my target, I have no
ambition to chase second and risk making a mistake or damaging the car.
I'm not going to try to take too big a piece of the cake," he added.
Abu Dhabi's Khalid Al Qassimi and Michael Orr slipped from an overnight
eighth to 11th this morning, but recovered well to move back into a
points-scoring seventh place tonight in another Focus RS WRC. "It was
tough and the car took a huge battering, but it withstood the punishment
superbly. I couldn't push too much on the rocky surface and had to be
sensible and avoid mistakes. I lost time on the final stage when I
caught Petter Solberg, but it was so dusty that I had to stop four or
five times. I couldn't get close enough to pass him and had to drive
slowly simply to see the road," said Al Qassimi.
Team director Malcolm Wilson had a double reason to be happy tonight
after receiving an OBE today in The Queen's Birthday Honours list. "What
a turnaround today has been. Mikko delivered a mature and controlled
performance to put himself into a very strong position tonight, while
Jari-Matti drove sensibly to capitalise on the mistakes of others. The
Focus RS WRC showed great strength and excelled in what were probably
the roughest conditions of the season and I'm delighted to have both of
them in podium positions tonight," he said.
News from other Ford teams
Munchi's drivers Federico Villagra and José Diaz lie sixth in their
Focus RS WRC after a troublefree day. Stobart duo Matthew Wilson and
Scott Martin restarted 31st after yesterday's early retirement, but a
string of good stage times enabled the Britons to climb to 18th tonight.
Team-mates Henning Solberg and Cato Menkerud retired their Focus RS WRC
from fifth after hitting a large rock and breaking the car's front right
The final leg is the shortest of the rally with just 95.26km of
competition, but included in that are two passes over the daunting
33.00km Aghii Theodori test, the longest of the rally. After leaving
Loutraki at 09.00, drivers face an opening loop of three stages before
service, and a final loop comprising two of the same tests. The finish
is back in the town at 14.36.
Leaderboard after Day 2
1. M Hirvonen/J Lehtinen FIN Ford Focus RS 3hr 07min 33.0sec
2. S Ogier/J Ingrassia FRA Citroen C4 3hr 09min 13.1sec
3. J-M Latvala/M Anttila FIN Ford Focus RS 3hr 10min 17.2sec
4. E Novikov/D Moscatt RUS Citroen C4 3hr 11min 22.8sec
5. F Villagra/J Perez Companc ARG Ford Focus RS 3hr 11min 36.1sec
6. C Rautenbach/D Barritt ZIM Citroen C4 3hr 11min 44.9sec
7. K Al Qassimi/M Orr UAE Ford Focus RS 3hr 13min 42.4sec
8. N Al-Attiyah/G Bernacchini QAT Subaru Impreza 3hr 18min 37.6sec
9. L Athanassoulas/N Zakheos GRC Skoda Fabia 3hr 18min 46.4sec
10 A Araujo/M Ramalho POR Mitsubishi Lancer 3hr 18min 47.5sec
na dag 1:
Hirvonen leads as Ford takes charge in Greece:
BP Ford Abu Dhabi World Rally Team led throughout
today's opening leg of the Acropolis Rally of Greece. Jari-Matti Latvala
and Miikka Anttila topped the leaderboard in their record-breaking Ford
Focus RS World Rally Car for most of the sun-drenched day in the
mountains north-west of Athens. When the Finns dropped time during the
final speed test, team-mates and fellow countrymen Mikko Hirvonen and
Jarmo Lehtinen moved to the front to end the day with a 3.0sec advantage.
Latvala's car slid wide into a ditch on the outside of a tight right
corner on the final special stage and the 3min 30sec it took to
manhandle it back onto the road dropped him to 11th. Khalid Al Qassimi
and Michael Orr, driving a third Focus RS WRC for the team, lie eighth
This seventh round of the FIA World Rally Championship marks the start
of the second half of the season. With a new base in the holiday resort
of Loutraki, 80km west of the Greek capital, organisers made full use of
the historic Corinth Canal nearby to host last night's start ceremony.
Today's action took competitors around the Gulf of Corinth towards Itea
for classic Acropolis tests not used for several years. Six stages were
scheduled, although one was cancelled pre-event, so drivers faced
119.37km of competition.
Blistering temperatures touched 37ºC in the run-up to the rally,
although a strong breeze today made conditions slightly more bearable.
However, it was still baking hot inside the cars as drivers tackled the
rocky gravel tracks near Loutraki and high in the Parnassos mountains,
near Itea. A combination of the heat and the rough roads made it a tough
test for Pirelli's Scorpion tyres, but the Ford trio were delighted with
the performance of the rubber in the arduous conditions.
Latvala took full advantage of a favourable start position to take the
lead on the opening test after the slippery gravel tracks were swept
clean by the early starters to leave a faster line. He extended his lead
to 10.3sec before a mistake midway through the final 23.76km Thiva test
cost him the lead.
"I was trying to drive as fast as possible to increase my lead,"
explained Latvala. "I drove a long downhill section into a medium left
corner before a tight right bend. I braked too late for the first bend
and the rear of the car slid into a ditch at the hairpin. It was a
driver mistake and I'm really disappointed because it has made things
hard for Mikko and the team tomorrow. I will try to climb back into the
points but I can't push too much otherwise I will wear my tyres too
"I enjoyed a strong, clean run this morning. Road position certainly
helped on the first stage, which had a lot of slippery gravel on the
surface, but not as much on the second test which wasn't as loose. I
could have pushed more but it wasn't necessary. There was a lot of dust
in the first stage and I also had to ease off when a pin holding the
bonnet came loose. I could see the bonnet lifting on faster sections and
I was worried that it would break off," added 24-year-old Latvala.
Hirvonen was second in the start order and while that was far from ideal,
it gave him an advantage over championship rival Sébastien Loeb who
started first. Hirvonen settled into a comfortable third before
Latvala's mistake, and a rapid change of tactics from second-placed Dani
Sordo, promoted the Focus RS WRC driver into the overnight lead.
"The gravel was so loose and slippery in places everything seemed to
happen in slow motion," said 28-year-old Hirvonen. "The car has been
perfect and I was counting on ending the day in second or third tonight
to have a good start position tomorrow. I was surprised to find myself
in first, and while it's good to lead, it will be difficult tomorrow
cleaning the roads. Tomorrow's stages are slower and steeper, with
plenty of hairpins so the nature of them won't work in our favour, but
this is the toughest round of the season and there are plenty of twists
and turns to come yet – in many senses."
Abu Dhabi's Al Qassimi steadily climbed the order to end the day in a
points-scoring position. "Despite the loose road conditions and high
temperatures, I found a good pace. I came very close to rolling when the
car landed on its nose after a crest but we survived. This is a really
tough rally and I'm happier with my performance than I was here last
year, and I hope that continues," he said.
BP Ford team director Malcolm Wilson said: "Everything was going to plan
until Jari-Matti's mistake on the final stage. That was a disappointment
and it means that while Mikko leads tonight, he must open the stages and
clean the roads in the morning. It's a difficult position, but
Jari-Matti proved in the last round in Sardinia that it is possible to
win from that situation and this is a long, hard rally."
News from other Ford teams
Stobart drivers Henning Solberg and Cato Menkerud lie sixth in their
Focus RS WRC, despite the Norwegians struggling to find a set-up with
which they were happy and overheating the brakes on the opening test.
Team-mates Matthew Wilson and Scott Martin retired on the second stage
when the oil pressure dropped on their Focus RS WRC. They will restart
tomorrow under SupeRally rules in 32nd place. Munchi's crew Federico
Villagra and José Diaz are seventh, despite sliding off the road at a
hairpin bend on the second stage.
After today's marathon leg, tomorrow's action is based closer to
Loutraki. After restarting at 08.30, drivers tackle two identical
clockwise loops of three tests in the Peloponnese region, a traditional
Acropolis venue during the 1980s but new to all the current competitors.
They tackle 135.36km, the two loops split by a return to Loutraki for
service. Drivers return for the overnight halt at 19.18.
Leaderboard after Day 1
1. M Hirvonen/J Lehtinen FIN Ford Focus RS 1hr 27min 11.3sec
2. D Sordo/M Marti ESP Citroen C4 1hr 27min 14.3sec
3. S Loeb/D Elena FRA Citroen C4 1hr 27min 32.4sec
4. P Solberg/P Mills NOR Citroen Xsara 1hr 27min 53.1sec
5. H Solberg/C Menkerud NOR Ford Focus RS 1hr 28min 29.0sec
6. S Ogier/J Ingrassia FRA Citroen C4 1hr 28min 29.1sec
7. F Villagra/J Perez Companc ARG Ford Focus RS 1hr 29min 15.4sec
8. K Al Qassimi/M Orr UAE Ford Focus RS 1hr 29min 26.3sec
9. C Rautenbach/D Barritt ZIM Citroen C4 1hr 29min 27.8sec
10 M Østberg/J Andersson NOR Subaru Impreza 1hr 29min 52.3sec
terug overzicht WRC