Rally Noorwegen 13 t/m 15
eindstand na dag 3.
Ford secures double podium in classic Norway snow spectacular:
BP Ford Abu Dhabi World Rally Team claimed a
double podium finish in Rally Norway today after a gripping final day's
action in the frozen forests near the Olympic city of Lillehammer. Mikko
Hirvonen and Jarmo Lehtinen finished second in a Ford Focus RS World
Rally Car after an enthralling battle with arch-rival Sébastien Loeb
that was only decided in the final kilometres. Team-mates and fellow
Finns Jari-Matti Latvala and Miikka Anttila were third in another Focus
Hirvonen's second podium in the opening two rounds of the FIA World
Rally Championship season places the 28-year-old second in the drivers'
standings, with Latvala fifth. Ford lies second in the manufacturers'
Norway is enjoying a spectacular winter and temperatures nudging -30ºC
ensured the ice-packed roads were in perfect condition for a classic
snow rally. Bone hard and lined by large snow banks, they encouraged
drivers to attack. The tungsten-tipped studs in Pirelli's Sottozero
tyres provided amazing grip as they cut into the deep ice base and
Hirvonen clocked speeds of more than 200kph through the picture-postcard
Hirvonen led for much of the opening leg but could not shake off Loeb,
who moved to the front and built a lead of 15.0sec by the end of the
second day. Hirvonen retaliated during today's final leg and four wins
from the first five speed tests reduced the margin to just 7.7sec ahead
of the final 19.74km special stage. However, the deficit proved just too
much and Hirvonen had to settle for second at the finish in Hamar,
9.8sec behind after 23 stages covering 360.90km of competition.
"This was the best winter rally I've competed on – and I have driven
many," said Hirvonen. "It was fantastic to drive on the edge in snow and
ice for three days, and to be involved in such a great battle. To be
split by less than 10sec after more than 360km of competition says it
all. The line between making a small mistake and being perfect at those
speeds is so tiny and I couldn't have done any more. I took so many
risks but we both had to do that because the competition was so close.
"I'm disappointed to be second. I lost the rally yesterday because I
couldn't respond to Loeb's speed then. It wasn't the result I wanted but
I'm glad that we went down fighting and it was a hugely enjoyable battle,"
Latvala claimed third early on the first morning and while the
23-year-old was unable to match his team-mate's pace, he was comfortably
faster than anyone else and finished more than two minutes clear of the
fourth-placed Focus RS WRC of Henning Solberg. During both the opening
two legs Latvala could not find a good feeling with his car in the
morning, but after softening the suspension settings in the afternoon,
his pace increased markedly. With third place virtually assured, he
adopted a risk-free policy through the final leg, but still overshot a
junction on the last stage.
"I'm happy to score a podium but at the same time disappointed not to be
able to fight for victory," said Latvala. "They are good points for
myself and the team but my chances really ended on Saturday morning. I
should have softened the suspension settings earlier so I can look in
the mirror and see the reason why I didn't challenge the top two drivers.
If I could start this weekend again, I would redo the mornings. The grip
level was good then and I should have trusted that and taken greater
advantage. I wasn't in a hurry today because there was no competition. I
relaxed and enjoyed the driving."
BP Ford Abu Dhabi World Rally Team director Malcolm Wilson reflected on
'a great team performance'. "Mikko gave it everything, and for the
result to be as close as it was is an indication of how hard both were
trying. Jari-Matti had a solid weekend, and his pace yesterday afternoon
when he won two stages, was encouraging. Both cars ran faultlessly all
weekend and Focus RS WRCs won 11 of the 23 stages, so we can go away
from here feeling confident," he said.
Ford of Europe motorsport director Mark Deans said: "On just its second
appearance in the WRC, it has the makings of a classic and the close
finish owed much to the great organisation. It was a thrilling spectacle
for the thousands of fans who braved numbing temperatures in the forests
and the small margin between the two drivers throughout the weekend
augurs well for the year," he said.
News from our Rivals
Sébastien Loeb (Citroen) held off Hirvonen's determined challenge to
claim his 49th victory. Behind the BP Ford Abu Dhabi duo, Stobart driver
Henning Solberg (Ford) claimed fourth ahead of Dani Sordo (Citroen).
Petter Solberg (Citroen) held off Stobart's Matthew Wilson (Ford) to
take sixth. Sébastien Ogier (Citroen) lost more than two minutes after
sliding into a snowbank but the Frenchman retained 10th. Five Focus RS
WRCs finished in the top 10 with Stobart driver Urmo Aava completing the
quintet in eighth. There were no major retirements today.
The championship's next stop is Cyprus, where Limassol hosts the Cyprus
Rally on 12 - 15 March. This will be a mixed surface event, with the
opening day on asphalt and the final two days on gravel.
1. S Loeb/D Elena FRA Citroen C4 3hr 28min 15.9sec
2. M Hirvonen/J Lehtinen FIN Ford Focus RS 3hr 28min 25.7sec
3. J-M Latvala/M Anttila FIN Ford Focus RS 3hr 29min 37.7sec
4. H Solberg/C Menkerud NOR Ford Focus RS 3hr 31min 49.4sec
5. D Sordo/M Marti ESP Citroen C4 3hr 32min 07.9sec
6. P Solberg/P Mills NOR Citroen Xsara 3hr 34min 41.3sec
7. M Wilson/S Martin GBR Ford Focus RS 3hr 34min 51.5sec
8. U Aava/K Sikk EST Ford Focus RS 3hr 35min 05.0sec
9. M Østberg/O Unnerud NOR Subaru Impreza 3hr 38min 16.4sec
10 S Ogier/J Ingrassia FRA Citroen C4 3hr 41min 05.7sec
1. S Loeb 20pts
2. M Hirvonen 14pts
3. D Sordo 12pts
4. H Solberg 10pts
5. J-M Latvala 6pts
6. C Atkinson 4pts
1. Citroen Total 32pts
2. BP Ford Abu Dhabi 22pts
3. Stobart VK M-Sport Ford 16pts
4. Citroen Junior Team 8pts
na dag 2:
Hirvonen on the limit as battle rages in Norway's snow and ice
A second thrilling day's competition in picture-postcard surroundings
ended with BP Ford Abu Dhabi World Rally team retaining second and third
positions in Rally Norway. Mikko Hirvonen and Jarmo Lehtinen fought
tooth and nail for the lead on this second round of the FIA World Rally
Championship and lie just 15.0sec from top spot in their Ford Focus RS
World Rally Car, with one day remaining. Team-mates Jari-Matti Latvala
and Miikka Anttila hold the final podium place in another Focus RS.
The route took competitors north of the rally base in Hamar for two
identical loops of four speed tests covering 118.94km near Lillehammer,
host city of the 1994 Winter Olympics. One special stage finished in the
spectacular bowl at the bottom of the Olympic ski jump hill, while the
final test of each loop was a short sprint through parkland in Hamar
Pure white snow, bright sunshine and sparkling blue skies again offered
perfect conditions for large crowds to flock into the forests as
temperatures warmed up to -12ºC. Among the spectators was ex-Ford driver
Marcus Grönholm, who led the squad to manufacturers' world titles in
2006 and 2007, and who offered advice to Hirvonen and Latvala during the
The ice-packed roads were also ideal for drivers, who made the most of
the remarkable grip offered by the tungsten-tipped studs in Pirelli's
Sottozero winter tyres. The pace at the head of the field was
sensational as Hirvonen took on arch-rival Sébastien Loeb for a second
day in their battle for supremacy. Just 2.6sec separated second-placed
Hirvonen from leader Loeb overnight. That margin widened to 10.7sec as
the 28-year-old Finn posted two second and two third fastest times this
The battle continued unabated during the afternoon on roads made more
difficult by cars dragging snow and ice onto the driving line during the
first passage. There was no margin for error for the duelling duo as the
gap increased slightly to 15.0sec as cars returned to Hamar for the
"We were both driving at a crazy speed, especially this morning,"
Hirvonen admitted. "The grip was consistent and it was fantastic to
drive in those conditions. It's an amazing fight, and while I don't
enjoy being second, I'm loving this contest. I've not had problems, he's
just been faster than me. I need to be faster than him tomorrow. It's
not impossible to turn the gap around and I will give it my best shot.
It's so close and there are many risks still to be taken.
"I'm so close to the limit that I started to make small mistakes on the
penultimate stage. It's necessary to be absolutely perfect on every
corner and I must remember that. I'll be so disappointed if I lose out
tomorrow," he added.
BP Ford Abu Dhabi team director Malcolm Wilson was enjoying the battle
as much as the spectators. "It has been an incredible fight today and I
expect it will be the same tomorrow. The team is in a great position
going into the longest day. Although I would like Mikko to be closer
than 15sec behind Loeb, there is still everything to fight for," he said.
News from our Rivals
Sébastien Loeb (Citroen) was fastest on all four morning stages and one
this afternoon to extend his lead. Behind the BP Ford Abu Dhabi pair,
Stobart driver Henning Solberg (Ford) climbed from seventh to fourth,
despite an overshoot on the penultimate test. He moved ahead of both
Dani Sordo (Citroen) and brother Petter Solberg (Citroen), the latter
losing more than a minute with an engine problem this afternoon.
Sébastien Ogier (Citroen) slipped down the order with alternator
troubles this morning while team-mate Conrad Rautenbach slipped off the
leaderboard after losing three minutes in a snow bank this afternoon.
Also losing time was Evgeny Novikov (Citroen), with starter motor and
gearbox problems sandwiching a four-minute excursion into a snow bank.
The only major retirement was Per-Gunnar Andersson (Skoda) who retired
from fifth with a broken clutch this morning.
The final leg is the longest of the rally with 126.16km of competition
lying in wait east of Hamar. After a 06.20 restart, drivers face two
identical loops of three stages, split by a return to the town for
mid-morning service. Each loop begins with the 30.03km Våler test, the
longest of the event. The finish ceremony takes place in Hamar at 15.05.
Leaderboard after Day 2
1. S Loeb/D Elena FRA Citroen C4 2hr 22min 11.1sec
2. M Hirvonen/J Lehtinen FIN Ford Focus RS 2hr 22min 26.1sec
3. J-M Latvala/M Anttila FIN Ford Focus RS 2hr 22min 54.3sec
4. H Solberg/C Menkerud NOR Ford Focus RS 2hr 24min 52.4sec
5. D Sordo/M Marti ESP Citroen C4 2hr 25min 04.4sec
6. P Solberg/P Mills NOR Citroen Xsara 2hr 27min 02.0sec
7. M Wilson/S Martin GBR Ford Focus RS 2hr 27min 04.3sec
8. U Aava/K Sikk EST Ford Focus RS 2hr 27min 29.6sec
9. M Østberg/O Unnerud NOR Subaru Impreza 2hr 29min 08.9sec
10 S Ogier/J Ingrassia FRA Citroen C4 2hr 31min 21.3sec
Hirvonen's snow show provides exciting start to Rally Norway:
Icemen Mikko Hirvonen and Jarmo Lehtinen kept
their cool in the heat of a thrilling snow battle to throw down the
gauntlet to arch-rival Sébastien Loeb during today's opening leg of
The BP Ford Abu Dhabi World Rally Team pair won four ice-bound speed
tests in their Focus RS World Rally Car to lead for most of the day,
before calmly playing a tactical masterstroke in the final kilometres to
gain a better start position tomorrow.
They deliberately slowed near the end of the final special stage to
ensure they will restart one place behind Loeb, offering better road
conditions and the advantage of being able to track his times.
Hirvonen overnights in second, just 2.6sec behind, with two days of
action-packed competition remaining in this second round of the FIA
World Rally Championship. Team-mates and fellow Finns Jari-Matti Latvala
and Miikka Anttila lie third in another Focus RS WRC, 26.2sec from the
The enthralling battle between Hirvonen and Loeb was just reward for the
thousands of fans who flocked into the forests near Kongsvinger in
bone-numbing cold. Temperatures nudged -30ºC in the run-up to the rally,
and although they eased slightly this morning, thermometers still showed
-24ºC as the action began. The winter wonderland provided perfect
conditions, the ice-covered tracks lined by large snow banks which
helped keep over-exuberant drivers on the roads.
A short test in Oslo last night preceded the first full day of
competition south-east of the rally base in Hamar. Drivers tackled two
loops of four stages covering 113.88km. Both Focus RS WRCs were equipped
with Pirelli's new Sottozero winter tyre. Produced to a wider
specification than normal, each tyre is fitted with almost 400
tungsten-tipped studs to provide remarkable grip on the frozen tracks.
Hirvonen won three of the four morning stages
to build a 4.8sec lead. He added another win on the penultimate test to
increase his advantage to 7.3sec. The 28-year-old was mindful of
building a big enough lead to offset the expected disadvantage of being
first in the start order tomorrow, sweeping clear loose snow on the
surface to offer a cleaner and faster line to rivals behind.
Hirvonen lost 3.4sec of his advantage to Loeb by the midpoint of the
final 8.00km test. Loeb was ahead of Hirvonen in today's start order and
when the Frenchman completed the stage, Ford's team management relayed
his finishing time to the Focus RS WRC. Hirvonen made an instant
decision to ease his pace over the final kilometres to gain the
advantage of running behind his rival tomorrow.
"I knew I would lose time on the stage because it was twisty," explained
Hirvonen. "When we saw how much time we had dropped to Loeb mid-stage, I
decided to slow. My lead would have been so small that it made sense to
take the advantage of starting behind him tomorrow. I can follow his
split times and react accordingly. It won't be easy but I like to be the
guy chasing and not being chased.
"It was great fun driving flat out in these conditions and I feel
confident. I need to be more careful with my tyres because I seem to be
more aggressive in terms of wear than my rivals. The heater didn't work
in the car and all I had to keep me warm was a small heater attached to
my driving boots on the liaison sections. I feel so cold that all I want
now is a hot shower and my bed!" he added.
Latvala was third after the morning loop, but the 23-year-old was not
entirely happy with his performance. "I didn't really find the right
feeling so I made the car set-up a little softer during the short
service before the afternoon loop," he explained. "I had a good winter
test in December so I didn't want to make big changes, just a few small
The changes had an instant effect and Latvala posted two second fastest
times to end the day with a comfortable 35.0sec advantage over
fourth-placed Dani Sordo. "My driving was better this afternoon. When
the car came out of the ruts it slid too much so I had some learning to
do. I'm a little disappointed to have dropped time this morning but I'm
back in the game tonight. Tomorrow's stages are much faster and I'm
third in the start order, which I think is the best position," added
News from our Rivals
Sébastien Loeb (Citroen) briefly led this morning after winning the
third stage but had to follow in Hirvonen's tyre tracks until the final
kilometres. Behind Latvala, Dani Sordo (Citroen) holds fourth, despite
minor concerns with his car's handling on the final test this morning.
The returning Petter Solberg (Citroen) lies fifth, after delighting his
home fans with victory in the opening stage in Oslo last night.
Per-Gunnar Andersson (Skoda) is just 0.1sec behind, the Swede winning
his first WRC stage this afternoon before adding a second success
immediately afterwards. Stobart driver Henning Solberg (Ford) is seventh,
despite set-up problems this morning and gearchange difficulties this
afternoon. Stobart team-mates Urmo Aava and Matthew Wilson and Sébastien
Ogier (Citroen) enjoyed a thrilling daylong battle which ended when both
Aava and Ogier lost time after sliding into a snow bank on the
penultimate test, handing Wilson the advantage in eighth.
The second leg is centred north of Hamar, in the mountain region around
Lillehammer, host city of the 1994 Winter Olympics. After re-starting at
06.20, drivers face two identical loops of four stages covering 118.94km
before the final overnight halt at 17.44. Mountain, the opening test of
each loop, provides some of the most spectacular scenery of the season,
while the last stage runs through parkland in Hamar itself.
Leaderboard after Day 1
1. S Loeb/D Elena FRA Citroen C4 1hr 13min 41.7sec
2. M Hirvonen/J Lehtinen FIN Ford Focus RS 1hr 13min 44.3sec
3. J-M Latvala/M Anttila FIN Ford Focus RS 1hr 14min 07.9sec
4. D Sordo/M Marti ESP Citroen C4 1hr 14min 50.3sec
5. P Solberg/P Mills NOR Citroen Xsara 1hr 15min 13.2sec
6. P-G Andersson/A Fredriksson SWE Skoda Fabia 1hr 15min 13.3sec
7. H Solberg/C Menkerud NOR Ford Focus RS 1hr 15min 21.1sec
8. M Wilson/S Martin GBR Ford Focus RS 1hr 15min 45.0sec
9. S Ogier/J Ingrassia FRA Citroen C4 1hr 16min 22.9sec
10 U Aava/K Sikk EST Ford Focus RS 1hr 16min 23.2sec
terug overzicht WRC