Rally Sardinië 21 t/m 24 mei
Latvala as Ford takes one-two finish in Sardinia
BP Ford Abu Dhabi World Rally Team claimed a dominant one-two finish on
Rally d'Italia Sardegna today with the Focus RS World Rally Car.
Jari-Matti Latvala and Miikka Anttila led from start to finish to claim
their second career win in the FIA World Rally Championship.
The Finns reached the podium in the resort of Porto Cervo with a 29.4sec
advantage over team-mates Mikko Hirvonen and Jarmo Lehtinen after three
days of tough competition on the Mediterranean island.
Latvala's victory was his first since his maiden WRC success in Sweden
in February 2008 and it was BP Ford Abu Dhabi's first one-two result
since Rally Japan in November 2008. Ford, second in the manufacturers'
championship, closed the gap on the leader after six of the 12 rounds
with a maximum points haul. Hirvonen climbs to second in the drivers'
standings with Latvala moving up to sixth.
Competitors tackled 17 speed tests covering 347.12km over narrow,
flowing and rough gravel tracks near Olbia during three days of
competition. Allied with searing temperatures, which topped 35ºC
yesterday afternoon, the conditions placed big demands on cars, crews
and Pirelli's Scorpion tyres. However, neither Focus RS WRC missed a
beat in the Sardinian hills.
Latvala's win came the hard way. After leading throughout the opening
leg, the 24-year-old had the disadvantage of opening the special stages
for the final two days, sweeping them clear of gravel to leave a cleaner
and faster line for those behind. He started today with a 9.9sec lead
and feared he would be unable to hold off his team-mate. However, the
still early morning allowed huge clouds of dust to hang in the air,
slowing all those behind Latvala and he extended his lead.
"Last season I finished third here and I said to myself that I wanted to
come back and win this year," said Latvala. "It wasn't an easy weekend
being first through the stages and I'm surprised, but delighted, to win
because I thought Mikko would catch me this morning.
"The dust was a surprise and I was lucky with that. This is a very
important win for me. I've had many unhappy moments since my first win,
but now I'm back on the top step of the podium. I was starting to
question my role in the team but I've proved the team's confidence in me
was right and I thank Malcolm Wilson (team director) for that. You saw a
new evolution of Jari-Matti here," he added.
Hirvonen and Lehtinen both struggled with a fever during the rally and
28-year-old Hirvonen was exhausted at the finish. "I have no energy and
I've never felt so tired after a rally," he said. "This result, and the
timing of it, is perfect for Ford. I thought I could fight for the win
but the dust ended those hopes. Everyone behind Jari-Matti expected to
have an advantage because he was sweeping the road but, ironically, he
was the one who benefited because of the dust. I went off the road on a
fifth gear corner in the first stage this morning because I couldn't see
so I stopped taking risks.
"Jari-Matti deserves the win after his problems this season and I'm
delighted for him. We had a great pre-rally test and the work we did
there paid off on the event itself," he added.
Abu Dhabi's Khalid Al Qassimi and Michael Orr finished 15th in another
Focus RS WRC. After climbing to seventh, despite power steering
difficulties, they retired late last night after problems in the final
service. They restarted today under SupeRally rules and climbed to 10th
until brake problems on the final test cost more than four minutes. "It
was a difficult three days. We had a lot of bad luck with brakes and
power steering, and then the problems last night in service. It's a
shame because we were going well yesterday and I felt we could have
easily been in the points," said Al Qassimi.
Malcolm Wilson was full of praise for his drivers. "They coped with
whatever was thrown at them. It's a dream to see Jari-Matti win after a
difficult year and I'm delighted to see him full of confidence. Mikko
did an outstanding job and if the conditions were different this morning,
there could have been a different winner. It was a great team effort and
my thanks go to everyone involved," he said.
Ford of Europe motorsport director Mark Deans said: "I'm thrilled we're
back to the level where we can not only compete with, but beat, our
rivals. We have a huge mountain to climb in championship terms but we're
back on top and it's a large step in the right direction. We'll go to
the next round in Greece, for another hot weather, rough road rally,
full of confidence after a weekend in which we were in control from
start to finish."
News from other Ford teams
Stobart drivers Matthew Wilson and Scott Martin claimed sixth in a Focus
RS, recovering well after losing time on the opening day when the
hydraulic pipe split. Team-mates Henning Solberg and Cato Menkerud took
the final drivers' point in eighth. They started under SupeRally rules
today after retiring on yesterday's penultimate test when they hit a
tree and broke their car's front right suspension.
The championship enters its second half next month when the action
switches to Greece. The new base of Loutraki hosts the gravel Acropolis
Rally of Greece on 11 - 14 June.
1. J-M Latvala/M Anttila FIN Ford Focus RS 4hr 00min 55.7sec
2. M Hirvonen/J Lehtinen FIN Ford Focus RS 4hr 01min 25.1sec
3. P Solberg/P Mills NOR Citroen Xsara 4hr 02min 53.3sec
4. S Loeb/D Elena FRA Citroen C4 4hr 04min 39.4sec
5. E Novikov/D Moscatt RUS Citroen C4 4hr 06min 07.5sec
6. M Wilson/S Martin GBR Ford Focus RS 4hr 08min 25.0sec
7. M Østberg/V Engan NOR Subaru Impreza 4hr 14min 16.3sec
8. H Solberg/C Menkerud NOR Ford Focus RS 4hr 14min 16.9sec
9. N Al-Attiyah/G Bernacchini QAT Subaru Impreza 4hr 20min 39.4sec
10 P Sandell/E Axelsson SWE Skoda Fabia 4hr 20min 40.9sec
1. S Loeb 55pts
2. M Hirvonen 38pts
3. D Sordo 31pts
4. H Solberg 21pts
5. P Solberg 20pts
6. J-M Latvala 19pts
1. Citroen Total 90pts
2. BP Ford Abu Dhabi 61pts
3. Stobart VK M-Sport Ford 44pts
4. Citroen Junior 18pts
5. Munchi's Ford 12pts
Uitslag na dag
Ford tightens its
grip on leading places in dramatic day in Italy
BP Ford Abu Dhabi World Rally Team strengthened its one-two position at
the head of the leaderboard in Rally d'Italia Sardegna today. Overnight
leaders Jari-Matti Latvala and Miikka Anttila retained top spot in their
Ford Focus RS World Rally Car despite enduring the worst of the dusty
and slippery road conditions. The Finns are 9.9sec ahead of team-mates
Mikko Hirvonen and Jarmo Lehtinen and the Ford pair extended the
advantage over their nearest challenger to more than a minute.
The second leg of this sixth round of the FIA World Rally Championship
was one of attrition. While the Focus RS WRCs ran free of problems, five
leading drivers were sidelined as the rocky gravel roads and
temperatures, which topped 30ºC, took a heavy toll on the entry list.
After an early morning start from the rally base in Olbia, competitors
tackled two identical loops of speed tests south-west of the town
covering 130.74km. The loops were split by a return to the service park
in Olbia at lunchtime.
Latvala faced the unenviable task of leading the 53 starters through the
special stages, sweeping the roads clear of loose gravel to leave a
cleaner and faster line for those behind. However, the 24-year-old
delivered a superb performance over the three morning tests as he
preserved much of his lead, his 39.8sec advantage only reduced to
27.0sec. A trio of third fastest times this afternoon enabled him to
stay ahead of a charging Hirvonen.
"Today was almost perfect, apart from a small spin at a junction in an
asphalt section of the penultimate stage," said Latvala. "I drove as
well as I could in those conditions and expected to lose more time. It
was hard to judge the braking points this morning because as first car
into the stages, there were no marks to help me. Running first was good
for my experience and I needed to learn how to drive in those conditions.
"The gap to Mikko is very small and it will be hard for me to hold him
off tomorrow as I will again open the stages. I would have liked a lead
of about 25sec tonight, or to be behind Mikko and force him to do the
cleaning role that I had to do today. But if I can drive like I have
today then a win isn't out of the question," he added.
Hirvonen, second overnight, was equally impressive behind the wheel of
his Focus RS WRC in both fighting off closest challenger Sébastien Loeb
and closing in on Latvala. He was fastest on the opening test of each
loop and widened the gap to Loeb before the Frenchman lost a minute with
a puncture on the penultimate stage. He then sliced almost 10sec off
Latvala's lead in the final test to close on his fellow countryman.
"I'm going for the win tomorrow," said 28-year-old Hirvonen, who has
shaken off the effects of the fever which hampered him yesterday. "The
situation looks good now. I took time from Jari-Matti today and he must
clean the roads again tomorrow. It has been a great rally so far, but
tomorrow won't be straight forward and it's easy to make a simple, but
costly, mistake here.
"My day was very constant and my only problems came in stage eight this
morning when I twice had to slow to allow wild horses to cross the road.
On the first occasion there were about seven or eight and then I came
upon two more, about 8km further on. It was like the Wild West!" he said.
Abu Dhabi's Khalid Al Qassimi and Michael Orr enjoyed a good day to
climb from 10th to seventh in their Focus RS. They enjoyed a close fight
with Conrad Rautenbach this morning, swapping positions on every stage,
before overcoming a lack of power steering this afternoon to move up the
order. "The problem started on the liaison section after lunchtime
service. I contemplated retiring, but persevered and it was worth it –
although my arms feel very tired now," said Al Qassimi.
BP Ford Abu Dhabi team director Malcolm Wilson praised the efforts of
both Latvala and Hirvonen. "It has been the best performance of the year
so far. Both have driven fantastically well, especially given the
disadvantage of their start position, and stayed out of trouble on the
rough stages. It will be hard for Jari-Matti to stay ahead of Mikko as
he must sweep the roads again, but the most important thing is to retain
first and second," he said.
News from other Ford teams
Stobart drivers Matthew Wilson and Scott Martin had a troublefree day to
climb from ninth to sixth in their Focus RS WRC. Team-mates Henning
Solberg and Cato Menkerud climbed to fifth on the opening stage, but a
right rear puncture in the morning's final stage cost more than a minute
and three positions. The Norwegians were sidelined this afternoon with
broken front right suspension in the penultimate test and will restart
tomorrow in 10th. Munchi's drivers Federico Villagra and Jorge Perez
Companc restarted under SupeRally rules after retiring yesterday but
retired again at the lunchtime service when Companc felt ill. They will
not restart tomorrow.
The final day is the shortest of the event. After leaving Olbia at
06.00, drivers face two loops of stages, split by a return to the town
for service. Two stages south of the town feature in both laps, with a
single run in the second loop through a test to the north, near the
Costa Smeralda coastline. The finish is in Porto Cervo at 14.15.
Leaderboard after Day 2
1. J-M Latvala/M Anttila FIN Ford Focus RS 2hr 58min 03.5sec
2. M Hirvonen/J Lehtinen FIN Ford Focus RS 2hr 58min 13.4sec
3. P Solberg/P Mills NOR Citroen Xsara 2hr 59min 16.1sec
4. S Loeb/D Elena FRA Citroen C4 2hr 59min 18.3sec
5. E Novikov/D Moscatt RUS Citroen C4 3hr 00min 49.5sec
6. M Wilson/S Martin GBR Ford Focus RS 3hr 03min 06.3sec
7. K Al Qassimi/M Orr UAE Ford Focus RS 3hr 05min 01.4sec
8. D Sordo/M Marti ESP Citroen C4 3hr 07min 22.3sec
9. M Østberg/V Engan NOR Subaru Impreza 3hr 10min 32.5sec
10 H Solberg/C Menkerud NOR Ford Focus RS 3hr 10min 33.6sec
na dag 1:
opening day in Italy to claim first and second:
BP Ford Abu Dhabi World Rally Team held first
and second in Rally d'Italia Sardegna following today's opening leg
after winning four of the six demanding gravel speed tests. Jari-Matti
Latvala and Miikka Anttila returned to the rally base in Olbia this
evening with a 39.8sec advantage over team-mates and fellow Finns Mikko
Hirvonen and Jarmo Lehtinen. Both pairings are driving Ford Focus RS
World Rally Cars.
The roasting temperatures encountered on the Mediterranean holiday
island of Sardinia matched the blistering pace displayed by the Ford
duo. Temperatures soared to 30ºC under cloudless skies as Latvala won
two special stages during this morning's loop of three tests south of
Olbia, and another two victories during the afternoon pass over the same
roads. The six tests, over narrow but fast and flowing tracks, covered
Start order is always crucial in Sardinia where a slippery sandy surface
hampers the early runners. Latvala, seventh in the running order, made
the most of cleaner and faster roads to build a 14.6sec lead during the
morning loop. "Although I led at lunchtime, I didn’t feel I found a good
rhythm this morning as I was braking too much," said 24-year-old
Latvala. "Under braking the engine revs were falling and the car felt as
if it was going to stall, but that was simply because I was braking too
The team fitted new brake pads and lowered the rear suspension to
provide more grip through Pirelli's Scorpion tyres and Latvala felt more
comfortable. He extended his lead this afternoon to 17.2sec before
closest rival Sébastien Loeb slowed close to the finish of the final
stage, taking a bold gamble to sacrifice time in favour of a slightly
better start position tomorrow by dropping from second to third.
"It's the first time I've led at the end of a leg since Rally GB last
season, so I'm delighted," said Latvala. "I found a better rhythm this
afternoon and the set-up change to the car made a big improvement. I
don't have much experience of running first in the start order on loose
gravel so tomorrow will be a challenge. We need to keep cool heads and
do a good job because the pressure is on the guys behind. The roads were
flowing and that was good for a Finn like me. Loeb began the tactics on
the last stage and we reacted well by stepping up our pace to build as
big a lead as possible."
Team-mate Hirvonen spent much of yesterday in bed with a fever. The
28-year-old felt better today and completed the opening loop in third,
18.3sec behind Latvala. He remained there until the final stage,
climbing to second as a result of Loeb's gamble. The difference between
the drivers is 3.0sec.
"The roads were slippery this morning and I wasn't 100 per cent
confident," said Hirvonen. "They were twisty, fast and narrow anyway, so
to have less than perfect confidence made things difficult. I felt tired
and lacking energy and had stomach cramps in the stages. It wasn't ideal
because just one small mistake means it's easy to hit a rock or tree
stump on the edge of the road.
"I knew there was the potential for tactics to come into play on the
last stage, but road position today hasn't made as much of a difference
as we thought it could, and I hope that is the same tomorrow. We will
take some risks to drive flat out. Jari-Matti has a strong lead and the
opportunity is there for one of us to win this rally," he added.
Abu Dhabi's Khalid Al Qassimi and Michael Orr are 10th in another Focus
RS WRC, despite brake difficulties this morning. "I had to pump the
pedal about 50 metres before a bend to get them to work so I drove
cautiously," said Al Qassimi. "We bled the brakes at service and they
were better for stages four and five. We bled them again before stage
six and went really well in that last test. We showed good confidence in
the car and considering the tough morning we had, it's a good result.
Hopefully we can try to push some more tomorrow, although some of the
roads will be new to me."
News from other Ford teams
Stobart drivers Henning Solberg and Cato Menkerud lie sixth in their
Focus RS WRC after a problem-free day. However, they did receive a shock
on the penultimate test when their car's bonnet opened and eventually
broke away from its mountings totally. Team-mates Matthew Wilson and
Scott Martin lie ninth in a similar car. They dropped time this morning
when the hydraulic pipe split, allowing the fluid to leak out and
leaving Wilson with no paddle shift gearchange or functioning centre
differential. Munchi's Federico Villagra and Jorge Perez Companc had
difficulties with their car's launch control this morning and then
retired from the leg on stage four with a transmission problem.
The second leg is based further inland in the Sassari region and is the
longest of the rally. After starting at 06.30, drivers tackle two
identical loops of three stages, split by a return to Olbia for service
at lunchtime. Drivers return to the town for the final overnight halt at
19.15 after 130.74km of competition. The itinerary includes a
spectacular jump on the Monte Lerno stage, the final test of each loop,
which always provides tremendous action for television cameras and
Leaderboard after Day 1
1. J-M Latvala/M Anttila FIN Ford Focus RS 1hr 24min 14.5sec
2. M Hirvonen/J Lehtinen FIN Ford Focus RS 1hr 24min 54.3sec
3. S Loeb/D Elena FRA Citroen C4 1hr 24min 57.3sec
4. P Solberg/P Mills NOR Citroen Xsara 1hr 25min 00.9sec
5. E Novikov/D Moscatt RUS Citroen C4 1hr 25min 19.2sec
6. H Solberg/C Menkerud NOR Ford Focus RS 1hr 25min 22.7sec
7. M Østberg/V Engan NOR Subaru Impreza 1hr 25min 31.1sec
8. D Sordo/M Marti ESP Citroen C4 1hr 25min 51.8sec
9. M Wilson/S Martin GBR Ford Focus RS 1hr 26min 48.3sec
10 K Al Qassimi/M Orr UAE Ford Focus RS 1hr 27min 14.4sec
terug overzicht WRC