29-07 t/m 01-08-2010 - WRC Rally Finland

We zijn zo gewend aan het feit dat de Rally's normaal gesproken op vrijdag, zaterdag en zondag verreden wordt, dat het even aan onze aandacht is ontsnapt dat de WRC Rally Finland afwijkend van de reguliere dagen is verreden. Dus hier het officiële persbericht en einduitslag van M-Sport die uiteraard in feeststemming zijn na de mooie overwinning van Jari-Matti Latvala.

Op naar WRC Rally Duitsland, waar wij van Focusmania ook bij aanwezig zullen zijn om voor de laatste keer die geweldige sfeer nog eens te proeven. Het geluid van de WRC wagens gaat door merg en been, maar is overweldigend en niet te beschrijven, zeker de WRC Focussen. Je moet het gewoon meemaken en dat gaan we doen, daarom zullen we niet elk dag een update uitbrengen, deze zal later in de week na de WRC Rally Duitsland online worden gezet. Hopelijk met veel mooie foto's en filmpjes van dit spektakel.


Latvala enters record books with Rally Finland victory for Ford
BP Ford Abu Dhabi World Rally Team drivers Jari-Matti Latvala and Miikka Anttila won a thrilling Rally Finland today to earn a place in the history books. The Finns won this eighth round of the FIA World Rally Championship for the first time by 10.1sec in a Ford Focus RS World Rally Car, joining a long list of Finnish greats who have triumphed in their home event.

Latvala and Anttila were mobbed by their fellow countrymen as they took to the podium in Jyväskylä this evening. Twenty-five-year-old Latvala, already the youngest driver to win a world rally, became the youngest winner of Rally Finland since the WRC started in 1973. It was Ford's second consecutive victory in the legendary event following the success of Mikko Hirvonen and Jarmo Lehtinen in 2009, and the manufacturer's fourth win in five years.

After a short opening speed test on Thursday evening, organisers packed 18 more stages and 310.05km of action into just two long and demanding days instead of the usual three, providing a blend of sprint and endurance. The rally was fought out over dauntingly fast roller-coaster forest roads in central Finland, and it lived up to its reputation as the fastest in the championship with average speeds reaching 133.09kph.

The weather was as hot as the action on the stages. The rally began on a day when the thermometers recorded Finland's highest-ever temperature of 37.2ºC. The heatwave gave way to thunderstorms which left much of central Finland without electricity yesterday while many roads were blocked by fallen trees, but the rally ran without interruption.

Latvala moved into the lead yesterday afternoon, building a 9.1sec overnight advantage. He extended that to 22.5sec this morning before road conditions turned against him. Overnight rain, which bound together slippery surface gravel and provided more grip, died out and a stiff breeze quickly dried the roads. Latvala was first in the start order and faced the unwanted task of sweeping loose stones from the surface to leave cleaner and faster conditions for those behind.
His lead dropped to 10.6sec with two tests remaining, but Latvala remained unflustered in the face of huge pressure to record his fourth WRC victory and second win of the 2010 season.

"It's amazing to win my home rally and it's something I have dreamed of since I was a small boy," he said. "The first time I watched this rally was in 1992 when I was seven and the only thing I could think about then was that I would never be able to drive as fast as the stars I was watching. In 2003 I drove this rally for the first time and still I never thought I would win. To win in front of my home fans, in a country where rallying means so much to everyone, is a dream.

"The team had some difficult times in the summer but both drivers led this rally and I won. It's a hugely important victory for the team and Ford. It was only during the final two stages that I really thought I could do it. I've learned that if you relax and make no mistakes then you can have a good rally. There have been so many people watching and it was a fantastic atmosphere – this is the best rally in the world," he added.

Team-mates Hirvonen and Lehtinen retired from the lead yesterday morning after crashing heavily following a jump, while the third car of Abu Dhabi's Khalid Al Qassimi and Michael Orr also rolled into retirement yesterday afternoon. Neither crew was injured.
BP Ford Abu Dhabi team director Malcolm Wilson was delighted to oversee victory in his favourite rally. "After a difficult few months, the team has dug deep and bounced back to win the most celebrated rally in the calendar. There has been so much effort and commitment from the entire team in recent weeks and this is our reward. It was a stunning drive from Jari-Matti. There was a lot of pressure on his young shoulders when Mikko Hirvonen crashed out yesterday but he handled it superbly and displayed great maturity in a difficult situation," he said.

Ford of Europe motorsport chief Gerard Quinn said: "There is no better place for Ford to win a rally than Finland. It is one of motorsport's classic events and to triumph here, after leading for virtually the entire event, is a dream come true. Jari-Matti joins some of Ford's great Finnish drivers who have won their home event, world champions like Marcus Grönholm, Ari Vatanen and Hannu Mikkola. He faced intense pressure here for two days but the mature way in which he handled it shows how well he is progressing as one of the sport's rising stars."

News from other Ford teams

Stobart M-Sport Ford's Matthew Wilson and Scott Martin finished sixth in a Focus RS WRC, two places ahead of Finnish rally legend Juha Kankkunen and Juha Repo. The four-time world champion returned to the sport for a one-off guest appearance almost eight years after his last WRC event. Henning Solberg and Ilka Minor crashed out yesterday in the team's third car.

Next round

The championship returns to asphalt next month when drivers tackle vineyard tracks and military roads in Rallye Deutschland. The rally is based in Trier on 19 - 22 August

Bron | M-Sport

Eindverslag van wrc.com:

Latvala flies to emotional Rally Finland victory,

Jari-Matti Latvala has won Neste Oil Rally Finland, round eight of the 2010 FIA World Rally Championship. Co-driven by Miikka Anttila, Latvala took the lead on stage seven and drove without error to land his second win of the season.

The Finn, who breaks Markku Alen’s record as the youngest winner of the high-speed gravel event, withstood late pressure from factory Citroen pilot Sebastien Ogier to secure an emotional home victory.

“It’s a dream and I can’t even imagine it yet,” said the works Ford Focus pilot. “It’s something I’ve been dreaming of since I was a small boy. The fans in Finland are fantastic and I’ve won in front of my home spectators. When we did the second last stage it started to go in the right direction and we were a little on the safe side. It’s amazing, a big relief and a fantastic rally. Our team has done really hard work and this victory is for the team.”

Ogier, competing in Finland for only the third time, was delighted with his second place finish on his first event with the leading Citroen squad. “It’s a fantastic weekend for me to finish second and better than expected for sure,” said Ogier, who went fastest on the rally’s final stage. “Jari-Matti was incredibly fast but it’s the perfect result for me.”

Sebastien Loeb did his bid for a seventh world title the power of good with third place in his C4. The French driver struggled on Friday morning when the loss of his car’s front splitter caused a handling imbalance. He was also slowed by running first on the road on day one.

“Third place is not what we prefer but I did not come here especially for the win,” said Loeb. “It’s not my rally I know because it’s difficult for me and third place for the championship is not so bad.”

Petter Solberg lost out on a podium finish by 4.7s and said he could not have gone any faster in his privateer Citroen. “I tried very hard but factory teams are factory teams,” said Solberg. “We have been fast but we’re a small rally team doing the best we can.”

Spaniard Dani Sordo secured fifth overall on his first run with the Citroen Junior Team. He said: “Fifth is not bad but I am not happy with my performance. The car was good, not always perfect, but after a very good test and the first stages there was no more from me. We need to be better the next time.”

Matthew Wilson completed the top six in his Stobart M-Sport Focus, despite a late charge by Mads Ostberg, who fought his way back up to seventh in his ageing Subaru Impreza, following a delay on Friday when he broke his car’s front-right wheel on a heavy landing. At the finish, Ostberg said it had been his best ever rally.

Four-time world champion Juha Kankkunen finished eighth with Super 2000 World Rally Championship stars Juho Hanninen and P-G Andersson ninth and tenth respectively.

Loeb continues to lead the 2010 FIA Drivers’ Championship standings, with a new total of 166 points, while Ogier remains second on a total of 118. A maximum score today moves Latvala into third with 105 points while Petter Solberg also moves up a spot into fourth with a total of 90 points.

Bron | wrc.com

Eindverslag dag 1:

Latvala delights home fans by leading Rally Finland for Ford:

Jari-Matti Latvala and Miikka Anttila lead Rally Finland for the BP Ford Abu Dhabi World Rally Team after today's dramatic opening leg. The Finnish duo delighted their home fans by winning three speed tests to build a 9.1sec advantage in their Ford Focus RS World Rally Car. Team-mates Mikko Hirvonen and Jarmo Lehtinen led the rally initially, but the 2009 winners crashed heavily and although both escaped injury, their car was severely damaged and will not restart tomorrow.

This eighth round of the FIA World Rally Championship is based in its traditional home of Jyväskylä, in central Finland. Organisers have taken advantage of new-for-2010 rules to pack all the action into just two long and demanding legs, instead of the usual three. The opening leg, which began with a short speed test last night, comprised 147.27km of competition on dauntingly fast, roller-coaster gravel roads to the west and north-east of the host city.
The action was as hot as the temperatures, which reached an all-time high in Finland of 37.2ºC yesterday. Although overnight thunderstorms left a trail of devastation across the centre of the country, the rally ran without interruption and the pace was blistering. Average speeds on one afternoon special stage reached 133.09kph.

Latvala was third after last night's opening stage and quickly established himself in second this morning following Hirvonen's crash. His first stage win this afternoon promoted him to the top and he gradually extended his advantage through the rest of the leg.
"It's a dream to be in this position," said Latvala. "When I arrived in the service park tonight the grandstands were full and all the fans cheered and applauded me. That gave me a real boost. It's too early to think about winning though, I'm just concentrating on one stage at a time. Mikko's retirement put more pressure on me, but it didn't change my way of thinking. I saw his car and had to drive around it a little because it was partly in the road.

"I hurt my back after a jump in Urria this morning but I had some treatment from our physio before the second loop and it feels fine now. I need a perfect day tomorrow. I want to find a good balance with my driving and keep a cool head. The first two stages are the most difficult of the rally but because they are so challenging, I enjoy them." he said.

Hirvonen, lying second after last night's short opening speed test, was fastest through both the 12.75km Urria and the 22.29km Jukojärvi special stages this morning to build a 4.9sec lead in his Focus RS WRC. However, the 29-year-old Finn crashed shortly after the midpoint during the second pass through Urria.

"The section at which I crashed is my favourite corner on any stage, anywhere in the world," said Hirvonen, whose accident spoiled his 30th birthday celebrations tomorrow. "It happened at a fast right corner which led into a jump. I landed after the jump in the perfect place on the road but the car pulled left and started rolling. I was surprised the landing pulled the car across the road so violently. It happened so fast that I had no time to react.

The car rolled up the road five times and Hirvonen estimated his landing speed was 140kph. He and Lehtinen went to hospital for precautionary checks but were uninjured. "It was my biggest accident ever. I'm so disappointed because this is my home town rally and I had the speed to win. The car is too badly damaged to continue, but my young sons are here and want to watch the rally cars, so I will spend the day spectating with them," added Hirvonen.

Abu Dhabi's Khalid Al Qassimi and Michael Orr were ninth in the team's other Focus RS WRC, before they rolled into retirement on the sixth stage. "Finland is a tough rally. The terrain is rocky, there are frequent crests, and the stages are some of the fastest in the WRC. It was an exciting day up until this point and the roll was really unfortunate. This is my fourth time competing in Finland, but the conditions can catch out even the most experienced driver," said Al Qassimi. The car was too badly damaged for the duo to restart tomorrow.

BP Ford Abu Dhabi team director Malcolm Wilson reflected on a day of mixed fortunes. "Jari-Matti had a brilliant day but it was a disappointing end for Mikko. We made some small improvements to our car during testing last week and it feels good to be back at front-running pace again. The stages here are so fast that it's easy to make a mistake so Jari-Matti must not relax for a single second tomorrow," he said.

News from other Ford teams

Stobart M-Sport Ford's Matthew Wilson and Scott Martin are sixth in a Focus RS WRC, the Britons enjoying a troublefree day apart from handling difficulties this afternoon. Team-mates Juha Kankkunen and Juha Repo are just one place behind, the four-time world champion driver competing on his first WRC event for eight years. Henning Solberg and Ilka Minor enjoyed a good run to fifth before they rolled into retirement on the seventh stage. They, too, will be unable to restart tomorrow.

Tomorrow’s Route

The second and final leg is even longer than today's marathon. After leaving Jyväskylä at 05.50, drivers journey south-west for three loops of stages covering 162.78km. They return to the city for the finish ceremony at 19.45.

Bron | M-Sport

In afwachting van het officiële persbericht van M-Sport alvast onderstaand verslag van wrc.com zodra het officiële persbericht binnen is zullen wij deze hier posten.

Friday wrap: Latvala on top on Neste Oil Rally Finland:

Jari-Matti Latvala will start the final day of Neste Oil Rally Finland with a 9.1-second lead over Petter Solberg following a dramatic start to the event, which is celebrating its 60th anniversary this year.

Finn Latvala has never won his home rally before in seven previous attempts and will have to withstand huge pressure from Solberg - who has also yet to win the high-speed event - over the final eight all-gravel stages on Saturday, when he will also have to clear the road of the loose surface gravel by running at the head of the field.

“Running third on the road gave me a bit of an advantage today,” said Latvala. “Maybe I took it too carefully at times but we’ll try to keep up this pace tomorrow.”

Latvala moved into the lead after going fastest through the first Sirkkamaki stage on Friday afternoon and has continued to edge clear in his works Ford Focus. But while Latvala celebrated a successful first day in Finland, his team-mate and countryman Mikko Hirvonen was left to reflect on what might have been after crashing out of first place in spectacular fashion on stage four.

“The dream is over and it’s just disappointing but at least we were on the pace before it happened,” said Hirvonen, whose retirement elevated Solberg into the rally lead before Latvala moved ahead three stages later. “I am very comfortable, confident and relaxed,” said the Citroen privateer. “I am not taking any big risks.”

Foto: wrc.com

Dani Sordo completed the opening loop of stages in third place but slipped to fifth as fellow Citroen drivers Sebastien Ogier (third) and Sebastien Loeb (fourth) edged ahead, despite spending much of the day saddled by cleaning the road.

World championship leader Loeb’s fastest time through stage 10 was achieved at an average speed of 133kph, which is believed to be a Rally Finland record.

Matthew Wilson is sixth overnight in his Stobart M-Sport Ford Focus. The young Briton was caught up in heavy rain close to the end of stage seven and also reported a minor handling glitch in the afternoon.

Henning Solberg had climbed to fifth when he slid into a ditch on a left-hander on stage eight and rolled twice, coming to a rest upside down against a tree.

Four-time world champion Juha Kankkunen is up to seventh on his one-off return to the WRC. The 51-year-old is closely followed by ex-Formula One world champion Kimi Raikkonen, whom he vowed to try to beat before the start.

Mads Ostberg will start day two in touching distance of the top 10 as he continues to claw back time following his moment on stage five when a heavy landing on a rock broke his Subaru Impreza’s front-right wheel.

Abu Dhabi’s Khalid Al-Qassimi had been in the top 10 when he rolled into retirement on stage six. He was one of four drivers to crash on the Lankamaa test, which prompted organisers to award notional times to a number of competitors when the stage had to be halted.

Rally Finland concludes with eight further stages on Saturday. Action gets underway at 0733hrs local time with the first car due to reach the finish in Jyvaskyla at 1945hrs. Occasional rain showers are being forecast.

Bron | wrc.com

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