4th Aug 12, 17:30 #1
SS18: Hirvonen tops Power Stage as Loeb wins rally
Story from www.wrc.com
b>Stage data: SS18, Ouninpohja 2 - POWER STAGE (33.01 kilometres)
By Ford World Rally Team co-driver Miikka Anttila: ďThe character of this road makes this so legendary. Itís a wide main road used for everyday traffic and itís always in good condition. It has an incredible amount of jumps and crests and I donít understand how such a road can still exist because normally they repair the roads to make them more flat and smooth but this road is like it has been for years, very fast with big crests and jumps. There is a section at the end for seven kilometres, which is narrow but before itís very fast. We have just a regroup between the first run of Ouninpohja and the Power Stage, which is like a computer game when you do a stage and you know you have done a mistake and you want to try again. Itís a similar situation where you can play again straight away. The second pass is going to be a big challenge. As it is such a fast stage itís difficult to make any big differences. If you want to be the fastest of the fastest you have to take risks and itís down to how eager you are to win the rally and to get the three points if you want to risk or not.Ē
How the action unfolded:
Mikko Hirvonen has won Neste Oil Rally Finlandís Power Stage to secure three FIA World Rally Championship bonus points in his Citroen DS3 WRC.
Petter Solberg, in a Ford Fiesta RS WRC, was second fastest, 0.6s behind Hirvonen to clinch two additional points with Sebastien Loeb claiming the final point and the overall rally victory with the third best run in his Citroen. Loebís winning margin was a mere 6.1s.
Hirvonenís stage time of 15m17.3s eclipsed Solbergís previous record of 15m18.4s, which the Norwegian established back in 2005. However, Solberg felt he could have gone faster had it not been for a handful of mistakes.
ďIt was cleaning a little behind and I made a small mistake at the start, one in the middle and braked far too early for one corner close to the finish,Ē said Solberg. ďI tried but it was not enough.Ē
Latvala said he struggled under braking nearing the stage finish in his Fiesta after he started the stage with one new tyre. He was fourth quickest ahead of Mads Ostberg and Ott Tanak.
Andreas Mikkelsen picked up a puncture near the start of the stage in his Volkswagen Motorsport-run Skoda Fabia and stopped to change the damaged tyre two kilometres from the finish.
P-G Andersson clinched victory in the Super 2000 World Rally Championship as Finnish wildcard Esapekka Lappi again impressed by setting the fastest time in the category, his sixth SWRC stage best of day three.
Crews will now head to Jyvaskyla for final service, the finish and podium ceremony.