DRIVER BY DRIVER SUMMARY
21 PATRIK FLODIN (SWE, Subaru Impreza, Michelin)
Day One 2010 PWRC runner-up Flodin began the Rally Sweden determined to repeat his untouchable performance last year and win the PWRC on his home event for the second year in a row. A shock second place to young Norwegian Champion Grшndal on the opening super special stage was followed by a difficult start to Day One proper when the Swede got his Subaru stuck in the snow for over a minute on SS2, leaving him in third.
However, a mistake from Semerad on SS4 promoted him to second and Flodin began to push leader Grшndal, sealing a clean sweep of stage wins in the afternoon and taking 40 seconds off his Norwegian rival's lead, to leave only 22 seconds between them at the end of the day.
Day Two Flodin did not start Day Two. He was excluded by the Stewards after Day One because the rims used on his Subaru Impreza did not comply with the FIA's Sporting Regulations.
23 GIANLUCA LINARI (ITA, Subaru Impreza, Michelin)
Day One A disastrous SSS1, where he left the road and had to be helped out of the snow by spectators, lost Linari nearly seven minutes. Despite this handicap, with only one previous Rally Sweden under his belt and never having driven in such heavy snow, Linari undertook the stages of Day One proper with one goal in mind: getting to the end successfully. He continually lost time as his bumpers scraped along the snow banks either side of the road, but didn't have any major problems. As he learnt the stages, his improvement on the second loop was clear and he finished the day ninth in the PWRC.
Day Two Linari lost over a minute on SS8 when he temporarily beached his Subaru in a snow bank. On the second loop, his choice to complete SS12, the first stage of the afternoon, with a flat tyre he picked up only 1km into the stage then cost him an additional two minutes. A better day overall however left him lying in fifth in the PWRC as he successfully avoided any serious problems.
Day Three A solid drive on Day Three meant Linari held fifth place in the PWRC and picked up 10 PWRC points, a good start to the season.
24 ANDERS GRШNDAL (NOR, Subaru Impreza, Michelin)
Day One Grшndal was delighted with his start to Rally Sweden, winning both the Thursday night SSS1 and all three morning stages on Day One proper, despite one spin on SS2 and catching the driver ahead of him, which together cost him nearly a minute. In the afternoon he backed off slightly not wanting to lose his lead, but then had to fight to hold off Flodin who was quickly closing the gap between them. Unfortunately, he lost 40 seconds to his experienced Swedish rival on the second loop, in part because by SS6 and SS7, the final two stages of the day, he had lost the studs on his Subaru's tyres. He held his lead, but was ready for a battle on Day Two.
Day Two With Flodin's overnight exclusion, Grшndal was free from pressure and scooped three more stage wins on Day Two's opening loop, confirming his position on top of the PWRC sprinter standings. However, disaster struck when engine troubles on SS12, the first stage of the afternoon, forced him to retire from the rally, shattering his hopes of taking his first ever class win.
25 JUKKA KETOMAKI (FIN, Mitsubishi Lancer, Michelin)
Day One In his first full PWRC season, Ketomaki was keen to prove himself from the off-set. However, it wasn't meant to be. After a solid fourth in the PWRC on the opening SSS1, he lost 1 minute 20 seconds on SS2 when he went off into a snow bank and then was forced to retire from the rally prematurely on the following stage when he left the road again and oil spilled from his Mitsubishi's engine destroying it.
26 MARTIN SEMERAD (CZE, Mitsubishi Lancer, DMACK)
Day One A serious accident in his national Championship in 2010 meant Semerad could not compete in his full 2010 PWRC programme. Returning to Sweden this weekend he was out to prove his talent. The youngest driver in the 2011 PWRC, Semerad was happy with the start of his rally until his Mitsubishi's rear differential broke on SS4 and he lost around 20 seconds. The afternoon also proved difficult when his bonnet flew open on SS6 and cracked his windscreen, forcing him to drive two stages with impaired visibility. Even so, he finished the day a comfortable fourth, equalling his performance at Rally Sweden in 2010.
Day Two Flodin's overnight exclusion and Tagirov's troubles on SS8 meant Semerad had climbed to second by the end of the first stage of Day Two. As he continued to plough confidently and consistently through the snow- laden stages, Grшndal's retirement on SS12 then promoted him into the lead. While sorry for the misfortune of his rivals, Semerad was delighted to be leading the PWRC throughout the second loop and even pick up a stage win on SS15.
Day Three Semerad was overjoyed to make history as the youngest ever PWRC winner at Rally Sweden this weekend and pick up 25 PWRC points, putting him top of the Championship standings. Still a university student, his consistency and refusal to be distracted allowed him to clear the Day Three stages successfully, clocking three more stage wins along the way.
28 MAJED AL SHAMSI (ARE, Subaru Impreza, DMACK)
Day One Al Shamsi was happy with his progress on his first ever snow rally on Day One. Unfortunately, he got stuck in a snow bank on SS2, lost seven minutes, and after that didn't push his Subaru too hard for fear of a repeat performance. He finished the day tenth in the PWRC, but was pleased with his performance as he focused on learning the Swedish roads and mastering the alien conditions.
Day Two A consistent drive meant Al Shamsi had climbed four places to sixth to by the end of Day Two. He enjoyed the stages and focused on improving his control of his Subaru, but found the second loop treacherous, in particular SS15 in the dark where he backed off because he was unable to see the road ahead of him.
Day Three Al Shamsi successfully navigated the Day Three stages to finish eighth, earning him four PWRC points. However, his Day One troubles meant that he finished nearly 43 minutes off the pace of winner Semerad.
29 BADER AL JABRI (ARE, Subaru Impreza, DMACK)
Day One At midday service, Al Jabri was sitting in a solid eighth in the PWRC on his first ever snow rally. However, disaster struck when engine woes forced him to retire on SS5, the opening stage of the afternoon.
30 OLEKSANDR SALIUK (UKR, Mitsubishi Lancer, Michelin)
Day One Ukrainian Champion Saliuk's Mitsubishi had not been ready in time for any pre-season training in the snow and it was over two years since he had competed in any snow rallies, so he saw Shakedown on Thursday morning as being his main chance to test the conditions. Unfortunately, engine problems on Shakedown meant that he had to forego this opportunity and get his Lancer back to his team to prepare it in time for SSS1 Thursday night. Ready just in time, Saliuk enjoyed the opening super special and Day One proper.
He focused on getting used to the stages and learning to control his Mitsubishi after he went off into snow banks on SS2 and SS3, both times having to dig himself out and losing approximately 12 minutes across the two stages.
He successfully navigated the afternoon stages to finish Day One lying eighth in the PWRC.
Day Two Saliuk found Day Two difficult. His co-driver, Pavlo Cherepin (UKR) is new to rally, making the Saliuk-Cherepin pairing very fresh. These factors twinned with the extreme conditions made it difficult for the crew to make accurate pace notes and despite concentrating on staying on the roads, they lost of a lot of time on Day Two digging themselves out of snow banks. Saliuk held his eighth place, but finished Day Two determined to revise his gravel-focused driving style which depends on using gravel banks and loose roadside gravel for deceleration. The snow engulfed him when he tried to adopt these tactics and he soon realised he must learn to adapt to the new terrain. This in mind, he looked to Day Three with renewed determination.
Day Three Having changed his driving style and acclimatised to the snow, Saliuk roared through Day Three, winning four stages (SS19-22) including the power stage. Despite this performance, due to his difficulties earlier in the event, he finished seventh in the PWRC, only claiming six PWRC points.
31 ALEKSEY KIKIRESHKO (UKR, Mitsubishi Lancer, Michelin)
Day One Kikireshko was disappointed to retire from Day One on only SS2 when he went off and couldn't be retrieved from a snow bank. He did however superally ready to start again on Day Two.
Day Two A difficult Day Two left Kikireshko in ninth place as he strove to learn the stages and master the heavy Swedish snow.
Day Three Unfortunately, on SS20, Kikireshko suffered the same fate as on Day One, went off road and got stuck in a snow bank. Unable to get out, he was forced to retire from the rally only two stages from the end.
32 VALERIY GORBAN (UKR, Mitsubishi Lancer, Michelin)
Day One Gorban did not have any significant issues on Day One. Minor differential problems in the morning were resolved at midday service and he was pleased with his performance in the afternoon, finishing the second loop lying fifth in the PWRC. He came to the rally intent on gaining experience and completing as many stages as possible, judging his performance against his own times not his competitors, his focus on personal improvement over the course of the weekend.
Day Two Gorban found Day Two hard, but performed well. He lost over a minute on SS11 when he skidded into a snow bank and his Mitsubishi had to be rescued by some spectators, but improved on his first day performance, climbed to third in the PWRC and was overjoyed to win the end of day SSS16. He entered Day Three determined to drive carefully and safely reach the end of his first ever PWRC round.
Day Three Fulfilling his ambition of completing the event, Gorban drove well on Day Three to come home fourth and earn himself 12 PWRC points.
33 DMITRY TAGIROV (RUS, Subaru Impreza, Michelin)
Day One Tagirov was very happy at the end of Day One. He took to the stages in the same Subaru Flodin won Rally Sweden in last year and immediately proved his confidence and speed in the snow. He finished the day third in the PWRC on his WRC debut and felt at home in the snow, ice and even the dark on SS7, all of which he regularly tackles on events at home in Russia.
Day Two The exclusion of Flodin meant that Tagirov was promoted to second overnight. However, he struggled to find the correct line on SS8, the opening stage of Day Two and lost the road twice. Spectators came to help him, but even so he lost over eight minutes stuck in snow banks, the thick snow then clogging up his Subaru's vents, causing him to lose power throughout the morning stages. This was resolved at midday service.
However, despite trying a new line on this stage on the second loop (SS12), the morning's events repeated themselves and Tagirov once again lost power and seven more valuable minutes. Things then went from bad to worse, when he went off on the road section after SS12 and despite doing little damage to his Subaru and Saliuk stopping to help him, he was stuck and forced to retire from Day Two.
Day Three After superallying to restart on Day Three, Tagirov had a good drive, but had too much time to make up to challenge the series leaders. He finished the event in sixth and picked up eight PWRC points on his first WRC event.
34 YURIY PROTASOV (UKR, Mitsubishi Lancer, Michelin)
Day One Protosov was pleased with Day One. He found the tight roads difficult and lost time as his Mitsubishi skimmed down the sides of snow banks, in particular on SS4 and SS5. However, he didn't have any major problems and finished the day a strong sixth in the PWRC.
Day Two By the end of Day Two Protosov had moved into second. His focus however was on his own battle with the elements rather than with the other drivers. Determined to conquer the Swedish snow, Protosov pushed as hard as he could, took a stage win on SS13 and was only hindered on SS10 when he caught the car in front and lost around over half a minute.
Day Three Another confident drive from Protasov on Day Three meant he held onto second and scooped 18 PWRC points on his first ever WRC event.
35 NICOLAS FUCHS (PER, Mitsubishi Lancer, Michelin)
Day One Peruvian Champion Fuchs found Day One of his first snow rally difficult. He went off into a snow bank on SS2 and had to be dug out by spectators, losing six minutes. However, he learnt quickly and despite two minor offs on SS3 and SS6, only lost between 10 and 15 seconds on each and was pleased to finish the day seventh in the PWRC.
Day Two Fuchs proved himself on Day Two, when he mastered the alien conditions to take two stage wins and move up to fourth. Never having previously competed in a World Rally outside South America, he was delighted to find a good rhythm in snow and focused not on sheer speed, but keeping his Mitsubishi on the road.
Day Three Good lines and a clean drive on Day Three meant Fuchs finished third and took to the PWRC podium on his first snow rally, picking up 15 points.
37 RICARDO TRIVINO (MEX, Mitsubishi Lancer, DMACK)
Trivino was deemed not eligible to start the rally by the Stewards because his entry did not comply with the competition licence requirements in the International Sporting Code.