OMV Kronos Citroen World Rally Team gathers five manufacture points
The OMV Kronos Citroen World Rally Team can rejoice over further five points for the manufacture ranking after the Rally Norway - thanks to Daniel Carlsson/Denis Giraudet in seventh place and Manfred Stohl/Ilka Minor in twelfth place. Prior to the last special stage the Austrian had even been in sixth position. But the duel with Gigi Galli (Ita/Citroen) caused too intimate a knowledge with a snowdrift which had him fall behind. OMV Kronos Citroen Team Principal Marc van Dalen nevertheless draws a positive balance.
Carlsson wins two WRC-points
Daniel Carlsson improved decisively on the last day of the Rally Norway. In an exciting infight the 30-year-old Swede overtook Xavi Pons (Spa/Subaru) and, due to the slip of OMV Teammate Manfred Stohl, he finished in seventh overall place which added two further points to his WRC-point-account. Carlsson "We changed the set-up of the car from Saturday to Sunday and things went slightly better. To me that is a sign that we now get along better with the Citroen Xsara WRC and that the completed kilometres were not in vain. That we managed to overtake Pons in the end makes me very happy. Seventh overall place means that the rally had a conciliatory ending, after all." The OMV driver will take a break during the next WRC run in Mexico. His next assignment will be at the Portugal Rally at the end of March.
Lots of bad luck on the last special stage
The trip to the North brought a so-so outcome for Manfred Stohl. Following seventh place in Sweden the 34-year-old OMV driver had been in sixth place and therefore within scoring ranks right up to the last special stage. Then the infight with Gigi Galli (Ita/Citroen) caused him to slip off the road and end up in a snowdrift after 5,7 of 44,28 kilometres. He was only able to take up the rally again after a ten-minute-delay which had him fall back to twelfth place in the end. Stohl: "We gave our all on Sunday. And it is a fine line between success and retirement under these conditions. Galli had been only 12,7 seconds behind us prior to the last SS. I absolutely wanted to keep him on distance. Unfortunately this didn't work out. I am disappointed, of course, but at the same time I am looking forward to the next rally in Mexico where we will compete on gravel again."
Kept the distance to Subaru
Five further points for the manufacture ranking mean that the OMV Kronos Citroen World Rally Team currently stands at 14 points overall. Therefore they are only one point behind the works team of Subaru. "We got all cars across the finish line at three rallies so far. That is a nice result. We knew that these two snow-events would be very difficult. I am particularly sorry for Manfred that he dropped back just short of the finish line. But such things can happen when you are in a tough infight. Luckily this didn't affect the manufacture points. We gathered just as many as Subaru did. That is a good result ", sums up Marc van Dalen, Team Principal of the OMV Kronos Citroen World Rally Team.
Second victory for Hirvonen
Ford works driver Mikko Hirvonen celebrated an impressive start-finish victory at the premiere of the Rally Norway in the FIA World Rally Championship. The 26-year-old Finn triumphed over teammate Marcus Grönholm by 9,5 seconds. By finishing second the Finnish former double-World Champion took the lead in the driver ranking of the WRC, currently four points ahead of Hirvonen. Local hero Henning Solberg (Ford Focus WRC), who had won last year's Norway-dress rehearsal, came in third. Following his two slips on Saturday, Sebastien Loeb (Citroen C4 WRC) was only able to move up to 14th place.