Petter Solberg maintained his overnight position to finish second in the Rally of Turkey today. Increasing his advantage over closest rival Marcus Gronholm by 7.9 seconds, the Norwegian took a stage win and crossed the finish line to collect...
Petter Solberg maintained his overnight position to finish second in the Rally of Turkey today. Increasing his advantage over closest rival Marcus Gronholm by 7.9 seconds, the Norwegian took a stage win and crossed the finish line to collect another eight points in the Drivers' Championship. Chris Atkinson was essentially testing today, after an incident on Leg one cost him time. Completing the day's 50km of stages, the Australian gained more experience of the event's rough terrain aboard his Subaru Impreza WRC2005.
SS17 01003hrs Chimera 2 (16.45km)
After being locked in a tense battle for overall second
throughout Leg 2, Petter Solberg and Marcus Gronholm started the final
day separated by just 7.8 seconds in the Norwegian's favour. Intent on
consolidating his position, Solberg pushed hard through the first test
of the final leg and was fastest to increase his overall advantage to
17.7 seconds. Event leader Sebastien Loeb was second fastest, while
Gronholm was third. Already used in Leg two, the Chimera stage featured
one inch of loose gravel on the surface, numerous hairpins and two
jumps. Concluding with a technical and tricky descent through woodland ,
the last 3km was very muddy. Running first on the road, Chris Atkinson
was eighth fastest, while next through Janne Tuohino was 13th. There was
no change to the overall top ten and, after the stage was complete,
crews moved to the start of the final stage, the epic Olympos.
Fastest Stage Time: Solberg (Subaru) 11:57.8
SS18 1101hrs Olympos (33.35km)
Answering Petter's pace, Gronholm made a final bid to re-claim
second position on the 33km stage from Olympos and was fastest, but it
wasn't enough. Driving aboard his Subaru Impreza WRC 2005, Solberg was
hot on his heels and was second fastest to retain his position by 15.7
seconds. As the longest stage of the event, the test featured numerous
road surfaces changes, tight hairpins and distracting long shadows,
which were cast onto the road by overhanging trees. Holding his nerve,
Loeb crossed the finish third fastest to take the rally win, and notch
up his fifth of the season. Chris Atkinson was ninth fastest after
fulfilling his aim of gaining more valuable knowledge of the difficult
Turkish terrain aboard his Impreza WRC.
Fastest Stage Time: Gronholm (Peugeot) 24:58.0
David Lapworth, Subaru World Rally Team Principal:
"We come to every event to win, so we're never going to be satisfied finishing second, but from a championship perspective it's eight solid points and that's a good result. Petter's driven very well, it was a great performance from the team and we've stopped Sebastien extending his championship lead by more than two points. Looking ahead to Greece, I think we've shown after the last couple of days that we're in a strong position and can continue to put pressure on Sebastien."
"The rally has actually worked very well for me and we've had a good two days. I took quite a lot of time out of Marcus yesterday and had a good feeling that I could do something similar today. We attacked quite hard on the first stage today, but on the second we just drove according to the splits. We managed to secure second place and I'm very pleased for Subaru and the team. Our pace was encouraging, but we still have to find a solution to challenge Sebastien all the time. It would have been good to have fought more closely with him, but that's how it is and we've done the best we can."
"I think we could have run at a good pace all weekend, but instead I've had to treat this rally as a test after a silly mistake. But, on the positive side, it's good to get more experience of the car on the stages. I'm always finding more things and now have a comfortable set up for these conditions. It's a bit frustrating, but I'm trying to learn as quickly as possible. I think we've got a good base set up for Greece, it's another new event for me, but I'm looking forward to it."
News From Pirelli
Fiore Brivio, Pirelli Tyres Rally Manager: "Congratulations to Petter, who used the XR3 tyre to very good effect today consolidating his advantage over Marcus Gronholm and confirming once more the capabilities of the Subaru / Pirelli package."
The Next Round
Round eight of the FIA World Rally Championship starts in three weeks time when crews travel to Greece for the Acropolis Rally. The last of a trio of hot and rough gravel rallies held in the Mediterranean, the event features similar terrain to that seen in Cyprus and Turkey. Suspension and dampers must cope with high-speed impacts in searing temperatures, while drivers regularly have to dodge huge boulders. Petter's momentous victory of 2004 demonstrated the strength of the Impreza in such conditions and few cars make it to the finish. Starting on Thursday 23 June with a Super Special round the Olympic Stadium in Athens, the event will conclude on Sunday 26 June. Rally HQ and service will be based in the port of Lamia, 200 kilometres west of Athens.