Petter Solberg finished Rally Argentina in second place. Solberg set the fastest time through one of the toughest tests in the WRC, the classic El Condor pass, to secure his second podium of the season. The Subaru World Rally Team concluded a ...
Petter Solberg finished Rally Argentina in second place. Solberg set the fastest time through one of the toughest tests in the WRC, the classic El Condor pass, to secure his second podium of the season. The Subaru World Rally Team concluded a successful Rally Argentina with a double-points finish as Chris Atkinson recorded two top five times to finish sixth.
SS19: 0943 Mina Clavero - Giulio Cesare (20.08km)
The classic Mina Clavero stage opened the third and final Leg of the 26th
Rally Argentina. Starting at 1,100 metres above sea level, the road
climbed to more than 2,000 metres through a sandy rock-strewn landscape.
Manfred Stohl started the Leg determined to regain the fourth position he
had lost to team-mate Henning Solberg on Saturday. Stohl took the stage
win, 27secs faster than Henning. The time eased Stohl back into fourth
overall with a 28secs advantage. Petter Solberg was second quickest to
edge closer to rally leader Loeb, despite reporting heavy steering.
Team-mate Chris Atkinson also closed the gap to Sordo in sixth. The
Australian finished the stage more than eight seconds quicker than his
Fastest Time: Stohl (Peugeot) 17:03.2
SS20: 1033 El Condor - Copina (16.82km)
After the finish of SS19 crews drove over the crest of the mountain to
the start of the El Condor pass. Another Argentina classic through
spectacular moon-like scenery, the road ran downhill from 2,100 metres to
1,400 metres through a series tricky corners and narrow bridges. A
determined Petter Solberg stormed through the speed test to record the
fastest stage time. Atkinson took another large chunk of time from Sordo
over the 16km stage and closed to just 1.1secs from the sixth-placed
Fastest Time: Solberg (Subaru) 13:40.2
SS21/SS22 1305/1308 Super Especial III & IV (4.4km)
The final stage of Rally Argentina was a repeat of the popular
Superspecial in the Cordoba football stadium. 45,000 fans filled the
arena to watch Loeb secure his fourth consecutive victory of the year.
The win was co-driver Daniel Elena's 24th WRC victory, which equalled
Luis Moya's all-time record of co-driver wins. Subaru's Petter Solberg
set the third fastest time through SS21 to finish second overall, his
second podium of the season. Gigi Galli was third, his first-ever WRC
podium finish. Henning Solberg stopped on SS22 within sight of the finish
with clutch problems and tried to make repairs on the short gravel
course. He received a standing ovation from the crowd but his problems
dropped him to seventh overall. Chris Atkinson had a trouble-free run
through both stages to finish the rally sixth, just 2.6secs behind Sordo
Fastest Time: Gronholm (Ford) 2:22.5 / Wilson (Ford) 2:23.7
SWRT SPORTING DIRECTOR, LUIS MOYA: I think it's been a good weekend. We got two cars to the end and some good points for Petter in the Drivers' Championship. One of the most important things for me was the reliability of the cars. You know, we had no major problems whatsoever in the whole event and that's what we're looking for. We're going to two very tough rallies now in Italy and Greece, they're going to be very hard and this result encourages the team a lot. I'm also pleased with the work that Pirelli has done, the tyres have been working very well in tricky conditions -- particularly on the second day. We've proved now that we have the speed on this surface and I see no reason why we can't win the next two events -- that's our goal.
PETTER SOLBERG: I wanted to win here but I think to finish second is still very good, we can't complain because things went almost according to the plan. I tried everything and we would have had a very good chance of winning this rally if it wasn't for the problems we had, but underneath it all I'm feeling much more positive. The car is getting there now, we're back fighting for the lead and I can go for an attack - it's been a long time since I felt like this. I'm looking forward to the next rally!
CHRIS ATKINSON: It's been a difficult rally for us, it started out quite well, we were running in a high position early on, but then some problems with the car and a mistake from me cost us a lot of time. We struggled back up the order and then got a minute penalty -- if it wasn't for that, I think we could have been fighting for a much better result. But that's life, we learned a lot here and we'll see what we can do in Sardinia.
NEWS FROM PIRELLI
MARIO ISOLA, PIRELLI COMPETIZIONI RALLY MANAGER: We were able to keep second position, which was our goal for today. We believe we are competitive on gravel and have demonstrated the performance of the package to everyone. With only two stages today we only had to defend second to achieve our aim.
THE NEXT EVENT
The gravel roads of Sardinia are a comparatively new addition to the World Rally Championship, with the inaugural 2004 event dominated by Petter Solberg and Subaru. The stages consist of soft, almost sandy gravel, which emphasises the traction and braking performance of each car. The weather varies a lot, with high temperatures and rain both possibilities.