Starters Ninety-one cars of the original 102 re-started leg three this morning. Route The shortest leg of the rally, Sunday offered the drivers a combination of both new and old. With a return to the Mosel vineyard stages of Dhrontal and ...
Ninety-one cars of the original 102 re-started leg three this morning.
The shortest leg of the rally, Sunday offered the drivers a combination of both new and old. With a return to the Mosel vineyard stages of Dhrontal and Moselwein, the routes were the same as those used in 2006, albeit with small changes to sections of the road surface, which altered grip characteristics. On the other hand, the superspecial Circus Maximus Trier was an entirely new stage through the cobbled and narrow streets of central Trier.
Today's weather was dry all day on the stages, although there were a few showers in the service park. This morning was cool, starting at 14 degrees Celsius, and warmed up mid-morning to a high of 22 degrees Celsius air and 25 degrees Celsius road temperature.
Pons (Subaru), Atkinson (Subaru)
Subaru World Rally Team summary
Petter Solberg finished sixth on Rally Germany today, claiming three points in the FIA championship for drivers and four in the manufacturers' contest. After a difficult start to the rally, Solberg ended the event in excellent form, and traded times with the quickest drivers on the day's five stages. Chris Atkinson and Xevi Pons got off to great starts today, but later retired from the event; Pons with a broken engine, Atkinson with accident damage. Under Superally regulations, however, Atkinson was still classified in 15th place and collected one more manufacturers' point for Subaru.
SS15: 0918HRS DHRONTAL 1 (11.14KM)
An early morning 10-minute service kicked off leg three, the cars moving
swiftly on to the first visit of the day to Dhrontal. With the sun not
yet having broken through the cloud, air and asphalt temperatures were
low, making tyre choice as important as it was on leg two. Running as
sixth car on the road, Atkinson was first through for the team. His
choice of a hard-compound slick tyre worked well and he set the
second-fastest time. Xevi was next, on a softer slick tyre, but his
encouraging rally came to a premature end after 6km when his car suffered
an engine problem which meant he could go no further. Petter, on the same
compound tyre as Chris, felt that the car was "working brilliantly",
and set the fourth fastest time.
Fastest time: Duval (Citroen) 6m 59.2s
SS16: 0946HRS MOSELWEIN 1 (18.08KM)
Running along the banks of the mosel river, the majority of the 18km test
was based on narrow vineyard tracks. The combination of a rough, abrasive
surface and lots of tight and tricky junctions again made tyre choice
critical on the longest stage of the day. Just 1.5km from the end of the
stage, Chris Atkinson's great run came to an end when a mistake under
braking led to a collision with a wall. Atkinson's Impreza received
damage to its front-right corner and the Australian was forced to stop.
Petter was fourth fastest, closing to Kopecky in sixth overall despite
stalling at a hairpin. "The car is very good now, and I am far more
comfortable in it than I was yesterday. We are closing on fifth position
overall which is good," he said.
Fastest time: Duval (Citroen) 10m 40.3s
SS17: 1111HRS SSS CIRCUS MAXIMUS TRIER (4.37KM)
Rally Deutschland's new Superspecial stage ran along the narrow cobbled
streets of downtown Trier, and around the ancient Roman gateway to the
city, the Porta Nigra. Petter's confidence in the car continued and,
cheered on by thousands of spectators, he recorded the third fastest
stage time. Solberg's time enabled him close the gap on sixth-placed Jan
Kopecky to just seven seconds. In a change to the the original format,
organisers added a 10-minute service after the Superspecial, so crews
could prepare for the final two stages of the rally.
Fastest time: Duval (Citroen) 3m 11.4s
SS18: 1324HRS DHRONTAL 2 (11.14KM)
Solberg's Impreza WRC2007 was fitted with a new clutch at the pre-stage
service. Thanks to the expertise of his technicians, a job which would
normally take around 15 minutes was completed in 10m 29s and Solberg
collected only a 10-second penalty. On the stage, he was on sparkling
form and set the fourth fastest time. That performance, and problems for
Citroen driver Toni Gardemeister, moved him up to sixth place overall.
Fastest time: Duval (Citroen) 6m 53.4s
SS19: 1352HRS MOSELWEIN 2 (18.08KM)
With the end almost in sight, Petter Solberg continued to push hard, and
completed the final stage with an excellent second-fastest time. The fact
that he had to swerve to avoid a cow standing in the road at the 9km
point make the feat even more impressive. Although he closed the gap on
fifth placed Jan Kopesky, he was not able to take the place, so ended the
rally sixth to collect points in the drivers' and manufacturers'
championships. Sebastien Loeb was the rally winner, with Francois Duval
second after a last stage upset for Ford, when Marcus Gronholm crashed
and dropped two places to fourth.
Fastest time: Duval (Citroen) 10m 32.7s
Subaru World Rally Team managing director Richard Taylor:
"Looking at this weekend as a whole, it has been a positive rally. The overall results don't reflect the improvements in the cars, but of course our stage times have been very encouraging. Chris put in some great performances including three stage wins. Today we have got the car right for Petter and he too has been able to produce good pace. Xevi had a strong weekend on his first asphalt rally with the Subaru World Rally Team, lying within his target of top eight overall, and it was unfortunate that he was unable to complete the event due to engine troubles. We can certainly go on to the following three asphalt rallies confident that we can be very competitive there. It's a reflection of all the hard team-work that we've been doing over the last couple of months, and overall we can come away from this weekend with a positive feeling and look forward to the rest of the season."
"I had a lot of fun today. The job that the guys did in service today. I mean, 11 minutes, gearbox and clutch; try to beat that! It's incredible. I just want to say thank you to all the team, it was just brilliant. We have seen that Chris has done really good stage times this weekend. Today we had a lot of good stage times, the car is working very well and it is very encouraging for the rest of the year."
"Yesterday was a great day and it meant a lot to me and the team to win those stages, so we went out today looking for more wins. The team are working so hard, so it is great to be able to deliver this performance, but unfortunately today I just pushed a little too hard. When you're in ninth place as we were, it's maybe better to take these risks and show what Subaru can do rather than settle into a steady pace. Overall we have shown the car to be quick on asphalt this weekend, so it is very encouraging for the remaining sealed surface events this year."
"I'm sorry we weren't able to complete the stages today because we had a good feeling in the car up to that point. Overall I think it's been a positive weekend for us. We have improved steadily every day, and the speed is good -- especially as this is our first asphalt rally with Subaru. I like the car a lot, and I'm certainly looking forward to the other asphalt rallies this year."
BFGoodrich representative Didier Martin: "Subaru was the only team to have nominated and used the full range of asphalt tyres on Rally Germany, from the g-Force Profiler 0+ (soft) to the g-Force profiler 2+ (hard). And with three stage wins from Chris on three different compounds we are pleased with the performance of the Subaru/BFGoodrich combination. The performance also confirms the team's progress on asphalt as seen on Rally Monte-Carlo. We have three days of testing planned in September and are looking forward to the forthcoming asphalt rallies in Spain, Corsica and Ireland."
The next event
The eleventh round of the 2007 World Rally Championship is Rally New Zealand, which starts in less that two weeks' time from the city of Hamilton. A classic drivers' rally, the stunning gravel roads in New Zealand are like rollercoasters that carve through the lush green countryside of the North Island. Subaru has enjoyed considerable success on the event, with Petter Solberg claiming a momentous victory there in 2004. Leg one begins on Friday 31 August.