After Petter Solberg crashed out of Rally Finland on Leg two and mechanical problems dropped Chris Atkinson out of contention for a podium finish, the team’s focus for today’s final Leg was testing for the forthcoming gravel rallies.
After Petter Solberg crashed out of Rally Finland on Leg two and mechanical problems dropped Chris Atkinson out of contention for a podium finish, the team’s focus for today’s final Leg was testing for the forthcoming gravel rallies. Atkinson set three top-five times on today’s four stages and finished the rally in 11th place.
SS18: 0914hrs Kuohu 1 (7.80km)
Cars left the Jyväskylä service area in dry and sunny
conditions for the rally’s final loop of stages. Ahead of them lay
two more forest sections to the west of the host city which would be
repeated after a refuel stop. Mikko Hirvonen went quickest, in an effort
to try and close the 35sec gap on second placed Sebastien Loeb, but
keeping an eye on the split times, Loeb only dropped 1.5sec and held on
to his overall position. Marcus Gronholm was second quickest through the
stage to maintain a comfortable 1min 8sec overall lead. Subaru’s
Chris Atkinson was fourth quickest.
Fastest Time: Hirvonen (Ford) 3:42.4
SS19: 1027hrs Jukojarvi 1 (22.31km)
Hirvonen took his second stage win of the day, but again Loeb was right behind him, and with Gronholm rounding off the top three times through the stage, there was no significant movement between them.
Running fourth on the road today, Atkinson reported that the loose gravel surface was cleaning a lot and he was struggling for grip in places.
He set the sixth-fastest time, using the opportunity to work on the gravel set-up of his Impreza before the team’s home rally in Japan next month.
Fastest Time: Hirvonen (Ford) 10:46.6
SS20: 1145hrs Kuohu 2 (7.80km)
After a refuelling halt, crews repeated the earlier two stages.
Times were extremely close over the short 7.8km Kuohu section and just 6.3 seconds separated the top ten drivers.
With the end almost in sight, Hirvonen set another fastest time with Loeb second and Petter’s brother Henning third.
Fastest Time: Hirvonen (Ford) 3:42.6
SS21: 1258hrs Jukojarvi 2 (22.31km)
Hirvonen made it four wins from four stages but Gronholm cruised through the final test to win the rally overall.
Loeb was second, with Hirvonen taking the final podium place.
Atkinson finished the rally with the fourth-fastest time.
Fastest Time: Hirvonen (Ford) 10:39.5
Subaru World Rally Team Sporting Director, Luis Moya:
"We always knew that Rally Finland was going to be
a difficult event, however both our drivers have found the challenge bigger than expected. Petter’s accident yesterday ended a realistic podium, while Chris’ problems are in no way his fault. It is good to see some very strong pace from Chris when he has had a clean run. We are also encouraged that the work over the summer break has brought improvements to the car and while there is still much more to do, we know we are going in the right direction. Now our focus is on getting the best package in place for Rally Japan and we hope to repeat our previous performance on that event."
"We had a good final day without any problems.
We’ve been working on the development of the car and we’ve found a bit of a direction and some ideas to go on. I’m pretty happy with our performance over the weekend as we did exactly what we were supposed to and ran throughout with the top five. We look forward to Japan as I had a good result there when we scored our first podium and we’re working on getting another one."
News from Pirelli
Mario Isola, Pirelli Competizioni Rally Manager
"Today's leg of the rally is not so significant, with big gaps between drivers and the classification almost frozen. Chris ran without problems today and showed good stage times, but there was little point in pushing too hard and possibly damaging the car. We are now concentrated on the future. Rally Japan is in 11 days and we have to put the maximum effort in that and the following rallies. Pirelli will continue to develop tyres to give the best product to Subaru."