Starters 72 of the original 84 crews left the service park to start the final day. Route The shortest of the three at 56km, the final leg of Rally Ireland took competitors along four stages in County Fermanagh, from the town of Enniskillen...
72 of the original 84 crews left the service park to start the final day.
The shortest of the three at 56km, the final leg of Rally Ireland took competitors along four stages in County Fermanagh, from the town of Enniskillen to Mullaghmore. The final stage of the day was run atop the cliffs of Donegal Bay.
The day started with light rain in the service park that soon ceased, leaving the stages wet and slippery. The temperature started at eight and rose to ten degrees Celsius as the day progressed.
Subaru World Rally Team summary
After the final day of competition on the inaugural Rally Ireland, the Subaru World Rally Team pairing of Petter Solberg and Phil Mills continued their solid pace to finish fifth. The morning brought disappointment for the team however with the retirement of Chris Atkinson at the morning's service.
Petter headed into the final four stages focused on continuing to drive to a pace with which he was comfortable. Experiencing a punctured right rear tyre, which was totally flat by the third split of the day's opener (SS17), Petter otherwise had a trouble-free day. He ended the rally on a high by winning the final stage while fifth place meant four points in the drivers' and manufacturers' championships.
The Impreza WRC2007 of Chris Atkinson was withdrawn at this morning's ten minute service. During the last service of leg two the team discovered an internal engine problem, and after analysing the data overnight and inspecting the engine again today, the decision was made to retire as there was almost no possibility of the car reaching the end of the rally. According to Superally regulations the Australian still managed to collect two manufacturers' championship points.
Subaru World Rally Team Managing Director, Richard Taylor: "Our results here have been disappointing however we have made some positive steps with chassis development for the future. Petter and Chris have scored manufacturers' championship points keeping up a close competition for third overall as we head to Wales Rally GB."
CAR NUMBER 7
Petter Solberg: "It's been the most difficult rally I have ever done I think, but it's been quite enjoyable. It's been very special for Phil and me as you have to really work properly together as a team to get through this rally, and we have finished with no mistakes at all. The car is working better and we have had some good stage times, so it has been quite a good event for us. The result is not what we hoped, but we will now really, really work hard for Wales Rally GB."
NEWS FROM BFGOODRICH
Didier Martin, BFGoodrich Rally Technician: "This was our last tarmac rally with Subaru, and certainly the most difficult. We've re-cut so many tyres this weekend, and each time removed about 20kg of rubber from them. All drivers used the g-Force Profiler extra soft compound (a dry asphalt tyre), and the g-Force Profiler H, a rain tyre we didn't test before the event and on which Chris won SS14. In summary of the sealed-surface season, the Subaru drivers have set some fastest times in Monte-Carlo, Germany and Ireland; three events we tackled with very soft compounds. The challenge was different in Spain and Corsica than here in Ireland with rough asphalt. With only one year together we didn't get the time to fully develop the partnership between the Impreza and the g-Force Profiler for the most demanding asphalt. Nevertheless, we were capable of fighting with Ford and Citroen this year on sealed surface, which is a positive point."
Leg three fastest stage times
SS17 Murley (24.70km) Hirvonen / Lehtinen 13m 19.9s
SS18 Fardross (14.77km) Hirvonen / Lehtinen 8m 49.8s
SS19 Donegal Bay (14.06km) Latvala / Anttila 7m 00.9s
SS20 Mullaghmore (2.38km) Solberg / Mills 1m 16.9s
The WRC will travel to Wales, UK for the final round of the 2007 calendar in two weeks time. Wales Rally GB runs from 30 November to 2 December, and comprises a gruelling series of gravel stages that stretch into the Welsh mountains from the service park in Swansea.