Sebastien Loeb (Citroen) claimed his fifth consecutive victory to stretch his advantage at the head of the drivers' championship. The win made Daniel Elena the most successful co-driver in the sport's history, his 25th victory moving him ahead of...
Sebastien Loeb (Citroen) claimed his fifth consecutive victory to stretch his advantage at the head of the drivers' championship. The win made Daniel Elena the most successful co-driver in the sport's history, his 25th victory moving him ahead of Luis Moya. Mikko Hirvonen (Ford) recorded his best ever result in 2nd. Dani Sordo (Citroen) claimed his first gravel podium in third while fourth matched Xavi Pons' (Citroen) best result. Petter Solberg (Subaru) climbed to seventh ahead of Kristian Sohlberg (Subaru) but damaged steering on the final stage cost more than three minutes and he fell behind Sohlberg, Manfred Stohl (Peugeot) and Francois Duval (Skoda) to finish ninth. Team-mate Chris Atkinson was on course for fifth but on the final stage the Australian crashed and damaged a wheel, which could not be replaced. He stopped and dropped to 10th under SupeRally rules. Harri Rovanpera (Skoda) stopped with a broken driveshaft after the second stage but claimed the final manufacturers' point under SupeRally.
Kronos Total Citroen
Sebastien Loeb, Daniel Elena and their Citroen Xsara WRC took their fifth win of the season in Porto Cervo today. This latest victory - also their fifth in a row - marked the 25th success in 77 World Championship events for Kronos Racing's famous franco-monegasque pairing.
Sebastien Loeb/Daniel Elena: "Victory always tastes sweet, but this one is special. For Daniel, it's a historic moment. Knowing just how much I want to beat Carlos Sainz's record myself, I can easily imagine exactly how Daniel is feeling now, after becoming the first co-driver to chalk up 25 wins. "
Xavier Pons/Carlos Del Barrio: "Sardinia is a very difficult rally. I feel less at ease here than I did in Argentina, maybe because of the narrow stages. This means that I still need to improve in this type of conditions. Securing the manufacturer points for third place was my priority since yesterday afternoon, so I was very careful throughout the second half of the rally. These points are the best way for me to repay the team for their limitless support from the start of the season. "
The battle of the "Rally Italia Sardegna" is over - but the result is not entirely to the liking of the OMV Peugeot Norway World Rally Team. Since Henning Stolberg forwent a SupeRally-start on Sunday, Manfred Stohl inherited two places on the final day and finished the seventh WRC-run this season in somwhat lucky seventh overall place. Two driver-WRC-points and five points in the manufacture-World Championship are at least some consolation. Sebastien Loeb, on the other hand, had reason to rejoice - he celebrated his fifth victory in a row this season in Sardinia and has currently 25 WRC-triumphs to his account.
Manfred Stohl/Ilka Minor: "That I scored two points in the end has nothing to do with my performance, it was sheer luck. But right now I'm looking forward to Greece, even though there is a lot of work ahead for us. If we scrutinously analyse everything I'm sure that we will fare much better there."
Henning Solberg/Cato Menkerud: "Of course it hurts when you're in third place and have to retire. But we made the right decision in accordance with Bozian Racing. It is more important to perfectly prepare the Peugeot 307 WRC for Greece. There we hopefully will have more luck and get a top result across the finishing line "
BP-Ford World Rally Team drivers Mikko Hirvonen and Jarmo Lehtinen scored the best result of their careers by finishing second on the Rally d'Italia Sardegna today. The Finns took no risks in their Ford Focus RS World Rally Car during the final leg of this seventh round of the FIA World Rally Championship to better their third place in Spain last year.
Marcus Gronholm/Timo Rautiainen: Retired
Mikko Hirvonen/Jarmo Lehtinen: "Finally everything has come together for me this weekend and it feels fantastic to finish second on a WRC event with a factory team for the first time. I just have one more step to reach the top level of the podium. It was a long and difficult weekend and I was nervous all day in case anything went wrong. I had just one problem yesterday but that was my mistake when I touched a bank. The roads were rougher then they looked on the recce but they were enjoyable to drive. Sardinia is a good island for me and it seems to have a good history for Finns. More than anything this weekend I have learned how to drive in these conditions without taking any risks and yet still achieve a good result. Previously when I have been chasing a podium I have had to push all the way, but here I was able to drive at a speed with which I was comfortable."
Stobart VK M-Sport Ford
Stobart VK M-Sport Ford Rally Team driver Matthew Wilson finished Rally d'Italia Sardegna in a lowly 34th position after an event the 19 year-old Cumbrian could truly describe as 'character building' after his fastest stage time and point score in Rally Argentina - where Wilson became the youngest-ever driver to achieve those feats. Kosti Katajamaki in the second manufacturer points registered Stobart Focus looked promising for a top ten finish after ending the first leg in tenth in the overall standings. This result was achieved despite the challenge of throttle problems in Friday's morning stages. Katajamaki's rally came to an end on Saturday morning when the Finn didn't hear a pace note and rolled his car twice, hitting a tree in the process. Although Katajamaki and co-driver Timo Alanne were unhurt their car is no suitable for use by the pairing in their next event.
Matthew Wilson/Michael Orr: "It's been a mixed rally. Sunday went quite well as it was the first clean run we had and the stages were good; fast and not too rough apart from the last one which was rough so we eased off. The car's in reasonably good condition and we wanted to keep it that way for Greece. We got to the end of the rally and that was the main objective. Pretty much every stage today we've been at a good pace and I think without the one minute penalty, and if we scrapped Friday, we'd have been in the top ten. It's a shame we had the first day that we did, but there's always Greece to look forward to."
Luis Perez Companc/Jose-Maria Volta: "It was a very tough rally. I didn't think it was going to be so tough. When we did the pace notes with the recce car it seemed like nice roads with some parts fast and some parts twisty, but nice roads. But then in the rally car it was all change. The first day was very tough for me, the second day on the second leg was very good and I felt very comfortable with the car and the times were good. On the third day I just kept the car in one piece. It was a good rally for me."
Kosti Katajamaki/Timo Alanne: "I hit a rock in the Saturday morning but everything was okay although the engine stopped and took eight seconds to restart. It was more slippery than I expected, I went a little bit too wide and hit the rock in the morning. I was hoping it would be a little bit cleaner the second time through, but I didn't hear a pace note and that was my rally over."
Both Petter Solberg and Chris Atkinson demonstrated the stage-winning pace of the Subaru Impreza WRC2006 on the final Leg of Rally d'Italia Sardegna. Petter secured two stage wins while Chris set his first fastest time of the year, however problems in the final stage of the rally cost both drivers places. A bent steering arm dropped Petter to ninth while accident damage relegated Chris from fifth to tenth.
Petter Solberg/Phil Mills: "It's been a hard event for me. I tried as hard as I could all weekend but the overall result is disappointing. There's not really a lot more to say. We're looking forward to the next event now. I like the Acropolis Rally a lot and I'll give it my best shot."
Chris Atkinson/Glen MacNeall: "Overall I'm happy with how I've driven on this rally. Before the last stage we had gone consistently all weekend, made no mistakes and had kept a good pace. Obviously to end the rally like we did is very disappointing, but there was a lot of dust coming into the car and I got distracted. We will be targeting a better finish next month in Greece."
Red Bull-Skoda Team
In a nutshell, the seventh WRC event of the season did not quite go according to plan for the entire Red Bull Skoda team. Despite rather positive results in testing and the Sardinia shakedown, there were small problems right from the start.
Harri Rovanpera/Risto Pietilainen: "On today's SS 14 we suffered from severe transmission problems. I contacted the team management but there was no point in running the remaining four stages as there was no service left today. Subsequently I brought the car back to the Porto Cervo parc ferme in accordance with rally headquarters. My summary of Rally Sardinia is naturally very sobering. Aside from petty little matters which will always cost you time over the course of a rally I simply didn't find any decent rhythm. We also lacked the correct balance, even though the team constantly modified the setup. What a shame, I was totally motivated for a better result. I just hope that Rally Acropolis will be better."
Andreas Aigner/Timo Gottschalk: "I'm glad that I didn't go down the order any further because of that and still managed to get important manufacturers' points. Apart from that I'm rather satisfied with my performance in Sardinia. My WRC gravel debut surely wasn't an easy task, but I'm already looking forward to Greece."