Starters 67 of the original 74 crews restarted this morning. Route Despite including only four stages, Sunday's final leg was still relatively long at 112.10 competitive kilometres. The leg included the longest individual stage of the event...
67 of the original 74 crews restarted this morning.
Despite including only four stages, Sunday's final leg was still relatively long at 112.10 competitive kilometres. The leg included the longest individual stage of the event -- the 31.81km Pont du Calzola -- Agosta test.
Sunday started with a chill in the air, but the morning sun soon crested the mountains surrounding Ajaccio and air temperatures picked up quickly. Starting at 12 degrees, the temperature peaked at 25 degrees Celsius by the final stage.
Subaru World Rally Team summary
The third and final leg brought mixed fortunes for the Subaru World Rally Team, but the team ended with two cars in the top six. After a close battle with Ford's Jari-Matti Latvala, Petter finished fifth, while Chris and Xevi finished sixth and eighth respectively.
At the start of the day Solberg took advantage of his Impreza's pace on rough asphalt to close the gap to fourth-placed Jari-Matti Latvala, and the pair remained locked in a close battle for the rest of the day. On fast-changing stages that incorporated narrow twisty sections and long and winding corners, the duo of Solberg and Phil Mills showed improved pace as the day went on - recording the third fastest time on SS15.
Feeling confident at the end of leg two, Xevi Pons did not have a good start to the day, suffering a puncture on each of the first two stages. Near the start of SS13 he was forced to stop and change a wheel, an incident which cost him more than three minutes and dropped him a place to eighth overall. Another puncture on SS14, and no spare wheel, meant he had to continue on the broken rubber, running on the wheel rim until the end of the stage. This left him over one and a half minutes off eighth by the midday service, and despite a good afternoon the gap was too large for Xevi to close.
Chris Atkinson had a problem-free day to retain his sixth place overall and gain more valuable experience of the unique Corsican roads. The time differences being as large as they were after leg two, Chris concentrated on bringing the car back safely in the afternoon to ensure his second haul of points in two weekends.
SUBARU WORLD RALLY TEAM MANAGING DIRECTOR, RICHARD TAYLOR:
"The team are pleased to finish with all three cars in points-scoring positions here in Corsica. Chris and Petter were able to achieve a top-three stage time each, however we clearly have more work to do to fully exploit the potential of our 2007 car and get back to achieving regular podium results."
CAR NUMBER 7
PETTER SOLBERG: "I thought the car felt better today and easier to drive which is a good step forward for us. The speed is still not quite there and we are struggling on the very flat surfaces. Unfortunately for us the stages today were mostly flat so weren't able to catch Jari-Matti Latvala, although it was a good battle to the final stage. Overall this weekend has been good for the team and I am feeling more confident with the car which is important going into Japan next."
CAR NUMBER 8
CHRIS ATKINSON: "This weekend was not quite what we had expected and the result is not as good as we wanted, but we have collected some good points again and as a team have learnt a lot ahead of Japan. We saw yesterday that the car is capable of good pace with third fastest on SS9, but there is still speed to come. A big area for us to work on is my confidence in the car on the smooth asphalt. The surface here over the three legs has been so varied, between bumpy and smooth, that it has been hard to develop a good rhythm."
CAR NUMBER 17
XEVI PONS: "Looking at today it was not good for us, but for this weekend as a whole I am happy. The car has had no problems, which is important, and we have been able to concentrate on developing my style rather than making changes to the car which has helped me a great deal. Leg one was hard for us, and yesterday was good. This morning was tough again, but this afternoon was much better. Xavier and I are developing our style with the car, and a championship point for us is very positive."
DIDIER MARTIN, BFGOODRICH RALLY TECHNICIAN: "It was a good fight between Petter and Francois Duval on the first two days, and it is good to see that the Subaru Impreza WRC2007 and BFGoodrich are capable of fighting. Maybe a set of harder compound tyres this morning would have been better as the high temperatures were tough on the tyres on the two long stages, but it is good to see positive progress."
Leg three fastest stage times
SS13 Penitencier Coti -- Pietra Rossa 1 (24.24km) Loeb / Elena 14m 38.7s
SS14 Pont de Calzola -- Agosta 1 (31.81km) Sordo / Marti 18m 54.6s
SS15 Penitencier Coti -- Pietra Rossa 2 (24.24km) Sordo / Marti 14m 40.5s
SS16 Pont de Calzola -- Agosta 2 (31.81km) Sordo / Marti 18m 56.0s
Next up on the 2007 WRC calendar, and the third rally in the month of October, is Subaru's home event, Rally Japan. The host city of Obihiro will be a blur of blue and yellow as Subaru's loyal fans head to their national round of the series. The event starts with a spectacular opening ceremony in the middle of the town on 25 October, with the competitive action getting underway on the 26th.