Petter Solberg World Rally Team press release
Petter and Chris are third at the end of a challenging day one of Rally Australia.
Petter and Chris are third overall after heavy rain made day one of Rally Australia a difficult challenge for everyone. After taking the lead from his team-mate Sebastien Ogier with a fastest time on SS3, Citroën’s Sebastien Loeb then rolled and retired 1.2kms into SS4. Petter and Chris set the fastest time through this stage and moved up to third overall behind leader Ogier and Ford’s Mikko Hirvonen.
SS5 saw a high-speed spin for Petter allowing Ford’s Jari-Matti Latvala to take third overall after winning the stage, while the next stage, SS6, the second run through Shipmans brought another retirement for Citroën as Ogier hit a tree and retired 1km later. Evgeny Novikov was to retire after hitting a rock on SS7 as Hirvonen extended his rally lead over his team-mate. Peter van Merksteijn Jr had also been forced to retire after two punctures with only one available spare.
- I am very happy with the performance today, says Petter Solberg. – The conditions have been very challenging, I don’t think I have ever seen such muddy conditions. Had a couple of spins today, and lost time, but luckily I’m still here! The car has worked perfectly but we still need some more experience to find the correct set-up for these kinds of muddy conditions. Hopefully it will dry up for tomorrow, and that gives us a good road position. We are not far behind, so we still have a fair chance!
Mikko Hirvonen is the overnight leader on day one of Rally Australia, followed by his Ford team-mate Jari-Matti Latvala. Petter and Chris finish the day in third place ahead of Henning Solberg in fourth.
Rally Australia continues with ten stages on Saturday. First car is on the road from 0833 local time.