2010 WRC Sweden Feb 11-14 talk/results spoiler**
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This is a discussion on 2010 WRC Sweden Feb 11-14 talk/results spoiler** within the Motorsports Talk forums, part of the Community - Meet other Enthusiasts category; WRC round 1 of 13 Thursday 11 February - Sunday 14 February Official Website: rallysweden.com/ It's been a long time ...

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    Cool 2010 WRC Sweden Feb 11-14 talk/results spoiler**


    WRC round 1 of 13
    Thursday 11 February - Sunday 14 February


    Official Website: rallysweden.com/

    It's been a long time coming, but four months after the 2009 World Rally Championship reached its thrilling conclusion in Wales, the fuse is well and truly lit on the 2010 competition.

    On 11 February the WRC ignites again, with one of the most spectacular challenges of the year - the 200kph snow-fest that is Rally Sweden.



    Kicking off the 13-round 2010 season, Sweden is the only winter round this year, and makes a welcome return after a year out in 2009, when Norway hosted the WRC's annual snow and ice fixture instead.

    Like in 2008, the rally is based from the central Sweden city of Karlstad. Unlike the last edition, however, much of the competitive action has been shifted north around a Service Park 85km away at Hagfors airport. Organisers took this step in an effort to guarantee good snow cover on the gravel roads of the Varmland and Dalarna regions, where the majority of the stages are based.

    click: wrc.com/+Rally+Sweden+

    ---------------------------------------------
    S-WRC: New Super 2000 championship

    The first rally of the FIA's new championship for Super 2000 cars gets underway on 11 February as part of the opening round of the 2010 WRC, Rally Sweden. And with a world class selection of drivers, including four FIA champions, at the wheel of the newest cars in the series, there's a lot of pride at stake in the battle to take the first S-WRC rally win.

    Ten rounds of this year's WRC count towards the new S-WRC support championship, and drivers must tackle eight of those ten to be eligible for the title. This year's only winter round of the WRC, Rally Sweden, is the first of the ten rallies and has been nominated by five of the ten drivers registered for the series so far.

    click: wrc.com/S-WRC+NewSuper2000+championship+ready

    ---------------------------------------------
    P-WRC:

    Reigning Production Car World Rally Champion Armindo Araujo will begin the defence of his title on Rally Sweden next week, when the Portuguese driver is hoping to find the same form he showed on the 2009 season's winter fixture in Norway.

    On that occasion Araujo finished second, losing out by more than two minutes to the Super 2000 Skoda Fabia of Patrik Sandell. This year, however, with the P-WRC competition once again restricted to 'traditional' Group N cars like the Subaru Impreza and Mitsubishi Lancer, Araujo starts the event as favourite to take victory.

    Armed with the latest spec Lancer EvoX - the car he drove to a class win in Rally GB last year - Araujo will go up against six other P-WRC drivers in Sweden who have also nominated the winter rally as the opening round of their 2010 programmes.

    click: wrc.com/=P-WRC


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    With the start of the 2010 WRC season only days away, wrc.com spoke to the team principals of the two manufacturer teams contesting this year's championship; Malcolm Wilson of Ford and Olivier Quesnel of Citroen.

    In the first of two EXCLUSIVE pre-season interviews, Malcolm Wilson talks about his team, his driver strategy for the season ahead and why Sebastien Loeb has a lot in common with Michael Schumacher.

    View from the top: Malcolm Wilson



    It's been almost four months since Rally GB. What has the Ford team been up to since the end of the 2009 season?

    "We've had one of busiest periods ever. From the M-Sport side of things, we've been flat-out on the design, development, homologation and testing of the Fiesta Super 2000. On top of that we did Rallye Monte Carlo, so it hasn't been much of a quiet season for us. Of course, we've also been testing for Sweden with the Focus World Rally Car, so it's been hectic period for us."

    Have you made any significant changes to the team structure or personnel?

    "There have been some small changes internally; a few promotions, and some people moving into different roles, but we've tried not to make any differences to our main WRC team because, touch wood, that works really, really well."

    Have you made any changes to the Focus RS WRC since Rally GB?

    "No technical changes. We're not allowed because the FIA froze the specification of the cars as it's the last year for World Rally Cars. There's nothing really you can do homologation-wise, so it’s just a case of working with the restrictions and trying to optimise the set-up for each rally. We've done a lot of work on things like dampers, springs and diff set-ups, but there are no engine spec changes or anything like that."

    read more: wrc.com/Malcolm+Wilson+Q&A

    --------------------------------------------------

    wrc.com spoke to Olivier Quesnel of the Citroen Total World Rally Team.

    Having collected all four of the manufacturers' and drivers' crowns since taking over at Citroen in 2008, the Frenchman is after another double haul of silverware this year, too.

    But as he targets a seventh drivers' title for Loeb, and a sixth for Citroen, Quesnel also predicts this will be the year that Dani Sordo takes his first WRC rally win and new boy Kimi Raikkonen bags a podium:

    View from the top: Olivier Quesnel



    It's been almost four months since Rally GB. What have you been up to since the end of the 2009 season?

    "We've been busy working on budgets, on regulations and I've been in the office making sure everything is going well as we prepare for the season. We are developing the new car, the DS3, and of course we had a lot of events to commemorate last years' results. So it was very busy. I'm pleased now that we're getting ready to start the season again."

    Have you made any significant changes to the team structure or personnel?

    "No, it’s the same. We are family, you know? Everybody is pleased to be there. Sometimes it's going not so good but, like a family, the next day it's okay. I don't like change for the sake of it. When I started at the team I didn't make any changes, and I 'm not going to start now just for the pleasure."

    Have you made any changes to the C4 WRC since Rally GB?

    "The economic crisis means we don't have a lot of budget to do this as well as build a new car. But the C4 is now at the top, even against the Ford, and there is no more homologation permitted. We agreed with Malcolm [Wilson] to say we stop on the WRC cars and put the money into the new car instead."

    How is the development of the C4 World Rally Car's replacement, the DS3, going?

    "It’s going well, now we know it will have a 1.6 litre turbo direct injection engine. And with the final regulations we can work to be ready for the 2011 season. We have tested the car, but so far only in a prototype form. The car we have tested was not exactly according to the regulations because it had the same two-litre turbo engine as the C4 WRC."

    read more: wrc.com/Olivier+Quesnel+Q&A
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    Motorsport's governing body, the FIA, has modified the championship points system used in the World Rally Championship, so that more finishers in a rally are awarded points.

    The system will also be used in the Junior, Production and S2000 WRC title battles.

    Under the new system, which will come into force this week in Sweden, points will be allocated to the top 10 finishers (rather than the previous system's eight) according to the following scale:
    1st: 25 points
    2nd: 18 points
    3rd: 15 points
    4th: 12 points
    5th: 10 points
    6th: 8 points
    7th: 6 points
    8th: 4 points
    9th: 2 points
    10th: 1 point

    The decision to adopt the system was taken on 9 February, after the FIA put the matter to a fax vote of competitors. It was also approved by the members of the World Motor Sport Council.

    Even though more points are available under the new system, with 25 awarded for first place rather than 10, it would not have altered the 2009 drivers' championship classification had it been introduced last year.

    click: wrc.com/=FIA+introduces+new+WRC+points

    click: crash.net/wrc_follows_f1_lead_with_new_points_system
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    Defending World Rally Champion Sebastien Loeb sent a clear signal to his rivals today by setting the fastest time at the pre-Rally Sweden Shakedown test in his Citroen C4 WRC.

    The four-hour test took place on a 4km stage in Hagfors, just south of the event's main Service Park. Conditions were perfect for this season's only winter round, with light snow falling throughout the session and a temperature of a chilly -8 degrees Celsius.

    Loeb, the leader of the Citroen Total team, made four passes through the stage in his C4 WRC, setting his best time of 1min 53.4sec on his final attempt. Returning to the Service Park, the six time World Champion told wrc.com he was satisfied with the set-up of his car but warned that stage conditions could make this a very difficult event.

    "My car felt okay, no problems, but Shakedown is a bit special I think compared to the first pass through the stages we will have tomorrow," he said. "In the stages there is snow and a lot of slippery conditions but the Shakedown was full of gravel so there was a lot of grip. Friday's first stage has a good ice base, on the second there was just snow on the recce, and for me that's not good. We're very close to the gravel underneath, so the second pass will be rough and hard for the tyres.

    "I don't have much experience of the tyres in these conditions, but for sure we'll start to lose some studs. I don't know how to save the tyres on a surface like this. We'll have to see."


    Shakedown times:

    1. LOEB. Citroen C4 WRC. 1:53.4
    2. SORDO. Citroen C4 WRC. 1:54.8
    3. LATVALA. Ford Focus RS WRC 09. 1:55.8
    4. HIRVONEN. Ford Focus RS WRC 09. 1:56.0
    5. GRONHOLM. Ford Focus RS WRC 08. 1:56.2
    6. P. SOLBERG. Citroen C4 WRC. 1:56.3
    7. OGIER. Citroen C4 WRC. 1:57.4
    8. H.SOLBERG. Ford Focus RS WRC 08. 1:57.6
    9. OSTBERG. Subaru Impreza WRC 09. 1:59.0
    10. WILSON. Ford Focus RS WRC 08. 1:59.4
    11. RAIKKONEN. Citroen C4 WRC. 1:59.3
    12. AL QASSIMI. Ford Focus RS WRC 08. 2:00.8

    click: wrc.com/Sweden+Shakedown

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    -------------------------------------------------------
    Rally Sweden Pre-Event Press Conference:

    Present:
    Sébastien Loeb, Citroën Total World Rally Team
    Mikko Hirvonen, BP Ford Abu Dhabi World Rally Team
    Kimi Räikkönen, Citroën Junior Team
    Marcus Grönholm, Stobart M-Sport Ford Rally Team
    Patrik Sandell, FIA S2000 World Rally Championship
    Martin Semerád, FIA Production Car World Rally Championship

    Welcome to the pre-event FIA Press Conference Q & A:

    Read click: rallysweden.com/wrc/en/?p=251
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    **HOT News
    Petter Solberg lost over 18 seconds when he was off the road in the heat against brother Henning on the first Super Special Stage.

    SS1 Super Special Stage Karlstad 1




    click: wrc.com sweden SS1

    click : rallysweden.com/wrc/en/?p=258
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    Day 1

    SS2 Likenas 1





    Defending World Rally Champion Sebastien Loeb moved ahead of his Citroen team-mate Dani Sordo into the lead of Rally Sweden after setting the fastest time though the first forest stage of the event.
    Under clear skies and in a temperature of -22 degrees Celsius, Loeb threaded his Citroen C4 WRC through the 20.78km Likenas test 1.9sec quicker than anybody else, moving into the rally lead by one second. Stage conditions were rock hard and icy, thanks to water spraying of the road prior to the event.
    At the stage end Loeb was satisfied with his performance, and felt his road position was ideal. "The conditions are good for me to be first on the road; it was full ice, so no problems there," he said. "It's so cold that the ice is hard and the grip isn't so high, so the car was a bit nervous. I think I've done a good stage but it wasn't easy."
    Loeb's title rival in 2009, Mikko Hirvonen, brought his Ford Focus RS WRC to the finish control in the second fastest time, 1.9sec slower, but felt he could improve. "That wasn't the best of starts but we can only get better," he said. "I was a bit too careful in places - it wasn't the aggressive start I made in GB last year. I need to wake up."

    Click: wrc.com/index=SS2

    --------------------------------------

    SS3 Viggen 1



    Citroen Total team drivers Sebastien Loeb and Dani Sordo were the two quickest drivers through Friday's second stage, enabling them pull slightly ahead at the top of the overall leaderboard.
    With only three of the rally's 21 stages completed the top ten remains tight, but two consecutive stage wins from Loeb have moved the Frenchman 4.5sec ahead of his chief title rival Mikko Hirvonen, who holds third place.


    Click: wrc.com/index=SS3

    --------------------------------------



    SS4 Torntorp 1



    Ford team-leader Mikko Hirvonen ended Citroen's run of stage wins on SS4, taking his first fastest time of the rally and moving up to second overall.
    The Finn rounded off Friday morning's loop of stages with a time through Torntorp four-tenths quicker than that of his closest rival, rally leader Sebastien Loeb.
    After struggling to get comfortable on Friday's opening ice-covered stage, Hirvonen was far happier on the hard packed snow surface of Torntorp. "For the first time I'm sweating a bit, so things are going in the right direction!" he said. "Before the stage we changed the car set-up a bit, not too much though; it's all about the small things. Overall it's not too bad. We're not too far behind."
    Before heading to Hagfors for the midday 30-minute service, Loeb, who is 4.1sec ahead of Hirvonen overall, couldn't explain why his rival had beaten him. "I wasn't so confident - a little too hesitant - but I don't know why," he said. "The stage before I knew it was good time, this one I'm not so sure."

    Click: wrc.com/index=SS4

    ------------------------------------------------



    S-WRC update after SS4: Swedes battle for first Super 2000 win
    In the first ever round of the S-WRC, Swedish guest driver P-G Andersson is stealing the show having won all four opening stages of Rally Sweden.
    He claims this result has taken him by surprise, “I'm very happy, though winning all the stages so far was a little unexpected. The car feels very good today. When we started testing I had to do what the car wanted, now it is the opposite.”
    After a morning of drama and disappointing stage times, Patrik Sandell is out to catch his countryman; “It's been a really bad morning. SS2 was too slow and I stalled at the start of the next two stages. After that I couldn't really feel my groove. I had too much grip in the rear tyres into corners so I couldn't place the car correctly. Our aim for this afternoon is to go faster. We can fight with Andersson if we get everything working right this afternoon.”

    Click: wrc.com/index=news SWRC


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    SS5 Likenas 2





    SS5: Hirvonen leads after carnage on Likenas repeat !

    The first of Friday's repeated stages made a big impact on the top ten in Rally Sweden, with Mikko Hirvonen shooting into the lead, Loeb dropping to third, and numerous drivers going off or missing junctions.

    The reason for the action was the road surface which, after the passage of the 55 car field, had deteriorated from the pack ice of SS2 to become rutted and inconsistent.

    Sebastien Loeb was first to complete the stage, with split times showing that Hirvonen was around 10 seconds quicker. "There's nothing wrong with my car - it's the road conditions," Loeb shrugged. "There are lots of ruts with snow inside. I expected it and I knew I had no chance. I tried as much as I could, and took more risks in the second pass that I did earlier, but the time is not so good. I don't like these conditions."

    Less than two minutes later, Hirvonen arrived at the control, but without a smile on his face. "This stage might have cost me a lot," he warned. "The conditions here might be too hard on the tyres, in which case Seb has saved his. When I knew we were a long way ahead I slowed down, but it could be that the damage is already done. We won't know until we tackle the next two."

    Dani Sordo set the second fastest time, 4.4sec adrift of Hirvonen's, and echoed Loeb's comments about the road. "All the time I was in and out of the ruts, so it's very easy to make a mistake," he said. "It was okay on the first pass but now you're lucky if you finish the stage."

    ....All of the WRC crews did manage to finish the stage, but most emerged with stories of lucky escapes and missed junctions. Not so lucky, however, were Petter Solberg and Matthew Wilson who collided around 12km from the start.

    Solberg was first to hit trouble, losing four minutes and damaging the rear of his C4 WRC when he went off the road. He got going again, but was quickly caught by Ford Focus RS WRC driver Matthew Wilson. Wilson got past soon after - when Petter went off again - but eight kilometres from the finish Wilson stalled his Ford on a corner and was rear-ended by Petter's Citroen.

    Both drivers completed the stage, but Wilson's car seemed to have come off worse in the collision and sported some right-hand rear suspension damage. Solberg's car also looking second hand, with damage to its front and rear corners. "He went off in front of us and I hit him, that's explains the damage on front," said Petter. "I'm trying too hard."

    The incidents dropped Solberg to 13th, while Wilson actually gained a place ( to eighth) when Adapta Subaru driver Mads Ostberg was slowed with an engine problem and went off.

    Click: wrc.com/News SS5

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    Pics:

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    click: rallysweden.com/wrc/en/?p=SS5

    ------------------------------------

    SS6 Viggen 2



    Marcus Grönholm lost twelve and a half minute on special stage 6 when the car stopped and a lot of other drivers had trouble over the 21,28 kilometers. Mikko Hirvonen still in the lead with two stages to go this friday.

    Click: rallysweden.com/wrc/en/?p=SS6

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    Last edited by Weasel 555; 02-12-2010 at 09:10 AM.
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    SS6: Big problems for Gronholm and Raikkonen

    Finnish superstars Marcus Gronholm and Kimi Raikkonen both suffered serious setbacks on the sixth stage of Rally Sweden, with Gronholm losing 12 minutes because of a technical problem and Raikkonen getting stuck in a snow bank for 25 minutes.

    Gronholm was first to hit trouble, 2.3km from the start line, when his Stobart Team Ford Focus was brought to a halt by a suspected electrical fault. The Finn managed to get going again and complete the stage, but a stage time 12 minutes slower than SS6 winner Jari-Matti Latvala's dropped him from sixth to 30th place.

    Raikkonen's problems occurred later in the stage, just a couple of kilometres before the finish, when he drove his Citroen Junior Team C4 WRC into a snow bank and got stuck. Like Gronholm he eventually managed to get going again, but the incident meant he completed the stage more than 26 minutes slower than Latvala. The Finn, who was 10th overall on SS5, dropped out of the top 30.

    read more: wrc.com/News SS6

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    SS7 Torntorp 2





    The Finish Ford-driver Mikko Hirvonen extended his lead in Rally Sweden when he was fastest over the second run at Torntorp-stage (run as SS 7). Hirvonen was 3,3 seconds ahead of battle rival Sebastien Loeb.

    Daniel Sordo was third on SS 7 and is third overall 12,2 seconds behind Hirvonen. Jari-Matti Latvala is fourth and Sebastien Ogier is fifth when the cars, after a 45 minute service break, head back to Karlstad for the closing stage of the day, the super special stage at Färjestad horse-trotting track. First car is scheduled to 20.00 tonight.

    Click: rallysweden.com/wrc/en/?p=SS7

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    End of Day 2

    SS8 Super Special Stage Karlstad 2




    Click: wrc.com/index/results=SS8

    Click: rallysweden.com/wrc/en/?p=SS8

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    Day 2

    SS9 Vargasen 1






    On Saturday's opening stage of Rally Sweden, overnight leader Mikko Hirvonen almost doubled his lead over second placed Sebastien Loeb, taking it to more than 10 seconds for the first time.
    Day two of the rally began in darkness at 0600hrs, when drivers left Karlstad for the 85km drive north to Hagfors and a 15 minute service. With the sun rising, and in a temperature of -21 degrees Celsius, they then embarked on the 18km journey west to the start of Vargasen.
    Ford Focus driver Hirvonen was first to complete the stage, and reached the finish control with his car's dashboard showing a positive set of split times compared to Loeb. "A good start but I'm having to push really hard," he said, "After the recce this one was full gravel so it's really hard on the tyres. It’s okay, but for sure Seb will push like hell."
    Loeb was next to complete in his Citroen C4 but had no immediate answer Hirvonen's speed. "Mikko's going very fast, and I don't know why," he said. "Yesterday was the same. I tried my best but the stage conditions are difficult, there's a lot of gravel around."

    Click: wrc.com/index=News SS9

    --------------------------------------------

    SS10 Sagen 1





    Sebastien Loeb responded to rally leader Mikko Hirvonen's push through SS9 by going fastest through the 14.23km Sagen which followed and clawing back 3.9sec of the Finn's advantage.
    Last run in 2004, the return of the classic Sagen stage proved a huge draw for thousands of spectators who trudged through the snow to watch from the roadside. Unfortunately the stage proved so popular that organisers had to delay the start by 45 minutes until the crowds were safely positioned. The rest of this morning itinerary is likely to be delayed as a result.
    First to complete, Hirvonen denied the pre-stage delay had affected his concentration, but the Ford driver sounded disappointed by his performance. "Not such a good drive this time, but that's okay, the rally is still going on," he said. "We clipped snowbank, which destroyed the front bumper, but that's no problem. It was a very slippery stage; maybe it will be better for the boys behind."
    Sure enough Sebastien Loeb, the next driver through, was faster by 3.9 seconds. "Not bad; nearly as much as Mikko took this morning so it's a good fight," he said. "The stage was really beautiful, I enjoyed it. It’s very wide with a good surface and constant gap. I'm quite happy, but I'm still behind."

    wrc.com/index=News SS10


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    SS11 Fredriksberg 1





    Citroen Total team driver Dani Sordo had a lucky escape on the Fredriksberg stage after clipping a snowbank in a sixth-gear section and losing control of his C4 WRC.
    The Spaniard dropped around 15 seconds in the incident, and reached the finish line with right-hand panel damage to his Citroen and a missing rear spoiler. With a big grin on his face, Sordo said he couldn't understand how he had got away with it.
    "We were going so fast in sixth when we hit the bank, then there was snow everywhere and I remember seeing trees and thinking it’s finished now," he explained. "Then, somehow, we were back in the middle of the road and we were alright. It's incredible!"
    Rally leaders Mikko Hirvonen and Sebastien Loeb were the quickest drivers though the stage, with Loeb a slender 0.2sec ahead of his rival. Hirvonen's lead over Loeb in the overall standings narrowed to 6.7seconds, and the pair pulled further ahead of the chasing pack, still led by Sordo almost 30 seconds further back.
    Fourth placed Jari-Matti Latvala closed the gap on Sordo by six seconds - despite another frustrating stage in his Focus. "I really struggled with the car in this stage," he said. "I'm looking forward to trying a different set-up this afternoon."

    Click: wrc.com/index=News SS11

    ------------------------------------------------

    SS12 Hagfors Sprint 1




    With 12 of the 21 stages of Rally Sweden completed, Ford team-leader Mikko Hirvonen holds the overall lead by 4.2sec from Citroen's defending world champion, Sebastien Loeb.
    The overnight leader, Hirvonen started Saturday's competition 6.2 seconds in front, and increased this to more than 10 seconds on today's opening stage, but gave away a little to Sebastien on Loeb on each of the three that followed. Running first on the road through today's stages, the Finn enjoyed a trouble free morning in his Focus RS WRC, apart from a stall on the start line of the short SS12 Hagfors Sprint.

    "It's great fun to be involved in such a big fight for the lead," said 29-year-old Hirvonen. "My only mistake came when I stalled at the start of the short stage. The roads were in good condition but when we drive them again this afternoon I think they will be badly rutted with gravel coming through the ice. That will be tough, and I'll need to look after my tyres well to ensure we keep the studs in."
    After struggling to match Hirvonen's pace on the rougher surface of Vargassen (SS9), Loeb emerged far happier as winner of the smoother surface Sagen stage (SS10) and went on to take fastest times on the two which followed.

    Loeb's Citroen team-mate Dani Sordo is third, and lucky to be in the competition at all after a huge moment on SS11 when he bounced his C4 WRC off a snow bank flat-out in sixth gear.

    Click: wrc.com/index=News SS12

    ----------------------------------------------------



    P-WRC update after SS12

    Swedish Subaru driver Patrik Flodin increased his lead in the P-WRC over Norwegian rival Anders Grondal by 17 seconds to more than half a minute this morning in Rally Sweden.
    Grondal, also driving an Impreza, broke Flodin’s winning streak on day one, stealing the P-WRC stage wins in SS6 and SS8, but by SS9 Flodin was back in control.

    Grondal isn’t sure he can close the gap now, but is focusing on the rally stage by stage: “We will do a little set-up change over lunchtime service and hopefully will be able to win more stages this afternoon. Unfortunately, this morning we went into a ditch in SS9 just when we were putting in better times than Patrik and the air box filled with snow so we lost engine performance.” In SS10 Grondal clocked a time only 0.7 seconds slower than Flodin, but Flodin responded by taking adding another 10 seconds to his lead in SS11 and SS12.

    Flodin still wants more speed and better results though: “I am still in the lead, but I had a problem with my suspension this morning. I hope this will be better in afternoon. You never know though - they always make changes to the car and I’m never sure what they are doing exactly.”

    Click: wrc.com/PWRC/UpdateSS12

    --------------------------------------------------------------
    S-WRC update after SS12:

    Halfway through day two of Rally Sweden and Swedish guest driver P-G Andersson still looks set to take the first class win in the S-WRC but has had to wave goodbye to the full house he was after.
    Having won the first nine, he wanted to steer his Skoda Fabia S2000 to victory in every stage, but Norwegian Eyvind Brynildsen had different ideas.

    In SS11 and SS12, Brynildsen took the stage wins from Andersson and is rapidly climbing the overall S-WRC rankings. After a disastrous SS3, Brynildsen, this year’s youngest S-WRC entrant, has determinedly worked his way up the field.

    Second in the overall standings, however, remains Ford Fiesta S2000 driver Janne Tuohino. At the end of SS12, the Finn is now a full 1.01 minutes behind Andersson. He doesn’t think he can catch Andersson, but wants stage wins: “Unless Andersson makes mistakes he’s going too fast to catch. Hopefully we can win the other stages this afternoon, that’s our target.”

    Tuohino's focus is also on the car behind him. Czech driver Martin Prokop has been holding the gap of between them steady since he stalled on SS2 and let Tuohino streak ahead.

    Click: wrc.com/index/SWRCUpdateSS12


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    Last edited by Weasel 555; 02-13-2010 at 06:04 AM.
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  14. #13

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    SS13 Vargasen 2





    Following Mikko Hirvonen's aggressive approach though Friday's first repeated stage, each of the factory team drivers pushed like hell through SS13 hoping to replicate the successful strategy today.
    With four tyres, and two spares to last them until the end of the Saturday's competition, tyre and stud preservation is a huge factor on the rougher repeated roads, but Hirvonen put thoughts of damage to the back of his mind as he fired his Ford Focus RS through Vargasen for the second time.
    "It's very close and from the splits it doesn't look like Seb is saving his tyres," smiled Hirvonen at the finish control. "We're both going flat out - it’s going to be interesting to see what we have both have left at the end of the day."
    Loeb was next to complete, in a time 2.7sec slower than Hirvonen's. "I think my tyres are destroyed, there's so much movement on them," said Loeb. "I'm not sure they'll last but we'll see. Mikko was very fast again and I couldn't do much better. I made no mistakes, I'm happy with the car, but Mikko was in front."
    The stage was won by a delighted Jari-Matti Latvala, who halved the 20 second gap to the man ahead of him in third place, Dani Sordo. "We modified the set-up in service to make it more like Mikko's car - it certainly worked here," he said. "We'll have to see if we can take more on the next stage. Dani's not so far away any more, but we can't get too excited about the situation - next stage he might be quicker."

    Click: wrc.com/Index/NewsSS13


    ------------------------------------------------

    SS14 Sagen 2



    .
    After a gung-ho approach from the front-runners on the afternoon's first repeated stage, things were different on SS14, with some drivers choosing to continue with their worn tyres and others electing to fit their two new spares.
    Whether to feel the benefit of fresh studs now, or on the day's final two stages, divided the field.

    First to complete SS14 was Mikko Hirvonen, who was the fastest of the manufacturer drivers, but wasn't hanging around at the finish control to reveal his strategy. "Everything is fine but the tyres are gone," he said, dragging his finger across his throat, "I've got to go."

    Loeb completed next, in a time 7.9sec slower, but wasn't surprised to have given time away to Hirvonen. "I think Mikko put his new tyres on for this one," he explained. "I didn't, so I lost a lot of time. I used the same tyres as the last one. Maybe that was a mistake. We'll see."

    Dani Sordo was six seconds quicker than Loeb through the stage, courtesy of a different approach. "I'm not sure if it’s the right solution, but I went with a different strategy to Sebastien and fitted new front tyres for this stage," he said. "It's going to be more difficult on the next stage, though."

    Jari-Matti Latvala set the fourth fastest time in his car equipped - like Sordo's - with new front tyres. "Even with the new ones I wanted to be careful in here," he said. "I tried not to be too sideways - I don’t want to destroy my rears"

    Click: wrc.com/index/updateSS14


    .
    Last edited by Weasel 555; 02-13-2010 at 08:27 AM.
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    I've been so busy removing snow that I forgot that it started this week! Thanks for the info!
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  16. #15

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    SS15 Fredriksberg 2



    Mikko Hirvonen's lead of Rally Sweden reached 23 seconds on Saturday's penultimate stage when second placed Sebastien Loeb's tyre gamble backfired.

    With darkness falling, Hirvonen completed the Fredriksberg repeat in the second fastest time, 8.2sec quicker than Loeb. But the Finn warned that having changed his front tyres before SS14, the short sprint stage which remains could undo all his good work.

    "I came as fast as I could but for sure we have nothing left for the Super Special now - the tyres are completely finished," he said. "It's the same for everybody. The tyres don't last in these conditions, but okay, we are here, let’s see."

    Loeb, meanwhile, was left ruing his strategy to delay fitting his fresh tyres until SS15. "It didn't work out," said Loeb. "We had good front tyres but the rears were destroyed and the car was undriveable. I couldn't push, I just had to follow the road and couldn't attack. The rear end wouldn't follow the front of the car - even after I tried to wear the fronts deliberately. Having new tyres at the front and destroyed ones at the rear was worse than have four destroyed ones."

    Citroen suffered another set-back soon after, when Dani Sordo had to stop his C4 WRC mid-stage to remove a piece of snow shielding from the engine compartment. "I had to stop because the engine overheated - it's difficult to explain but we made a mistake with a small part in the car," he said. The incident cost Sordo one minute and dropped him behind Jari-Matti Latvala into fourth place.

    Click: wrc.com/index/News SS15

    ---------------------------------------

    End of Day 2

    SS16 Hagfors Sprint 2





    Ford team-leader Mikko Hirvonen will take a 16.6 second lead into Sunday's final day of Rally Sweden, an advantage his chief opponent, Citroen driver Sebastien Loeb, acknowledged will be difficult to overturn on the five stage which remain.

    Saturday's second day of the rally featured two identical loops of four stages in the Varmland region of central Sweden, clustered around the Hagfors Service Park. Under clear blue skies and in temperatures than plunged to -22ºC, crews tackled 117.76km of ice and snow covered gravel stages.
    Hirvonen started Saturday's competition in the lead, 6.2 seconds ahead of Loeb, but after a back and forth scrap in the morning, this gap was down to 4.2sec by the midpoint service. The afternoon was another story, however, when Hirvonen and Loeb gambled on fitting fresh tyres at different times - a decision which ultimately went Hirvonen's way and netted him a 23sec lead after SS15.

    "Okay, it's been a good day," said Hirvonen. "Sixteen seconds is not much, but it's more than we had in the morning. For sure there are long stages to go tomorrow and Seb will try hard, but we'll see. Hopefully I can keep him behind. First on the road today was not a problem, especially on the first pass it's pretty good to be there; you can make your own lines and there is no snow or ruts or anything."

    Loeb ended the day well, clawing back 6.4sec on the final Sprint stage, but the Frenchman was angry at giving time away. "We made a stupid mistake today with the tyres; it was very much the wrong choice," he said. "[On SS15] I put fresh tyres on the front with some completely destroyed tyres on the rear and I couldn't use it. I lost a lot of time to Mikko. Can I catch him? I don’t know, but it will be very difficult. Normally 16 seconds is possible but when you look at the times between us today you can see it’s difficult to make any difference."

    Click: wrc.com/index=News SS16



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