Should be good. Thanks for all the info this year!
This is a discussion on WRC Wales RallyGB Nov11-14 talk/results spoiler* within the Motorsports Talk forums, part of the Community - Meet other Enthusiasts category; Final Round - Wales Rally GB - Nov 11-14 First run in 1932, the Rally of Great Britain is one ...
Final Round - Wales Rally GB - Nov 11-14
First run in 1932, the Rally of Great Britain is one of the oldest rallies in the world and was known for many years as the RAC Rally. The event has been a qualifying round of the WRC every year since the series was established in 1973.
From its early beginnings as a national event that roamed around the country and included stages in the North-East, Scotland, the Lake District, the North-West and the Midlands, the action, particularly since 2000, has been focussed on Wales.
The gravel forest stages of south and mid-Wales are fast and flowing and, when wet, can become as slippery as any in the world. And in a country famed for its lush greenery, rain, and lots it, is always a possibility. As well as the forestry roads, the event features stages on exposed military land to the north of Brecon, which are prone to fog. Accurate pace notes are essential throughout.
As it has in recent years, the Welsh capital Cardiff hosts the ceremonial start and the finish, as well as the Service Park - which moved from Swansea to Cardiff Bay for the first time in 2009.
Official Website: walesrallygb.com/home
Wales Rally Great Britain has received a 63-car entry for next week's event, which will be the final round in the current era of two-litre World Rally Cars.
Fifteen of the cutting-edge World Rally Cars will make one final pass through the Welsh woods before they are replaced by all-new 1.6-litre machinery in time for the start of next season.
Seven-time World Rally Champion Sebastien Loeb will lead the way in Cardiff, the Citroen driver looking forward to another pressure-free rally after clinching his seventh consecutive title at home in France early last month.
Being a gravel round, Loeb is joined by Sebastien Ogier in the Citroen Total World Rally Team. Ogier created a real stir in Wales two years ago, when he led the event in the snow and ice on his debut in a C4 WRC. With two wins behind him this year, the younger of the Frenchmen will be looking to end his season on the highest of highs.
Also looking to end their year on a high will be the Ford team. Jari-Matti Latvala is embroiled in a scrap for second place in the championship, along with Ogier and Petter Solberg. The Finn has always gone well in Britain, but it’s his team-mate Mikko Hirvonen who has the more successful history on this event, having won it once.
Solberg starts - with an almost local (in world terms) co-driver Chris Patterson alongside - in his usual Petter Solberg World Rally Team Citroen C4 WRC.
American Gymkhana hero Ken Block makes his first start in a World Rally Car in Britain, as does his fellow Ford Focus driver Liu Chao Dong from China. Dong, a three-time Chinese Rally Champion, is leading his domestic series this year and is on course to wrap up a fourth title before making the trip to Wales. Dong and his Australian co-driver Anthony McLaughlin will compete as part of the Stobart M-Sport Ford team.
Slightly further down the field, there’s an exceptional scrap for this year’s inaugural Super 2000 World Rally Championship title. Fiesta drivers Jari Ketomaa and Xevi Pons will do battle with Skoda’s Patrik Sandell - the latter is the driver further from the title, but the man on the best form: he arrives in Cardiff on the back of two S-WRC wins.
In the Production Car World Rally Championship, only Subaru driver Patrik Flodin (a former P-WRC winner in Wales) can stop Armindo Araujo from taking back-to-back titles for the Ralliart Italia Mitsubishi team.
Should be good. Thanks for all the info this year!
An escalator can never break. It can only become stairs. You would never see an ‘Escalator Temporarily Out Of Order’ sign, just ‘Escalator Temporarily Stairs. Sorry for the convenience.’ - Mitch Hedberg
Wed eve Shakedown
Due to Margam Park been cancelled for Shakedown on the Thursday. Shakedown was held on Wed evening on the Cardiff Super Special stage:
Ogier tops Welsh shakedown
Sebastien Ogier sets the pace on shakedown for Wales Rally GB
Sebastien Ogier set the pace on shakedown for the final round of the World Rally Championship in Wales.
The pre-event shakedown for Wales Rally GB should have taken place in Margam Park but was moved to a special asphalt superspecial stage in Cardiff Bay after tree disease forced the original plans to be shelved.
Returning to the main factory Citroen team for the season finale, Ogier set the fastest time through the short 1.7km stage and was six-tenths of a second clear of championship winner Sebastien Loeb, with Citroen Junior Team driver Dani Sordo third quickest.
Petter Solberg was fourth ahead of the first of the Fords in the hands of Mikko Hirvonen, with Matthew Wilson completing the top six.
The event gets underway with a run through the Superspecial stage on Thursday evening.
Wales Rally GB Shakedown times (top ten):
1. Sebastien Ogier Citroen Total WRT C4 WRC 01mins 13.7secs M
2. Sebastien Loeb Citroen Total WRT C4 WRC 01mins 14.3secs M
3. Dani Sordo Citroen Junior Team C4 WRC 01mins 15.0secs M
4. Petter Solberg PSWRT Citroen C4 WRC 01mins 15.7secs A8
5. Mikko Hirvonen BP Ford Abu Dhabi Focus RS WRC 01mins 16.2secs M
6. Matthew Wilson Stobart M-Sport Ford Focus WRC 01mins 16.3secs M
7. Jari-Matti Latvala BP Ford Abu Dhabi Focus RS WRC 01mins 16.7secs M
8. Kimi Raikkonen Citroen Junior Team C4 WRC 01mins 17.3secs M
9. Henning Solberg Stobart M-Sport FordFocus WRC 01mins 17.7secs M
10. Khalid Al Qassimi BP Ford Abu Dhabi Focus WRC 01mins 18.6secs A8
Cardiff Super Special
Loeb wins first test on Rally GB
Sebastien Loeb takes the early lead on Wales Rally GB following the short Cardiff Bay SSS last night.
Citroen number one driver Sebastien Loeb will lead into the first day proper of Wales Rally GB after topping the times through the Cardiff Bay Super Special stage tonight.
Loeb was 0.7 seconds quicker than team-mate Sebastien Ogier on the run through the 1.70 kilometre stage, which was held in ferocious weather conditions. Indeed gale force winds and heavy rain blasted Cardiff for much of the day, and viewing areas alongside the narrow strip of asphalt were evacuated for safety reasons as gusts reached 100kph.
Dani Sordo meanwhile was next up, 0.4 seconds up on Petter Solberg, to give Citroen a clean sweep of the top four places. Jari-Matti Latvala led the Ford charge ahead of F1 2007 world champion, Kimi Raikkonen and Mikko Hirvonen. Britain's Matthew Wilson completed the top eight.
"I chose to drive really carefully," said Latvala. "It's important to respect the conditions and not attack too much when they are as bad as this. Tomorrow I hope to find a good feeling, that's the way to earn a good result in this rally."
"It was dry when I left the start, but by the time I tackled the stage, the road was full wet," Hirvonen added.
The event now gets underway proper tomorrow [Friday], with SS2, Hafren 1, starting at 09.38 hours [local time].
SWRC Standings after Stage 1 (Top 3):
1. Andreas Mikkelsen Skoda Fabia S2000 1min 21.6secs S
2. Jari Ketomaa Ford Fiesta S2000 +00mins 01.3secs S
3. Michal Kosciuszko Skoda Fabia S2000 +00mins 02.7secs S
PWRC Standings after Stage 1 (Top 3):
1. Patrik Flodin Subaru Impreza STi 1min 25.8secs P
2. Ott Tanak Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X +00mins 00.1secs P
3. Anders Grondal Subaru Impreza STi +00mins 00.2secs P
all times unofficial
Jari-Matti Latvala moved into the lead of Wales Rally GB this morning after going fastest though Friday's opening stage - the 31.99km Hafren.
After Thursday night’s stormy Superspecial, the action began in earnest at 0600hrs today when drivers left Cardiff for the long journey north into the forests of mid-Wales.
Conditions were damp and windy as crews tackled the Hafren section, with many adopting a cautious approach on a tricky road that featured a mixed gravel and mud surface.
Running third in Friday’s running order, Latvala got his Focus to the finish in 18min 43.2sec, 1.2 seconds quicker than his closest rival, Citroen privateer Petter Solberg. “It was quite a good start, the grip was better than I had expected actually,” said Latvala. “It’s really muddy though, and there is a lot of loose ground,”
Overnight leader Sebastien Loeb dropped behind Petter into third place. “I made a good start but later on I made a few mistakes and had some moments. After that I was more cautious - and a bit slow at the end.”
Stobart Ford driver Matthew Wilson lost around 15 seconds after spinning his Ford Focus and stalling its engine.
After losing the lead of Rally GB on the short sprint stage at Sweet Lamb (SS3), Jari-Matti Latvala regained the position with a fastest time on the 27km Myherin section (SS4) which followed.
Latvala slipped to third on SS3, after powering his Ford Focus RS through one of the stage’s water splashes. “We went though the second one and the engine took in some water,” he explained. “After that there was an uphill section and we lost time because the engine wasn’t pulling. It’s okay now but it took about 500 metres to clear.”
The Finn proved his car was back to full strength on SS4 by taking the stage win by 3.2sec from Sebastien Loeb and moving back into first place.
Heading to the midpoint remote service in Builth Wells, Latvala’s rally lead stood at 1.4seconds from Sebastien Loeb, with Petter Solberg five-tenths further back in third.
Last edited by Weasel 555; 11-12-2010 at 04:21 AM.
After four stages run in typically Welsh weather, Ford driver Jari-Matti Latvala is on top of the Rally Great Britain - although the fight at the front remains incredibly close.
The Finn won two out of three stages this morning to open up a lead of 1.4 seconds over 2010 World Champion Sebastien Loeb, having lost his initial advantage after his Focus’s engine hesitated for 500 metres following a watersplash in the Sweet Lamb stage.
“That wasn’t a good moment, but luckily the time lost wasn’t huge,” he said. “It’s really difficult as the grip is massively inconsistent. Sometimes it is OK, but at other times there is no grip at all.”
Loeb started first on the road by virtue of his championship lead but for once this turned out to be a slight advantage, as in the damp conditions the stages gradually became softer and more degraded with each car that passed.
Having briefly claimed the lead after Latvala’s engine mishap on SS3, the Frenchman is now relishing the prospect of the battle ahead. “It’s a close fight and it’s a lot of fun,” he said. “I’m not sure if it’s actually an advantage to be first though. I don’t feel like it is: the grip is very uncertain.”
Multiple Rally Great Britain winner Petter Solberg is down to third following a gear selection problem. “I try to get fourth gear but it’s doing strange things like giving me fifth,” said the Norwegian. “I lost a bit of time, but there is still everything to fight for. When things are going well, I’ve got a really good feeling.”
The top three are in fact covered by less than two seconds, with Sebastien Ogier a further five seconds down the road in fourth. “I’m trying to keep up with the leaders, but it’s not easy,” said Ogier, who is in the factory Citroen C4 as Loeb’s team mate for this event. “I have to decide how many risks I want to take.”
Dani Sordo and Mikko Hirvonen are fifth and sixth separated by just two seconds, with both drivers making some small set-up changes during the remote service halt at Builth Wells.
One person who found out just how inconsistent the grip could be was Matthew Wilson, who spun on the opening stage this morning and then took a while to get going again after his engine stalled.
Former Grand Prix World Champion Kimi Raikkonen was taking no risks on his first Rally Great Britain, dropping time to the frontrunners on all the stages but ending the opening loop in 10th. “This is even more of a tricky event than I thought it would be,” said Raikkonen. “I’m really not confident when the grip is changing all the time. So it’s best just to play it safe.”
The Super 2000 battle is led by Ford Fiesta driver Jari Ketomaa from Skoda’s Patrik Sandell, while in the Production Car Championship battle Patrik Flodin currently holds the category lead in his Subaru - although Mitsubishi driver Armindo Araujo is still on track to lift his second consecutive title.
Click: wrc.com/Friday Midday Wrap
Day 1 Afternoon SS5
Sebastien Ogier was the pace-setter through the repeated 32km Hafren - taking the stage win as the Welsh weather turned increasingly nasty.
After the remote service in Builth Wells, crews began the repeat pass of the morning’s loop of stages in torrential rain, which added sections of standing water to the long list of potential hazards.
Ogier, driving a Citroen C4 WRC, completed the stage three-tenths quicker than rally leader Jari-Matti Latvala, who was second fastest. “The rain is making it difficult but actually the grip is better than it was this morning,” said Ogier.
Petter Solberg set the third fastest time but was concerned about an ongoing gear selection problem. “The gearbox is changing on its own,” he explained. “I’ll be in fifth then it will shift into neutral for no reason. It did that all the way through. I have to be careful [not to stall] because I have no starter motor either. Considering this my time is unbelievable!”
Sebastien Loeb was fourth fastest but said his start position of first on the road was causing problems. “There’s too much water on the road now - it’s filling the ruts and we’re aquaplaning. I’m pushing really hard but it’s impossible to do anything,” he said.
Citroen Junior team driver Dani Sordo said he was lucky to escape unscathed after an enormous spin. “We were in sixth gear when we went off on a right-hand corner,” said the Spaniard. “We ended up in the middle of the road, pointing in the right direction but in first gear!”
Sebastien Loeb became the new leader of Rally GB on Friday's final stage after a puncture cost Jari-Matti Latvala more than one minute.
Following a clean run through the short Sweet Lamb test (SS6) Latvala carried a 4.5sec rally lead into the repeat of the Myherin stage. But a left-hand rear puncture five kilometres from the start line meant the Ford Focus driver emerged from the test in sixth.
Sebastien Loeb was the stage winner, to top the day one leaderboard 1.8 seconds ahead of fellow Citroen C4 WRC driver Petter Solberg. Sebastien Ogier was third quickest through the stage to end the day third overall, a slender 1.8sec behind Solberg.
Last edited by Weasel 555; 11-12-2010 at 08:04 AM.
Patrik Flodin's hopes of repeating his 2008 Rally GB Production Car World Rally Championship victory were dealt a big blow on the final stage of Wales Rally GB tonight when he bent the steering on his Subaru, allowing Ott Tanak to move to the head of the field.
Flodin had been on stunning form for the first six stages of the event, winning each test to build up a lead of more than a minute.
The Swede knew full well that, having started the event 18 points adrift of Production title favourite Armindo Araujo, nothing but a win would do for him - and, for much of the opening day in mid-Wales, everything had looked good for him.
It all went wrong just after the start of the second run through the Myherin test, when he hit a rock with a front wheel and damaged the steering. Flodin coped manfully with the problem, containing the time loss with drastically reduced control over the car’s direction for the remaining 27 kilometres of SS7.
Having overcome his own problems in the morning, Pirelli Star Driver Tanak wasted no time in scoring his first fastest time of the day to lead the event back in to Cardiff for the final service of day one.
The Estonian felt his engine hadn’t run cleanly through the morning stages, with the turbo anti-lag system not functioning properly. Following the remote service in Builth Wells, the car was running well in the afternoon.
“We made some adjustments,” said Tanak. “We couldn’t do anything with the mapping because of the regulations, but the car was better in the afternoon. It was tricky this morning, we couldn’t get the engine to rev clean enough to get the shift light. We also made some changes to the suspension. This morning, the car wasn’t moving under braking to shift the weight to get it turned in.”
Despite his tricky morning, Tanak had built a 40-second lead over Araujo, who was doing nothing to jeopardise his possible back-to-back titles. “This rally is not for me to win,” he said. “Maybe it’s still for Flodin. But for me, I am taking it easy, I’m not going to make the risk or anything. For this afternoon, I made the car a little bit more soft to try and get some more traction.”
Flodin was third at the end of the day, just 1.5 seconds behind Araujo. Czech Republic driver Martin Semerad was fourth in his Lancer, despite struggling through the second run of stages which were run in heavy rain. “The weather is crazy!” said Semerad, who had run in second through the morning. “The screen was getting foggy [misted up], which made it difficult. It’s been a tough day today.”
Leading British driver Dave Weston was fifth in his Subaru Impreza WRX, albeit more than two minutes adrift of leader Araujo.
New Zealander Hayden Paddon was another driver who had made a solid start to the event, but his Pirelli Star Driver Mitsubishi suffered a broken left-rear rear wishbone, which had to be strapped together due to the regulations not allowing any spare parts at the Builth Wells service. He dropped from a possible podium spot to seventh.
Click: wrc.com/PWRC Wrap
Andreas Mikkelsen has upstaged the fight for the inaugural Super 2000 World Rally Championship crown on Wales Rally GB by topping his class on all but one of the opening day's seven stages.
Mikkelsen, who is using the entry normally occupied by the absent Martin Prokop, was fastest on Thursday night’s all-asphalt stage in Cardiff Bay and maintained his edge throughout the six gravel-based stages that made up Friday’s action to hold a 32.8-second advantage heading into day two.
“The last rally I did in Cyprus was with a different tyre and in a different car so I have been getting used to some new things today,” said Mikkelsen, who is driving a Skoda Fabia S2000. “It has not been easy today in the conditions and keeping the car in the line has been difficult.”
Behind Mikkelsen, the three-way scrap for the S-WRC title between Xevi Pons, Jari Ketomaa and Patrik Sandell, was turned on its head when Sandell’s Skoda suffered powersteering failure on stage five. With no opportunity to repair the fault, the Swede was forced to soldier through two more stages and has dropped to seventh overall as a result, more than five minutes adrift of Mikkelsen.
Ketomaa is second overnight in his Shanghai FCACA Rally Team Ford Fiesta S2000 after reporting traction problems in the morning. The Finn is driving a replacement Fiesta with a new gearbox and engine to give him the best possible chance of becoming S-WRC champion.
However, if the positions remain unchanged then Ketomaa will miss out on the laurels by a single point from Pons, who is fourth overall following a torrid day in his Fiesta. “I am not happy because I have been driving as fast as possible but the time is not there,” said the Spaniard.
Read More Click: wrc.com/SWRC Wrap
Last edited by Weasel 555; 11-12-2010 at 12:24 PM.
Sebastien Ogier's chances of taking the runner-up spot in this year's drivers' championship were dealt a hammer blow on Saturday's opening stage, when the Frenchman crashed out of Wales Rally GB.
Ogier was third, and in the thick of the fight for the rally lead, when he drove his Citroen C4 WRC off the road 500 metres before the finish of the slippery 14.78km Radnor stage (SS8). Ogier and his co-driver Julien Ingrassia were uninjured in the crash, but their car collected serious damage to its roof, which looks likely to rule them out of the rally altogether.
“I came too fast in corner and that was it,” said a distraught Ogier. “The car rolled once - but slowly - but now we are stuck and it’s impossible to restart. The conditions were as slippery as I expected them to be. I’m stupid.”
Ogier, who has held second place in the series since his win in Rally Portugal, came to Wales eleven and sixteen points ahead of his rivals Jari-Matti Latvala and Petter Solberg respectively. Now either one could snatch the position from him.
For now, Solberg holds the advantage after taking the stage win on SS8 and moving into the lead of the rally. The Norwegian is ahead of second placed Sebastien Loeb by just 0.3sec. Mikko Hirvonen moved up to third but remains 45.7sec behind the lead pair.
Dani Sordo is now fourth, 5.3sec adrift of Hirvonen, with Latvala 14.2 sec further back in fifth.
Sebastien Loeb regained the lead of Wales Rally GB on Stage 10 after setting a time 6.4 seconds quicker than anybody else though the mixed surface Four Ways Crychan section.
Running first on the road, the Frenchman edged 5.3sec ahead of Petter Solberg - who had taken the lead from him two stages earlier on Radnor.
“I’m happy with my performance in there,” said Loeb. “I went straight on at a junction and stalled my engine on the previous one (SS9) so I was trying hard to get back in the right rhythm. The time looks good.”
Solberg dropped 8.5sec to the Frenchman throughout the stage - losing most of it in the opening 11km tarmac section. “He was purposely cutting the corners and leaving mud on the road,” explained the Norwegian. “He knows what he’s doing and it’s just like I expected. That made things difficult for me but things will be more even on the second pass through.”
Jari-Matti Latvala got closest to Loeb’s time, despite feeling his driving was too ragged in the slippery conditions. “On the stage before I made a couple of mistakes, probably because I was pushing too hard. Although things were better in this one I made a few mistakes again.”
Mikko Hirvonen was fourth fastest, with Dani Sordo - who stalled at a hairpin - rounding off the top five times.
Sebastien Loeb completed Saturday morning's loop of stages with his rally lead intact but slimmed to 2.5 seconds after a spin on Halfway.
The Citroen team-leader acknowledged he was probably pushing too hard before the incident - as he fought to defend his position from a hard charging Petter Solberg.
Solberg was fastest though the stage and happy to have emerged from the slippery conditions with nothing more serious than a half spin. “The most important thing is not to make any mistakes,” he said. “I can push harder, but I’m trying to keep a consistent speed.”
Mikko Hirvonen was third fastest, despite having to swerve to avoid a flock of sheep which had wandered onto the road. Dani Sordo slipped to fifth overall after going straight on at a hairpin. “There were two crests before it and my co-driver made a mistake and called the wrong note. It’s okay. It happens,” he said.
Jari-Matti Latvala was second fastest through the stage to move ahead of Sordo into fourth overall.
Crews will repeat the morning’s four stages after a 15-minute remote service at the Royal Welsh Showground in Builth Wells.
Go Petter , Go Ken/Alex
Last edited by Weasel 555; 11-13-2010 at 04:48 AM.
It would be nice to see Petter win this one, or anyone but Loeb for that matter. Maybe next year Citroen won't have a strangle hold with all the changes.
An escalator can never break. It can only become stairs. You would never see an ‘Escalator Temporarily Out Of Order’ sign, just ‘Escalator Temporarily Stairs. Sorry for the convenience.’ - Mitch Hedberg
Saturday Midday Wrap
As the crews headed into remote service in Builth Wells, Sebastien Loeb led the rally from Petter Solberg by just 2.5 seconds, after the seven-time World Champion lost time with couple of spins.
Solberg hit the front after the opening stage of the day but lost his slim advantage on the subsequent asphalt sections. However, the Norwegian closed back up on the final stage before service.
“I’m trying too hard,” said Loeb, who was visibly coming under pressure. “We went straight on at a junction and had a spin: it’s not easy.”
Solberg blamed the asphalt sections of stage this morning for his earlier time loss, but he was upbeat about his prospects. “I try to keep a good feeling,” commented the Norwegian. “But on the tarmac we have no chance at all; we’re losing time on every corner because of the mud in the road. For now, we just keep on pushing.”
The first stage was characterised by drama for Sebastien Ogier, when the Frenchman crashed out of the rally. This was his second consecutive mistake on a World Championship rally and Ogier was understandably disappointed, particularly as he could now lose the runner-up spot in the final driver rankings. “We rolled once and then went off,” he said.
Read More Click: wrc.com/Saturday Midday Wrap
Petter Solberg's former co-driver Phil Mills has become the fifth recipient of the Michael Park trophy, which was awarded at Wales Rally GB.
The trophy is presented annually in memory of Michael Park, known as ‘Beef’, who died in a tragic accident during Wales Rally GB in 2005, while co-driving for his long-term partner Markko Märtin.
The award is made to a WRC co-driver who has best demonstrated the overall qualities associated with Michael during his career, taking into account overall performances, attitude, commitment and other specific actions or achievements. The recipient is chosen by a jury selected from the WRC community.
Mills was one of five co-drivers nominated for this year’s prize, along with Daniel Elena, Julien Ingrassia, Miikka Anttila and Alex Haro. But with an 11 year career at the top of the sport, the Welshman’s achievements stood out.
Mills received the award from Park’s friend and manager, Paul Turner, at the start of the Super Special Stage in Cardiff Bay on Thursday evening. “Phil competed directly against Michael for many years and they always had a great respect for each other," said Turner. "Although they were competitive on rallies, they were great mates away from the events.
"It is fitting that after such an illustrious career Phil should receive this trophy and recognition back in his home event in Wales. It was the scene of his greatest highs in the sport in 2002 and 2003 and his greatest low in 2005, when Michael died during that year's event," he added.
Phil became world champion co-driver with Petter Solberg, driving for the Subaru World Rally Team, in 2003. He won 13 world rallies with Solberg, his first win fittingly coming in Wales in 2002. The world title was also secured in a dramatic finish in Wales in 2003. Phil stepped down from competitive rallying in June 2010 after starting 152 world rallies alongside Solberg.
“Receiving this award is obviously very touching and special to me because Beef and I were so close,” said Mills. “I can honestly say I was lost for words when Paul gave me the trophy. I had enormous admiration for Beef. We first competed together in the British championship and we helped each other all the time - sharing a lot of information to help us in our careers. He was a great competitor on the stages and a great friend out of the car.”
Click: wrc.com/Phil Mills/Award
Last edited by Weasel 555; 11-13-2010 at 06:30 AM.
Fresh from the midday service, the leaders of Wales Rally GB pair resumed their fight for supremacy, with Sebastien Loeb quickest though the repeated Radnor stage and the chasing Petter Solberg, also in a Citroen C4 WRC, just 1.3sec behind.
At the end of the 14.78km section, Loeb’s lead overall stood at 3.8 seconds. “It’s okay - a good fight,” said the Frenchman. “The roads are drier and less tricky than earlier but they’re still very slippery. It’s tricky to judge the braking points, but it was okay.”
Solberg remained upbeat, despite a mistake near the end. “I went off at a junction but it’s okay - there’s no problem. I’m still fighting. I have to try, that’s what we’re here for!”
Ford driver Jari-Matti Latvala was third quickest, to edge closer to his team-mate Mikko Hirvonen’s third place.
Monster World Rally Team driver Ken Block dropped more than a minute to the leaders after his car picked up a mechanical problem. “It felt really good until about a third of the way through - then it sounds like we broke a broke a drive shaft or something. It’s really disappointing because there’s no way we can get any competitive times between now and the end of the day. I don’t know what we can do.”
Kimi Raikkonen also reported a problem. The Citroen Junior team driver said his C4 WRC had a broken left-hand front damper spring.
Sebastien Loeb emerged from the repeated Four Ways Crychan stage with a rally lead of 6.7 seconds, while Petter Solberg was left ruing an error he thinks cost him the chance to move ahead.
After a clean run through the preceding SS13 (Monument Hill), Loeb carried a four second advantage to the mixed surface Stage 14 - the stage on which his team-mate Sebastien Ogier retired earlier today.
As before, Loeb was the stage winner on the repeat pass, although his time was 16 seconds slower than it had been on SS10. “Terrible conditions, very, very slippery - much worse then this morning,” Loeb said at the stage end. “It’s incredible how much we were sliding. There was lots of mud and we had a few little moments, but we are here now.”
Solberg was 2.7sec slower that Loeb to set the second fastest time but the Norwegian felt he could have taken Loeb’s place were it not for a mistake. “I had a spin just after the tarmac section (11km) and ended up going backwards - it cost me about 10 seconds,” explained Solberg. “After that I needed to go for a big attack to get that time back. I gained a lot on the gravel, now I have to go on a big attack to get back on track for tomorrow.”
Jari-Matti Latvala was third quickest on the stage, to narrow the gap on his BP Ford Abu Dhabi team-mate to 6.8 seconds.
Petter Solberg was the pace-setter though Saturday's final 'proper' stage of Wales Rally GB, narrowing the gap on overall leader Sebastien Loeb to just 4.6 seconds after 281.6km of furious competition.
As darkness fell, the Norwegian completed the second run though Halfway 2.1sec quicker than Loeb, and with just the Cardiff Bay Superspecial to run tonight, the scene is set for a thrilling fight for victory on Sunday.
More than one minute behind the duelling Citroens, Ford driver Mikko Hirvonen pulled 2.5seconds further ahead of his chasing team-mate Jari-Matti Latvala to take a cushion of 9.3 seconds into the Superspecial. Dani Sordo rounded off the top five times in his Citroen Junior Team C4 WRC.
SS16 - End of Day 2
Last edited by Weasel 555; 11-13-2010 at 12:26 PM.
Sebastien Loeb will take a lead of 4.8s into the final day of Wales Rally GB as the seven-time world champion closes on his eighth victory of the season in his factory Citroen C4 WRC.
However, Petter Solberg has vowed to maintain his bid for his first win since 2005 in his privately-run C4 over the last four stages on Sunday.
Loeb started Saturday’s opening test 1.8 seconds in front of Solberg but was initially unable to match the Norwegian, who claimed a brace of fastest stage times to edge clear.
But Solberg had no answer to Loeb - who was running first on the road - on the 11.15 kilometres of asphalt on the Four Ways Crychan stage and claimed that his rival had taken excessive ‘cuts’ through corners to drag mud and other debris onto the sealed stage surface to impede him.
Loeb, who won the stage by 6.4s to go 5.3s ahead of Solberg, brushed off the suggestion when quizzed at the remote service halt at the Royal Welsh Showground in Builth Wells, where he reported overshooting a junction and stalling his engine on stage nine, before spinning on stage 11, which Solberg won to narrow Loeb’s advantage to 2.5s.
Three more stage wins for Loeb on Saturday afternoon appeared to make the Frenchman’s win a certainty, only for Solberg to beat him on the second run through Halfway to keep the fight alive heading into Sunday.
“It has been difficult all day with the slippery conditions but I am pleased to be here at the finish,” said Loeb. “It’s still a good battle and I am enjoying it but it’s not easy.”
While Solberg’s hopes of victory remain in the balance he can at least console himself with the fact that Sebastien Ogier’s crash on Saturday’s opening stage has handed him a golden opportunity to claim second place in the final drivers’ standings.
Read More Click: wrc.com/WRC Wrap
Estonian driver Ott Tanak has led the Production Car World Rally Championship category of Wales Rally GB throughout today's nine stages and takes a comfortable advantage into the final day.
Tanak drove sensibly throughout the day, allowing Patrik Flodin to set the pace for the majority of the stages, the Swede still hoping to win P-WRC in order to maintain pressure on the Production points leader Armindo Araujo.
After the second run through Monument Hill, Flodin had slashed the gap to leader Tanak to just 23 seconds. But still the Swede wasn’t happy, saying: “The suspension feels quite stiff in places, not so good as yesterday. I didn’t like the asphalt sections in the stages, I’m not so good on that surface. Also, there were a lot of rocks around which were quite daunting when you saw them. It’s tough to make up the time, I wish it would rain - I usually go well in those kinds of wet and changeable conditions.”
One stage later and Flodin’s mood had darkened further. He got through SS14, but the absence of a front wheel meant he was going no further. The departure of the only man capable of denying him the title meant Araujo wound his Lancer back even more.
Flodin’s retirement also left Tanak two minutes clear and looking good for a second P-WRC win of the season. Tanak said: “The first stage this morning was quite tricky. It was narrow and rough in places, which made it difficult, but we got through. [Patrik] Flodin has been here before, so he has notes from previous events, some times my notes are not perfect. With Patrik gone, there’s nothing else I can do. I just need to keep the pace, there’s no battle so there’s no need for me to go any faster.”
Read More Click: wrc.com/PWRC Wrap
Andreas Mikkelsen remains on course for his debut victory in the Super 2000 World Rally Championship after completing Saturday's nine stages with his lead of the class intact as the fight for the inaugural title continues unabated.
Mikkelsen, from Norway, began day two of the Welsh gravel event 32.8s in front of Jari Ketomaa, who along with Xevi Pons and Patrik Sandell, is one of three drivers in contention for the S-WRC crown.
Despite slippery conditions and the inclusion of asphalt sections on the route today, Mikkelsen had reported a trouble-free run at the wheel of his Skoda Fabia Super 2000 until a heavy landing forced the exhaust into the bumper and filled the ****pit with toxic fumes when it began to smoulder.
“My pace was very good for the first stage then after that I slowed down a bit to be cautious,” said Mikkelsen, who leads by 25 seconds overnight. “The problem in the afternoon made my eyes water but I am okay. I’ve been confident with my car but the pace this afternoon has been stupid, so on the limit.”
Behind Mikkelsen, the S-WRC title remains tantalisingly out of reach for Ketomaa but ever more achievable for his main rival and fellow Ford Fiesta driver Pons, despite the fact he trails the Finn in the overall classification. If the positions remain unchanged at the finish in Cardiff on Sunday afternoon, Pons will take the title by four points with Ketomaa having to make do with second place.
Read More Click: wrc.com/SWRC Wrap
....i b keepin me fingers crossed for Petter to get the win ....
Last edited by Weasel 555; 11-13-2010 at 12:42 PM.
The two-way scrap for victory on Wales Rally GB between Sebastien Loeb and Petter Solberg swung back firmly in Loeb's favour on Sunday's opener, when a stunning stage win jumped the Frenchman's lead into double figures.
Seven-time world champion Loeb began the stage 4.8sec ahead of Solberg, but had extended this to 11.5sec by the end of the 29.99km Resolfen test in south Wales.
“That’s very good, it was a difficult stage,” said Loeb at the finish control. “The grip was not so bad, but it was changeable and there were a lot of hidden corners. I was hesitating a bit with my driving, but for sure I am fighting.”
Solberg lost most of the time in the final section, but wasn’t completely sure why. “It was just very, very muddy and tricky - maybe I was backing off a little?” he said. “He took time in the narrow sections when he cut [the corners] and pulled mud onto the road. It was a bit like Saturday on the tarmac section. He’s pushing hard. And he has a manufacturer car!”
Behind the lead pair, Mikko Hirvonen gave away more time to his chasing team-mate Jari-Matti Latvala, leaving Latvala just 3.2 seconds off the final step of the podium. With Hirvonen unlikely to offer much real resistance, Latvala is on course to take the runner-up spot in this year’s drivers’ championship should Solberg remain second. Latvala didn’t have an easy start to the day, however, as his Ford’s steering column came loose midway through the stage.
In the S-WRC competition, title hopeful Jari Ketomaa’s challenge ended when his Fiesta S2000 stopped 22km into the stage.
Another stage win for Sebastien Loeb on the Margam Park stage enabled him to extend his rally lead to 14.3 seconds, while Petter Solberg's challenge was dented by a rock strike.
Solberg completed the 8km stage as Loeb’s closest rival, 2.8sec adrift, but with his Citroen C4 WRC sporting a bent left-hand front wheel and a cut tyre.
“I hit a rock and thought I had a puncture,” explained Solberg. “I’m trying, and that’s all I can say, but the conditions are getting very bad out there. First on the road seems like a better place to be, but that’s the way it is. It’s not over yet. I’ll keep the pressure on.”
With just a repeat of the morning’s stages left to run, Loeb denied that victory was in the bag. “It’s never enough to be safe,” he said. “If you lose rhythm you lose time so we’ll continue to push until the end.”
Mikko Hirvonen set the third fastest time, two-tenths quicker than his team-mate Latvala, to return to the midday service 3.4sec ahead of him in the overall standings.
Last edited by Weasel 555; 11-14-2010 at 02:38 AM.
Citroen star Sebastien Loeb is on track to win the Wales Rally Great Britain for the third consecutive year, thanks to a big push from the Frenchman and a mistake from Petter Solberg.
The Norwegian hit a rock in Margam Park, dropping just over four seconds, and will start the final two stages 14 seconds behind Loeb.
The seven-time champion won both stages this morning and commented: “The first stage was really good, but Margam was not so good for us: it was very fast and very narrow at the end. We’ve not done enough yet. If you lose a little bit of the rhythm here you drop so much time. So we’ll keep pushing.”
Despite his insistence to the contrary, Loeb’s efforts seem to have been enough. Solberg promised not to give up but he conceded that it would be an uphill struggle from here on. “It’s difficult when you’re not in a manufacturer car,” said the privateer Citroen driver. “I hit a rock on the left in Margam and I thought I had a puncture. I’m trying but it the conditions are getting very bad. I think first on the road is a better place to be but I’m trying. I’m going to keep the pressure on...”
There was no pressure though between the Ford drivers, with Mikko Hirvonen preparing to concede his third place to his team mate Jari-Matti Latvala to guarantee the younger Finn second place in the drivers’ rankings - providing that Petter Solberg stays on the road.
Hirvonen however was not entirely happy on both the cold and damp stages of the final day, in temperatures that hovered around just five degrees centigrade.
“We’ll see how the fight between Petter and Sebastien develops before there’s any change of position, but we also made a few mistakes ourselves so we’ll see how it goes,” he concluded.
Latvala, who actually slipped to 3.4s behind his team mate by the end of the stage, reported the stages as being fast and slippery - a sentiment that was echoed by Dani Sordo in fifth. “I’ve been trying to drive a little bit faster,” said the Spaniard, on what is expected to be his last outing with Citroen. “It was really difficult to make those times though.”
Henning Solberg and Matthew Wilson, both driving Stobart Ford Focuses, reported no problems but Kimi Raikkonen encountered gear selection difficulties that forced him to switch to the manual shift.
The Super 2000 World Rally Championship was effectively decided in favour of Ford Fiesta driver Xevi Pons on the first stage of the day when Jari Ketomaa rolled his similar car while attempting the seal the win that he needed to clinch the title. Andreas Mikkelsen continues to lead the S2000 class in a Skoda.
In the Production Car World Championship battle, Mitsubishi driver Armindo Araujo is still on track to win his second consecutive Group N title, while Pirelli Star Driver Ott Tanak - a protégé of Markko Martin - is at the head of the category in 16th overall with another Mitsubishi.
Penultimate Stage SS19
Sebastien Loeb will take a 17.7 second lead into the final stage of Wales Rally GB after a clean run through the penultimate challenge - the repeated 29km Resolfen test.
The Frenchman was fourth fastest though in his Citroen C4 WRC, but felt it was enough to give him some breathing space on the decisive eight kilometre sprint at Margan Park.
“I tried hard. I started fast, made no mistakes and kept a good rhythm from the start to the end,” said Loeb. “It would be nice to slow down a little in the last stage - it’s not my favourite. The first section is very muddy, so I hope I’ve done enough to be able to cool down a bit.”
Petter Solberg acknowledged his fight for the lead was over - especially after an off road moment near the start. “I went off in the third corner!” said Solberg. “I pushed very hard from the start then we went in a ditch for 50 metres. After that I backed off. I started to think, okay, we have to be smart here and finish. Now the position doesn’t matter - I’m still happy with what we’re achieved.”
Jari-Matti Latvala was the stage winner, to move ahead of his BP Ford Abu Dhabi team-mate Mikko Hirvonen into third overall and secure provisional second place in this year’s FIA drivers’ championship.
Heading to the final stage, Latvala was a slender 0.3sec ahead of Hirvonen but wasn’t anticipating a last stage fight back from him. “That’s a question for [team boss] Malcolm [Wilson]. I’ll just keep going as I have been,” he said.
Congratulations to Seb Loeb/Daniel Elena on there 3rd Rally GB win and 62nd WRC Win
Frenchman Sebastien Loeb has won Wales Rally GB, to round off his seventh championship winning season with a record-breaking 62nd rally victory.
The win was particularly sweet for Loeb, the leader of the Citroen Total squad, who marked the end of the two-litre world rally car era with the 36th victory for the outgoing Citroen C4 WRC.
Loeb and his co-driver Daniel Elena took the rally lead from Citroen privateer Petter Solberg during Saturday’s competition, and went on to finish 19.1 seconds ahead of the Norwegian after extending their advantage on each of Sunday’s four stages.
BP Ford Abu Dhabi Team team driver Jari-Matti Latvala finished third, 1min 16sec behind Solberg, to secure the runner-up spot in this year’s drivers’ championship. His team-mate Mikko Hirvonen slipped to fourth, 18 seconds further back, in the second work team Focus RS WRC.
Citroen Junior Team driver Dani Sordo finished fifth, 18.9 seconds behind Hirvonen.
Click: wrc.com/news/Loeb Wins
.The End of a era for the current 2 litre WRC Spec Cars.... bubyes
Last edited by Weasel 555; 11-14-2010 at 06:26 AM.
Sebastien Loeb cemented his dominance of the 2010 World Rally Championship season with his eighth victory of the campaign on Wales Rally GB earlier today.
Loeb, who became world champion for the seventh time on Rallye de France last month, fended off a spirited charge by fellow Citroen C4 driver Petter Solberg to claim top honours on the Cardiff-based event for the second time for his 62nd career triumph.
“It was really tough and Petter was really fast from the start doing very few mistakes,” said Loeb. “It was a difficult battle but I took a lot of pleasure from the stages and really enjoyed this rally, which was definitely the longest battle I’ve had this season.”
Reflecting on the final WRC event for the current-era Word Rally Car, Loeb’s co-driver, Daniel Elena, said: “It’s a fantastic car and it’s a very good moment to have this victory in the last race with the C4. Now I hope the [new] DS3 is the same but next year is a new challenge and it won’t be easy.”
Solberg had started the final morning 4.8s adrift of Loeb but was unable to match the pace of the flying French driver, whose margin of victory at the finish on Sunday afternoon was 19.1s.
The Norwegian was able to gain some consolation for missing out on victory by achieving his aim of securing a top-three finish in the final championship reckoning, although he missed out on the runner-up spot to Ford’s Jari-Matti Latvala by two points.
“To beat the factory team is bloody difficult but I have done my best and pushed really hard,” said Solberg. “Getting third in the WRC is unbelievable for my whole team and our sponsors, something I always dreamed about. I haven’t seen my family a lot in the last two years because this project has taken a lot of time but they are really good to me and I love them a lot.”
Latvala started the day in fourth overall but eventually fought his way into third ahead of Ford team-mate Mikko Hirvonen, who reported making a few mistakes in the slippery conditions on the first Margam Park stage.
After completing the event with damage to his Ford Focus following a moment on the final stage, Latvala said: “The wins were really a bonus because I never imagined winning rallies this year because I was the number two driver. I’m generally happy how I improved my consistency this year, which was my target. Next year I want to start fighting for the drivers’ title.”
Read More Click: wrc.com/WRC Wrap
Andreas Mikkelsen claimed his debut victory in the Super 2000 World Rally Championship but it was Xevi Pons who landed the inaugural title with second place on Wales Rally GB today as archrival Jari Ketomaa crashed out on Sunday's opening stage.
Driving a Skoda Fabia S2000, Mikkelsen led from Thursday night’s opening special stage in Cardiff Bay and never looked truly threatened. “It’s a great result and when Ketomaa went out the pressure came off and I was able to take it easy,” said the 21-year-old from Norway.
Behind, Pons adopted a low-risk strategy throughout the event to take the points he needed to secure the S-WRC title spoils in his Nupel Global Racing Ford Fiesta S2000.
“It wasn’t easy and I had to be careful on each stage even though I didn’t have to push,” said Pons, who was eventually classified in third place behind Irishman Craig Breen. “This title is very important for my sponsors and also for me and my team. I am very happy to win.”
Pons, from Spain, began the season with a brace of victories and has led the drivers’ standings throughout.
“It has been a perfect season for us,” Pons continued. “This championship has been very important for the WRC and there have been a lot of good drivers and a lot of good battles. It has not been easy.”
Ketomaa’s bid to win the S-WRC title ended when he rolled into retirement on Sunday’s opening stage. The Finn needed to win the event in order to take the championship honours from Pons and was on a charge when he went off the road in his Fiesta.
Read More Click: wrc.com/SWRC Wrap
When you don't finish lower than third on every round of the Production Car World Rally Championship, it's going to be a tough job for anybody to beat you - and that was the position Armindo Araujo was in after collecting back-to-back titles in Wales today.
Mitsubishi driver Araujo has put together a stunning selection of results, including three wins, two second places and a third place in this year’s P-WRC. And when Patrik Flodin smashed a wheel on his Subaru Impreza on the second day in Wales, the title was all-but Araujo’s. Twenty-four hours later and the deal was done.
And while the outright class victory in Wales belonged to Mitsubishi driver Ott Tanak, it was a jubilant Araujo who lifted the silverware in Cardiff for the second time.
“I am so happy again!” said the Portuguese. “It’s just incredible to have won the title again. It’s been a very good year for me and, of course, it’s an amazing feeling to win. This was not an easy rally at all, it was difficult all of the time because we didn’t know about the grip and I wasn’t feeling so comfortable with the road conditions early on.
“Our only problem was with the turbo at the end of the first day, after that it’s been very good.”
Araujo admitted he had been concerned about Flodin’s pace through the early part of the rally. “It was difficult watching him set this pace,” said Araujo. “I had to drive my own rally and concentrate on the plan I had made. All of the time I said the rally was for Flodin, but I had to concentrate on the championship. I have done that now.”
Read More Click: wrc.com/PWRC Wrap
Championship Standings: wrc.com/standings/
Last edited by Weasel 555; 11-14-2010 at 11:09 AM.