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    Talking WRC Sardinia May 5-8 talk/results spoiler**

    Next: Round 5 - WRC Sardinia May 5-8 , 2011

    Official Website: rallyitaliasardegna.com/2011/gb/

    World Rally Radio: wrc.com/world-rally-radio/

    Italy returns to the World Rally Championship after a one-year gap with the Mediterranean island of Sardinia again playing host to all the action.

    Organisers have used the time away from the global stage to tweak the route with the opening day based in the Oristano province in the west of the island for the first time.

    The stages in Sardinia are characterised by their challenging and varied nature. Although they are predominantly fast and narrow, the terrain is a mixture of flat open areas and undulating tracks through woodland with water splashes and spectacular jumps thrown in for good measure.

    Ordinarily the surface is hard with rock-strewn sections commonplace, while ruts will often form after the first pass. However, some parts of the route are on softer ground and can be prone to damage in the event of heavy rainfall.

    New for 2011

    Italy’s world championship qualifier begins with a visit to previously unchartered territory around Oristano and includes a remote service Siamanna. A ceremonial start on Olbia’s waterfront is also added to the itinerary.

    Also the Debut event for Prodrive MINI WRC Team





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    Preview: Rally d’Italia Sardegna

    Challenges come thick and fast in the World Rally Championship. With the dust still settling on the dramatic climax to the previous round in Jordan, the all-action series returns to Europe and the punishing gravel tracks of Sardinia.

    It’s been two years since the picturesque Mediterranean island has graced the WRC trail and organisers have used the short break to revamp the route of Italy’s world championship counter.

    The biggest change is a move to stages in the west of the island - close to the town of Oristano - for Friday’s opening day. The tests are high-speed in their nature and three of them, Lago Omodeo, Grighini Nord and Grighini Sud, have never been used before while Alta Marmilla is new to the WRC.

    Saturday and Sunday’s stages cover more familiar territory around Olbia, the rally’s base town, in the north east of the island with the action concluding with the 8.24-kilometre Gallura Power Stage shortly after midday on Sunday.

    But while there has been a shake up to the route, Rally d’Italia Sardegna remains the huge test for both car and crew that it has always been since the island hosted the WRC for the first time in 2004 following the event’s move from Sanremo on the Italian mainland.

    Although the stages in Sardinia are predominantly fast and narrow, the terrain is a mixture of flat open areas and undulating tracks through woodland with water splashes and spectacular jumps thrown in for good measure.

    Read More: wrc.com/Preview/Rally Sardinia


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    Mini's World Rally Championship team has some work ahead if it intends to live up to the brand's historic rally credentials, but the post-jump video illustrates that Mini clearly has the tool needed for success.

    Follow the jump to watch drivers Dani Sordo and Kris Meeke as they take the horns of the Mini John Cooper Works WRC car, which is based on the Countryman. Mini's "cute and hip" aesthetic gives way to something a bit more badass when it's attacking a rally circuit.

    Click: autoblog.com/2011/05/01/minis-wrc-effort-is-hot-to-trot/

    YT direct: YT.com/MINI WRC



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    Patrik Flodin plans to compare his times to MINI WRC Team aces Kris Meeke and Dani Sordo when he becomes one of five drivers to debut the new MINI John Cooper Works WRC on Rally d'Italia Sardegna this week.

    The Production Car World Rally Championship frontrunner is switching from his Group N Subaru Impreza to one of the Prodrive-developed machines for the gravel event.

    Following his test in the car in Italy last week, Swede Flodin said: “On my first run, I didn’t have a good feeling, but then I spent the whole day driving and finally by the end I felt happy. The MINI is a very nice car to drive.”

    The 26-year-old continued: “It’ll be very difficult on the first leg, but I hope to get more confidence and speed as the rally goes on. The MINI works drivers Kris Meeke and Dani Sordo are both very fast and have done a lot of kilometres testing in the car. Last [month] I was in Spain and sat with Kris once and he was unbelievably fast. I would like to follow Meeke’s time and get as close as possible to them. I don’t have the experience in the car to win but I also don’t want to be the slowest MINI.”

    Read More: wrc.com/pwrc/news/flodin-aims-high-with-mini-chance/


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    Solberg tops Rally d'Italia shakedown

    Petter Solberg set the fastest time at the pre-event shakedown test for this week's Rally d'Italia.

    The Norwegian tested his Citroen DS3 WRC for a day in France last week and pronounced himself confident and ready to win the Olbia-based event. Solberg was seven tenths of a second faster than Ford driver Jari-Matti Latvala, who was second quickest over the 1.2-mile stage.

    "It's gone well this morning, I'm happy," said Solberg. "I feel confident with the car. I did 150 kilometres in the test last week, we changed a few things, but really it was just time in the car for me."

    Solberg's only problem on the test was suffering some tyre problems with the new hard compound Michelin cover he was running.

    "We had a tyre come off the rim seven times in the test," said Solberg. "I think it was a problem with the wheel rim. We're using the same manufacturer of rims as the factory team, but not exactly the same wheel as them. Now we are using those rims, we didn't have the problem. But, for this week, like I said, I am happy and confident. I need the points. I need to win some rallies now."

    All eyes were on the two factory Minis, competing for the first time in Sardinia. Dani Sordo was the fastest of the two John Cooper Works WRCs, posting a 1m48.2s (0.7 seconds ahead of Latvala's team-mate Mikko Hirvonen) while Meeke was 1.5 seconds behind the Spaniard.

    "I haven't even looked at the times," said Meeke. "There was no point in trying to do anything at that shakedown stage. You couldn't use that stage to try and build the confidence or anything like that. The road was hellishly rough, if you ran wide in a corner, you ran the risk of hitting a rock the size of a transit van."

    Despite the hype building around the event, Meeke said he remained focused on the job in hand.

    "I've been waiting for this all of my driving career, I'm not about to choke now," said Meeke. "It would be easy to get drawn into the whole thing, especially when we're at the launch and things like that, but when I close the door and pull on the helmet I'm in the office and this is another rally. We have a job to do."

    Click: autosport.com/news/91114





    Here are the shakedown times of the WRC entries:

    1. P. SOLBERG. Citroen DS3 WRC. 1:45.4

    2. LATVALA. Ford Fiesta RS WRC. 1:46.1

    3. OSTBERG. Ford Fiesta RS WRC. 1:46.2

    4. OGIER. Citroen DS3 WRC. 1:48.0

    5. H. SOLBERG. Ford Fiesta RS WRC. 1:48.1

    6. SORDO. MINI John Cooper Works. 1:48.7

    =7. HIRVONEN. Ford Fiesta RS WRC. 1:48.9

    =7. ANDERSSON. Ford Fiesta WS WRC. 1:48.9

    9. LOEB. Citroen DS3 WRC. 1:49.0

    10. VILLAGRA. Ford Fiesta RS WRC. 1:49.0

    11. WILSON. Ford Fiesta RS WRC. 1:49.8

    12. MEEKE. MINI John Cooper Works. 1:50.2

    13. AL QASSIMI. Ford Fiesta RS WRC. 1:52.9

    14. KUIPERS. Ford Fiesta RS WRC. 1:53.7

    15. ARAUJO. MINI John Cooper Works. 1:53.8

    16. OLIVEIRA. MINI John Cooper Works. 1:57.6

    17. VAN MERKSTEIJN Sr. Citroen DS3 WRC. 1:58.1

    18. VAN MERKSTEIJN Jr. Citroen DS3 WRC. 1:58.6

    Click: wrc.com/sardinia/shakedown


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

    Thursday Press Conference Video:

    wrc.com//video-italy-2011-thursday-press-conference/





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    Day 1

    SS1:Solberg sets the pace in Sardinia


    Petter Solberg leads Rally d’Italia Sardegna after setting the pace on the opening special stage at the wheel of his Citroen DS3 WRC.

    Mikko Hirvonen was second fastest in his Ford Fiesta RS WRC with PG Andersson third overall in his privateer Fiesta.

    “It went quite good, a couple of small mistakes but nothing special,” said Solberg. “The car works quite good but we need to do some small adjustments later.”

    But there was despair for Ford driver Jari-Matti Latvala who rolled his Fiesta RS WRC and lost more than 25 seconds. Latvala, the winner in Sardinia the last time the event was part of the WRC schedule, ran wide on a right-hand corner approximately three kilometres into the stage, slid into a ditch and hit a stone wall.

    “We rolled on the stage,” said the Finn. “Miikka [Anttila] made a mistake and called me the wrong note but it was the first time he has done this after many years. We can still manage to drive and won’t be losing so much.”

    Read More: wrc.com/italy/ss1





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

    SS2: Hirvonen snatches Sardinia lead



    Mikko Hirvonen has moved into the lead of Rally d’Italia Sardegna by topping the times on stage two in his Ford Fiesta RS WRC.

    The Finn had trailed Petter Solberg by three seconds following Friday’s opening test but now leads Sebastien Loeb by 10.5s. Solberg lost more than 40 seconds with a suspected mechanical glitch on his Citroen DS3 WRC.

    Kris Meeke continues to impress in the MINI John Cooper Works WRC. He was third fastest through the stage and moves into fourth overall behind flying Russian Evgeny Novikov.

    Read: wrc.com/italy/ss2




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

    SS3:Loeb closes on leader Hirvonen

    Citroen Total World Rally Team ace Sebastien Loeb has claimed his first stage victory on Rally d’Italia Sardegna to close the gap to overall leader Mikko Hirvonen.

    Running at the head of the field and cleaning the loose gravel surface for the drivers behind due to the fact he tops the world championship standings, Loeb had feared he would lose more time on the run, but instead reported the stage being cleaner than he had expected.

    “There was not so much road cleaning in this one, the line was still here from the recce. I had a good feeling,” said Loeb.

    Mikko Hirvonen was 10.2s slower than Loeb through the stage in his Ford Fiesta, which means his overall advantage has been narrowed to 0.3s.

    “It looks like Sebastien found another gear,” said Hirvonen. “It was slippery in places and I went wide in a few places. It’s still early in the rally.”

    Read: wrc.com/italy/ss3




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

    SS4: Citroen’s Loeb leads in Sardinia

    Sebastien Loeb has moved ahead of Mikko Hirvonen at the top of the Rally d’Italia Sardegna leaderboard after setting the pace on stage four. Loeb now leads Hirvonen by 2.4s with four stages of day one remaining.

    Petter Solberg trailed Loeb by 0.7s through the stage in his Citroen DS3 WRC as he continues to recover from the delay he suffered when his car’s turbo boost pipe worked loose on stage two.

    Hirvonen was third fastest with Evgeny Novikov continuing to impress by setting the fourth quickest time in his Fiesta to keep hold of the final podium spot in the overall standings.

    Read: wrc.com/italy/ss4




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    Midday Wrap

    World champion Sebastien Loeb has completed the opening four stages of Rally d'Italia Sardegna with a lead of 2.7s over title rival Mikko Hirvonen.

    Loeb, driving a Citroen DS3 WRC, had feared he would struggle to make an impact on the top positions running first on the road as world championship leader.

    Although he lost time on the first two stages as he battled to forge a line through the loose surface gravel, the cleaning effect was lessened on the next two stages and he moved to the top of the leaderboard by going fastest of all on stages three and four.

    “I expected to lose more time in the morning,” said Loeb. “Maybe tomorrow I will be first on the road again and I will lose more time but it depends on the weather, everything is possible. The stages today have a lot of crests, there are stones everywhere and the rhythm is changing, they’re very technical stages.”

    Loeb did report one scare during the morning when he briefly ran through a ditch after taking the wrong line over a crest: “Just after a crest where you had to keep left I was a bit too much right so I landed in the ditch for a little moment,” he said. “But our car is very strong so it was no problem.”

    Read More: wrc.com/friday/midday/wrap

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

    Positives for MINI despite Meeke exit

    MINI WRC Team technical mentor David Lapworth said he could take plenty of positives from the squad's world championship debut, despite Kris Meeke's retirement from the third stage of the event.

    After beating the time set by world champion Sebastien Loeb on the opening stage, Meeke went third fastest on the next run to move into fourth overall in his John Cooper Works WRC.

    “We’re a bit disappointed to have a problem so early on but I’m pleased with Kris’s speed,” said Lapworth. “Kris was exactly where we expected him to be and his time on stage two ticked another box. He was very relaxed and felt comfortable so it’s a shame what has happened to him.”

    Meeke’s moment occurred approximately two kilometres into the 14.34-kilometre Alta Marmilla stage.

    “He felt something braking for a fifth-gear corner,” said Lapworth. “We need to look at the data to understand what happened but he’s paid the price by running wide onto some loose gravel. We’re hoping he’ll be out again tomorrow.”

    Read More: wrc.com/MINI/Meeke


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    SS5: Hirvonen fights back

    Mikko Hirvonen has hit back in his efforts to win Rally d’Italia Sardegna by beating Sebastien Loeb through the first stage of the afternoon.

    Hirvonen dropped 2.7s behind Citroen DS3 WRC driver Loeb after stage four but has reduced that gap to 1.2s in his Ford Fiesta RS WRC.

    “The car was moving quite a lot in the end of the stage but it looks okay,” said Hirvonen, who also trails Loeb in the battle for the World Rally Championship title.

    Read More: wrc.com/italy/ss5



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

    SS6: Loeb builds slight advantage



    Sebastien Loeb has regained his advantage in his efforts to win Rally d’Italia Sardegna for a fourth time by going fastest on Friday’s sixth stage.

    The Citroen DS3 WRC driver now leads Mikko Hirvonen, in a Ford Fiesta RS WRC, by 5.8 seconds with two stages of day one remaining.

    “I had a good grip in this stage but I was pushing very hard because that is my only option,” said Loeb, who was 2.1s quicker than team-mate Sebastien Ogier. “This was a good stage.”

    Hirvonen reported surviving a moment in his Ford Fiesta RS WRC: “I was lucky,” he said at the stage finish.

    Read More: wrc.com/italy/ss6




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

    SS7: Puncture slows Hirvonen in Sardinia

    Mikko Hirvonen’s hopes of winning Rally d’Italia Sardegna have suffered a setback after he picked up a right-rear puncture approximately 13 kilometres into 19.66-kilometre test and lost more than 50 seconds to leader Sebastien Loeb.

    “It was my own mistake,” said Hirvonen. “I went a bit wide, hit a bank and had a puncture.”

    With one stage of day one remaining Loeb now leads his Citroen team-mate Sebastien Ogier by 33 seconds. “I drive a good stage again but I prefer to be first on the road tomorrow with a big hap to the others behind me,” said the seven-time champion.

    Read More: wrc.com/italy/ss7




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

    End of Day 1

    SS8: Hirvonen lands third stage best




    Mikko Hirvonen has claimed his third stage victory of Rally d’Italia Sardegna to move from fourth to third in the overall classification in his Ford Fiesta RS WRC.

    Petter Solberg was second fastest and takes the runner-up spot from Sebastien Ogier, who elected to slow in order to secure a lower and more favourable road position for Saturday’s stages. He falls to fourth overall behind Hirvonen.

    Sebastien Loeb was third quickest and will start day two with a lead of 33.2s in his Citroen DS3 WRC.

    “This stage was more difficult compared to the others because there was a lot of road cleaning,” said Loeb. “It was very slippery but I lost some time and tried hard.”

    Read More: wrc.com/italy/ss8




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    SWRC Friday wrap: Tanak leads from dawn until dusk

    Estonian Ford Fiesta S2000 driver Ott Tanak enjoyed a near-perfect opening day in the Super 2000 World Rally Championship section of Rally d'Italia Sardegna.

    Tanak, a former Pirelli Star Driver, was quickest through the opening stage and stayed out front for the rest of the day, collecting fastest times on six of the day’s eight stages south of the rally’s base in Olbia.

    His only concern today was whether he had damaged his car when it bounced off one of the enormous rocks lining the route in the Oristano area. By the end of the day he had carved out an advantage of 25.7 seconds from fellow Ford driver Martin Prokop.

    “It’s been a tough day,” said Tanak. “I’ve never been here before, so I haven’t been pushing at the maximum. There are so many rocks everywhere, if you go a little bit off the line then they can catch you out and put you out of the rally. We have been careful. The car has worked really well, we’ve had no problems. I was worried after a big hit in the fourth stage, but the car was good. Today has not been the sort of day when you could make the attack.”

    Read More: SWRC/Friday Wrap


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    Meeke hopes for more pace on Saturday return



    Kris Meeke plans to repeat the pace he showed on day one of Rally d'Italia Sardegna when he restarts on Saturday under SupeRally regulations.

    Briton Meeke is giving MINI’s John Cooper Works WRC its world championship debut on the Italian gravel event and was in fourth overall when a throttle glitch caused him to crash into retirement.

    Following repairs Meeke and Irish co-driver Paul Nagle will resume their challenge from ninth on the road.

    “We’ll just go out, get to the start line of the first stage, find our feet and go again just like we did on Friday,” said the 31-year-old. “There are no tactics to go on a big push or anything like that. We just have to drive and see where we are.”

    Meeke was one of several leading drivers to hit trouble on Friday’s demanding stages in the west of the island around the town of Oristano.

    Read More: wrc.com/meeke/hopes for more


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

    Day 2

    SS9: Latvala flies on Saturday restart




    Jari-Matti Latvala has made an immediate impact on his return to Rally d’Italia Sardegna action by going fastest through Saturday’s first stage in his Ford Fiesta RS WRC.

    The Finn went off on Friday’s first test and retired on the next run with steering and suspension damage, slipping to 45th in the overall standings. But starting eighth on the road on day two he was able to take advantage of a cleaner road surface to go fastest by five seconds.

    “It was surprisingly good,” said Latvala. “I had a good feeling but took it a bit careful in some places. I was really disappointed yesterday but this is a good start.”

    Read More: wrc.com/italy/ss9



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

    SS10: Latvala fastest again



    Jari-Matti Latvala continues to set a staggering pace on Rally d’Italia Sardegna with his second successive fastest stage time on round five of the world championship.

    Driving a Ford Fiesta RS WRC, the Finn was 11.8s quicker than the Citroen DS3 WRC of Sebastien Ogier, who is now just 1.9s behind second-placed Petter Solberg in the overall standings.

    Read More: wrc.com/italy/ss10



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

    SS11: Hirvonen up to second

    Mikko Hirvonen has climbed from fourth to second on Rally d’Italia Sardegna.

    Although the Finn was beaten to the fastest stage time by factory Ford team-mate Jari-Matti Latvala, he was quicker than rivals Sebastien Ogier and Petter Solberg to move to within 35.4s of overall leader Sebastien Loeb, who is being hampered by cleaning the road of the loose-surface gravel.

    “The stage went really well, I hope I can take some more time,” said Hirvonen.

    Latvala was quicker than Hirvonen by one second to complete his hat trick of stage wins on Saturday morning.

    Read More: wrc.com/italy/ss11




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    Midday Wrap



    Citroen star Sebastien Loeb will start Saturday afternoon's loop of three stages 35.4s clear of the chasing pack following day two's opening trio of tests.

    Loeb started the second day of Rally d’Italia Sardegna 33.2s clear of Petter Solberg and was expected to lose a considerable amount of time due to the fact he has been saddled with cleaning the road of the loose surface gravel in his Citroen DS3 WRC.

    ....

    Kris Meeke was one of the major retirements of the morning loop when his MINI John Cooper Works WRC lost water heading to stage 10. Makeshift repairs by Meeke and co-driver Paul Nagle enabled the pair to start the stage but they only managed to cover two kilometres before the problem reoccurred. They are expected to restart under SupeRally rules on Sunday.

    Dani Sordo, Meeke’s MINI team-mate, is sixth overall, one place behind M-Sport Stobart driver Mads Ostberg, who reported a bout of oversteer on stage nine, which turned into understeer when he made some changes to his car’s damper clicks after the first stage.

    ..........

    Ott Tanak continues to lead the Super 2000 World Rally Championship in his MM Motorsport Fiesta with an advantage of almost one minute. Red Bull Skoda driver Juho Hanninen has moved into second place after Martin Prokop was slowed in dust clouds created by Daniel Oliveira’s troubled MINI.

    Overnight FIA WRC Academy leader Christian Riedemann retired on Saturday’s first test when his Fiesta R2s driveshaft broke leaving the stage start. Round one winner Egon Kaur now tops the young driver category with three stages of the event left to run.

    Read: wrc.com/midday/saturday


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    SS12: Ogier flies

    Sebastien Ogier has moved ahead of Petter Solberg into third place after going fastest through the repeated Coiluna test.

    In doing so, the Citroen pilot ended Jari-Matti Latvala’s sequence of stage wins, albeit by a slender margin of 0.4s. Ogier was also 1.1s faster than Mikko Hirvonen and is now 2.1s behind the Ford Fiesta-driving Finn in the overall standings.

    “It was a nice stage, I’m happy with the car and the feeling is better than yesterday,” said Ogier. “We have changed something on the balance and helps me a lot.”

    Hirvonen said: “I’m happy with that. It’s a fantastic fight. We have to go so on the limit. It’s so close with Petter and Ogier. I really have to push hard.”

    Read More: wrc.com/italy/ss12



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

    MINI WRC Team technical director Dave Wilcock says his organisation has plenty of reason to be satisfied despite Kris Meeke retiring from Rally d'Italia Sardegna for a second consecutive day.

    Briton Meeke, who went off the road on day one due to a throttle glitch, stopped on stage 10 with a water leak and retired from the day. He is expected to return to competition under SupeRally regulations on Sunday when the world championship counter concludes.

    Meanwhile, Dani Sordo, completed Saturday’s morning loop of tests in sixth overall in the second factory MINI John Cooper Works WRC.

    “Kris has had a water leak,” said Wilcock. “In order to save the engine he stopped on the stage but until we get the car back [to service] we don’t know what has caused it. It’s probably not a coincidence that he had an accident yesterday. We think it’s a broken water pipe but until we see the car we don’t know.”

    On Sordo’s efforts, Wilcock said he was very pleased with how the Spanish driver has performed so far.

    “We’re very happy with Dani’s performance, he’s pleased with the car and has had nothing negative to say,” said Wilcock. “For him it’s all okay and we’re obviously very pleased.”

    Read: wrc.com/mini/meeke/day2

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

    SS13: Latvala returns to stage winning ways



    Ford driver Jari-Matti Latvala has claimed his fourth fastest stage time on Rally d’Italia Sardegna by going quickest on the second Monte Lerno test.

    The Finn edged Citroen driver Sebastien Loeb by 0.6s with team-mate Mikko Hirvonen third fastest.

    As a result Loeb will take a lead of 29.8s over Hirvonen in Saturday’s final stage with Sebastien Ogier third, 4.7s further back.

    Read More: wrc.com/italy/ss13



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

    End of Day 2
    SS14: More stage glory for Latvala




    Jari-Matti Latvala has completed day two of Rally d’Italia Sardegna by setting the pace on Saturday’s final stage.

    The Ford driver was fastest on all but one of day two’s six stages in his Ford Fiesta RS WRC as he continues his recovery from his retirement on Friday.

    Mikko Hirvonen was second quickest and trims Sebastien Loeb’s overall lead to 28.3s as a result.

    Loeb was fourth fastest on the stage, two-tenths of a second slower than Petter Solberg who is fourth in the overall standings behind Sebastien Ogier.

    Read More: wrc.com/italy/ss14





    . Latvala sure has been one Flying Finn today !
    Last edited by Weasel 555; 05-07-2011 at 09:23 AM.
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  14. #13

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    SWRC Day 2 wrap

    The super-quick Estonian was happier on today’s roads and admitted his pace notes were working better than on yesterday’s extremely technical tests on the west of the island. He won all three stages through the morning to build a commanding lead of close to a minute.

    That gap grew in part due to Tanak’s pace and in part due to his closest rival Martin Prokop suffering a fire on the third stage. The Czech Republic driver’s problem came when the power steering leaked fluid onto the exhaust of his Fiesta.

    “The fire was coming into the car,” said Prokop. “I thought we were going to have to stop. We had decided to pull over and retire, but then the fire went out, so we thought we would carry on and see what happened. See if it went on fire again later in the stage. It did catch fire again, but it wasn’t so bad this time, just a small one. But it cost us lots of time.”

    Prokop’s day had started badly, catching the ailing MINI John Cooper Works WRC of Daniel Oliveira and dropping 10 seconds while running in the Brazilian’s dust did not help him narrow the gap to the flying Tanak.

    Read More: wrc.com/SWRC Day 2 Wrap

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

    WRC Day 2 wrap

    Sebastien Loeb has increased his grip on the Rally d'Italia Sardegna winners' trophy by completing day two of the demanding world championship qualifier with a lead of almost 30 seconds.

    ......

    One of the stars of day two, however, was factory Ford driver Jari-Matti Latvala. The Finn restarted under SupeRally regulations this morning following his retirement on day one. He gave an indication of what might have been when he went fastest on five of the day’s six special stages.

    Read More: wrc.com/WRC Day 2 wrap


    .
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  15. #14

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    Day 3

    SS15: Hirvonen cuts Loeb's lead




    Mikko Hirvonen has narrowed Sebastien Loeb’s overall advantage to 24.7s as the battle for victory on Rally d’Italia Sardegna intensifies.

    Driving a Ford Fiesta RS WRC, Hirvonen was 3.6s faster than his Citroen DS3 WRC-driving rival over Sunday’s opening Gallura test.

    In the battle for third position, Petter Solberg reported an issue with his damper settings at the end of the stage and is now 7.2s behind third-placed Sebastien Ogier.

    Jari-Matti Latvala was fastest through the stage, his sixth stage victory of the event.

    Read More: wrc.com/italy/ss15



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

    SS16: Loeb back in control

    Mikko Hirvonen’s bid to catch Sebastien Loeb on Rally d’Italia Sardegna has suffered a minor setback when he overshot a junction on Sunday’s second stage.

    Ford driver Hirvonen had narrowed Loeb’s lead on stage one but reported losing a few seconds when he ran wide. “It was an overshoot on a junction and maybe I lost two or three seconds,” said Hirvonen. “If nothing happens Sebastien is a bit too far in front. I have to watch what is happening behind.”

    Read More: wrc.com/italy/ss16



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

    SS17: Drama for Ogier

    Sebastien Ogier’s bid for a podium finish on Rally d’Sardegna could be over after he lost more than one minute when he broke his Citroen DS3 WRC’s rear suspension hitting a rock.

    The Frenchman, Junior world champion in 2008, has fallen to fourth overall with stage winner Petter Solberg up to third and now just 1.3s behind second-placed Mikko Hirvonen.

    Hirvonen, in a factory Ford Fiesta RS WRC, is now 18.5 seconds behind leader Sebastien Loeb with one stage, the 8.24-kilometre Power Stage, remaining.

    Read More: wrc.com/italy/ss17



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

    End of Day 3
    SS18: Power Stage glory for Hirvonen


    Mikko Hirvonen might have lost out on victory on Rally d’Italia Sardegna but he will leave the Mediterranean island with three bonus points after winning the event-closing Power Stage.

    It was the second time this season that Hirvonen, who finished second overall behind winner Sebastien Loeb, has won the live television spectacular in his Ford Fiesta RS WRC following his triumph on Rally Guanajuato Mexico in March.

    ....Dani Sordo claimed the eight fastest time in his factory MINI John Cooper Works WRC to complete the car’s world championship debut in sixth position

    Read More: wrc.com/italy/ss18




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

    WRC wrap: Loeb claims second win



    The Frenchman, at the wheel of a Citroen DS3 WRC, started the final four stages with a lead of 28.3s over his Ford Fiesta RS WRC-driving rival. Despite once again being forced to clean the road of the loose surface gravel, the 37-year-old held on for his second victory of 2011 with Hirvonen second and Petter Solberg claiming the final podium spot in third.

    “Leading from nearly the start that’s really a good job,” said Loeb. “Mikko was pushing very hard behind so we really had to take big risks all the time. We lost time in some places because of the cleaning but we took it back in some other places. It was really a hard fight but I did not believe at the start of the rally that I could make it like this.”

    Read More: wrc.com/wrap/loeb wins

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

    SWRC wrap:

    The 23-year-old Estonian led throughout the event in his uprated specification Ford Fiesta S2000 prepared by Markko Martin’s MM Motorsport concern.

    Starting the final day with a lead of almost 50 seconds, Tanak could have been forgiven for adopting a conservative approach on the closing four stages alongside co-driver Kuldar Sikk. Instead he wisely chose to maintain his strong pace to the finish.

    “When you back off you lose your concentration,” said Tanak, a former Pirelli Star Driver. “I backed off a bit too much on the penultimate stage and was too steady and dropped 20 seconds. After that I realised I was right to go hard all day.”

    Tanak finished up 26.7s clear of Juho Hanninen in a Red Bull Skoda Fabia Super 2000. Hanninen started the season as the title favourite and Tanak admitted that beating the Finn had represented a big achievement.

    “It was very important for me to beat Juho and this is a big result for me,” said Tanak. “It was tough to find the right balance but my car was very good and my team did a great job all weekend. I’m very happy.”

    Read More: wrc.com/SWRC Wrap

    ----------------------------
    WRC Academy : Kaur wins again

    Egon Kaur has made it two wins out of two after claiming victory on the second event of the FIA WRC Academy season, Rally d’Italia Sardegna, which finished in Olbia this evening (Saturday).

    Kaur, who triumphed on the inaugural event in Portugal in late March, produced an incredible comeback drive from a mishap on day two to win after overnight leader Christian Riedemann retired when his car’s driveshaft failed leaving the start of Saturday’s opening test.

    Read More: wrc.com/WRC Academy


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

    Championship Standings: wrc/standings


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

    Next: Round 6 Argentina 26 - 29 May



    Official Website: rallyargentina.com/2011/en/

    Argentina, which first hosted a round of the World Rally Championship in 1980, is back on the WRC trail after a year away in 2010.

    Based in Villa Carlos Paz north of the capital Buenos Aires, the town lies on the banks of the spectacular San Roque Lake in the south of the Punilla Valley close to the city of Cordoba.

    The event is popularised by its jumps, water splashes and the lunar landscape of the high altitude El Condor stage, not to mention the tens of thousands of fans who line the route, and who are considered some of the most enthusiastic on the planet.

    .
    Last edited by Weasel 555; 05-22-2011 at 09:10 AM.
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