WRC Australia Sept 8-11 talk/results spoiler**
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This is a discussion on WRC Australia Sept 8-11 talk/results spoiler** within the Motorsports Talk forums, part of the Community - Meet other Enthusiasts category; Rnd 10 , Rally Australia The second edition of Rally Australia to take place away from the event’s spiritual home ...

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    Cool WRC Australia Sept 8-11 talk/results spoiler**

    Rnd 10 , Rally Australia



    The second edition of Rally Australia to take place away from the event’s spiritual home in Perth in the west will also mark the country’s return to the global series after it missed out on a slot in 2010.

    Organisers have moved the event from the Northern Rivers area used in 2009 to the Coffs Coast region of New South Wales 300 kilometres away down the east coast and 500 kilometres north of Sydney.

    ....The rally will utilise remote servicing on all three days of competition and is set to include 750 kilometres of liaison with the permanent service park based at the Coffs Harbour Airport 10 kilometres away from the event’s headquarters in the Opal Cove Resort.

    While the old Rally Australia was famed for its ball-bearing-style surfaces, the new incarnation of the event ran on a mixture of fast public roads and twisty sections in rainforests. The superspecial stage ran entirely on asphalt.

    The roads of the Coffs Coast region have been used for rallies since the 1960s and have hosted a round of Australia’s national rally championship, which has produced two of the sport’s rising stars, Brendan Reeves and Molly Taylor, who will be contesting the new-for-2011 WRC Academy.

    Official Website: rallyaustralia.com/

    WRC Radio: wrc.com/fanzone/world-rally-radio/


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    Shakedown

    Jari-Matti Latvala has said his fastest time in shakedown for Rally Australia, round 10 of the World Rally Championship, was a "real confidence boost".

    The Ford Fiesta RS WRC ace, yet to win in the WRC this season, set a fastest time of 1m58.9s through the 3.77-kilometre practice stage on Sherwood Forest Road, 30 kilometres from the event base in Coffs Harbour.

    He was 0.2s faster than Citroen DS3 WRC privateer Petter Solberg, while world championship leader Sebastien Loeb was sixth quickest in his factory Citroen.

    “It’s a real confidence boost to be fastest on roads new to us all,” said Latvala. “I am happy to be back on gravel and the fast and flowing stages here are the type of roads that I like.”

    Asked whether he would be able to translate his pace in shakedown to the rally proper, Latvala said: “We know from this morning the car is going to be competitive here so fighting for victory this weekend is our only aim.”

    Solberg, who is chasing his second podium of the season in Australia, said his performance in shakedown had given him a renewed sense of optimism.

    “I keep up in the shakedown so that will be a big help but now we have to wait and see for the rally,” said the Norwegian. “It’s very good roads here but you need a good balance and that is what we were working on in shakedown. We are optimistic for achieving that.”

    Evgeny Novikov’s preparations suffered a setback when he crashed on his second run aboard his M-Sport Stobert Ford Fiesta.

    “On the second pass in a left corner we cut too much and touched a wall and the steering arm was broken so we had to stop,” said the Russian. “It was not possible to take the car from the shakedown so we didn’t drive more. The car is not bad so it is not a big problem for me.”

    Jukka Ketomaki was the fastest Production Car World Rally Championship contender in his Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X.

    Rally Australia gets underway with the first of 26 stages at 19:15hrs local time today (Thursday).

    Here are the top 10 times from the Shakedown session:

    1. LATVALA. Ford Fiesta RS WRC. 1:58.9
    2. P. SOLBERG. Citroen DS3 WRC. 1:59.1
    3. H. SOLBERG. Ford Fiesta RS WRC. 1:59.6
    4. OGIER. Citroen DS3 WRC. 1:59.8
    5. HIRVONEN. Ford Fiesta RS WRC. 2:00.6
    6. LOEB. Citroen DS3 WRC. 2:01.0
    7. WILSON. Ford Fiesta RS WRC. 2:01.6
    8. NOVIKOV. Ford Fiesta RS WRC. 2:04.4
    9. VAN MERKSTEIJN JR. Citroen DS3 WRC. 2:05.0
    10. BLOCK. Ford Fiesta RS WRC. 2:05.4

    Click: wrc.com/shakedown australia

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

    Thurs eve SS1 & SS2

    Citroen drivers Sebastien Loeb and Sebastien Ogier shared the stage honours when Rally Australia got underway with two runs through the rain-hit superspecial in Coffs Harbour this evening (Thursday).

    Ogier was 0.7s fastest through the first nighttime run with Loeb going quickest on the second pass 0.1s quicker than Ogier, who leads the rally outright by 0.6s.

    “It was a good start but the real start is tomorrow,” said Ogier in reference to the all-gravel countryside tests that will form Friday’s route. “It was quite slippery and not easy to find the right rhythm. The car is good so I’m happy.”

    Loeb said: “It was okay. I done quite a good stage, which is very specific compared to the rest of the rally. But it was really slippery, particularly on hard gravel tyres.”

    Ford’s Jari-Matti Latvala was third fastest on both stages. The factory Ford Fiesta driver trails leader Ogier by 2.8s in the overall classification. Ford team-mate Mikko Hirvonen is fourth overall.

    “I was a bit stressed by how [the grip] was going to be,” said Latvala. “In a couple of places it was slippery on the braking but generally better than expected. I will go to bed with a smile.”

    Petter Solberg reckoned the set-up of his privateer DS3 WRC was a little too stiff for the damp conditions but reported making no mistakes. He was fifth quickest on both runs.

    Matthew Wilson suffered a spin on a left-hand bend during his first run, which inflicted his M-Sport Stobart Fiesta with a damaged front wing. He’s ninth overnight.

    Young British driver Harry Hunt impressed with the fastest two-wheel-drive Production championship time on both stages, the first of which he completed 13th fastest. Pole Michal Kosciuszko leads the category outright in his Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X.

    Rain before the start had left the mainly asphalt course coated in water, which reduced grip levels and added to the challenge facing the crews. Further rain during the stage resulted in increasingly slippery conditions.

    Day one of Rally Australia resumes on Friday morning with the 29.03-kilometre Shipmans stage at 10:03hrs.

    Read: wrc.com/australia ss1 & ss2

    SS1


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    SS2





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    Friday

    SS3: Loeb moves in front in Australia




    Sebastien Loeb has demoted Sebastien Ogier into second place on Rally Australia after setting the fastest time through the 29.03-kilometre Shipmans test north-west of the event base in Coffs Harbour.

    Loeb and Ogier had been expected to drop time running at the head of the field through the loose gravel. However, overnight rain helped to compact the stage surface and negate any potential time loss. It also made the road slippery, particularly in the forest section approximately halfway through the stage.

    “It was not cleaning for sure,” said Loeb. “There are some places where it is a bit muddy but I was quite surprised with the grip. Some places were very tricky and difficult to find a rhythm. It was okay but you are not allowed to do a mistake here.”

    .....Monster World Rally Team’s Ken Block is believed to have gone off the road in his Fiesta.

    Read: wrc.com/australia ss3



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

    SS4: Solberg fastest as Loeb crashes out !



    There was high drama on Rally Australia’s fourth stage when Sebastien Loeb rolled his Citroen DS3 WRC into retirement.

    Loeb was leading the world championship qualifier by 2.0s after winning Friday’s opening test but hit trouble barely a handful of kilometres into the gravel stage.

    Both he and co-driver Daniel Elena are uninjured but it’s not clear how much damage their car has sustained.

    The world champion’s exit hands team-mate Sebastien Ogier a lead of 10.4s over Ford’s Mikko Hirvonen heading to the final stage of this morning’s loop.

    Ogier was third quickest through the stage, 5.8s slower than winner Petter Solberg, who has climbed to third in the overall classification.

    Loeb’s last roll on a WRC event occurred on the second day of the Acropolis Rally in Greece in June 2009, exactly two years two months and 27 days ago.

    Read: wrc.com/australia ss4



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

    SS5: Latvala flies in the rain



    With heavy rain making driving conditions increasingly treacherous Mikko Hirvonen has narrowed Sebastien Ogier’s lead on Rally Australia to 9.1s after the Ford driver edged his Citroen rival through stage five.

    Jari-Matti Latvala was fastest through the test despite his Fiesta RS WRC nursing damaged steering following his off-road moment on stage three. The Finn has moved ahead of Petter Solberg into third position in the overall classification after Solberg suffered a high-speed spin.

    Ogier, who moved to the top of the overall leaderboard following Sebastien Loeb’s dramatic roll on stage four, said: “It’s pressure but it’s difficult to drive, very slippery. The tyres are not working so I have to drive with no risk. The plan is still the same, we try to do a good rally and score good points. That’s it for me. The rally is still long and anything can happen.”

    Hirvonen added: “It’s incredibly tricky - every corner the grip is different and you never know how the grip is. If you go too fast that’s it.”

    Henning Solberg spun his M-Sport Stobart Fiesta but was able to set a time faster than team-mate Matthew Wilson.

    Crews are now heading back to service at Coffs Harbour’s regional airport. Stage six, Shipmans II, goes live at 15:37hrs local time.

    Read: wrc.com/australia ss5



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

    Friday midday wrap



    The battle for the World Rally Championship was turned on its head in Australia this morning when Sebastien Loeb crashed out in his Citroen DS3 WRC.

    Loeb, the seven-time title winner, had raced into a two-second lead after going fastest on Friday’s first test. But barely a handful of kilometres into stage four, Loeb was in deep trouble when he rolled into a retirement in increasingly slippery conditions caused by heavy rain.

    The world championship leader and his co-driver Daniel Elena were unharmed but it’s not clear whether they will be able to restart under SupeRally regulations on day two, depending on the level of damage inflicted to their factory machine.

    That could have a major bearing on the world championship scrap with team-mate Sebastien Ogier 25 points adrift at the start of the gravel round.

    ..............Monster World Rally Team’s Ken Block stopped on stage three, where several PWRC drivers hit trouble, including Leigh Gotch, Harry Hunt and Jukka Ketomaki.

    Daniel Oliveira also lost time on stage three after when he went off the road in his Brazil World Rally Team MINI John Cooper Works WRC.

    Australian PWRC drivers Brendan Reeves and Nathan Quinn have both suffered power problems, while Michal Kosciuszko suffered suspension damage brushing a bank on Friday’s first test.

    Read: wrc.com/friday midday wrap



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    SS6: Hirvonen in front as Ogier crashes



    Mikko Hirvonen has moved into the lead of Rally Australia after Sebastien Ogier crashed out of first place.

    Ogier began the Shipmans stage with a lead of 9.1s over Hirvonen but is reported to have hit a tree and retired his works Citroen DS3 WRC.

    “It was so unbelievably slippery and when you brake it is like ice,” said Hirvonen, who holds a 5.4s advantage over team-mate Jari-Matti Latvala. “I went off the road but it was into a field so there was nothing to hit.”

    Latvala, who won the stage held in treacherous conditions following heavy rain, said: “I had few moments and a couple of times I was hitting the banks to keep on the road. It was extremely difficult, even dangerous in some places.”

    Read: wrc.com/australia ss6



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

    Loeb accepts blame



    Sebastien Loeb has accepted the blame for the crash that put him out of the lead of Rally Australia this morning.

    Loeb was leading the world championship qualifier by 2.0s when he rolled an estimated five times approximately halfway through the 12.78-kilometre Brooklana test after taking a right-hand turn too quickly.

    “I went too fast into the right-hander because I done the mistake when I saw a split time on the dash,” said Loeb. “I was not concentrated, I didn’t brake enough for the corner and I was too fast.”

    Loeb denied he had been pushing too hard in the slippery conditions. He added: “I was not taking risks and I had done a very clean stage before that. I was looking at something when I saw the corner too late.”

    Read: wrc.com/Loeb Roll

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

    Block to wait on Australia restart

    Ken Block will have to wait until the full extent of the damage to his Ford Fiesta RS WRC has been assessed before finding out whether he will be able to restart the second day of Rally Australia under SupeRally regulations.

    The Gymkhana FOUR hero left the road on Friday’s opening test and retired when his Monster World Rally Team entry struck a tree.

    Malcolm Wilson, whose M-Sport organisation runs Block’s car, said: “Ken hit a tree on the roof behind the door and took the left-rear wheel off. The damage doesn’t look too bad from the picture we’ve seen but we need to do a full inspection. The conditions were tricky today, even Sebastien Loeb got caught out.”

    Block’s co-driver Alex Gelsomino tweeted: “Nasty, slippery, rainy conditions here in Oz.”

    Read: wrc.com/Ken/Alex MWRT

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

    SS7: Hirvonen increases lead

    Mikko Hirvonen has claimed his first stage win on Rally Australia to move 9.5s clear of Ford team-mate Jari-Matti Latvala in the battle for victory on the World Rally Championship counter.

    Hirvonen completed the 12.78-kilometre test 4.1s faster than Latvala with Petter Solberg third quickest in his privateer Citroen.

    Evgeny Novikov stopped 1.5 kilometres into the stage after hitting a rock in his M-Sport Stobart Fiesta. His retirement promotes team-mates Henning Solberg and Matthew Wilson into fourth and fifth places respectively. Team Abu Dhabi’s Khalid Al Qassimi is up to sixth in his Fiesta.

    Read: wrc.com/australia ss7





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    SS8: Latvala closes gap

    Jari-Matti Latvala has proved that he won’t give up on winning Rally Australia without a fight after clocking the fastest time on Friday’s final gravel test to cut Ford team-mate Mikko Hirvonen’s lead to 6.6s.

    With rain returning following a brief respite, Latvala was 2.9s quicker than Hirvonen in his works Fiesta RS WRC. He said: “It didn’t affect my driving because the road was slippery enough already.”

    Hirvonen said: “It’s good because it wasn’t raining so much for me on the stage. The conditions have been like hell, unbelievably slippery.”

    Hayden Paddon continues to lead the Production Car World Rally Championship in seventh overall, one place behind Team Abu Dhabi’s Khalid Al Qassimi.

    Daniel Oliveira did not start the stage after damaging the radiator of his Brazil World Rally Team MINI John Cooper Works WRC on the previous run.

    Read: wrc.com/australia ss8



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

    SS9 and SS10: Ford duo share superspecial wins



    Rally Australia leader Mikko Hirvonen has completed the opening day of the world championship counter by winning the fourth pass through the Castrol EDGE Super Special Stage in Coffs Harbour.

    The mainly asphalt stage, used twice on Thursday evening, was run two times this evening to bring Friday’s dramatic action to a close.

    Hirvonen was 0.1s slower than Ford team-mate Jari-Matti Latvala on the first pass this evening but went fastest of all on the second run, 0.5s quicker than M-Sport Stobart driver Henning Solberg.

    “It’s been a very difficult day, not so enjoyable at times,” said Hirvonen, whose overnight lead stands at 7.0s. “I’m just happy to be here and we will see what we can do tomorrow.”

    Coffs Coast resident Nathan Quinn set the pace in Group N on both runs through the stage.

    Read: wrc.com/australia ss9 & ss10

    SS9


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    SS10


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

    Friday Wrap



    Mikko Hirvonen has completed a drama-filled opening day of Rally Australia with a lead of seven seconds over factory Ford team-mate Jari-Matti Latvala.

    Hirvonen, the winner in Australia on the WRC’s last two visits to the country, was 15.1s adrift of Citroen’s Sebastien Loeb in third overall after Friday’s first test but moved into second behind Sebastien Ogier when Loeb rolled into retirement on the first run through the Brooklana stage.

    And second became first when Ogier did the unthinkable and crashed into a tree on the repeat of the Shipmans stage, which was held in increasingly treacherous conditions following persistent rain.

    “The conditions have been like hell, unbelievably slippery,” said Hirvonen, who is chasing his first victory in the WRC since his triumph on Rally Sweden in February. “I went off the road [on stage six] but it was into a field so there was nothing to hit.”

    Read More: wrc.com/friday wrap

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

    PWRC friday wrap



    Hayden Paddon is on course to win the Production Car World Rally Championship crown after reaching the overnight halt in Coffs Harbour leading the showroom class by a comfortable margin of 1m20.2s

    Paddon can become PWRC champion if he secures the maximum 25 points available on Rally Australia at the wheel of his Subaru Impreza WRX STI.

    “It’s going really good,” said the New Zealander. “The conditions have been incredibly difficult and I’ve been focusing on keeping the car in the middle of the road and avoiding making mistakes. It’s very easy to go off as we don’t have any grip. It’s really nice to see the Kiwi fans out there cheering for us, it’s good for your confidence.”

    Michal Kosciuszko is second overnight despite damaging his car’s front suspension when he slid off the road in fifth gear on stage three and a brake problem on stage seven. “It has been very difficult to drive in these conditions where it is really difficult to predict the grip on each braking point,” said the Polish Mitsubishi Lancer driver.

    Read More: wrc.com/PWRC friday wrap


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    Day 2 Saturday

    SS11: Latvala wins stage takes lead




    Jari-Matti Latvala has snatched the lead of Rally Australia after going 10.4s quicker than Ford team-mate Mikko Hirvonen through Saturday’s first stage.

    With Hirvonen reporting a lack of grip as he forged a clear path through the loose surface gravel in his Fiesta RS WRC, Latvala was well placed to take time out of his fellow Finn by running behind him on the road.

    “My driving was alright, I kept it on the line but it seems to be very slippery for Mikko at the moment,” said Latvala who now leads by 3.4s.

    Hirvonen said: “It’s so dry with so much loose gravel, we can’t do anything about it.”

    Citroen privateer Petter Solberg, who started day two in third overall, was unable to make any serious progress in his efforts to close the gap to the leading Ford drivers after reporting a lack of handling precision in his DS3 WRC.

    “The car is very difficult to drive, I have no balance whatsoever,” said the Norwegian. “We have to change something now.”

    Matthew Wilson spun his M-Sport Stobart Ford Fiesta and lost approximately 12 seconds. Team Abu Dhabi’s Khalid Al Qassimi maintains his grip on sixth overall, one place behind Wilson, despite reporting a “big moment” in his Fiesta.

    Sebastien Ogier, who crashed out of the lead on stage six on Friday, was 9.6s slower than Latvala on his restart under SupeRally regulations at the wheel of his hastily repaired works Citroen.

    “I think the car is okay but it’s never easy to restart like this without any target but we try,” said Ogier. “But it won’t be a big push this morning.”

    World championship leader Sebastien Loeb said his repaired DS3 WRC, damaged when he rolled out on stage four, wasn’t handling as he would have liked: “We have to adjust a bit the setting but it was okay although a lot of oversteering and things are not completely straight,” he said. “I was just driving through.”

    In addition to factory Citroen drivers Loeb and Ogier, Ken Block, Evgeny Novikov, Daniel Oliveira and Peter van Merksteijn Jr all restarted under SupeRally.

    Read: wrc.com/australia ss11



    Overall: 25. 43 K. BLOCK M 2:04:48.6 +3:18.7 +35:20.2
    --------------------------

    SS12: More Progress for Latvala



    Jari-Matti Latvala has extended his lead of Rally Australia to seven seconds after beating fellow Ford Abu Dhabi World Rally Team driver Mikko Hirvonen by 3.6s on Saturday’s second stage, Grace I.

    Latvala is running behind Hirvonen on the road and has been benefiting from the cleaner line being created by his team-mate through the loose surface gravel.

    “We need to look all the time at Petter [Solberg] because sometimes he can attack very hard,” said Latvala. “We need to get through the stages.”

    Asked about the loose nature of the stage surface, Hirvonen said: “Maybe it was a bit damp in places so not as bad. It was an okay drive with no panic. As long as I can keep Petter [Solberg] behind it should be fine. So far it is okay.”

    Third-placed Solberg, the only driver realistically capable of beating the Ford drivers in Australia, reported making a handful of mistakes in his privateer Citroen DS3 WRC. He is now 51.3s adrift of first place.

    “The car was a little better but I was making a couple of mistakes,” said the 2003 world champion, now 44.3s behind Hirvonen in the overall classification. “I’m pushing and trying but you have to remember these guys are factory teams and we can’t compare.”

    M-Sport Stobart Ford driver Henning Solberg said he spotted a cow near the road towards the end of the stage but it wasn’t enough to prevent the Norwegian from maintaining his grip on fourth.

    Read: wrc.com/australia ss12



    Overall: 25. 43 K. BLOCK M 2:16:29.1 +2:44.2 +35:49.8

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

    Paddon in trouble !

    Hayden Paddon's bid to clinch the Production Car World Rally Championship title on Rally Australia has suffered a huge setback after a split turbo hose slowed his Subaru Impreza nearing the end of stage 11.

    Despite frantic repairs by Paddon and co-driver John Kennard on the subsequent road section, they were unable to cure the fault to the extent they were two minutes late starting stage 12 and haemorrhaged considerable time through the 19.77-kilometre test, which they completed more than 1m20s slower than Michal Kosciuszko, who has moved into the category lead.

    With two stages to go until service in Coffs Harbour, Paddon is set to drop further ground to his rival, while also incurring a 20-second penalty for starting stage 12 behind schedule, which has put him 23.1s behind Mitsubishi Lancer-driving Kosciuszko heading to stage 13.

    Despite taking the lead, Pole Kosciuszko said he felt for his rival: “It’s a shame because he has been driving really the perfect rally and I hope he can carry on. For us the first two stages were clean with no problems.”

    Paddon can win the PWRC crown if he secures the 25 points available for topping the final classification.

    Read: wrc.com/PWRC Paddon

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

    SS13: Solberg struggles to close on Ford duo



    Petter Solberg says he is unable to get on terms with leading Ford drivers Jari-Matti Latvala and Mikko Hirvonen, despite his best efforts behind the wheel of his privateer Citroen DS3 WRC.

    The Norwegian, world champion in 2003, had high hopes of closing on Ford’s flying Finns by running behind them on the road on day two. However, he completed Saturday’s third stage almost one minute behind leader Latvala.

    “I must say I’m struggling, I have a lot of oversteer,” said Solberg, who was sixth fastest through the Valla test. “I am trying everything but I have no chance. I would like to come closer to the guys but they are pulling away.”

    Read: wrc.com/australia ss13



    Overall: 24. 43 K. BLOCK M 2:25:54.5 +2:06.6 +36:19.0

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

    SS14: Quartet of stage wins for Latvala



    Jari-Matti Latvala has continued his sensational start to the second day of Rally Australia by making if four stage wins out of four in his Ford Fiesta RS WRC.

    The Finn was 4.4s quicker than the chasing pack through the Uranga stage to pull 17.2s clear of team-mate Mikko Hirvonen in the overall classification.

    “I’m enjoying the driving at the moment, it’s feeling absolutely fantastic,” said Latvala. “I’m lucky with my road position because Mikko is cleaning and it’s getting more difficult for Petter [Solberg behind me].”

    Russian Evgeny Novikov reported losing 10 seconds when he spun his M-Sport Stobart Fiesta. Despite his delay he completed the test 8.4s slower than Latvala.

    Sebastien Ogier was second fastest in his repaired Citroen DS3 WRC. World championship leader Sebastien Loeb set the fourth fastest time in his battered Citroen.

    Crews are now heading back to the permanent service park at Coffs Harbour’s regional airport for a 30-minute halt.

    Read: wrc.com/australia ss14



    Overall: 24. 43 K. BLOCK M 2:35:00.6 +58.3 +36:43.3

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

    Raikkonen’s team hit with penalty

    Kimi Raikkonen's ICE 1 Racing will play no further part in the battle for the World Rally Championship manufacturers' title following its exclusion from the series due to its no show on Rally Australia.

    The Citroen Racing Technologies-managed operation had contested six rounds of this year’s world championship with Raikkonen at the wheel of a DS3 WRC, scoring manufacturers’ points on each occasion. Heading to Rally Australia, the squad was fifth in the table with 48 points.

    ICE 1 had lodged an entry for ex-Formula One world champion Raikkonen and co-driver Kaj Lindstrom for Rally Australia but notified organisers that it wouldn’t be taking part on the Coffs Harbour-based round due to logistical and organisational difficulties. Its failure to take part was in contravention of article 7.3.8 of the WRC’s sporting regulations.

    A decision taken by the Rally Australia stewards on Thursday ordered the Finnish-backed team to pay the entry fee to the event organisers and a fine of 16,200 Euros to the FIA, motorsport’s world governing body. It also excluded ICE 1 from the classification of the manufacturers’ championship.

    Despite the punishment, Raikkonen is still committed to the WRC with this entry already submitted for round 11, Rally de France Alsace, which takes place from 28 September-2 October. He is also due to contest the rounds in Spain and Great Britain.

    Read: wrc.com/raikkonens team penalty

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

    Saturday midday

    Jari-Matti Latvala has completed Saturday's opening loop of four stages with a lead of 17.2s over factory Ford team-mate Mikko Hirvonen after claiming a quartet of stage wins in his Fiesta RS WRC.

    Latvala started day two, held in dry conditions, 7.0s behind his fellow Finn in second overall. But with Hirvonen losing time cleaning the stages of the loose surface gravel, Latvala has been able to capitalise.

    “I’m enjoying the driving at the moment, it’s feeling absolutely fantastic,” said Latvala. “I’m lucky with my road position because Mikko is cleaning and it’s getting more difficult for Petter [Solberg behind me].”

    Hirvonen said: “It’s been alright. Petter hasn’t been catching us so much and that’s the main thing. We didn’t want him to get too close otherwise we would have had to push harder and go flat out. Now we can take it a bit more steady.”

    Solberg had been expected to close up to the leading Ford duo this morning but the Citroen privateer has instead dropped back, citing a lack of grip and handling precision aboard his DS3 WRC for his lack of potency.

    “I must say I’m struggling, I have a lot of oversteer,” said Solberg, who is 1m02.8s behind Latvala. “I am trying everything but I have no chance. I would like to come closer to the guys but they are pulling away.”

    Read More: wrc.com/saturday midday


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    SS15: Mixed fortunes for Solberg brothers



    There were mixed fortunes for the Solberg brothers on stage 15 of Rally Australia, round 10 of the World Rally Championship.

    While Petter Solberg set the fourth fastest time, 0.8s down on rally leader Jari-Matti Latvala, older brother Henning failed to complete the run in his M-Sport Stobart Ford Fiesta RS WRC.

    Although the exact cause of his problem has yet to be confirmed he has parked up three kilometres from the end of the stage, promoting team-mate Matthew Wilson to fourth in the process.

    For Petter Solberg, meanwhile, his time signaled an upturn in form after he struggled with the set-up of his Citroen DS3 WRC this morning.

    “I’m very happy with it, very happy,” said Solberg, who carried out a number of set-up changes during midday service. “It’s very interesting actually. I could push hard and things will get better. I’m feeling very confident.”

    Read: wrc.com/australia ss15



    Overall: 21. 43 K. BLOCK M 2:47:27.5 +2:22.1 +37:11.2

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

    SS16: Ogier continues to push



    Sebastien Ogier’s audacious bid to climb back into the top 10 on Rally Australia has received a boost after he claimed his second fastest stage time of day two aboard his Citroen DS3 WRC.

    The rising French star was 2.3s faster than fellow factory Citroen driver Sebastien Loeb, the seven-time world rally champion.

    “I think it’s possible to go back in the top 10, there is much more grip now and the stages are beautiful,” said Ogier.

    Citroen privateer Petter Solberg has finally gone faster than factory Ford driver Jari-Matti Latvala, edging the rally leader by 0.1s through the repeat of the Grace stage. “I can push and the car feels better and better,” said the Norwegian.

    ......Henning Solberg’s exit on the previous stage is understood to be the result of an electrical glitch in his M-Sport Stobart Fiesta.

    Read: wrc.com/australia ss16



    Overall: 21. 43 K. BLOCK M 2:59:08.8 +2:05.2 +37:51.9

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

    SS117: Ogier edges Loeb



    Sebastien Ogier has continued his impressive charge on Rally Australia by recording another fastest stage time on the world championship round.

    Ogier, driving a Citroen DS3 WRC, was 0.8s quicker than team-mate Sebastien Loeb who, like Ogier, is battling to make up lost ground following his exit on day one.

    Petter Solberg completed the stage with cosmetic damage to the front of his privateer Citroen after he made a small mistake. As a result he was 0.8s slower than Mikko Hirvonen who continues to occupy second place behind leader Jari-Matti Latvala in the overall classification.

    The Ford driver said he was a bit more cautious through the stage in his factory Fiesta: “I just took it maybe a little bit too careful this stage,” said Latvala, whose lead has been trimmed to 22.9s. “There is no need to push too hard so I took a sensible approach on that stage because it was very slippery.”

    Read: wrc.com/australia ss17



    Overall: 21. 43 K. BLOCK M 3:08:22.3 +1:43.0 +38:18.8

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

    SS18: Stage win for Loeb

    Jari-Matti Latvala will be forced to clean the road on the final day of Rally Australia after completing Saturday’s last gravel test at the head of the field.

    With the standings after the 13.79-kilometre test being used to determine the running order for day three, leader Latvala will sweep away the loose surface gravel on Sunday. “I’m not worried about running first, I just need to keep the car on the road,” said the factory Ford Fiesta pilot, whose advantage out front stands at 22.6s.

    Petter Solberg was once again faster than both factory Fiesta drivers and is now 37.4s behind second-placed Mikko Hirvonen. However, his time was 1.2s slower than the standard set by factory Citroen pilot Sebastien Loeb, who claimed his first stage win of the day in his DS3 WRC.

    Read: wrc.com/australia ss18



    Overall: 21. 43 K. BLOCK M 3:17:25.0 +1:24.7 +38:50.5



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    SS19/SS20: Loeb and Ogier share stage wins

    Factory Citroen drivers Sebastien Loeb and Sebastien Ogier completed the final runs through the Castrol EDGE Super Special Stage in Coffs Harbour by recording a fastest time apiece in their Citroen DS3 WRCs.

    Loeb, the world championship leader, was 1.7s faster than Ogier on the first pass before Ogier edged Loeb by 0.4s on the second run.

    Petter Solberg was third fastest on both runs in his privateer Citroen. As a result the Norwegian will start the final day 59.5s behind outright leader Jari-Matti Latvala in a works Ford Fiesta RS WRC.

    Peter van Merksteijn Jr completed the final run through the mainly asphalt test with damage to the front of his Citroen after going off the road on the small section of gravel included on the course.

    Read: wrc.com/australia ss19 & ss20

    SS19



    Overall: 21. 43 K. BLOCK M 3:20:09.6 +1:23.9 +38:57.8
    .

    SS20



    Overall: 21. 43 K. BLOCK M 3:22:51.2 +1:20.8 +39:03.8

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

    Saturday WRC wrap

    Jari-Matti Latvala will start the final day of Rally Australia with a lead of 22.7s over his factory Ford team-mate Mikko Hirvonen.

    Hirvonen, in a Fiesta RS WRC, began day two leading his fellow Finn Latvala by seven seconds but, faced with the prospect of sweeping a clean line through the loose surface gravel, the 31-year-old was powerless to maintain his advantage and slipped behind Latvala after Saturday’s opening test.

    From then on Latvala gradually extended his lead while Hirvonen mounted his unequal struggle in the dry and sunny conditions that provided the backdrop to day two of the World Rally Championship round.

    But having completed Saturday’s 10 stages placed second in the running order, Latvala will be first though Sunday’s final six tests, which could hand the initiative back to Hirvonen, who can close on world championship leader Sebastien Loeb if he wins the Coffs Coast event.

    “I’m not worried about running first,” said Latvala, who was quickest on Saturday’s opening quartet of stages. “There has not been a big fight but there has been some pressure because you need to keep your car on the road and that has not been easy.”

    Hirvonen said: “It has not been an easy day. I spent the morning cleaning and then again in the afternoon because the historic cars [running behind the main WRC field] were messing up the line again. Jari-Matti will be sweeping the road now but I still have to think about Petter [Solberg].”

    The Citroen privateer will start day three occupying the final podium spot, 59.5s adrift of second-placed Hirvonen. He could have been closer to the leading pace had he found the set-up of his DS3 WRC more to his liking on Saturday morning. “It’s good fun to be on the pace and everything can happen tomorrow,” said Solberg, who made several set-up changes at midday service. “We know [Latvala and Hirvonen] are strong but you can never say never.”

    Read More: wrc.com/Saturday Wrap

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

    Saturday PWRC wrap: Paddon fights back



    Hayden Paddon completed the second day of Rally Australia just like he ended the first, leading the Production Car World Rally Championship in his Subaru Impreza.

    But it could have been a different story after the New Zealander returned to midday service in Coffs Harbour 49.6s adrift of the category lead when the hose connecting the turbo and the intercooler split, robbing Paddon of vital power.

    Repairs at service allowed Paddon, who was more than 1m20s in front after day one, to up his pace during the afternoon to the extent he was back ahead of Michal Kosciuszko, in a Mitsubishi Lancer, at the completion of Saturday’s final gravel test.

    However, it was a nervy afternoon for Paddon and co-driver John Kennard who were saddled by an overheating engine and front-end damage to their car after they accidentally ran over a wallaby on stage 16.

    “We’ve been trying to push while keeping an eye on the temperature,” said Paddon. “We’ve not actually been able to open the bonnet to check because the impact pushed the radiator support panel back so we’ve been quite lucky to get through.”

    Despite the various setbacks, Paddon will start day three leading Kosciuszko by 2.9s. If he is still leading at the finish in Coffs Harbour on Sunday afternoon then he will be crowned the provisional PWRC champion for 2011.

    Read More: wrc.com/PWRC Saturday wrap



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    Day 3: Sunday

    Ford team in 9/11 tribute




    Ford's factory World Rally Championship team will pay tribute to the victims of the 9/11 terror attacks by running special stickers on its Fiesta RS WRCs on Rally Australia, which concludes with six all-gravel special stages today (Sunday).

    Today marks the 10th anniversary of the attacks in New York and Washington. As a mark of respect, the works Fiestas will sport tribute stickers throughout the final day of the rally.

    Gerard Quinn, Ford’s director of European motorsport, said: “Ford is an American company. Ten years ago after the tragic events in America we carried special livery on one of our rally cars on the next rally after the tragedies. We felt it was appropriate to commemorate these events 10 years on by carrying memorial stickers on our cars.”

    Factory Ford drivers Jari-Matti Latvala and Mikko Hirvonen are currently first and second overall following an impressive start to the event.

    Read: wrc.com/ford team 9/11 tribute

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

    SS21: Hirvonen quickest to narrow lead



    Mikko Hirvonen has carved into Jari-Matti Latvala’s overall lead, narrowing his Ford team-mate’s advantage to 5.4s on Sunday’s opening stage.

    Hirvonen began the final day of Rally Australia trailing Latvala by 22.7s but has reduced that margin to 17.3s in the battle for victory on the world championship qualifier.

    “That’s a scary stage, bloody hell it’s so fast,” said Hirvonen, at the wheel of a Fiesta RS WRC. “We set a good time, I’m coming flat out but it’s not enjoyable.”

    Petter Solberg, in third overall in his Citroen and the biggest threat to the leading factory Ford drivers, was 2.2s slower than Hirvonen. “I’m pushing but it’s difficult to take a lot of time,” said the Norwegian privateer. “I was on the limit quite a lot, but that was really good fun.”

    Latvala, who is running first on the road and cleaning a path through the loose gravel, said: “The beginning was slippery but towards the end of the stage the grip was getting better.”

    Read: wrc.com/australia ss21



    Overall: 21. 43 K. BLOCK M 3:30:57.9 +1:34.5 +39:46.8

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

    SS22: Crash puts Novikov out



    Evgeny Novikov has rolled into retirement on Rally Australia, round 10 of the World Rally Championship.

    Novikov, who had climbed to ninth in the overall standings at the wheel of his M-Sport Stobart Ford Fiesta RS WRC, left the road at high speed 7.3 kilometres into the 30-kilometre Plum Pudding test, regarded as the hardest of all on the Coffs Coast event.

    While it remains unclear how much damage the Russian has inflicted to his car, both he and co-driver Denis Giraudet are reported to be uninjured.

    Sebastien Ogier, who was running behind Novikov on the road, slowed to check both crew were okay.

    “Evgeny had a big crash and the car was in the middle of the road in a fast place and we slowed down to see if they were okay, it’s better like this,” said the factory Citroen driver. “We finished the stage slowly, it’s difficult when you see a heavy crash like that.”

    Sebastien Loeb also stopped and said the muddy nature of the road thereafter forced him to “take it easy”.

    Jari-Matti Latvala continues to lead the rally despite reporting a moment approximately halfway through the stage. Driving a Ford Fiesta RS WRC, Latvala was actually able to extend his advantage over team-mate Mikko Hirvonen, who was 2.4s slower than his fellow Finn through the stage.

    “This stage I kept the rhythm going to see how I was feeling,” said Latvala. “It’s a very difficult stage to be honest and I had a bit of a moment in there where I ran a little wide [in a muddy section] so I’m going to have to stay focused.”

    Petter Solberg was second fastest through the stage and is now 38.3s behind second-placed Hirvonen. “It was very tricky and also very muddy in some parts - it’s a big difference from the recce,” said the Citroen DS3 WRC privateer. “I had an okay stage and changed a few pace notes around. It’s very important to keep on the pace but not do a mistake.”

    Hirvonen said: “We didn’t find a good rhythm at all, this was a bit more technical and it didn’t go so well. But there were no moments, nothing.”

    Daniel Oliveira is reported to have stopped his Brazil World Rally Team MINI John Cooper Works WRC within the stage.

    Read: wrc.com/australia ss22



    Overall: 19. 43 K. BLOCK M 3:48:32.5 +1:15.5 +40:55.1

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

    SS23: Loeb fastest, Henning Solberg rolls



    Sebastien Loeb made the most of a handful of small driving errors by his Citroen team-mate Sebastien Ogier to win the first pass of the 4.58-kilometre Clarence test, which will form the rally-closing Power Stage later this afternoon.

    Loeb, out of contention following his roll on Friday, can rescue some drivers’ championship points by winning the Power Stage. “I tried to push to be prepared for this afternoon,” said Loeb.

    Ogier, who has fought his way into the top 10, added: “I did a lot of mistakes in that stage so I am not happy.”

    Out front, Jari-Matti Latvala’s lead over Ford team-mate Mikko Hirvonen remains at 19.7s after the Finns set the same time through the test with Latvala reporting another moment.

    “I came too fast into one corner and lost time,” said Latvala. “I’ll have to change my approach on that corner for the Power Stage this afternoon.”

    Henning Solberg suffered a low-speed roll in his M-Sport Stobart Fiesta but managed to continue following a delay of almost three minutes. “I am sorry for that but I had to try,” said the Norwegian. “It was my fault but we are okay.”

    New Zealander Hayden Paddon continues to lead the Production Car World Rally Championship in his Subaru Impreza. “We’ve got a good lead so we’re taking it easy,” said Paddon.

    Read: wrc.com/australia ss23



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


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    Sunday Mid mornin Service



    While the battle for victory on Rally Australia remains tightly poised as crews return to the mid-morning service halt at Coffs Harbour's regional airport, the focus is beginning to switch to the event-closing Power Stage.

    Shown live on television around the world, the 4.58-kilometre forest blast located north of the rally’s host town could prove pivotal to the outcome of this year’s World Rally Championship title fight when it gets underway at 15:31hrs local time.

    Following their retirements on Friday, Citroen drivers Sebastien Loeb and Sebastien Ogier - currently first and second in the drivers’ table - will be determined to grab a share of the bonus points handed out on the Power Stage to the fastest three drivers in an effort to minimise their potential losses.

    Although Ogier has fought his way back into the top 10, Loeb is currently on course to not score a world championship point for the first time since the Acropolis Rally in Greece in June 2009 unless he can set a top-three time on the Power Stage.

    However, if he fails then Mikko Hirvonen could narrow his title lead to at least 11 points providing he can overhaul Ford team-mate Jari-Matti Latvala for the overall victory.

    “The Power Stage is important for sure,” said Loeb. “If Mikko is winning it will be very close in the championship so it’s important to try, we don’t have much to lose.”

    With three stages left to run, Hirvonen trails Latvala by 19.7s. Ford team chief Malcolm Wilson has admitted that the positions will be swapped providing his drivers keep running.

    “We’ve achieved 50 per cent of the objective today by getting both cars back to service in first and second, that’s the priority,” said Wilson. “For sure Mikko has a chance of the drivers’ championship so it’s important he gets into first position. We will look at how we do that this afternoon but with two drivers having accidents we have to be mindful of that.”

    While much of the top 10 has remained unchanged during Sunday’s opening three stages, Evgeny Novikov is out of ninth position following a huge crash on the 30-kilometre Plum Pudding stage. Fortunately both he and co-driver Denis Giraudet were uninjured. Henning Solberg suffered a low-speed roll on the Clarence test, while Ken Block spun on the Bucca stage. However, both are still running.

    Behind the leaders, Citroen privateer Petter Solberg is third, 57.6s adrift with Matthew Wilson fourth for the M-Sport Stobart squad. Khalid Al Qassimi is fifth and heading for a WRC personal best finish in his Team Abu Dhabi Fiesta.

    Away from the battle for overall victory Hayden Paddon remains on course to secure the Production Car World Rally Championship title for the first time. The New Zealander is sixth overall in his Subaru Impreza. He is 51.3s ahead of his closest rival Michal Kosciuszko.

    Read: wrc.com/service

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

    Solberg set to settle for third



    Petter Solberg's team manager Ken Rees says he expects his driver to settle for third position on Rally Australia.

    Solberg, in a privateer Citroen DS3 WRC, has been in contention for a podium finish throughout the Coffs Coast event and started today’s final six tests 59.5s behind leading Ford drivers Jari-Matti Latvala and Mikko Hirvonen.

    Having been unable to make any serious progress in his efforts to close up to Latvala and Hirvonen this morning and with Matthew Wilson more than six minutes adrift in fourth, Solberg is unlikely to attempt any further gains on the closing three stages alongside his Northern Irish co-driver Chris Patterson.

    “We’ve reduced the difference but only by a few seconds,” said Rees. “We can’t risk putting the car off the road because we need a podium just as much as Ford needs a one-two. Petter is still pushing and maybe there is a bit left but not 35 seconds over 50 kilometres. We’ve take the fight a bit closer and we’d be delighted to finish third.”

    Rees continued: “But at the end of the day we’re still a customer team driving a customer car, which is not the same spec as the factory cars. We’re that bit behind but we can’t complain, we’re still struggling on with our [small] budget.”

    If Solberg does finish third then it will be his second podium finish of a largely frustrating season.

    Read: wrc.com/solberg to settle

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

    Novikov: Oz crash biggest ever



    Evgeny Novikov reckons his accident on Rally Australia's Plum Pudding test this morning was the biggest of his career.

    The Russian, driving a Ford Fiesta RS WRC for the M-Sport Stobart squad, was in ninth overall when he rolled approximately five times at high speed.

    Although his car suffered extensive damage, both he and veteran French co-driver Denis Giraudet were uninjured.

    Blaming the crash on a wrongly-recorded pace note, Novikov said: “It was a fast left corner and that tightened a little bit over a crest but in my pace notes it was flat but it was not flat unfortunately. We went too wide and onto two wheels and started to roll. It was a mistake from recce for us. There was nothing we could do as the car just rolled into trees from flat out in sixth gear. We are both okay but I think that was the biggest crash I have ever had.”

    Speaking before the world championship qualifier got underway in Coffs Harbour on Thursday evening, Giraudet described the 30-kilometre test as an “adventure”, adding: “It’s really something special, very fast with a lot of cuts. The trees are very close to the road and when you hit a tree on your door it’s not so friendly but it’s part of the game. You can’t cut all the trees.”

    Several drivers stopped at the scene of the crash 7.3 kilometres into the test north of the Coffs Harbour service park with a number expressing their shock at the severity of the accident.

    Read: wrc.com/novikov crash


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    SS24: Hirvonen gets closer



    Mikko Hirvonen has moved to within 13.4s of leader and factory Ford team-mate Jari-Matti Latvala with two stages of Rally Australia left to run.

    Hirvonen, in a Fiesta RS WRC, was 6.3s faster than Latvala on the repeat of the Bucca stage. After completing the 14.83-kilometre run with the quickest time, Hirvonen said: “I took some time off him and we’re close. There is a long stage to go and I’ll see if I can catch him.”

    Sebastien Ogier was second fastest through the stage in his Citroen DS3 WRC. He said: “The car is working well, no problem for us.”

    Henning Solberg completed the stage with a broken rear shock absorber in his M-Sport Stobart Fiesta.

    Peter van Merksteijn Jr said changes to his pace notes had enabled him to set a faster time through Bucca than he managed on the previous run despite reporting a “few tricky moments” in his Citroen.

    Production Car championship ace Hayden Paddon said he had cruised through the stage in his New Zealand World Rally Team Subaru Impreza.

    Read: wrc.com/australia ss24



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

    SS25: Hirvonen moves into top spot

    Mikko Hirvonen has moved into the lead of Rally Australia after Jari-Matti Latvala slowed to boost his team-mate’s chances of winning the drivers’ world championship for the first time.

    Latvala admitted stopping his Ford Fiesta RS WRC shortly before the stage finish to enable Hirvonen to move ahead and gain 25 points.

    “I stopped before the yellow board,” said Latvala. “We decided as a team that Mikko has a better chance for the drivers’ championship so I wanted to support him. Of course every driver who wants to win needs to have a tactical approach. I needed to see the bigger picture and help the team.”

    Hirvonen, who now leads by 15.1s, said: “Unfortunately Jari-Matti lost his chances of the title a few months ago and he’s helping me now. I appreciate it a lot because it helps me in the title fight. It’s a long way to go but I lost the title by one point [in 2009] so I know that every point counts.”

    Citroen responded to Ford’s move when it ordered Sebastien Ogier, who was ninth at the start of the stage, to drop behind team-mate Sebastien Loeb who has moved into 10th position. “He started a bit late to give me a chance to score one point,” said Loeb.

    Ogier added: “I received a team order and I respected this.” When asked if the loss of a potential two drivers’ championship points would spell the end of his title chances, Ogier said: “I have no comment about that. You can draw your own conclusion but no comment for me.”

    Read: wrc.com/australia ss25



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

    SS26: Power Stage win for Loeb



    Citroen’s Sebastien Loeb secured three vital world championship points by winning the Rally Australia Power Stage as Mikko Hirvonen claimed the overall victory for the jubilant Ford team.

    Loeb was 1.2s faster than Jari-Matti Latvala through the live television test in his Citroen DS3 WRC with Petter Solberg claiming the final bonus point in third position in his privateer Citroen.

    Hirvonen was on course for the final bonus point until Latvala charged through the stage four-tenths faster than his fellow Finn to demote him to fourth in the stage classification.

    “I’m happy to score these few points but for sure I would have preferred to have scored more points in the rally,” said Loeb, who languished in 10th overall following his roll on Friday morning. “I tried to push very hard to see what we can do but I can’t be happy with this rally. It has not been good for me, my team-mate or my team.”

    Sebastien Ogier slowed nearing the end of the run to ensure he didn’t take any points away from Citroen team-mate Loeb. “I have team orders and I respect it,” said the dejected Frenchman afterwards.

    Ken Block, the first driver to tackle the Power Stage in his Monster World Rally Team Ford Fiesta RS WRC, completed the test in a time of 2m21.4s. He said: “I got some confidence back and had a really good time. The stages are amazing here and the Australian fans are very welcoming. I really appreciate that.”

    Henning Solberg picked up two punctured rear tyres in his M-Sport Stobart Fiesta but heroically managed to complete the stage. Khalid Al Qassimi opted for maximum caution to finish the stage and clinch a career-best fifth in his Team Abu Dhabi Fiesta. Hayden Paddon maintained sixth overall to win the Production Car crown in his Subaru Impreza.

    Read: wrc.com/australia ss26



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

    Hat trick for Hirvonen in Oz



    Mikko Hirvonen has ended Ford's winless streak in the World Rally Championship with victory on a drama-filled Rally Australia.

    The Finn, driving a Ford Fiesta RS WRC, moved ahead of team-mate Jari-Matti Latvala on the penultimate stage when Latvala slowed to hand Hirvonen maximum points in an emotional one-two finish for the Blue Oval squad.

    On the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks in the United States, which American firm Ford marked by carrying memorial stickers on its factory machines, Hirvonen has also slashed Sebastien Loeb’s world title lead following the Citroen driver’s roll on day one.

    Loeb made amends by claiming 10th overall and three bonus points for winning the event-closing Power Stage. But with three rounds remaining, Hirvonen is now just 15 points behind Loeb while Ford has closed on Citroen in the manufacturers’ standings.

    Hirvonen’s last win in the WRC was on Rally Sweden back in February. His triumph in New South Wales means he extends his run of victories in Australia to three.

    Read: wrc.com/hirvonen hat trick in oz

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

    Paddon wins Production title



    Hayden Paddon has been crowned the provisional Production Car world champion for 2011 after topping the class on Rally Australia.

    Driving a Subaru Impreza, Paddon and co-driver John Kennard made it four wins in a row to clinch the title with two events remaining.

    He said: “It’s been absolutely perfect. A few months ago we had no money and no campaign but thanks to the people back home in New Zealand we’ve come here and won the title. It’s awesome and we’ll try as hard as we can to come back next year in something bigger and better.”

    Read: wrc.com/Paddon wins Production title



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    Last edited by Weasel 555; 09-11-2011 at 12:25 AM.
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  14. #13

    Admin - Scooby Hooligan

    Weasel 555's Avatar
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    Rally wrap: Australia



    Mikko Hirvonen has narrowed Sebastien Loeb's lead in the World Rally Championship to 15 points after winning Rally Australia for a third time today (Sunday).

    Hirvonen, co-driven by fellow Finn Jarmo Lehtinen, began the final day of the Coffs Coast event 22.7s behind Ford team-mate Jari-Matti Latvala. But when Latvala slowed to enable his fellow Fiesta RS WRC driver to get ahead, Hirvonen took a lead he wouldn’t relinquish.

    In the process the Finn scored his first victory in the WRC since his triumph on Rally Sweden in February - 212 days ago - to end Citroen’s run of success. Latvala made it a one-two for the Blue Oval in second with Petter Solberg third in his privateer Citroen DS3 WRC.

    “This is a fantastic feeling and a very important result for the team and for my championship chances,” said Hirvonen, 31. “I have to say a big thank you to my team and also to Jari-Matti for slowing down. I’m back in the game but we have to work really hard now to improve our pace on Tarmac [the surface of the next two rounds].”

    Latvala, who won a total of nine special stages during the event, was 14.7s behind Hirvonen at the finish. He said: “Of course it would have been great to have won the rally but it was a great result for the team.”

    Ford’s victory, its second of the 2011 season, coincided with the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks in the United States, which the American firm marked by carrying memorial stickers on its factory machines.

    Solberg’s capture of third place marked the Norwegian’s second podium of 2011. He said: “I’m very happy because I’ve been waiting a long time for that. The team has done a very good job and it’s great to be on the pace again. It’s thanks to them.”

    Read More: wrc.com/rally wrap

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    PWRC wrap



    Hayden Paddon is the provisional Production Car world champion for 2011 after he topped the class on Rally Australia.

    Paddon, who started the event in the knowledge that 25 points would put the title beyond the reach of his rivals, adopted a cautious approach on the final morning to clinch the crown in his Subaru Impreza.

    Martin Semerad, who didn’t nominate the Southern Hemisphere event as one of his scoring rounds, can still draw level with Paddon by winning the final two events of the season. However, the Czech would still lose the title on count-back.

    “We tried to push on the first stage today but I guess I was a little bit too attentive,” said Paddon. “I didn’t want to throw it away so we drove it steadily without taking too many risks and got to the end. The goal was to secure the title and finish in the top six. We’ve done both and I’m so happy but I really can’t believe it - it’s incredible.”

    Paddon was using his family-owned, right-hand drive Impreza rather than the left-hand drive Symtech Racing machine he has used so far this season. This was due to logistical reasons. “It was run by our old team who do a good job, it was no problem.”

    Read More: wrc.com/PWRC wrap

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    Standings: wrc.com/standings

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    Next: Rnd 11 - Rallye de France - Sept 29 - Oct 2



    For the second year in a row, France’s World Rally Championship qualifier will take place in the country’s Alsace region to the east following its move away from Corsica, the event’s home from 1973 until 2008.

    Alsace is Sebastien Loeb country and it was highly fitting that the French ace secured his seventh world crown on a special stage run through the streets of his home town of Haguenau when the region hosted its first WRC qualifier in October 2010.

    With a base on the outskirts of Strasbourg, the rally utilised a remote service halt in the town of Mulhouse on day one, which quickly became swamped with enthusiastic spectators. Indeed, the event’s central location - not to mention the Loeb factor - ensured a phenomenal turn out of fans on all three days.

    Official Website: rallyedefrance.com/


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    ScoobyDMC #000,HawkEyeAlliance#000,Blobeye Syndicate #000, SQC-NY #009, "Dragon Slayer"
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  15. #14
    Registered User WRXelent's Avatar
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    Thanks for all the info Weasel 555 !
    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

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