Ford World Rally Team drivers Jari-Matti Latvala and Miikka Anttila stretched their lead in Rally
Petter Solberg and Chris Patterson maintained third in their Fiesta RS WRC, with one day remaining in this second round of the FIA World Rally Championship. Solberg is 11.1sec clear of the privately-entered car of fellow Norwegian Mads Østberg, after a daylong fight for the final podium place.
Today’s competition was based close to the Hagfors service park. After a 06.00 re-start from
Latvala was fastest over the opening two stages and the 26-year-old increased his lead to 18.6sec by the mid-leg service break in Hagfors. He was quickest on the same tests this afternoon, and managed the stud wear in his Michelin tyres perfectly to ensure maximum traction over the slippery final stage to widen his lead further.
“I knew the final stage was very icy so I tried to look after the tyres this afternoon to ensure we had plenty of studs,” explained Latvala. “I didn’t want to destroy them in the gravel. Our calculations were correct and our strategy worked well.”
He relished the close competition with former colleague Hirvonen. “It was a big battle with Mikko. The pressure was on, but I like it that way. It’s good to lead now, but I have to keep this position to the end of the rally. That’s what matters. There were some games between us before the stages. Of course we talk to each other, but the chat is more serious now than when we were team-mates, with each of us trying to gain a mental advantage over the other.
“I needed to play my cards right. Knowing when to attack, when to look after the tyres and when to change them was what today was all about. I know Mikko will attack in the morning so I can’t think about easing off. I have a bigger lead than I did this morning which gives me confidence, but I need to be wide awake from the very first kilometre,” he added.
Thirty-seven-year-old Solberg started the day 13.7sec ahead of Østberg, but his fellow countryman reduced the deficit to 7.2sec this morning after Solberg stalled his engine at the start of the second stage. The Ford World Rally Team driver struck back this afternoon to stretch his advantage again during an untroubled day in front of thousands of passionate Swedish and Norwegian fans.
“It’s the first time I’ve driven competitively in the loose in this car and it’s tough to jump straight into a new car and find the right pace immediately,” he said. “Tomorrow will be hard because Mads is close behind me. I have to be careful and not go crazy, but I really want to retain third and also to finish as top Norwegian.
“Conditions were very different from yesterday, with more gravel in the ruts during the second pass of the stages this afternoon. Driving for a podium is an exciting prospect and the final day should be an exciting one for the fans to watch,” added Solberg.
Ford World Rally Team director Malcolm Wilson was delighted with the performance of both drivers. “It was tough for Jari-Matti but he handled the pressure well. He had an answer to everything that Mikko threw at him. He made good use of the tyres, attacking where he could take time and saving his tyres when he needed to,” he said.
“Driving the car in these conditions is new for Petter. His pre-event test was held in temperatures of -30ºC, but the roads are softer in the milder weather here, and he did a good job. Both cars ran perfectly and Fiesta RS WRCs won six of the eight stages today,” he added.
Mads Østberg / Jonas Andersson lie fourth in a privately-entered Fiesta RS WRC. The Norwegian driver’s hopes of climbing into third took a setback in the penultimate stage when an electrical issue switched the car into launch mode and the engine briefly cut out. M-Sport Ford World Rally Team’s Evgeny Novikov / Denis Giraudet are fifth, the Russian driver’s only problem being a misted windscreen this morning. Henning Solberg / Ilka Minor lie seventh, the Go Fast Energy World Rally Team pair nudged down a place on the final stage by world champion Sebastien Loeb. Also in the top 10 are Czech Ford National Team duo Martin Prokop / Zdenek Hrûza and
The final day is again based close to the Hagfors service park and is the shortest of the weekend. Drivers leave
Leaderboard after Day 2
1. J-M Latvala/M Anttila FIN Ford Fiesta RS 2hr 30min 08.0sec
2. M Hirvonen/J Lehtinen FIN Citroen DS3 2hr 30min 31.0sec
3. P Solberg/C Patterson NOR Ford Fiesta RS 2hr 30min 59.4sec
4. M Østberg/J Andersson NOR Ford Fiesta RS 2hr 31min 10.5sec
5. E Novikov/D Giraudet RUS Ford Fiesta RS 2hr 32min 21.1sec
6. S Loeb/D Elena FRA Citroen DS3 2hr 33min 05.5sec
7. H Solberg/I Minor NOR Ford Fiesta RS 2hr 33min 10.4sec
8. P Sandell/S Parmander SWE Mini John Cooper 2hr 34min 39.8sec
9. M Prokop/Z Hrûza CZE Ford Fiesta RS 2hr 34min 42.4sec
10 E Brynildsen/C Menkerud NOR Ford Fiesta RS 2hr 35min 16.7sec
Stage 11: 1. Latvala 13min 23.7sec; 2. Hirvonen + 2.2; 3. Østberg + 7.0; 4. P Solberg + 11.9; 5. Tänak + 13.5; 6. Loeb + 14.6.
Overall: 1. Latvala 1hr 37min 14.5sec; 2. Hirvonen + 19.0; 3. P Solberg + 30.5; 4. Østberg + 39.3; 5. Novikov + 1:33.3; 6. H Solberg + 2:09.4.
Stage 12: 1. Latvala 7min 32.4sec; 2. Hirvonen + 0.9; 3. Østberg + 2.3; 4. Novikov + 2.6; 5. P Solberg + 2.9; 6. H Solberg + 7.2.
Overall: 1. Latvala 1hr 44min 46.9sec; 2. Hirvonen + 19.9; 3. P Solberg + 33.4; 4. Østberg + 41.6; 5. Novikov + 1:35.9; 6. H Solberg + 2:16.6.
Stage 13: 1. Hirvonen 10min 26.4sec; 2. Latvala + 1.9; 3. Loeb + 6.1; 4. Østberg + 7.0; 5. P Solberg + 9.1; 6. Novikov + 10.3.
Overall: 1. Latvala 1hr 55min 15.2sec; 2. Hirvonen + 18.0; 3. P Solberg + 40.6; 4. Østberg + 46.7; 5. Novikov + 1:44.3; 6. H Solberg + 2:27.8.
Stage 14: 1. Tänak 1min 52.3sec; 2. Loeb + 2.2; 3. P Solberg + 3.5; 4= Al Attiyah, Sandell + 3.6; 6. Latvala + 4.2.
Overall: 1. Latvala 1hr 57min 11.7sec; 2. Hirvonen + 18.6; 3. P Solberg + 39.9; 4. Østberg + 47.1; 5. Novikov + 1:46.4; 6. H Solberg + 2:31.4.
Stage 15: 1. Latvala 13min 02.6sec; 2. Hirvonen + 0.1; 3. Østberg + 3.6; 4. Loeb + 3.7; 5. P Solberg + 4.3; 6. H Solberg + 15.2.
Overall: 1. Latvala 2hr 10min 14.3sec; 2. Hirvonen + 18.7; 3. P Solberg + 44.2; 4. Østberg + 50.7; 5. Novikov + 2:02.4; 6. H Solberg + 2:46.6.
Stage 16: 1. Latvala 7min 22.8sec; 2. P Solberg + 2.2; 3. Loeb + 2.4; 4. Hirvonen + 5.0; 5. H Solberg + 5.7; 6. Novikov + 6.6.
Overall: 1. Latvala 2hr 17min 37.1sec; 2. Hirvonen + 23.7; 3. P Solberg + 46.4; 4. Østberg + 1:00.6; 5. Novikov + 2:09.0; 6. Loeb + 2:49.6.
Stage 17: 1. Hirvonen 10min 26.7sec; 2. Latvala + 2.6; 3. Østberg + 5.1; 4. Novikov + 7.3; 5. P Solberg + 8.7; 6. Tänak + 9.9.
Overall: 1. Latvala 2hr 28min 06.4sec; 2. Hirvonen + 21.1; 3. P Solberg + 52.5; 4. Østberg + 1:03.1; 5. Novikov + 2:13.7; 6. H Solberg + 3:01.1.
Stage 18: 1. Tänak, Loeb 1min 58.0sec; 3. Al Attiyah + 1.9; 4= Neuville, Sandell + 2.1; 6. Ogier + 2.3, 7. P Solberg + 2.5; 12. Latvala + 3.6.
Overall: 1. Latvala 2hr 30min 08.0sec; 2. Hirvonen + 23.0; 3. P Solberg + 51.4; 4. Østberg + 1:02.5; 5. Novikov + 2:13.1; 6. Loeb + 2:57.5.
For more information: Contact