As you have probably heard by now, Sebastian Loeb has finally been beaten this year. Jari Matti-Latvala and his BP Ford Focus WRC finally put to rest some speculation on Latvala’s position with the team. Mikko Hirvonen came home in second place making it a Ford 1/2 which was desperately needed for championship aspirations. Petter Solberg finished on another podium with a third place finish and Sebastian Loeb was dropped to fourth after a FIA ruling penalized the Frenchman for his co-driver removing his seat belt before the Citroen C4 had stopped during their tire change on day 2.
Amongst the other notables, Danni Sordo was never a factor. This is not what the Spaniard needed for his confidence on surfaces other than gravel. His turbo was giving him fits proving that the Citroen C4 is not completely bullet proof. Matthew Wilson brought home a good finish for Stobart Ford after Henning Solberg suffered suspension damage.
The production and junior classes. The production class had a great battle between Patrick Flodin, Patrik Sandell, and Nasser al-Attiyah. Flodin would experience differential problems ending his rally. It looked as though the victory was going to go to Sandell until a blazing fast final stint for al-Attiyah gave him another production class win by 1.5 seconds. Martin Prokop took the junior class despite electrical problems on day 1 and hitting a tree on day 2. The final results are posted below for the top 10.
Another great rally in the WRC and clearly a bit refreshing to see a new winner. The championship is still in the hands of Loeb and his Citroen Total team. Ford will need many more results like this the rest of the season if they have any chance of taking the championship. Clearly the tactics of the weekend for Ford payed off and they have realized that it now takes both focus WRC cars to apply enough pressure on Loeb to cause mistakes. Ford still needs to grounded about this however. They did have a little help. The next rally will be the Acropolis Rally of Greece that takes place 12-14 of June.