Rally Poland has ended its first day of competition and there were a couple surprises to talk about. This event may see the first change in the drivers’ championship as well as helps a certain team make a real ball game out of the manufacturer’s title as well.
With Petter Solberg having the early lead after the spectator stage, it was on to the loose dirt/gravel surfaces in the super stages. Mikko Hirvonen continued to roll through the stages all morning and was granted a sigh of relief after Sebastian Loeb wrecked his Citroen in SS4. The Citroen driver said that the incident was unavoidable, but none the less he will be super rallying tomorrow and sits 17+ minutes off of the eighth and final points paying position. With Hirvonen and Latvala now in a first and second position, the team will be able to take it easy and focus on keeping the car out of trouble. Ford team boss Malcolm Wilson made clear that the Ford team could not throw away this golden opportunity for points. With that being said, we can almost guarantee Jarri Mati will throw his car away at some point tomorrow.
Further back, Danni Sordo is off third place by 28 seconds and Petter Solberg is currently residing in the fourth position. However, Solberg is only 1.1 seconds ahead of country man Andreas Mikkelsen. Solberg will be looking for a podium in what could be one of the final runs for his Citroen Xsara. Petter has been testing various other cars in search of a more competitive ride.
Day 2 was the all Ford show as the BP Ultimate Focus extended the lead. During the early stages Danni Sordo ran lightning stages and shaved the gap from 28 seconds to just 16. After the mid service, the BP team launched an all attack against Sordo and was able to increase the gap to 38 seconds.
Sebastian Ogier moved into the fourth position after overtaking Petter Solberg. The French driver is now looking to follow up his awesome performance from the previous round. Petter drove as fast as possible, but the 06 Xsara just did not have the speed. He even possibly hinted at a new car all together by saying he needed something faster in a straight line. Peugeot 307??? One can only hope.
As far as Sebastian Loeb, the Frenchman started the day over 20 minutes back and in the super rally regulations. He was able to climb into 13th place 19 minutes off the lead. More importantly he is 15 minutes off of eighth place which the last points paying position.
Day 3 is the shortest day of competition and we will have the final results posted. Let’s hope for a BP Ford 1/2. That should really heat things up in the championship.
1. 3 Mikko HIRVONEN 2:21:45.8 0.0
2. 4 Jari Matti LATVALA 2:21:57.8 +12.0
3. 2 Dani SORDO 2:22:24.3 +38.5
4. 12 Sebastien OGIER 2:23:45.1 +1:59.3
5. 11 Petter SOLBERG 2:23:52.5 +2:06.7
6. 6 Henning SOLBERG 2:23:53.8 +2:08.0
7. 5 Matthew WILSON 2:25:33.8 +3:48.0
8. 15 Krzysztof HOLOWCZYC 2:25:59.1 +4:13.3
9. 8 Conrad RAUTENBACH 2:27:11.7 +5:25.9
10. 14 Mads OSTBERG 2:28:21.3 +6:35.5
11. 7 Evgeny NOVIKOV 2:38:36.0 +16:50.2
12. 64 Michal BEBENEK 2:39:06.6 +17:20.8
13. 1 Sebastien LOEB 2:41:05.4 +19:19.6
14. 37 Kevin ABBRING 2:43:16.6 +21:30.8
15. 32 Michal KOSCIUSZKO 2:43:17.4 +21:31.6
16. 38 Martin PROKOP 2:43:46.2 +22:00.4
17. 68 Lukasz SZTUKA 2:45:02.7 +23:16.9
18. 71 Valeriy GORBAN 2:46:44.8 +24:59.0
19. 35 Yoann BONATO 2:46:48.3 +25:02.5
20. 70 Vytautas SVEDAS 2:49:25.2 +27:39.4