Mikko Hirvonen has moved closer to securing the opening round of the 2010 WRC campaign. The Finn has increased his lead to 16 secs after the today’s stages. With only five stages remaining, even the defending series champion admits it will be tough to overhaul last year’s runner up.
Hirvonen was able to take advantage when the two front runners opted for new tires at different points. Loeb put on fresh tires on the front while leaving severely worn tires on the rear. The mistake would cost him dearly.
Jari-Matti Latvala would overtake Dani Sordo for third place. Sordo would have to stop on stage due to an overheating machine. Dani is under considerable pressure after word that Ogier may take the second seat on the factory squad if his performance continues to improve.
Marcus Gronholm completed his mission for this event by taking the popular Sagen stage. Gronholm said that the stage was the reason he picked this for his one off even going as far as naming his restaurant after the stage. Gronholm did admit however that he should have done more testing prior to the event. Petter Solberg as well has climbed back into ninth place after the odd contact between himself and Matthew Wilson.
P-G Andersson continues to lead the SWRC but there was signs of life after Martin Prokop claimed a stage victory. It may be too little to late however as Andersson looks to take the inaugural SWRC event. Patrik Flodin extended his lead in the PWRC by over a minute over against his rival Grondal.
More action tomorrow as the first event of 2010 comes to a close. Will Mikko be able to hold Loeb off? Can Jari-Matti continue to play the perfect number 2? We will have the details of tomorrow’s final stages here at teh paddock.