Monday, March 8, 2010

2010 WRC : R2 - Sebastien Loeb wins Rally Mexico!

2010 WRC - Rally Mexico Winner : 01 Sébastien Loeb / Daniel Elena - Citroen World Rally team

Citroen C4 WRC driver Sebastien Loeb sealed a crushing victory on Rally Mexico today, round two of the 2010 World Rally Championship, to leap into the lead of the FIA Drivers' standings.

Loeb, the defending and six-times World Champion built up a massive lead of almost a minute during Saturday's competition, and cruised through Sunday's three stages to finish 24.2sec ahead of Petter Solberg who claimed second place in another Citroen C4 WRC.

Today's win was the 55th at World Championship level for Loeb and co-driver Daniel Elena and was the pair's fourth consecutive success on Rally Mexico.

After finishing runner-up to his Ford rival Mikko Hirvonen on the series' opening round in Sweden, it springs the Frenchman six points clear at the top of the drivers' standings.

"I had a good lead today and was not going to take any risks with that when I started first on the road,” said Loeb. “I was just breezing through the last couple of stages trying to keep my concentration. It's a good victory; I'm back in the lead of the championship and the points we lost in Sweden we've won back - that's important.

"Okay, it's only the start of the championship but I'm really happy. We had a really good drive yesterday and a good feeling in the car. It’s looking good," he added.

Sunday's gripping tussle for second position eventually ended in Solberg’s favour. He and Citroen Junior Team driver Sebastien Ogier began the day separated by just 2.7sec and the contest was only decided to the Norwegian’s advantage on the final Super Special stage when he set the fastest time. It marked a fitting end to a terrific three-day battle.

"I'm delighted but absolutely exhausted," said an emotional Solberg, who scored his best WRC result since the 2008 Acropolis. "After what we've been through last year and this year it’s a hell of result. We analysed the time we might lose running first on the road and even though we knew it would be difficult it worked out perfectly. It’s a great feeling to be back on the podium!"

Finishing third, 1.1sec behind Solberg, Ogier was left pondering his decision to deliberately drop time to his rival on Saturday to ensure a better road position today.

"Of course it's disappointing but it's been a good weekend anyway," he said. "My team told me not to push too hard today, so this morning I didn't push to the maximum. Maybe it's there that I lost out, or maybe yesterday when I slowed at the end of the stage. I think maybe we could have been faster than Petter if we wanted this weekend, but here we are third and it's a good result."

One minute 22 seconds behind the winning trio of Citroens, BP Ford Abu Dhabi Team driver Hirvonen was fourth, in the first Ford Focus RS WRC. His team-mate Jari-Matti Latvala rounded off the top five positions.

The final stage marked the end of a disappointing event for Ford, who were beaten fair and square over the Mexican gravel by Citroen, although the BP Ford Abu Dhabi World Rally Team maintained a six-point lead over the Citroen Total World Rally Team in the FIA Manufacturers’ championship.

"It was a very difficult weekend for the whole team," acknowledged Hirvonen. "We never really had the speed and there were lots of small mistakes from my side too. I'm glad in the end we got the points we could. I just want to leave it behind now and move on to the next rally."

Jari-Matti Latvala said: "It’s been a frustrating weekend, but if you look at the positives we did get good points in the manufacturers' championship, which is very important. Also this is my second rally now finishing in a quite good position - and that boosts my confidence ahead of the next rallies."

Norwegian Henning Solberg confirmed sixth overall for the Stobart M-Sport Ford Rally Team after setting several impressive stage times on day two and Argentina’s Federico Villagra finished in seventh place and gave the Munchi’s Rally Team its first points of the season.

2010 WRC - R2 : Rally Mexico
Pos No Driver Time Diff Next Diff 1st
1. 1 Sébastien LOEB 3:42:41.7 0.0 0.0
2.   11 Petter SOLBERG 3:43:05.9 +24.2 +24.2
3.   7 Sébastien OGIER 3:43:07.0 +1.1 +25.3
4. 3 Mikko HIRVONEN 3:44:29.2 +1:22.2 +1:47.5
5. 4 Jari-Matti LATVALA 3:44:56.8 +27.6 +2:15.1
6. 6 Henning SOLBERG 3:45:29.7 +32.9 +2:48.0
7. 9 Federico VILLAGRA 3:52:55.1 +7:25.4 +10:13.4
8. 28 Xavier PONS 4:01:26.1 +8:31.0 +18:44.4
9. 21 Martin PROKOP 4:01:43.7 +17.6 +19:02.0
10. 31 Armindo ARAÚJO 4:04:14.2 +2:30.5 +21:32.5
11. 32 Toshi ARAI 4:07:30.9 +3:16.7 +24:49.2
12. 59 Nicolas FUCHS 4:08:31.6 +1:00.7 +25:49.9
13. 42 Miguel Angel BALDONI 4:13:07.2 +4:35.6 +30:25.5
14. 49 Benito GUERRA 4:22:03.8 +8:56.6 +39:22.1
15. 2 Dani SORDO 4:22:34.1 +30.3 +39:52.4
16. 33 Gianluca LINARI 4:25:46.9 +3:12.8 +43:05.2
17. 5 Matthew WILSON 4:25:58.9 +12.0 +43:17.2
18. 55 Ken BLOCK 4:29:32.0 +3:33.1 +46:50.3
19. 58 Michel JOURDAIN 4:31:17.1 +1:45.1 +48:35.4
20. 23 Michal KOSCIUSZKO 4:35:02.9 +3:45.8 +52:21.2

Drivers' championship standings

Pos Driver R1 R2 R3 R4 R5 R6 R7 R8 R9 R10 R11 R12 R13 Point
1. FRA Sebastien Loeb  18  25  43
2. FIN Mikko Hirvonen  25  12  37
3. FIN Jari-Matti Latvala  15  10  25
4. FRA Sebastien Ogier  10  15  25
5. NOR Petter Solberg  18  20
6. NOR Henning Solberg  16
7. ESP Dani Sordo  12  12
8. GBR Matthew Wilson  6
9. ARG Federico Villagra  6
10. NOR Mads Ostberg  4
11. ESP Xavi Pons  4
12. CZE Martin Prokop  2
13. SWE P-G Andersson  1
14. PRT Armindo Araujo  1
Manufacturers' championship standings
Pos Team R1 R2 R3 R4 R5 R6 R7 R8 R9 R10 R11 R12 R13 Point
1. ford BP Ford Abu Dhabi World Rally Team  40  27  67
2. citroen Citroen Total World Rally Team  30  31  61
3. citroen Citroen Junior Team  14  18  32
4. ford Stobart M-Sport Ford Rally Team  14  14  28
5. ford Munchi's Ford World Rally Team  8
Images : 2010 WRC - Rally Mexico Hi-light images
[Source : WRC Official, CITROEN, FORD]


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