Finns in a Ford. There you have the combination victory in Rally Sweden. Again!
When Jari-Matti Latvala drove his Fiesta RS WRC over finish line in Karlstad was the sixth consecutive time that Ford was the winning car – with a Finnish driver at the wheel.
– A special victory for me, ‘said a cheerful Latvala won the Rally Sweden for the second time in his career.
A handful of the drivers fighting for victory in this year’s Rally Sweden. Only one lived up to expectations: Jari-Matti Latvala, 26 years.
He won the first qualifying stage in the championship’s history, was in the top from the start of the competition and definitely took over the lead from the special stage eight.
After that Latvala controlled the contest and had snatched a lead of 35 seconds as he drove puncture with two stages to go. Suddenly in the distance chasing his countryman Mikko Hirvonen just 8.4 seconds behind. Latvala, however, kept his head cool and it was he and co-driver Miikka Anttila, who received the first award from Prince Carl Philip’s hand in prize giving cermony at the finish in Karlstad.
Latvalas second victory in Rally Sweden was important. In Monte Carlo Rally, he drove by the conduction and were left without points. Now he is in the battle for World Championship title again.
– To achieve a good result here was very important to me, given what happened in Monte Carlo.
The two last years winner in Rally Sweden, Mikko Hirvonen, had this time to settle for second place. A good result considering that the contest was his first in the new company car, Citroën team’s DS3 WRC.
– But a little disappointed, I am anyway. I want to win, he said afterward.
The fight for third place was a battle between two Norwegians, audience favorite, Petter Solberg and last year’s runner-up Mads Østberg. Seasoned Petter had the grip until he, like his team mate Latvala, hit a rock on special stage 22nd The air went out from both the tires and Solberg, who in place of a visit to the podium had to settle for fourth place.
On the podium for the second consecutive year came Østberg and his Swedish co-driver Jonas Andersson.
– We are extremely pleased. Third place this year, I value as high as last year’s effort, said Østberg.
Patrik Sandell was the best Swedish with an eighth place finish in his debut for Sweden World Rally Team.
– It has gone entirely according to plan. The team’s Mini WRC is great fun to drive and the speed has come more and more, says Sandell.
The World Championship-class Super 2000 cars, it was full marks for Per-Gunnar Andersson and Emil Axelsson (picture below). The duo took the lead early in his Proton Satria Neo S2000 and gave nothing away to secure victory. Podium position also for Pontus Tidemand, who finished third behind Irishman Craig Breen.
For Andersson was the success at home a nice revenge for the failure in SWRC-debut. Monte Carlo Rally, he was forced to break into management when his car started to burn.
– It feels good to Proton’s and team’s first World Cup partial victory in my home race. Fun for everyone involved, said PG after the finish.
Ford’s and Finland’s victory suite of Rally Sweden
2012: Jari-Matti Latvala, Ford Fiesta RS WRC
2011: Mikko Hirvonen, the Ford Fiesta RS WRC
2010: Mikko Hirvonen, the Ford Focus RS WRC
2008: Jari-Matti Latvala, Ford Focus RS WRC
2007: Marcus Gronholm, Ford Focus RS WRC
2006: Marcus Gronholm, Ford Focus RS WRC
* 2009 Executed World Series only winter rally in Norway
Results (unofficial classification):
World Rally Championship, Rally Sweden, 9-12 February.
1) Jari-Matti Latvala, Finland, Ford Fiesta RS WRC, 3.18.28,3
2) Mikko Hirvonen, Finland, Citroen DS3 WRC, + 16.6 sec
3) Mads Østberg, Norway, the Ford Fiesta RS WRC, + 38.8
4) Petter Solberg, Norway, the Ford Fiesta RS WRC, + 1.14,3 min
5) Evgeny Novikov, Russia, the Ford Fiesta RS WRC, + 2.41,4
6) Sebastien Loeb, France, Citroen DS3 WRC, + 2.55,1
7) Henning Solberg, Norway, the Ford Fiesta RS WRC, + 3.49,5
8) Sandell, Sweden, the Mini John Cooper Works WRC, + 5.08,9
9) Martin Prokop, Czech Republic, the Ford Fiesta RS WRC, + 5.30,0
10) Eyvind Brynildsen, Norway, the Ford Fiesta RS WRC, + 6.27,2
Driver standings after 2 of 13 races.
1) Loeb, 39 points, 2) Hirvonen, 32, 3), P. Solberg, 29, 4) Latvala, 26, 5) Novikov, 21.
Manufacturer World Cup.
1) Total Citroën WRT, 65 poängm, 2) Ford WRT, 55, 3) M-Sports Ford WRT, 28, 4) Mini WRT, 26, 5) Qatar WRT, 8.
1) PG Andersson, Sweden, the Proton Satria Neo S2000, 3.28.16,8
2) Craig Breen, Ireland, the Ford Fiesta S2000, + 3.35,8 min
3) Pontus Tidemand, Sweden, Skoda Fabia S2000, + 4.49,6
PHOTO: ANDREAS “ANDY” ANDERSSON
Jari-Matti Latvala with the champagne on the main square in Karlstad Sunday afternoon.
PHOTO: BACK PARTY PHOTO
PG Andersson got full benefits when he, along with co-driver Emil Axelsson, won the SWRC class in his Proton Satria Neo S2000.