Four drivers chase Hirvonen

Last year’s Rally Sweden winner Mikko Hirvonen holds the lead when this year’s rally goes in to its final leg on Sunday. But four chasing drivers will do their best to prevent the Finn from making it two in a row.

Friday leader Mads Ostberg experienced the difficulties of running first on the road. But the young Norwegian Ford driver held on remarkably to his pace and is now second only 7.4 seconds behind the leader. Close behind follow Peter Solberg, Citroën, Jari-Matti Latvala, Ford and Sébastien Ogier, Citroën. The top five competitors are separated by only 15.8 seconds.

This makes for a thrilling final leg where Hirvonen also has to cope with being first on the road.

Sébastien Loeb won four of Saturday’s nine stages, but is still out of contention in sixth place. Other stage winners today were P. Solberg (3), Ogier and Andersson (1 each). Henning Solberg – fifth on Friday – rolled out of the rally when landing badly after a sequence of jumps and home favourite P-G Andersson dropped to eighth behind Kimi Raikkonen following servo problems.

Czech driver Martin Semerad in a Mitsubishi took over the Production Car World Championship lead after Norwegian Anders Grondal’s Subaru suffered engine failure. Out alreeady late Friday night was second placed Swede Patrik Flodin excluded for using year’s rims which are underweight according to this year’s rules.