Mikko Hirvonen and codriver Jarmo Lehtinen managed to hold on to the overnight lead in Rally Sweden and defend their Ford victory from last year.
– We are obviously very happy. It was a close end exciting fight in the new Fiesta WRC which is good fun but more difficult to drive than last year’s cars.
– I hope this is the start of a really good season. I certainly don’t want to wait a year for the next win…
Ford scored a triple victory in this opening round of the 2011 World Championship. Norwegian youngster and private team driver Mads Ostberg finished second and Hirvonen’s team mate Jari-Matti Latvala third.
Citroën drivers claimed the next three positions in their new DS3 WRCs after a dramatic final day, where Sébastien Ogier and Petter Solberg had initially both been hoping to challenge Hirvonen for the victory. Ogier now finished top Citroën driver in fourth and scored extra World Championship points for being fastest on the live televised Power Stage.
Solberg, who had been caught speeding on Friday and had to turn in his license 48 hours later – just before running the Power Stage – handed over the driving to his codriver Chris Patterson. They still finished fifth ahead of Sébastien Loeb who had dropped behind earlier in the rally with a puncture.
In the supporting Production Car World Championship Czech driver Martin Semerad became the youngest driver ever to win a round. Semerad is only 20 years old and managed his Mitsubishi well to top this rally of attrition.
Final Classification Rally Sweden 2011:
Official Final Classification