Hirvonen firmly in control, Fords in trouble (again)
This is just not the Ford’s season obviously, same goes for the last one as well. And the one before that. And…
After problems and dramas of yesterday Ford managed to pull themselves together and restart the rally under Rally2 regulations. First three stages of today looked good for Jari-Matti Latvala and Petter Solberg as they started climbing up the order. Plan was for Latvala to get within the top 10 while Solberg was aiming for top 5 finish.
But, it just wasn’t to be. Ford’s crews were reporting problems with misfiring engines and falling sumpguards throughout the day and first stage of the afternoon brought new drama for Latvala. Engine of his Fiesta developed a fuel pressure problem and Jari-Matti lost fair bit of time trying to fix that. Luckily for him the malfunction was corrected soon and Latvala was back in action.
Last stage of the day, however, brought problems to Petter Solberg. Norwegian ace was enjoying a trouble free day until power steering died on his Fiesta just before the start of final stage of the day. This problem pushed Solberg back to fifth spot overall.
Meanwhile, Mikko Hirvonen had an easy day of controlling the pace and trying to avoid mistakes and technical issues. Finn was being chased by Ford privateer duo of Mads Ostberg and Evgeny Novikov, but “blue oval” crews had to nurse their cars and manage the tyres rather than try to catch Hirvonen.
In final classification Hirvonen leads with over 1 minute and 11 seconds ahead of Ostberg in second and further 29.3 seconds ahead of Novikov in third place. Nasser Al-Attiyah claims fourth spot after problems pushed Patrik Sandell well out of top 10, but Solberg is determined to try and retake 4th spot tomorrow.
Oh, and Jari-Matti Latvala is 18th, with 22 minutes gap to leading Citroën.