Posted by: wrcnf1 | February 12, 2009

Hours Away from Rally Norway

Tor Andre Børresen

Photo: Tor Andre Børresen

In approximately 10 hours from now Rally Norway gets started with about 50 competitors and among them are 10 Norwegians. The event organisers and home spectators must be thrilled to have at least three local drivers capable of winning the event and among them none other than former world champion Petter Solberg. Petter joins his brother Henning Solberg and Mads Ostberg to try to win the overall event. Andreas Mikkelsen, the youngest driver to score a point on a WRC event, will also be compete but his chances of fighting with the top drivers will be small as he is entered in the PWRC category in a Subaru N14. 

The domination of Sebastien Loeb has not included snow and his single win on snow must give the other teams hope for a change of fortunes after the beating they endured from Loeb on last week’s Rally Ireland. Loeb himself believes  that his team wont be favourites for the win as he expects the Ford team to be more comfortable on snow. Dani Sordo has not had a great time on this surface either, having crashed out of Rally Norway in 2007.

The Ford team will feel confident going into the event having completed a one-two-three finish in Norway two years ago. Hirvonen is always consistent and comfortable on ice while Latvala’s sensational win in Sweden should give him some much needed confidence to rebound from his costly error on Rally Ireland. Henning Solberg of the Stobart team was the third Ford driver in 2007 and has stated his intentions in the media saying that it is “a great chance to show Stobart what I can do”. He also that while “everyone is talking about the big battle with Petter…I’m not worrying about him. I just want to go as fast as I can for as long as I can”. If Henning Solberg’s fourth place on tarmac which he has never been really comfortable on is any indicator of potential, I believe he has a shot of being on the podium at the end of the weekend.

The Citroen Junior Team is without the services of Chris Atkinson as he is still working on a deal to return to the team later in the season which leaves three inexperienced drivers to contest the rally. The team boss has already insisted that this event will be used as a learning experience for the young drivers.

In the PWRC class, former world junior champion Patrik Sandell will drive a factory supported Fabia S2000 against drivers including Patrik Flodin, Andreas Mikkelsen and Martin Prokop. Since Mikkelsen has the home advantage and the speed to match it I believe Mikkelsen may reach his goal of winning the PWRC class.

Corey

quotes: www.autosport.com and www.rallynorway.com

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