Posted by: wrcnf1 | February 13, 2009

Rally Norway: Solberg Draws first blood but Hirvonen Leads

Petter Solberg took his first stage win with his new rally team on the opening stage of Rally Norway last night. Petter couldnt ask for a better start to the rally as he brought his Xsara home in a time close to six-tenths of a second clear of second placed Mikko Hirvonen as 20,000 of his countrymen watched. Petter was obviously excited as he remarked “we’re back in business! It’s just like the old days”. It was the first time that Petter took the lead of a rally since he took a joint lead during Rally Jordan last year and the first time in almost two years that he held the lead by himself .

From SS2, Mikko Hirvonen took the lead from Solberg only to have it snatched away by Citroen’s Sebastien Loeb on SS3 by a narrow 0.4 seconds. By SS5, Hirvonen had established a lead of 4.8 seconds over Loeb and 25.7 seconds over Jari-Matti Latvala. Citroen’s Dani Sordo lies in fourth place 40 seconds off Mikko’s pace and has Petter Solberg still within striking distance at 20.6 seconds adrift to complete the top 5.

Petter’s brother Henning Solberg was disappointed to lie in sixth place more than one minute adrift of the leader. He also has to contend with his teammates Urmo Aava and Matthew Wilson as well as Citroen Junior driver Sebastien Ogier(only 9 seconds separate them). Per-Gunnar Andersson completes the top 10 with his privately entered Skoda Fabia WRC.



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