Posted by: wrcnf1 | February 16, 2009

Rally Norway: Loeb Wins

The name Sebastien Loeb must now summon some of the worst thoughts in WRC drivers of his time none more so than Mikko Hirvonen and the Ford rally team. The Ford camp must be completely confused as they probably believed that this was their place to strike back at Citroen after Citroen’s Irish dominance but Loeb had other thoughts.

After having a slender lead of 4.8 seconds over Loeb with Latvala trailing by some 25 seconds in the morning loop, Mikko Hirvonen purposely slowed to give up his narrow lead on day 1. This handed Loeb a 2.6 second lead heading into day 2, setting up the perfect battle.

On day 2 Mikko and Sebastien pulled out a big lead over third placed Latvala who believed that the pair were really taking huge risks to beat each other. He was actually quoted on Autosport saying   that “he didn’t know how long they could keep this up”. However a change of suspension settings soon saw Latala win two of the days stages but it was all a little too late. Mikko tried desperately to keep pace with Loeb but he could not get any closer than 15 seconds at the end of the day. Day 2 was also the day that Henning Solberg found the pace that he had hoped for and Petter Solberg found out that his Citroen Xsara could not keep pace with the frontrunners. Henning was able to overhaul both his younger brother Petter and Citroen’s Dani Sordo to put him in 4th place.

Day 3 was setup for an enthralling finish as it was clear that Mikko would need a huge effort if he were to claw his way back to contention. He started the morning loop by taking a 5 second stage win. However Loeb struck back as only Loeb could by winning the stage by 6 seconds. Mikko fought back to narrow the gap to just 7.7 seconds but he could not deny the Frenchman who seems to live for battles like these and simply rose to the occasion to deny Mikko and Ford the win.

Latvala had a solid third and Henning Solberg held on to 4th while Sordo took 5th position. Petter Solberg was 6th on his first rally with the Xsara after fending off a challenge from Matthew Wilson. Urmo Aava took the last point scoring position in what was a disappointing weekend in Norway for him.

Some great photos can be found on these FLickr accounts



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: