Gå med här och du stödjer MiV!

Rapport från Nya Zeeland, 29-31/8

Blå rubrik = wrc
Grön rubrik = jvm

Svart rubrik = GrN

Se tidsschema Rally New Zealand

OBS! Jag sammanfattar Nya Zeeland sträcka för sträcka med förarkommentarer på www.P-Gandersson.se

08-08-31 Podium place for Hirvonen after dramatic finale in New Zealand
BP Ford Abu Dhabi World Rally Team drivers Mikko Hirvonen and Jarmo Lehtinen finished third on Rally New Zealand today as, for the second consecutive season, the event provided a finale that could have come straight from a story book. The Finns drove their Ford Focus RS World Rally Car to the Hamilton finish ceremony more in disappointment than celebration after a dramatic ending that also saw team-mates Jari-Matti Latvala and Miikka Anttila retire and the team lose a possible 1-2 finish.

After two days of gripping competition over smooth and flowing gravel roads in the Waikato district of North Island, today's final leg started with four drivers covered by less than 15sec. The tight leaderboard owed much to tactics as drivers jockeyed for position to obtain the best start position for today. With the roads covered in slippery loose gravel, those at the front were at a disadvantage as they swept away the stones to leave a cleaner, and faster, line for those behind to follow.

Latvala and Hirvonen were first and second overnight and started in that order today. Latvala's 'sweeping' role helped Hirvonen enormously and the 28-year-old swapped places on the leaderboard with his colleague after the first loop of two countryside speed tests close to Raglan. With those tests repeated, the now clean roads offered a level playing field for all and Hirvonen extended his lead to 9.8sec over Latvala with just one countryside test and a short spectator-friendly stage remaining.

The 29.72km Whaanga Coast is one of the great challenges in the FIA World Rally Championship, winding through lush, green hills with stunning views of the Tasman Sea. It lived up to its reputation as the rally's keynote stage as firstly Latvala swiped a bank and retired with a damaged radiator and then Hirvonen punctured a tyre and later spun his Focus RS WRC, losing a minute and sliding to third.
- "This is one of the biggest disappointments of my career but that's the way sport goes," said Hirvonen. "I was confident I could drive at normal pace through that stage and win but it wasn't to be because we handed Loeb victory. It's not looking so good for either championship now but it's not impossible. An eight-point gap in the drivers' standings will be difficult to make up and it's annoying to end like this after a great weekend. But I finished on the podium and what doesn't kill you, makes you stronger. The positive from this event is that I know I can win gravel rallies.
- "When I saw Jari-Matti stopped in the stage I knew I just had to finish. However about 9km from the end I realised I had a slow puncture on the rear right tyre. I've no idea how, or where, it happened. Then a kilometre before the finish I spun and the impact on the bank dragged off the front bumper. It just wasn't meant to be," added Hirvonen, after completing the last of the 16 tests covering 353.04km.

Latvala's accident happened 3.5km after the start. "I approached a long left bend where the later cars in the first pass had created a narrow line. I lost grip at the rear and the car went sideways. I floored the throttle to try to straighten up, but it turned and I went into the inside of the corner. I hit a bank, which had a rock buried in the sand, and the impact broke the radiator and the cooler. I knew straight away that it was over because the oil temperature and water warning lights came on. I'm disappointed because I lost points for myself and the team. I was going so well and was pleased with my driving here so I thought I could finish second. It's a bad feeling but after my problems in Germany, I've learned that I have to pick myself up and carry on," said 23-year-old Latvala.

BP Ford Abu Dhabi team director Malcolm Wilson summed up the team's feelings. "This is one of the most disappointing days that we've ever had. After being in commanding first and second places going into the last countryside stage, we certainly didn't expect to find ourselves with just third. I really feel for Mikko because he drove a faultless rally and showed he can take the fight to Loeb. Both he and Jari-Matti showed tremendous pace this weekend and we'll come back fighting," he said.

Ford of Europe motorsport director Mark Deans said: "We're terribly disappointed with what happened but it's days like today that make the WRC such a fascinating sport. We were on the receiving end and this result is a blow to our hopes of retaining the manufacturers' championship, but there are still four rallies remaining so we'll fight back. We saw today how unpredictable this sport can be so it's too early to start making predictions of how the year might end."

News from our Rivals
Sébastien Loeb (Citroen) appeared to have lost his victory chance when he spun on the morning's opening stage, losing 10sec and dropping to fourth. However, he profited from the drama and moved ahead of team-mate Dani Sordo on the penultimate stage to win by 17.5sec. Stobart driver François Duval (Ford) was on course for fourth until he crashed out in the Whaanga Coast test. So Norway's Petter Solberg (Subaru) took fourth ahead of Urmo Aava (Citroen), despite the Estonian spinning on the opening stage. Munchi's driver Henning Solberg (Ford) recovered from first day power steering problems to win seven stages and climb to ninth, taking the final manufacturers' point. Chris Atkinson (Subaru) retired on the second stage after nudging a bank, the impact causing an oil leak in the engine.

Next round
After three rounds in five weekends, the series pauses for breath in September. It returns with Rally de España in Salou on 2 - 5 October, which is the first of two asphalt rounds in successive weekends.

Final positions
1. S Loeb/D Elena FRA Citroen C4 3hr 59min 18.9sec
2. D Sordo/M Marti ESP Citroen C4 3hr 59min 36.4sec
3. M Hirvonen/J Lehtinen FIN Ford Focus RS 4hr 00min 00.4sec
4. P Solberg/P Mills NOR Subaru Impreza 4hr 02min 07.8sec
5. U Aava/K Sikk EST Citroen C4 4hr 02min 49.6sec
6. P-G Andersson/J Andersson SWE Suzuki SX4 4hr 06min 56.3sec
7. T Gardemeister/T Tuominen FIN Suzuki SX4 4hr 07min 13.8sec
8. F Villagra/J Perez Companc ARG Ford Focus RS 4hr 07min 53.9sec
9. H Solberg/C Menkerud NOR Ford Focus RS 4hr 08min 34.1sec
10 M Prokop/J Tomanek CZE Mitsubishi Lancer 4hr 13min 07.9sec

1. S Loeb 86pts
2. M Hirvonen 78pts
3. D Sordo 51pts
4. C Atkinson 40pts
5. J-M Latvala 34pts
6. P Solberg 32pts

1. Citroen Total 141pts
2. BP Ford Abu Dhabi 121pts
3. Subaru 74pts
4. Stobart VK M-Sport Ford 51pts
5. Munchi's Ford 22pts
6. Suzuki 20pts

Stage Times
Stage 12: 1. H Solberg 8min 03.0sec; 2=Wilson, Atkinson + 1.8; 4. P Solberg + 6.3; 5. Hirvonen + 6.4; 6. Sordo + 7.0; 9. Latvala + 12.5.

Overall: 1. Latvala 3hr 05min 44.5sec; 2. Hirvonen + 3.2; 3. Sordo + 10.2; 4. Loeb + 17.7; 5. Duval + 1:38.4; 6. P Solberg + 2:46.6.

Stage 13: 1. H Solberg 21min 26.4sec; 2. Hirvonen + 8.6; 3. P Solberg + 10.2; 4. Sordo + 10.5; 5. Loeb + 11.7; 6. Wilson + 16.3; 7. Latvala + 18.9.

Overall: 1. Hirvonen 3hr 27min 22.7sec; 2. Latvala + 7.1; 3. Sordo + 8.9; 4. Loeb + 17.6; 5. Duval + 1:48.5; 6. P Solberg + 2:45.0.

Stage 14: 1. Loeb 7min 47.5sec; 2. Hirvonen + 2.3; 3. H Solberg + 3.4; 4. Latvala + 5.0; 5. Wilson + 5.4; 6. P Solberg + 5.8.

Overall: 1. Hirvonen 3hr 35min 12.5sec; 2. Latvala + 9.8; 3. Sordo + 12.8; 4. Loeb + 15.3; 5. Duval + 1:54.3; 6. P Solberg + 2:48.5.

Stage 15: 1. Loeb 20min 47.0sec; 2. H Solberg + 14.7; 3. P Solberg + 16.5; 4. Sordo + 18.7; 5. Aava + 24.2; 6. Wilson + 31.9; 8. Hirvonen + 57.1.

Overall: 1. Loeb 3hr 56min 14.8sec; 2. Sordo + 16.2; 3. Hirvonen + 41.8; 4. P Solberg + 2:49.7; 5. Aava + 3:26.0; 6. Andersson + 7:34.2.

Stage 15: 1. H Solberg 3min 00.6sec; 2. P Solberg + 2.7; 3. Hirvonen + 3.2; 4. Wilson + 3.4; 5. Loeb + 3.5; 6. Villagra + 4.4.

Overall: 1. Loeb 3hr 59min 18.9sec; 2. Sordo + 17.5; 3. Hirvonen + 41.5; 4. P Solberg + 2:48.9; 5. Aava + 3:30.7; 6. Andersson + 7:37.4.
08-08-31 Efterlängtade VM-poäng för Andersson
Han överraskade med en topplacering redan i premiären. Sedan dess har Per-Gunnar Andersson gått poänglös från nio raka VM-tävlingar.
I Nya Zeeland vände det för rallystjärnan från Värmland. P-G blev sjätte man, Suzukis främsta placering någonsin i mästerskapets huvudklass.

Per-Gunnar Andersson och kartläsaren Jonas Andersson gjorde ingen besviken i Nya Zeeland. Med snabb och säker körning slog de vakt om en poängplats redan från start och när andra gjorde bort sig på den sista etappen avancerade de i resultatlistan.
Det blev till slut en sjätteplats för svenskduon, som hade teamkompisen, finländaren Toni Gardemeister, närmast bakom i resultatlistan.

Suzukis samlade insats gav inte bara Andersson och Gardemeister poäng (tre respektive två) i förar-VM. I märkesmästerskapet blev det sju stycken, ett resultat Suzuki inte varit i närheten av tidigare under debutsäsongen med märkets första WRC-bil, SX4.
– Det här var ett fantastiskt bra resultat för Suzuki, konstaterade P-G efter målgången i Hamilton.
Andersson och Gardemeister har levt under stark press i takt med att framgångarna uteblivit för teamet. P-G inledde visserligen bra med en åttondeplats på asfalten i Monte Carlo-rallyt, en insats som Gardemeister följde upp med en sjundeplats i Svenska Rallyt. Men efter det har skörden varit mager: en enda pinne i förar-VM på åtta tävlingar!
I Nya Zeeland kom vändningen. Tolv poäng sammanlagt i förar- och märkes-VM var en välkommen framgång för det hårt arbetande teamet i vilket ytterligare två svenskar ingår: ingenjören Mats Karlsson och mekanikern Stefan "Pitan" Erixon.
– En framgång som den här ger givetvis hela teamet självförtroende och lite arbetsro inför de resterande deltävlingarna i mästerskapet, menar P-G.
VM-deltävlingen i Nya Zeeland vanns efter en dramatisk avslutning av regerande världsmästaren Sebastien Loeb. Fransmannen klättrade från fjärde till första plats på den näst sista sträckan där ledande Mikko Hirvonen tappade 50 sekunder och tvåan Jari-Matti Latvala tvingades bryta.
Tack vare sin 44:e VM-delseger i karriären drygade Loeb ut sin ledning i förar-VM till åtta poäng. I märkes-VM ryckte Citroën och är nu 20 poäng före Ford.
I Grupp N blev det ytterligare en svensk framgång genom Patrik Sandell och Emil Axelsson. I en lånad Mitsubishi Lancer noterades svenskduon för en andraplats. Den starka insatsen gav dem åtta nya poäng i VM-tabellen, där svenskarna avancerade till fjärde plats, placeringen före rallyts vinnare, tjecken Martin Prokop.

Rally-VM, Nya Zeeland, 28-31 augusti
1) Sebastién Loeb, Frankrike, Citroën C4, 3.58.48,9
2) Dani Sordo, Spanien, Citroën C4, + 17,5 sekunder
3) Mikko Hirvonen, Finland, Ford Focus, + 41,5
4) Petter Solberg, Norge, Subaru Impreza, + 2.48,9 minuter
5) Urmo Aava, Estland, Citroën C4, + 3.30,7
6) Per-Gunnar Andersson, Sverige, Suzuki SX4, + 7.37,4
7) Toni Gardemeister, Finland, Suzuki SX4, + 7.54,9
8) Federico Villagra, Argentina, Ford Focus, + 8.35,0
9) Henning Solberg, Norge, Ford Focus, + 9.15,2
10) Martin Prokop, Tjeckien, Mitsubishi Lancer, + 13.49,0

Förar-VM efter 11 av 15 deltävlingar
1) Sebastién Loeb, Frankrike, Citroën C4, 86 poäng
2) Mikko Hirvonen, Finland, Ford Focus, 78
3) Dani Sordo, Spanien, Citroën C4, 51
4) Chris Atkinson, Australien, Subaru Impreza, 40
5) Jari-Matti Latvala, Finland, Ford Focus, 34
6) Petter Solberg, Norge, Subaru Impreza, 32
7) Henning Solberg, Norge, Ford Focus, 22
…16) P-G Andersson, Sverige, Suzuki SX4, 4

1) Citroën Total WRT, 141 poäng
2) BP Ford Abu Dhabi WRT, 121
3) Subaru WRT, 74
4) Stobart VK M-Sport Ford, 51
5) Munchi´s Ford WRT, 22
6) Suzuki WRT, 20

Grupp N (PWRC)
1) Martin Prokop, Tjeckien, Mitsubishi Lancer, 4.13.07,9
2) Patrik Sandell, Sverige, Mitsubishi Lancer, + 36,2 sekunder
3) Martin Rauam, Estland, Mitsubishi Lancer, + 57,8
4) Hayden Paddon, Nya Zeeland, Mitsubishi Lancer, + 1.27,3 min
5) Juho Hänninen, Finland, Mitsubishi Lancer, + 2.17,3
6) Jari Ketomaa, Finland, Subaru Impreza, + 2.46,1
7) Bernardo Sousa, Portugal, Mitsubishi Lancer, + 6.52,4
8) Stewart Taylor, Nya Zeeland, Mitsubishi Lancer, + 7.06,0

Grupp N-VM efter 7 av 8 deltävlingar
1) Andreas Aigner, Österrike, Mitsubishi Lancer, 30 poäng
2) Juho Hänninen, Finland, Mitsubishi Lancer, 26
3) Jari Ketomaa, Finland, Subaru Impreza, 23
4) Patrik Sandell, Sverige, Peugeot 207/Mitsubishi Lancer, 22
5) Martin Prokop, Tjeckien, Mitsubishi Lancer, 17
6) Martin Rauam, Estland, Mitsubishi Lancer, 15

08-08-31 P-G nöjd med sjätteplatsen
P-G och Jonas är nöjda med sin sjätteplats i VM i Nya Zeeland.
- "Vi har kört på i ett lugnt tempo och dessutom haft lite problem med diffarna. Men målet efter fredagen var att bevaka vår poängplats"

Den här gången fick de lite stolpe in, sedan både Duval och Latvala tvingades bryta och därmed klättrade de upp och slutade på en hedervärd sjätteplat:
- "Det har varit lite stolpe ut för vår del annars, så det känns skönt att vi hade turen på vår sida"

Det såg förövrigt tufft ut på den näst sista sträckan, då de fick en punktering och fick köra med den i över 20 km. De tappade över två minuter, men höll Gardemeister stången:
- "Det var skönt att vi hade så bra marginal ner till honom" avslutar P-G

Mer info på www.P-Gandersson.se där vi följt rallyt sträcka för sträcka med förarkommentarerna.

VM Nya Zeeland
1. Sebastien Loeb (F) 3:59:18.9
2. Dani Sordo (E) 3:59:36.4 +17.5
3. Mikko Hivonen (Fin) 4:00:00.4 +41.5
4. Petter Solberg (N) 4:02:07.8 +2:48.9
5. Urmo Aava (EE) 4:02:49.6 +3:30.7
6. P-G Andersson 4:06:56.3
9. Toni Gardemeister 4:07:13.8 +7:54.9
10. Fredreriko Villagra 4:07:53.9 +8:35.0
11. Henning Solberg (N) 4:08:34.1 +9:15.2

08-08-31 Tredje raka andraplatsen för Sandell
Förutsättningarna såg inte så goda ut i Nya Zeeland för Patrik Sandell och Emil Axelsson. I en inhyrd bil på vägar de aldrig kört. Men det blev ännu en andraplats och ytterligare 8 VM-poäng.

Det var den tredje raka andraplatsen i VM-sammanhang för svenskarna. Tvåa i Turkiet i PWRC-klassen, tvåa i Finland i JWRC-klassen, och nu återigen tvåa i PWRC. Och ytterligare 8 mästerskapspoäng rikare.
- ”Vi är grymt nöjda, eftersom vi hoppade in i en hyrd Grupp N-bil som vi inte var vana vid alls. Och när vi redan på första sträckan i fredags kände att omställningen var större än vi räknat med, så skruvade vi ner våra egna förväntningar direkt” berättar Patrik Sandell.

Men efter den försiktiga inledningen, då de ett tag var nere på tolfte plats, så började de sakta känna sig till rätta och avancerade i resultatlistan. En åttondeplats under fredagen blev en andraplats under lördagen. En position de sedan bevakade under söndagens fem avslutande specialsträckor. Vann gjorde tjecken Martin Prokop.

Emil Axelsson berättar om utvecklingen under helgen:
- ”Det började ju lite tvekande i fredags, då vi inte alls hängde med. Men vi testade olika körsätt och analyserade vad som hände. Vi studerade de andra förarna, och byggde successivt på oss kunskapen. Till slut hittade vi rätt för att få ut maximalt både av bilen och för karaktären på vägarna.”
- ”Fantastiskt att vi kunnat ta tre raka andraplatser i tre olika bilar. Det säger en del om Patrik som chaufför, vilken känsla han har för bilkörning. De senaste två åren har han utvecklats enormt, och han har kapacitet att nå toppen” säger Emil Axelsson om sin vapendragare.

I PWRC-tabellen ligger svenskarna nu på fjärde plats, 8 poäng bakom ledande Andreas Aigner. Två tävlingar återstår; Japan som de flesta toppförare valt bort, och sedan finalen i Wales i november.
08-08-30 Latvala takes lead for Ford as Rally New Zealand turns tactical
BP Ford Abu Dhabi World Rally Team lies first and second after a gripping second day of Rally New Zealand that ended with four drivers covered by less than 16sec going into tomorrow's final leg. Tactics again played a crucial part right at the close of the day's action, which finished with Jari-Matti Latvala and Miikka Anttila leading team-mates Mikko Hirvonen and Jarmo Lehtinen by 9.3sec. Both are behind the wheel of Ford Focus RS World Rally Cars.

Today's competition on this 11th round of the FIA World Rally Championship took place north-west of the rally base in Hamilton, 130km south of Auckland. Drivers tackled five smooth and flowing speed tests in the picturesque countryside near the Tasman Sea coastline and a second pass over the super special stage at the rally base. The six special stages covered 130.00km.

Although overcast, conditions remained dry apart from a couple of brief showers – just the weather that overnight leader Hirvonen did not want to see when he woke this morning. As first to start, the 28-year-old Finn swept away the slippery loose gravel on the road surface to leave a cleaner and faster line for those behind. With each countryside stage only driven once, he had no opportunity to experience the cleaner conditions himself during a second pass.

Hirvonen's 27.8sec opening day advantage was gradually eaten into by championship rival Sébastien Loeb and the Frenchman eventually moved ahead on the penultimate stage. However, once Hirvonen completed the final test, Loeb deliberately slowed in the final few metres to drop behind the BP Ford Abu Dhabi driver and earn a lower, and therefore cleaner, start position for tomorrow.

Latvala, one of three drivers clustered behind Hirvonen and covered by just 2.7sec after the opening day, set a strong pace. He won one stage and posted three more top three times as he climbed from an overnight fourth to third. Aware of the final stage tactics as he was behind both Hirvonen and Loeb in the running order, the 23-year-old Finn blasted through the 32.36km test to take the lead.

Although Latvala now has the handicap of starting first tomorrow ahead of Hirvonen and Loeb, he has a 9.3sec lead over his team-mate and a 13.3sec advantage over the Frenchman – a margin which adds intrigue to the game of cat and mouse which will conclude tomorrow.
- "I knew we would lose time but we lost more than I thought," admitted Hirvonen. "There was so much loose gravel on the surface that conditions were really slippery and that's what I expected. This was the hardest day of the rally because each stage was driven only once so there was no chance for me to drive on cleaner roads. When the roads were fast I could match Loeb's pace but in the slow sections I lost time because of the gravel.
- "It was a hard day but I came through and the time differences aren't that big. The driver, the car, the pace notes and the rhythm were really good. I could do nothing tactically because I was first on the road. I'm in a good position and all I can do now is try to be faster than all of them tomorrow. It will be really close and I can't wait. I have a good road position but Loeb has a better one so it will be difficult. If I could have chosen my start position I would have selected fourth," he added.

Latvala admitted he was surprised to be leading after starting the final stage in third. "It's a great feeling to be leading tonight but it might bring me some difficulties tomorrow. I wanted to catch Loeb and I was expecting to be in the top three, but not to be leading tonight. I drove flat out on that final stage and tomorrow I need to do the same and be precise. The biggest thing is not to worry about being first on the road, it's being mentally strong that's the important thing," said Latvala.
- "It's six months since I won in Sweden and it would be great to win here, but it will be a very open day and a big fight. Maybe the rally could be like last year when Ford won by just 0.3sec. It will be really challenging," he added.

BP Ford Abu Dhabi team director Malcolm Wilson said Latvala and Hirvonen could not have done more to keep the team in the battle. "Once we saw how much Loeb slowed at the end of the final stage, we made an instant decision to let Jari-Matti take his chance and build as big a lead over him as possible. Of course, it also means Mikko has the advantage of being second to start tomorrow. Both drove flat out and it's looking good for an exciting day with four drivers covered by 15sec," he said.

News from our Rivals
Behind the top three is Spain's Dani Sordo (Citroen), just 2.4sec behind team-mate Loeb and only 15.7sec from the lead. Stobart driver François Duval (Ford) and Urmo Aava (Citroen) complete the top six. Aava dropped 30sec on the second test after clipping a wall and dragging a tyre off the wheel, driving much of the test on just the wheel rim. That allowed Petter Solberg (Subaru) to move ahead but the Estonian quickly regained the place. Toni Gardemeister (Suzuki) lost almost 90sec with brake problems following a hydraulic leak on the morning's third stage but later retook ninth place.

Tomorrow’s Route
The final day is the shortest of the rally. After re-starting at 07.45, drivers face two identical loops of two stages just south of Raglan, split by a 15-minute remote service in the town. The second test in each loop is the famous Whaanga Coast, which provides spectacular views over the ocean as the road hugs the Tasman Sea coastline. A third pass over the Mystery Creek super special stage brings the action to a close. The five stages cover 85.04km with the finish ceremony scheduled for 15.00.

Leaderboard after Day 2
1. J-M Latvala/M Anttila FIN Ford Focus RS 2hr 57min 29.0sec
2. M Hirvonen/J Lehtinen FIN Ford Focus RS 2hr 57min 38.3sec
3. S Loeb/D Elena FRA Citroen C4 2hr 57min 42.3sec
4. D Sordo/M Marti ESP Citroen C4 2hr 57min 44.7sec
5. F Duval/P Pivato BEL Ford Focus RS 2hr 59min 09.9sec
6. U Aava/K Sikk EST Citroen C4 3hr 00min 18.8sec
7. P Solberg/P Mills NOR Subaru Impreza 3hr 00min 21.8sec
8. P-G Andersson/J Andersson SWE Suzuki SX4 3hr 02min 00.0sec
9. T Gardemeister/T Tuominen FIN Suzuki SX4 3hr 04min 06.4sec
10 F Villagra/J Perez Companc ARG Ford Focus RS 3hr 04min 25.8sec

Stage Times
Stage 6: 1. H Solberg 10min 02.2sec; 2. Loeb + 4.4; 3. Latvala + 4.5; 4. Sordo + 5.1; 5. Wilson + 6.8; 6. P Solberg + 7.0; 10. Hirvonen + 11.9.

Overall: 1. Hirvonen 1hr 44min 58.4sec; 2. Loeb + 20.3; 3. Latvala + 22.7; 4. Sordo + 23.2; 5. Duval + 1:25.3; 6. Aava + 1:57.2.

Stage 7: 1. Loeb 10min 39.2sec; 2. Hirvonen + 3.1; 3. Latvala + 5.6; 4. H Solberg + 6.4; 5. Sordo + 8.8; 6. Wilson + 12.3.

Overall: 1. Hirvonen 1hr 55min 40.7sec; 2. Loeb + 17.2; 3. Latvala + 25.2; 4. Sordo + 28.9; 5. Duval + 1:39.4; 6. P Solberg + 2:32.5.

Stage 8: 1. Latvala 22min 02.7sec; 2. Loeb + 0.8; 3. Sordo + 8.1; 4. Aava + 10.4; 5. Wilson + 10.7; 6. H Solberg + 11.1; 7. Hirvonen + 11.2.

Overall: 1. Hirvonen 2hr 17min 54.6sec; 2. Loeb + 6.8; 3. Latvala + 14.0; 4. Sordo + 25.8; 5. Duval + 1:41.6; 6. Aava + 2:44.2.

Stage 9: 1. H Solberg 2min 58.0sec; 2. Loeb + 1.7; 3. Hirvonen + 3.2; 4. Duval + 3.6; 5. Sordo + 3.9; 6. Latvala, P Solberg + 4.0.

Overall: 1. Hirvonen 2hr 20min 55.8sec; 2. Loeb + 5.3; 3. Latvala + 14.8; 4. Sordo + 26.5; 5. Duval + 1:42.0; 6. Aava + 2:45.9.

Stage 10: 1. H Solberg 18min 37.0sec; 2. Sordo + 6.5; 3. Loeb + 8.0; 4. Latvala + 8.3; 5. Atkinson + 9.9; 6. Duval + 14.3; 7. Hirvonen + 17.5.

Overall: 1. Loeb 2hr 39min 46.1sec; 2. Hirvonen + 4.2; 3. Latvala + 9.8; 4. Sordo + 19.7; 5. Duval + 1:43.0; 6. Aava + 2:50.9.

Stage 11: 1. H Solberg 17min 29.7sec; 2. Latvala + 3.4; 3. Atkinson + 5.3; 4. P Solberg + 7.2; 5. Sordo + 9.2; 6. Duval + 11.1; 9. Hirvonen + 18.3.

Overall: 1. Latvala 2hr 57min 29.0sec; 2. Hirvonen + 9.3; 3. Loeb + 13.3; 4. Sordo + 15.7; 5. Duval + 1:40.9; 6. Aava + 2:49.8.

08-08-30 Imponerande upphämtning av Sandell
Patrik Sandell och Emil Axelsson bjöd på en rejäl upphämtning under andra dagen av Nya Zeelands VM-rally. Från en åttonde plats avancerade de upp till en andra plats i PWRC-klassen.

Efter en försiktig start på rallyt, där de i sin inhyrda bil ett tag var nere på tolfte plats, kunde de under fredagens sista sträckor köra upp sig till en åttonde. När andra dagen avslutades var de ända uppe på andra plats.

Upphämtningen är resultatet av bra körning för egen del, i kombination med ett extremt högt tempo i klassen. De små marginalerna gör att ett litet misstag kan kosta rejält med tid. Något flera av förarna fått erfara. Samtidigt har Patrik och Emil för varje sträcka mer och mer hunnit bekanta sig med bilen, och satt bättre och bättre tider.
- ”Nu börjar det bli roligt. Vi hoppades kunna avancera upp till kanske en fjärdeplats under dagen. Men att det blev ända till andra plats får vi väl även tacka de andras misstag för” säger Patrik Sandell.

Men en notmiss på sista sträckan var nära att avsluta tävlingen för dem.
- ”Vi hade skrivit ’Stort krön, håll mitt’ i noterna. Men det borde stått ’Stort lyft’. Det blev en rejäl luftfärd. Men vi låg rätt i linjen och klarade oss utan att bilen tog stryk” berättar Patrik.

I morgon återstår 5 specialsträckor på sammanlagt 85 kilometer. Leder gör Martin Prokop, 1:18 före svenskarna
08-08-29 Sandell nöjd trots blygsam start i Nya Zeeland
Det blev en försiktig inledning för Patrik Sandell och Emil Axelsson när Nya Zeelands VM-rally inleddes. Efter första dagen ligger de på åttonde plats i PWRC-klassen. Ett resultat som de trots allt är rätt nöjda med.

På grund av avståndet till Nya Zeeland tvingades svenskarna att lämna sin ordinarie Peugeot Super 2000-bil hemma. Istället är det en inhyrd Grupp N-bil som gäller. Ett byte som inte varit helt enkelt.
- ”När vi gav oss ut på första sträckan hade vi ingen aning hur det skulle gå. Och vi kände genast att det var mer ovant med Grupp N-bilen än vad vi räknat med. Så vi skrev ner våra egna förväntningar direkt” säger Patrik Sandell.

Efter några sträckor började de i alla fall att känna sig lite mer till rätta. Tiderna blev bättre och bättre, och de klättrade från en 12:e till en 8:e plats.
- ”Visst hade vi velat ligga högre upp i resultatlistan, det är inget att sticka under stol med. Men vi är absolut nöjda med vår egen insats ändå. Särskilt på de sista tre sträckorna där vi mer och mer hittat rätt. Så vi tänker väl vara med och försöka plocka lite poäng i slutänden i alla fall” säger Patrik Sandell, innan det är dags att då till kvällsvila.

Ställning i PWRC-klassen, när 7 av 18 sträckor är avklarade:
1. Mirco BALDACCI 1:40:27.2 0.0 0.0
2. Martin PROKOP 1:40:37.0 +9.8 +9.8
3. Fumio NUTAHARA 1:40:39.0 +2.0 +11.8
4. Evgeny NOVIKOV 1:40:43.7 +4.7 +16.5
5. Jari KETOMAA 1:41:37.7 +54.0 +1:10.5
6. Hayden PADDON 1:41:42.0 +4.3 +1:14.8
7. Martin RAUAM 1:41:50.9 +8.9 +1:23.7
8. Patrik SANDELL
08-08-29 Hirvonen puts Ford on top after opening day in New Zealand
BP Ford Abu Dhabi World Rally Team stamped its authority on Rally New Zealand from the beginning of the opening leg this morning to take a lead it was never to lose. Jari-Matti Latvala and Miikka Anttila led initially before team-mates Mikko Hirvonen and Jarmo Lehtinen moved to the front, ending the first of three days of competition with a 27.8sec advantage in their Ford Focus RS World Rally Car.

Latvala lies fourth in another Focus RS WRC, part of a trio of crews clustered behind Hirvonen who are covered by just 2.3sec. Tactics played a part as Latvala deliberately eased his pace late this afternoon in order to gain a better start position for tomorrow's second leg of this 11th round of the FIA World Rally Championship.

Large crowds packed the centre of Hamilton last night as competitors received a traditional Maori welcome at the start ceremony, ahead of three days of action over smooth, flowing gravel roads in the lush, green hills of the Waikato region of North Island. Today's competition was based south-west of the city and drivers faced two identical loops of three speed tests before a short super special stage at the rally base just outside Hamilton – a total of 138.00km of competition.

Torrential rain has swamped the area this month but dry and sunny weather has prevailed this week. As a result the exposed areas of the special stages have dried quickly to leave plenty of slippery loose gravel on the surface. However, the sections beneath the trees remained muddy and equally tricky. The rain has been so heavy that organisers were forced to split the monster 43.98km Waitomo test into two parts after landslides made sections of the route impassable

Latvala was fastest from Hirvonen on the opening stage. However, 28-year-old Hirvonen won the following two tests to end the opening loop 5.3sec ahead of his 23-year-old fellow Finn. Sébastien Loeb, Hirvonen's arch-rival at the top of the drivers' championship standings, initially regained time this afternoon but the Ford driver stood firm at the top when the Frenchman fell back.
- "I've never had such a good rhythm in New Zealand," said Hirvonen. "When I have that kind of rhythm on these flowing roads, it feels as if I don't need to push too hard. It's tricky to find the right balance here because if you cross the camber in the bends then you immediately slide off the line and lose time. The roads have dried more quickly than we thought and it was slippery in the loose gravel, but I don't think road position made too much of a difference.
- "Tomorrow I will be first on the road so it won't be easy on the slippery gravel. I've been in that position before and just have to find a way around it. I'm not sure there is a big difference between first and second in the start order but it won't be easy, especially as each stage will only be driven once so there is no chance to drive on cleaner roads. There will be more loose gravel tomorrow than on any other day," he added.

Latvala dropped behind Loeb this afternoon but remained unperturbed, knowing third would offer a more favourable road position tomorrow, with some of the slippery surface gravel swept away by the cars ahead. But when Loeb dropped time at the start of the penultimate stage, after which tomorrow's start order was calculated, Latvala had to respond to maintain that position. He started the test four minutes after Loeb and as soon as the Frenchman finished, the BP Ford Abu Dhabi team relayed a target time for Latvala to complete the stage in order to hold position. The Finn eased his pace over the final few metres to judge the finishing time to perfection and earn the advantage for tomorrow.

Latvala, who was edged into fourth by Dani Sordo on the final short test, was highly satisfied with his day. - "I'm pleased that my confidence and rhythm are coming back after my problems in Germany," he said. "It felt about 95 per cent this morning. I found it harder to get my driving together this afternoon and hit a bank in the penultimate stage, knocking the front bumper from the car. The roads were quite dry but where it was wet, the tracks were really slippery. They didn't clean up as much as I thought.
- "I slowed towards the end of the penultimate stage to ensure a better road position for tomorrow. Third will be a good place to start. It will be a challenging day but I really like those roads so I'm looking forward to it," he added.

News from our Rivals
Sébastien Loeb (Citroen) closed to within 0.7sec of Hirvonen before he incurred a 30sec penalty when a jammed starter motor forced him to start the penultimate test late. He won three of the four afternoon stages. Team-mate Dani Sordo lay fourth all day until edging ahead of Latvala by 0.1sec on the final stage. Toni Gardemeister (Suzuki) dropped 45sec on the opening stage after going off the road and then puncturing a rear tyre. Munchi's driver Henning Solberg (Ford) lost seven minutes when he completed all three morning tests with no power steering. He then received a 60sec penalty as the team rushed to change his car's hydraulic system. Stobart driver Matthew Wilson (Ford) retired from eighth after this afternoon's opening test with gear selection troubles while Chris Atkinson (Subaru) rolled in the same test and then stopped with an engine problem just before the finish.

Tomorrow’s Route
The second day takes competitors north-west of Hamilton. After three morning stages, drivers face a second pass over the short stage at Mystery Creek. Two long afternoon tests further south near Te Akau complete the day. Drivers re-start at 06.50 and face 130.00km of action before a 18.34 finish.

Leaderboard after Day 1
1. M Hirvonen/J Lehtinen FIN Ford Focus RS 1hr 34min 44.3sec
2. S Loeb/D Elena FRA Citroen C4 1hr 35min 12.1sec
3. D Sordo/M Marti ESP Citroen C4 1hr 35min 14.3sec
4. J-M Latvala/M Anttila FIN Ford Focus RS 1hr 35min 14.4sec
5. F Duval/P Pivato BEL Ford Focus RS 1hr 36min 12.2sec
6. U Aava/K Sikk EST Citroen C4 1hr 36min 45.6sec
7. P Solberg/P Mills NOR Subaru Impreza 1hr 37min 10.1sec
8. P-G Andersson/J Andersson SWE Suzuki SX4 1hr 37min 34.8sec
9. T Gardemeister/T Tuominen FIN Suzuki SX4 1hr 38min 32.3sec
10 F Villagra/J Perez Companc ARG Ford Focus RS 1hr 39min 31.8sec

Stage Times
Stage 1: 1. Latvala 17min 08.1sec; 2. Hirvonen + 1.2; 3. Loeb + 3.9; 4. Sordo + 8.6; 5. Atkinson + 18.3; 6. Duval + 23.5.

Stage 2.1: 1. Hirvonen 15min 12.5sec; 2. Sordo + 0.1; 3. Loeb + 1.4; 4. Latvala + 6.2; 5. Atkinson + 6.4; 6. Duval +15.5.

Overall: 1. Hirvonen 32min 21.8sec; 2. Latvala + 5.0; 3. Loeb + 5.3; 4. Sordo + 7.5; 5. Atkinson + 23.5; 6. Duval + 37.8.

Stage 2.2: 1. Hirvonen 14min 13.5sec; 2. Latvala + 0.3; 3. Sordo + 3.5; 4. Loeb + 4.1; 5. Andersson + 4.2; 6. Aava + 6.9.

Overall: 1. Hirvonen 46min 35.3sec; 2. Latvala + 5.3; 3. Loeb + 9.4; 4. Sordo + 11.0; 5. Atkinson + 34.9; 6. Duval + 45.3.

Stage 3: 1. Loeb 16min 35.8sec; 2. Hirvonen + 1.8; 3. Latvala + 5.6; 4. Sordo + 9.4; 5. Duval + 14.5; 6. P Solberg + 28.2.

Overall: 1. Hirvonen 1hr 03min 12.9sec; 2. Loeb + 7.6; 3. Latvala + 9.1; 4. Sordo + 18.6; 5. Duval + 58.0; 6. Aava + 1:25.7.

Stage 4.1: 1. Loeb 14min 39.6sec; 2. Hirvonen + 6.9; 3. Sordo + 12.2; 4. Latvala + 13.1; 5. Duval + 18.0; 6. P Solberg + 23.6.

Overall: 1. Hirvonen 1hr 17min 59.4sec; 2. Loeb + 0.7; 3. Latvala + 15.3; 4. Sordo + 23.9; 5. Duval + 1:09.1; 6. Aava + 1:48.1.

Stage 4.2: 1. Loeb 13min 37.8sec; 2. Hirvonen + 3.3; 3. Sordo + 9.2; 4. Aava + 14.4; 5. Duval + 16.7; 6. Latvala + 17.4.

Overall: 1. Hirvonen 1hr 31min 40.5sec; 2. Loeb + 27.4; 3. Latvala + 29.4; 4. Sordo + 29.8; 5. Duval + 1:22.5; 6. Aava + 1:59.2.

Stage 5: 1. Hirvonen 3min 03.8sec; 2. Sordo + 0.2; 3. Loeb + 0.4; 4. Latvala + 0.7; 5. Andersson + 1.4; 6. Aava + 2.1.
Overall: 1. Hirvonen 1hr 34min 44.3sec; 2. Loeb + 27.8; 3. Sordo + 30.0; 4. Latvala + 30.1; 5. Duval + 1:27.9; 6. Aava + 2:01.3
08-08-26 Blöt uppladdning i Nya Zeeland för Sandell
Nu är VM-uppladdningen i full gång på andra sidan klotet. När Nya Zeelands VM-rally drar igång till helgen är vädret det största samtalsämnet.

Efter ett sommaruppehåll, följt av Rally Finland som de stod över, är det äntligen dags för Patrik Sandell och Emil Axelsson att kasta sig ut i hetluften i PWRC igen. Senaste gången var Turkiets VM-rally i mitten av juni. Den gången rattade de sin Peugeot 207 till en andraplats och 8 värdefulla mästerskapspoäng.

På grund av avståndet tvingas svenskarna till ett bilbyte för den här tävlingen. Att frakta den ordinarie tävlingsbilen tur och retur till Nya Zealand skulle ta över tre månader. Istället kommer de att köra in inhyrd Mitsubishi Grupp N.

”Det är rätt stor skillnad mot Peugeoten eftersom Grupp N-bilen är mycket tyngre. Det blir en annan typ av körning, mer åka i linjer som gäller. Medan vi kan köra mer på attack med Peugeoten, vilket ju är roligare för publiken också” säger Patrik Sandell.

Annars är just nu vädret det stora samtalsämnet. Det är inte bara Rally SM som tvingats till eftergifter inför vädergudarna. Inte på 14 år har det regnat så mycket i Nya Zeeland.
- ”I två månader har det öst ner och gjort vägarna mjuka. Delvis har vägar till och med spolats bort. Så arrangörerna har tvingats ta bort vissa sträckor, och även dela upp andra i flera kortare sträckor. Men prognosen säger att det ska bli uppehåll till helgen i alla fall” säger Emil Axelsson.

Rally Nya Zeeland startar fredag morgon, lokal tid (ca 23.00 svensk tid), och avslutas på söndag.
08-08-12 Tider inför VM i Nya Zeeland
Det är nu dags för VM i Nya Zeeland. Vägarna är blöta efter långt regnande och man varnar för att sträckor kan komma att ändras.

Två svenskar finns på startlinjen, P-G Andersson och Jonas Andersson i Suzuki WRC och Patrik Sandell med Emil Axelsson i Mitsubishi GrN.

Rallyt består av sexton sträckor som är 354,58 km långa. Totalt är rallyt 1.218,38 km. Nya Zeeland ligger tio timmar före oss och rallyt inleds med en cermoniell start 04:30 på onsdag morgon svensk tid. Rallyt drar sedan igång klockan 23:18 på torsdag kväll.

Jag kommer att sammanfatta rallyt, sträcka för sträcka på www.P-Gandersson.se

Tidsschema Rally New Zealand 29-31/8
(Svensk tid)
Torsdag/Fredag 29-30/8
23:18 SS1 Pirongia West 1 24,22 km
00:21 SS2 Waitomo 1 43,98 km
Service A
04:07 SS3 Pirongia West 2 24,22 km
05:10 SS4 Waitomo 2 43,98 km
07:03 SS5 Mystery Creek SSS 1 3,14 km
Service B

Fredag/Lördag 30/8
Service C
23:08 SS6 Port Waikato 17,22 km
23:46 SS7 Possum 13,78 km
00:24 SS8 Franklin 31,58 km
02:37 SS9 Mystery Creek SSS 2 3,47 km
Service D
05:03 SS10 Te Akau Soth 31,92 km
05:46 SS11 Te Akau North 32,36 km
Service E

Lördag/Söndag 31/8
Service F
23:23 SS12 Te Hutewai 1 11,23 km
23:51 SS13 Whananga Coast 1 29,72 km
Service G
01:28 SS14 Te Hutewai 2 11,23 km
01:56 SS15 Whaanga Coast 2 29,72 km
04:00 SS16 Mystery Creek SSS 3 3,14 km
05:00 Målgång

<< Till startsidan