Thursday, May 24, 2007

Rally Italia

The WRC finished its 7th round in Italy on the island of Sardinia this past weekend, where we saw Sebastien Loeb have a slight off that damaged his suspension where he would later retire on the stage. Marcus Grönholm picked up the lead from there and held on to win.

Elsewhere in the field, Chris Atkinson was running in the top eight until he hit a rock and had to retire his Subaru Impreza. And while mentioning Atkinson’s run in with a rock, another rock in the road took out the feel good story of the year, Jari Mati Latvala.

Petter Solberg finished fifth deciding to consolidate his position on the final day in his Subaru rather than push harder to try and overtake his brother, Henning, ahead of him.

The drivers standings thus far:
1. M. GRÖNHOLM (FIN) 55 Pts
2. S. LOEB (F) 48 Pts

3. M. HIRVONEN (FIN) 44 Pts
4. D. SORDO (E) 28 Pts
5. H. SOLBERG (N) 20 Pts
6. P. SOLBERG (N) 20 Pts
7. J. LATVALA (FIN) 12 Pts
8. C. ATKINSON (AUS) 12 Pts

The constructor’s championship thus far:

1 BP-Ford World Rally Team 99
2 Citroën Total World Rally Team 78
3 Stobart VK M-Sport Ford Rally Team 37
4 Subaru World Rally Team 34
5 OMV Kronos Citroën World Rally Team 25

It is beyond close up top for the drivers, even Miko Hirvonen is in the thick of the battle for the driver’s championship. He can thank his unlikely win in Norway, and his podium finishes in all rallies this year to his good standing. Grönholm and Loeb continue to fight it out, and I think that battle will continue for the rest of the season. Sordo has also done an decent enough job backing up Loeb as a team mate. We need to remember that he had started out as a tarmac expert, and his performance this past weekend in Italy show that he’s matured.

Petter Solberg and Chris Atkinson have turned their season into a long test to finish testing the car, taking notes to apply for the next model year’s Impreza.

The constructor’s championship shows the same story as the driver’s. Hirvonen’s better teammate performance (as opposed to Dani Sordo’s) is what has allowed the Ford Rally Team to stay ahead of Citroën. Unless Sordo picks it up, Ford will retain the constructor’s championship that it won last season.

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