Mikko Hirvonen and Jarmo Lehtinen claimed their first WRC victory in 2012 with their Citroën Total World Rally Team. The Finnish pairing stormed to a one minute lead and took it to the finish line in the WRC Rallye Italia Sardegna this past weekend. In a shake-up of the factory crews, with numerous big name teams crashing out of the three day rally, it was Evgeny Novikov/Ilka Minor and team-mates Ott Tanak/Kuldar Sikk (M-Sport Ford World Rally Team), clinched fantastic second and third overall for their best-ever results to date.
The rocks and stones on the 16 gravel stages upset the leader board for this the penultimate round of the 2013 World Rally Championship.
This is Hirvonen’s first win with the Citroën Total World Rally Team, and now jumps into second place in the Drivers’ Championship standings behind team-mate Sebastien Loeb.
Mads Ostberg clinched fourth overall, and moved to third in the Drivers’ Championship standings to be the highest placed Ford driver in the series ahead of his factory-backed Blue Oval compatriots.
Sebastien Loeb crashed out of the event on Friday’s SS3, breaking his steering column to rule him out of the event. The Ford works crews of Jari-Matti Latvala and Petter Solberg also suffered on the second day of the event, with Latvala hitting a bank and damaging the radiator on his Fiesta in SS4, while Solberg went out in SS7 after hitting a rock. Hirvonen was left to coast to the finish, with over a minute lead on the rest of the field.
Notably, Sebastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia (Volkswagen Motorsport Skoda Fabia S2000) claimed an overall stage, the first time an S2000 has achieved this in the history of the WRC, and went on to finish a record-setting fifth overall. The most stage wins at this event went to Ostberg, after yet another amazing drive from the Norwegian ace.
The final round of the FIA World Rally Championship takes the contenders to Salou for the mixed surface Rally RACC Catalunya-Costa Daurada – Rally de España (8-11 November).
Final Overall Classification:
01) M. Hirvonen
Citroen Total WRT DS3 WRC – 03h 23m 54.9s
02) E. Novikov
M-Sport Ford WRT Fiesta RS WRC + 01m 20.6s
03) O. Tanak
M-Sport Ford WRT Fiesta RS WRC + 02m 21.1s
04) M. Ostberg
Adapta WRT Fiesta RS WRC + 03m 42.9s
05) S. Ogier
VW Motorsport Skoda Fabia S2000 + 04m 27.5s
06) C. Atkinson
WRC MINI Team Portugal John Cooper Works WRC + 05m 22.2s
07) A. Mikkelsen
VW Motorsport Skoda Fabia S2000 + 06m 12.5s
08) M. Prokop
Czech Ford National Team Fiesta RS WRC + 09m 29.3s
09) P. Solberg
Ford WRT Fiesta RS WRC + 09m 52.3s
10) L. Pedersoli
Citroen DS3 WRC + 20m 35.6s