Seventh for Atko in Catalunya Rally
- 6th October 2008, 9:02am
Subaru rally driver Chris Atkinson has finished Rally Catalunya in seventh place and remains in fourth position on the World Rally Championship points’ table with three rounds remaining in the 2008 season.
Frenchman Sebastien Loeb won the event by 24.9 seconds from Citroen team mate, Dani Sordo, with Mikko Hirvonen moving into third place on the final day, one minute 2.5 seconds behind the leader.
The result saw Loeb move to 96 WRC points, now 12 clear of Hirvonen on 84 in the race for the 2008 crown. Sordo is next on 59, while Atkinson’s two points in Spain move him to 42, five clear of Jari-Matti Latvala.
Atkinson and Latvala were involved in a fascinating battle of their own on the final day in Catalunya. The Australian started the day seventh with a 3.4 second buffer over the young Finn.
After the first three stages that lead had stretched to 4.3 seconds, but Latvala pounced on the stage following lunch to take the lead by just .01 seconds.
Across the final two stages the Australian attacked hard, but in the end finished 1.1 seconds short of Latvala. But both moved up a notch on the leader board when Estonian Urmo Aava crashed out on the penultimate stage.
While the Impreza WRC2008, in just its second outing on tarmac, did not have the pace to allow Atkinson to take part in the battle at the front of the field, the Gold Coast driver was happy that he’d finished the rally strongly, setting the third fastest time on the final stage.
“For me I had a good weekend and personally I feel I drove well,” Atkinson said.
“If we had the same times all weekend we’d have been with Petter (Solberg) as we matched him all weekend.
“But I’m happy with my performance and satisfied with my driving. We won’t make any real changes for Corsica.”
That event, Rallye de France Tour de Corse, gets underway in just four days time and is another test on tarmac.
Once nicknamed the rally of 10,000 corners, the tight and twisty roads that wind through the Corsican coastal mountains are well known for their steep drops and sharp hairpin bends. Based in the port of Ajaccio on the western coast, the roads are bumpier and more abrasive than those seen in Spain, making for a tough challenge across 16 stages and 359.02 competitive kilometres.
Final results - Rally Catalunya
1. Loeb / Elena, Citroen C4 WRC, 3h 21m 17.4s
2. Sordo / Marti, Citroen C4 WRC, +24.9s (diff. to 1st)
3. Hirvonen / Lehtinen, Ford Focus RS WRC 07, +1m 02.5s
4. Duval / Pivato, Ford Focus RS WRC 07, +1m 10.8s
5. Solberg / Mills, Subaru Impreza WRC2008, +3m 27.4s
6. Latvala / Anttila, Ford Focus RS WRC 07, +4m 03.8s
7. Atkinson / Prévot, Subaru Impreza WRC2008, +4m 04.9s
8. Mikkelsen / Floene, Ford Focus RS WRC 07, +5m 19.6s
9. Wilson / Martin, Ford Focus RS WRC 07, +7m 43.2s
10. Tirabassi / Gordon, Subaru Impreza WRC2008, +9m 05.0s
Driver's Championship points
1 Loeb / Elena, 96
2 Hirvonen / Lehtinen, 84
3 Sordo / Marti, 59
4 Atkinson / Prévot, 42
5 Latvala / Anttila, 37
6 P. Solberg / Mills, 36
7 H. Solberg / Menkerud, 22
8 Galli / Bernacchini, 17
Manufacturers’ Championship points
1 Citroen Total WRT, 159
2 BP Ford WRT, 132
3 Subaru World Rally Team, 80
4 Stobart VK M-Sport WRT, 55
5 Munchi’s Ford WRT, 22
6 Suzuki WRT, 20
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