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Home :: Rally-Tecnica :: News :: Wales Rally GB. Day 3. That's it!


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Wales Rally GB. Day 3. That's it!

The Resolfen special stage is wide and fast in its first part as it is usually used by quarry vehicles in "non-rally" time. But further to the finish it becomes extremely twisty and slippery. Wales Rally GB 2010 And it was that stage where Loeb sent his rival to the first knock-down, increasing his lead almost twice. Yes, it was still a matter to guess - would it be still possible for Solberg to take the first win in the season after 7 podium finishes, but indeed that possibility had almost disappear since that moment. So the next level of intrigue was even more interesting, as it was the fight not for a symbolic win, but for the vice-championship of the season. Ogier, if one remembers, had excluded himself from that group of competitors, having rolled his Citroen and retired, but the two others were still here! So would it be Solberg or Latvala? The question was still wide open. Saying more - the decision was particularly in the hands of Latvala's teammate, Mikko Hirvonen, who still was defending his third outright position. But even reporting about the steering rack was getting loose, Jari-Matti managed to approach to Mikko as close as only 3,2 seconds! Resolfen was also a place where the SWRC title was finally decided. After the Jari Ketomaa's roll 22 km into the stage, there was no one more, who can prevent Spaniard Xevi Pons to take that first ever title in WRC history.

Wales Rally GB 2010But the leader in the exact rally was still the same - Andreas Mikkelsen, who was leading in the category from the first meters of the event. So let's say at once, that there were no retirements in SWRC category, Mikkelsen took the outright win, the second place was taken by a young Irishman Craig Breen (who was eligible for SWRC point for the first time in his career), and the title went to Pons, who completed the event on the third position. Wales Rally GB 2010 But that not all the prizes having been spread, as four-placed Patrik Sandell brought the SWRC teams title to his Red Bull team. Maybe the only one, who didn't receive anything was Michal Kosciuszko, but the Polish driver was happy enough with a finish itself after some problems came with the ignition coil, causing the engine malfunction. And again there was a good fight during the entire day, as there was no stage with more than 54 seconds gap between the best and the worst finisher in the class, and so close to the finish of such a difficult and slippery event - that seems to be really close, isn't it?

Wales Rally GB 2010

Meanwhile the top 10 group suffered from various "local" problems on the short but tricky "Margam Park" stage, one of the classics of that rally. Petter Solberg hit a stone and then had to be twice more cautious, trying to avoid the effect of "slow puncture", and that completely dispelled his hopes to win, despite he still managed to set second best stage time - but losing to Loeb again. His elder brother was reported to have some minor damage to the front of his Focus WRC. Formula-1 champion Raikkonen had to switch to the manual gearchange after the electronics of his Citroen's transmission had refused to work properly.

After all these troubles the second run of Resolfen seemed to be unproblematic, but it was here where Latvala managed to slip forward his teammate after setting the best stage time. But only tiny 0,3 seconds was his reserve to keep the position, that led him to vice-championship. But it looked like Hirvonen, despite formally being team's first driver, Wales Rally GB 2010 wouldn't fight with Jari, who objectively was faster through the entire season. But being asked about the situation, the drivers transferred the question to the team management.

And it looked like there were no any team instructions, as on the final stage Mikko lost another huge 18 seconds to his teammate. Was it his intension (as probably seen from split times: Mikko was fast on the first part of the stage, but noticeably slower closer to the finish), or really a batch of minor mistakes on slippery surface (as the driver reported officially)? Who knows... Any way the higher finishing position went to the driver who was really faster that year.

But the other person, who was faster than anybody else during entire season - seemed to do everything to lose his Welsh victory! Despite the usual talks, that "going slower, than your usual rhythm is - is too dangerous", Loeb, who didn't hide his "bad relations" with the Margam Park stage - completed the final stage with only the fourth time. But Petter... still managed to be slower, than Seb! The Norwegian could set only the sixth time after going offroad in the third corner of the stage and driving about 50 meters along the ditch trying to get back to right course. So the best time of the very last stage of WRC cars era was set by the driver, who lost his position through the season dramatically, being first dismissed from the main works team and then suggested only rental drive in the second team - Dani Sordo.

Wales Rally GB 2010 And what was going on in PWRC? Patrik Flodin was the pacesetter through the entire day after superally restart. He set all the four best times. But who really needed to be faster than Swede and his Moscow-built Subaru that day? Probably Tanak, who got the huge 3-minute gap after Semerad's roll in the morning? Seems no... Wales Rally GB 2010Probably Arauju, who, after Flodin's stop yesterday, could be stopped on his way to the second consecutive World title only by something, less possible than watching Godzilla walking through Welsh fields wearing a black tie suit? Seems, no too... So - nobody needed! And everybody got everything maximum possible by the end of the day. Rising Estonian star Tanak - his outright win, Arauju - his PWRC title, Flodin - a bright farewell to the season with a day, completely won by him and the vice-champion status of the year.

So it's all history now! And we say goodbye to the era. The era of WR cars, that lasted over a decade and probably would warmly remembered, as now the veterans remember the "Group B" times. The era when we got our "Shumacher of rallying", whose star shines now even brighter than the first seven times world champion's ever. The era, when the stars of 90-s handed over the baton to the stars of now and tomorrow. And, by the end of the day - the era when our Russian compatriot drivers had their first fights at the wheel of the world's most complicated rally cars.


Wales Rally GB 2010

Текст: Антон Борисенко, специально для URT.RU,

Фото: Grzegorz Roslon, Petr Elias (ewrc.cz), Radek Vojtechovsky, Honza Fronek (rally-mania.cz)