Ford driver begins WRC year in style
15 February 2010

Mikko Hirvonen won the opening round of the World Rally Championship, beating Sebastien Loeb to victory in Rally Sweden.

Jari-Matti Latvala claimed the final podium spot ahead of Dani Sordo. Meanwhile, F1 convert Kimi Raikkonen reached the finish in 30th place despite losing half an hour stuck in a snowbank on Friday.

See the Rally Sweden pictures, including Raikkonen being rescued from the snowbank

Although Loeb edged into a narrow lead over the opening stages, a change of differential setting on Hirvonen's Ford just before Friday lunchtime turned the Finn into the pacesetter.

Hirvonen hit the front shortly afterwards, and in the second half of the event he broke Loeb's challenge and pulled away.

A gracious Loeb said: "It's been a very tough weekend and Mikko has done a perfect rally. I made a little mistake yesterday, but even without this mistake I don't know [if we could have won] because we were unable to beat Mikko in the stages. He was really strong; he deserves this victory."

Hirvonen was thrilled to start the year on top, especially as he had successfully managed his tyres despite a lack of snow on many stages ripping studs from the rubber all weekend.

"Fantastic, absolutely fantastic," Hirvonen said. "I'm really happy it's over after all these stages. It was so bad for the tyres; you can't imagine how nervous I was on this last stage."

Rally Sweden results

1 Mikko Hirvonen (Ford) 3h09m30.4s2 Sebastien Loeb (Citroen) +42.3s3 Jari-Matti Latvala (Ford) +1m15.4s4 Dani Sordo (Citroen) +2m41.6s5 Sebastien Ogier (Citroen) +4m15.3s6 Henning Solberg (Ford) +5m23.4s7 Matthew Wilson (Ford) +7m53.9s8 Mads Ostberg (Subaru) +9m22.2s9 Petter Solberg (Citroen) +10m17.5s10 P-G Andersson (Skoda) +12m08.9s

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15 February 2010

I didn't even notice this rally was on! Was it on TV? Where???

WRC has such a low profile now it's shocking.

15 February 2010

[quote Symanski]WRC has such a low profile now it's shocking.[/quote]

I agree. As much as i like F1, unless it's F1 Television broadcasters etc and the governing bodies/promoters are now simply not interested in the WRC or other top level motorports.

15 February 2010

The full season of the WRC will be shown on "Motors tv" and "Dave" both on Sky.

Dave airs for one hour on the Sunday evening of the rally,. It has much better coverage than Motors tv which seems to show endless in car shots and little else. It broadcasts for an hour each evening of the rally.

17 February 2010

I was pleasantly surprised by the team on Dave when they first got the WRC; coverage and commentary is well put together and they do a good job of it.

Watched most of Rally Sweden; was a good start to the season - last years was pretty good too.

It's probably no bad thing that WRC has a low profile, might protect it a bit longer form being interfered with to the extent that F1 has been (somehow I find the last two words put in different context an apt way to describe F1 these days).

It still seems to be a fan-friendly sport with less of the cynical rules, regs, obsessive advertising and so-on plus the drivers and teams will sometimes say what they feel rather than being stiffled by sponsors etc.

17 February 2010

[quote alex1090]The full season of the WRC will be shown on "Motors tv" and "Dave" both on Sky.[/quote]

Dave is also on Freeview, not just Sky.

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