WRC - Rally Espana: Day1

FIA World Rally Championship - Rally Espana: Day 1 review


(08 – 11 NOVEMBER 2012)

After a treacherous opening day of competition in Rally de España, Mads Østberg heads the leaderboard, the Norwegian 27.2 seconds ahead of reigning World Champion Sébastien Loeb. After an up and down start to the rally, Jari-Matti Latvala has climbed from fifth to third this evening.

The final round of the FIA World Rally Championship got underway last night when the crews travelled to Barcelona for the start ceremony located - for the first time - in the capital city of Catalonia. Rally de España is the only true mixed surface round of the series, with the first of three days of competition run largely on gravel and the following two days contested on asphalt. At the end of today’s five gravel stages, the day was rounded off with a mixed surface super special stage on the seafront in Salou, another new addition to this year’s event. Tonight, final service was also extended to give the teams the opportunity to change the cars from gravel to Tarmac specification for Saturday and Sunday.
Rain added to this morning’s challenge and with a lot of standing water on the stages, both road position and tyre choice proved all-important. Latvala took the early advantage by winning the opening stage but then a spin lost him over 10 seconds, dropping him to fifth. He has gradually climbed the leaderboard as many rivals have fallen by the wayside or opted to simply try and survive the opening day. While Østberg tops the classification, he too has not escaped unscathed and has set an impressive pace despite being on the wrong tyres this morning. A spin also cost the Norwegian time but he has nevertheless pulled out a useful lead as the event now heads to its traditional asphalt stages. Behind him, Loeb has also had some moments during the day but has climbed from fourth to second, 19.8 seconds ahead of Latvala. Fourth-placed Mikko Hirvonen has been off the road once but holds fourth ahead of Ott Tänak. The Estonian was another early rally leader and stage winner, but dropped from second to fourth with a spin and brake problem. He is fifth overnight with nearly five minutes in hand to Craig Breen, who has been setting a fine pace in his less powerful S2000 car. He inherited the position from fellow S2000 driver Sébastien Ogier, who retired before the final stage with a suspected engine problem.
Leading retirements of the day include Petter Solberg, who hit a rock stuck in a hole in SS2 which damaged the suspension and forced him out of fourth position, Chris Atkinson who retired with steering related problems, Evgeny Novikov who went off the road and Thierry Neuville who suffered the same fate as Solberg. Dani Sordo, Daniel Oliveira, Paulo Nobre, John Powell and Martin Prokop were all also forced to retire.
Rally de España – Provisional Results 

1.   Mads Østberg/Jonas Andersson
2.   Sébastien Loeb/Daniel Elena
3.   Jari-Matti Latvala/Miikka Anttila
4.   Mikko Hirvonen/Jarmo Lehtinen
5.   Ott Tänak/Kuldar Sikk
6.   Craig Breen/Paul Nagle
7.   Hans Weijs/Bjorn Degant
8.   Jarkko Nikara/Jarkko Kalliolepo
9.   Per-Gunnar Andersson/E Axelsson
10. Evgeny Novikov/Ilka Minor
Ford Fiesta RS WRC
Citroën DS3 WRC
Ford Fiesta RS WRC
Citroën DS3 WRC
Ford Fiesta RS WRC
Ford Fiesta S2000
Citroën DS3 WRC
MINI Cooper Works WRC
Proton Satria Neo S2000
Ford Fiesta RS WRC
1 hr 41 min 32.4sec
1 hr 41 min 59.6sec
1 hr 42 min 19.4sec
1 hr 42 min 35.0sec
1 hr 42 min 43.2sec
1 hr 47 min 33.3sec
1 hr 47 min 40.9sec
1 hr 50 min 32.4sec
1 hr 51 min 14.8sec
1 hr 52 min 31.9sec