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GP Week : Issue 32
>> WRC CORSICA The race was, as is almost the norm, for second ... and as is almost the norm, Ford filled the spot. to the extent that several cars then ran two spares, so that the front tyres would be in better condition for longer. The rally settled down with Loeb leading the two BP Fords and Latvala, while the Subarus of Petter Solberg and Chris Atkinson ran behind. Atkinson lost ground with a second day puncture and then, on the final morning, both Hirvonen and Petter punctured. Hirvonen stopped to change a wheel on a stage, while Solberg ran on until the tyre came off the wheel and he finished the stage driving on a rim. Hirvonen’s misfortune suddenly shook up the rally, letting Solberg into fourth place and splitting the tactically advantageous Fords’positioning – but one stage later the situations were reversed. Loeb pulled further into the lead as Ford pondered how to arrange for its cars to finish in the required tactically best order. They made a plan for the day aimed at gaining the greatest number of points they could in the circumstances, but every time another puncture happened, so they had to make another plan! Finally Duval was ordered to check in two minutes early and Latvala nine minutes late, and that produced the desired result. They thereby completely obliterated the misfortune of Hirvonen’s puncture to leave the two BP team cars second and third … Brice Tirabassi again drove a third works entered Subaru Impreza S14 and was in the Drivers’ points zone but retired with engine failure on the final morning. The two works Suzukis were lining up nicely for both cars to finish in the Drivers as well as Makes’ points zones but then Per-Gunnar Andersson went off the road and missed a couple of stages. Toni Gardemeister then suffered fuel pressure trouble on the second day and also power steering problems, which dropped him out of the Drivers leader board but still just in the Makes’ points zone. In his private C4, Urmo Aava finished a steady seventh place notwithstanding shock absorber problems. The Norwegian Mads Ostberg climbed up to finish ninth, ahead of Barry Clark. Ostberg celebrated his 21st birthday during the rally, and the organisers sensibly gave him the competition number to suit the occasion. 37