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GP Week : Issue 43
>>WRCArgentina difficult to get a good feeling for the tricky, rocky stages. In the end, both drivers went off the road, but Ogier was able to restart and give his team important points despite starter motor problems on the last day. The Stobart team, meanwhile, were confident. Henning Solberg found his brother Petter competing in his private Citroen Xsara a good incentive, while Matthew Wilson was engaged in a fierce fight with Argentine champion Federico Villagra, in his Munchi’s team car. Day 3 Even with Latvala apparently safely now in third place Ford’s troubles were not over. On the opening stage of the final day Latvala’s engine stopped after a jump and it took eight minutes to get it restarted. He dropped down to seventh. Petter Solberg was up to third, in front of the Fords of Henning, Federico and Matthew. Then, on the second stage of the day Petter’s car stopped too, apparently with fuel trouble, and he was out altogether. It was a heartbreaking end to the Norwegian’s rally. Petter had once again been visibly enjoying his rallying, even in an eight year-old, underpowered car, but had been able to show the world his true talents once again. He was a little less happy when he suffered engine overheating on the higher altitude stages, and then was a little less effervescent when he had a potentially disastrous top gear moment: “It is inevitable when you know you have to drive so hard to keep up, but for me it is an improvement on last year ...!” The Citroen Total Steamroller is now off the clock in the points table, 82 points against 43 for BP Ford while Loeb is now 19 points ahead of his team-mate Sordo and 20 in front of Hirvonen. Perhaps the only happy man at Ford was Latvala: “After all the trouble I was delighted to bring my car home without a scratch. My only problem was that the bonnet fell off …” Tough in Prodcars; Juniors below par THE fight for the lead in both the PCWRC and also the related Group N category was fierce. Weaknesses in the steering arms on the Subaru cars caused many delays, but on the first day Argentina Subaru driver Gabriel Pozzo led, until he suffered engine failure. Behind him there was a fight for second place between Toshi Arai and Nasser Al Attiyah, also in Subarus. On the second day Argentine driver Marcos Ligato increased his speed in a Mitsubishi Evo X and took the lead, before suffering power steering problems. Al Attiyah meanwhile regained the lead which he held until the finish. This was Nasser’s third PCWRC win in this event: “My co-driver Giovanni Bernacchini helped me a lot, everything worked well. I needed this win, and going more carefully paid off.” Many others struggled. Eyvind Brynildsen rented a local car when his own car was delivered to Brazil instead of Argentina and crawled to the finish to gain points. Three cars started in the JWRC category, the Suzukis of Aaron Burkart and Michal Kosciuszko against the Clio S1600 of Bettega. None of them completed the route. The Suzukis each missed stages when their steering arms failed, while the Renault missed a stage when the alternator belt broke. The Polish driver took his second successive category win: “A lot of the stages were just like back home in Poland. I cannot wait until the world championship comes to my country.” 45