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GP Week : Issue 62
1 Mikko Hirvonen Ford Jarmo Lehtinen 2:53.06.5s 2 Sebastien Loeb Citroen Daniel Elena +47.5s 3 Dani Sordo Citroen Marc Marti +1:04.6s 4 Jari-Matti Latvala Ford Mikka Anttila +1:52.0s 5 Sebastien Ogier Citroen Julien Ingrassia +2:23.3s 6 Matthew Wilson Ford Scott Martin +5:26.3s 7 Henning Solberg Ford Cato Menkerud +7:17.8s 8 Federico Villagra Ford Juan Diaz +7:29.4s AUSTRALIA Points: Hirvonen 78, Loeb 73, Sordo 50, Latvala 36, H Solberg 29, P Solberg 25. IN the rain forest area, the rally had received a lot of unwelcome publicity for the wrong reasons, because some local protesters used this event for promoting their views. After two stages were cancelled on the first full day, there was a strong police presence at the event and no further trouble occurred, so the disruption to the rally was minimal. However visitors to Australia had a sad feeling that the enjoyment of the event for local fans had been prejudiced. In reality, the organisation of the event had been carried out in a short time frame, with considerable attention taken in order to understand and adjust the planning of the rally to suit local worries. After the personal intervention of the New South Wales State Premier, there was more than a slight impression that some protests were made on account of political, rather than personal, beliefs. Small delays, big implications And you can quote me ... Henning Solberg, after the two rst asphalt stages: I can't believe it. An insigni cant little driver from the backwoods of Norway is leading both the o cial Citroen drivers after the asphalt stages! It's quite unusual for me to be at a rally without my brother Petter, as well. I wish hehadbeenheretoseeit... Paul Hembery, World Motorsport boss of Pirelli: These protests are sad. I would prefer that the rallies go to places where they are welcomed by everyone. Is this the right place to be? Rallying, in the future, will be funded more by private sponsors rather than manufacturers. The sort of places where private sponsors want exposure are quite different. They want rallying in places of high levels of population, like India and China rather than some of the more traditional venues. Sebastien Loeb, right, when asked if he can nally escape from his victory drought: I haven't been idle; I won a go- kart race the other day. I know some people think I'm not good at new rallies, but I don't know why ... Olivier Quesnel, on Citroen's chances in the last two events: Itisapitythatwehavetodo strategy in order to win. But beware, we are not as con dent before Catalunya as you might imagine -- and even less so before Rally GB! RALLY Australia was the world championship debut for the recently homologated Toyota Auris/Corolla Super 2000-spec rally cars. Former Australian Rally Champion Neal Bates went well in one of two such cars entered on the event, and scored one fastest time in the PCWRC category. He was delayed, however, by a broken radiator, and eventually retired with a broken oil connection. A second car, driven by Steward Reid, stopped on Day 1 with a damaged propshaft, but finished under SupeRally rules. Meanwhile, the private VW Polo S2000 of Marius Swart was still running after an amazing moment when he went off the road and cleared a canyon beside the road, which was nearly 20 metres long, landing almost undamaged the other side. Corolla makes WRC return! WRC AUSTRALIA >> 37