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GP Week : Issue 66
WRC CATALUNYA >> WRC | CATALUNYA Points: Hirvonen 84, Loeb 83, Sordo 58, Latvala 39, P.Solberg 30, H.Solberg 29, Wilson 25, Ogier 24, Villagra 16, Rautenbach 8, etc. 1 Sebastien Loeb/Daniel Elena Citroen 3:22.14.7s 2 Dani Sordo/Marc Marti Citroen +12.0s 3 Mikko Hirvonen/Jarmo Lehtinen Ford +54.1s 4 Petter Solberg/Phil Mills Citroen +1.12.4s 5 Sebastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia Citroen+1.41.6s 6 Jari-Matti Latvala/Mikka Anttila Ford+2.49.8s 7 Matthew Wilson/Scott Martin Ford +7.15.5s behind Latvala, followed by Federico Villagra and Henning Solberg, while French enthusiasts were delighted when their veteran driver Dany Snobeck took 10th place in an old Peugeot 307 WRC. British gentleman driver Paul Bird discovered what the world of top level championship rallying was like and was lying an encouraging 12th overall before he went off on the final day, an accident which caused the stage concerned to be interrupted. Of the other Citroen Junior drivers Conrad Rautenbach finished behind Snobeck but Evgeny Novikov went off twice, the second time for good. BP Ford's driver Khalid Al Qassimi missed stages when he had an under bonnet fire due to cracked exhaust manifold. This was only the second asphalt event of the championship this year but the organisers unusually laid out a route in which the special stages were exactly the same as the previous Catalunyan rally. In theory this helped competitors in their pre-rally set-up decisions but it also led to a strange predictability. As one driver gradually settled in to a comfortable rhythm so did the drivers in front and those behind him. Apart from the ding-dong battle for the lead between the two Citroen team-mates there was virtual rally-long stalemate. Hirvonen held third place for all but one stage, Petter Solberg held fourth place from start to finish, Ogier was fifth for every stage but two and Latvala was sixth for the same distance. Strange, but maybe that is the price for mechanical and driving perfection. Coming on the final round of the series will be the unpredictable cold, ice, mud and fog challenges of Rally GB ... quite a change! The people came out en masse to witness the WRC cars on tarmac 45