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GP Week : Issue 115
WRC sardegna >> Father Van Merksteijn went off the road, and then a later running Mitsubishi did the same and pushed the DS3 WRC into a tree causing heavy front damage. Son had to stop with an engine problem. Matthew Wilson had a rally plagued with brake troubles but finished ahead of fellow Fiesta WRC driver Khalid Al Qassimi. Other WRC drivers running at the finish included Evgeniy Novikov who was forced into SupeRally after a major accident in which his car rolled down a hillside, and Per-Gunnar Andersson who lost considerable time on Day 1 when he had to stop on a stage and change a steering arm, which lost him 10 minutes. Federico Villagra missed stages when he lost a wheel after hitting a bridge. The lasting memory of the rally must be the way that Loeb clung onto the lead in circumstances when mere mortal drivers would have given up hope because of unfavourable conditions. All the time he was running at a disadvantage he maintained his position, able to deny the advantage which Hirvonen felt entitled to enjoyed. Loeb started the final day with some 28 (later reduced to 24) seconds advantage, which should have been enough to clinch a victory by a very small margin, and in the end he won by 11 seconds. It had been one of Loeb's finest drives. Hir vonen was left to rue his Day 1 off-road incident which caused the puncture. The arrival of Mini, coupled with the pre-event announcement of the intention of Volkswagen to enter the WRC in 2013, brings a renewed sense of confidence into the championship. And the control tyre supplier Michelin produced the required goods, even though the damaging roadside rocks led to a lot of punctures. But the happiest man, notwithstanding earlier woes, was Latvala, winner of seven of the 18 stages. He scored fastest time on Stage 9 despite a flat tyre: “ The tyres were splendid. Like the old Pirellis, the stiff sidewalls mean that they are really just like run-flat tyres." Faster on three wheels than his rivals on four – that’s the Latvala we like! The jumps are one of the highlights at the Rally Sardegna ... While Sordo above brought his MINI home in an impressive sixth place, teammate Meeke meanwhile struggled with mechanical gremlins all weekend long ...