Day 2: Solberg pulls away

Petter Solberg took control of the Swedish Rally on the final two stages of leg two, pulling out a lead of 12.6s over Marcus Gronholm. The battle for victory had been remarkably close for the first two days, with Gronholm only 0.1s ahead of Solberg at today's lunchtime service, but Petter's form on SS13 and 14 gives him a clear overnight advantage

Day 2: Solberg pulls away

The crucial stage was Vargasen, where Solberg shrugged off worries about his fading Pirelli tyres to outpace Gronholm by 9s. He then went fastest again on the short sprint around Hagfors rallycross track. Gronholm believes Solberg's advantage will be hard to overcome on the remaining six stages.

"It has been a good fight but now Petter has maybe taken too big an advantage for tomorrow," he said. "But we will see, I will try to catch him. I don't understand why we lost so much, specially here on the short sprint."

According to Solberg, the battle for the victory is far from over.

"The lead is not enough," he said. "We've seen lots of times that you can lose 12s on any corner of any stage. We will see tomorrow."

Sebastien Loeb remains third behind Solberg and Gronholm but has been gradually falling away from the lead battle all day. A few minor errors this morning cost him time, as did tyre wear issues this afternoon. Of greater concern might be a potential engine problem on his Citroen Xsara. The car began making unusual noises in today's penultimate stage and was visibly smoking by the time it reached the service.

"It doesn't sound very good," said Loeb. "At the moment we don't know what it is. We have a 45-minute service now to look and to try to solve the problem but for sure it was not a very nice noise.

"We have water coming into the cylinders. We have to try and finish the rally, even if it means turning down the pace of the engine."

With Gigi Galli hitting trouble on SS13, Markko Martin now holds a clear fourth place. The Estonian was much happier with his Peugeot 307 by the end of leg two and felt he might have had a chance to get amongst the podium battle but for differential problems just before lunchtime.

Galli ultimately fell from fourth to eighth place, being passed by the closely matched trio of Toni Gardemeister, Henning Solberg and Harri Rovanpera after spinning twice on Hagfors as he grappled with his Mitsubishi's transmission. He was unsure whether the problems with the Lancer's drivetrain had been caused by clipping an obstacle or a technical glitch.

The Ford team benefited from Galli's dramas, and has made a strong comeback after struggling to even get a car in the top ten early on leg one. Gardemeister is still not totally satisfied with his car and remains only a few seconds ahead of Solberg, who is focused on finishing the rally and collecting manufacturers' points for his temporary employers.

Star of the Hagfors superspecial was Bozian Peugeot 307 privateer Daniel Carlsson. A combination of his sensational second fastest stage time (behind Solberg) on Hagfors and a spin for Subaru's Chris Atkinson took Carlsson past the Australian into ninth. Carlsson has been fast all weekend, running ahead of Gronholm in third place for the first two stages yesterday before hitting a rock and deranging his front suspension. The Swede has produced a number of very rapid times during his recovery drive and now has a chance of making it back into the points.

Toshi Arai is dominating the Production WRC, with all his realistic rivals having hit trouble on leg two. Mark Higgins crashed out this morning, and current second-place man Aki Teiskonen is almost two minutes behind Arai after severe brake problems on SS12.

Forecasts for the rally's final leg vary, but some suggest that heavy overnight snowfall could be on the cards. That would be bad news for Citroen's Francois Duval, who fell from fourth to 17th after stopping to change a punctured tyre on SS10. Mattias Ekstrom's power steering failure has elevated Duval into the crucial 15th position, meaning he will run first on the road tomorrow morning and faces the prospect of sweeping the soft snow out of the way for those behind.



Petter Solberg (Subaru Impreza) 2h14m27.9s
Marcus Gronholm (Peugeot 307) 2h14m40.5s
Sebastien Loeb (Citroen Xsara) 2h15m02.2s
Markko Martin (Peugeot 307) 2h16m33.7s
Toni Gardemeister (Ford Focus) 2h17m46.5s
Henning Solberg (Ford Focus) 2h17m49.7s
Harri Rovanpera (Mitsubishi Lancer) 2h17m50.6s
Gigi Galli (Mitsubishi Lancer) 2h18m03.5s
Daniel Carlsson (Peugeot 307) 2h18m16.8s
Chris Atkinson (Subaru Impreza) 2h18m19.7s



Janne Tuohino (Skoda Fabia) 2h18m27.9s
Roman Kresta (Ford Focus) 2h18m43.2s
Jani Paasonen (Skoda Fabia) 2h18m57.7s
Anthony Warmbold (Ford Focus) 2h20m16.4s
Francois Duval (Citroen Xsara) 2h20m42.4s
Mattias Ekstrom (Skoda Fabia) 2h21m22.1s
Stephane Sarrazin (Subaru Impreza) 2h21m24.2s

shares
comments
SS13: Solberg leads again
Previous article

SS13: Solberg leads again

Next article

Day 2: Team by team

Day 2: Team by team
Load comments
How WRC legend Ogier will be remembered by his peers Plus

How WRC legend Ogier will be remembered by his peers

After winning his eighth WRC title, Sebastien Ogier has drawn the curtain on his full-time rallying career. To understand Ogier's legacy, many of his former rivals, team-mates and colleagues have shared their thoughts on a vastly successful career

WRC
Nov 26, 2021
Ranking lost WRC legend Richard Burns' 10 best rallies Plus

Ranking lost WRC legend Richard Burns' 10 best rallies

Richard Burns was a determined driver who took on the best rally drivers in the world during a boom period in the early 2000s, and beat them. On the 20th anniversary of his crowning glory in winning the 2001 WRC title, and 16 years on from his death on the same date, Autosport picks out his 10 greatest drives

WRC
Nov 25, 2021
The internal focus that made Burns a legendary world rally champion Plus

The internal focus that made Burns a legendary world rally champion

At the turn of the millennium, WRC was full to the brim with rallying's great and good - and 20 years ago on this day, Richard Burns became England's first world rally champion. Although Burns' natural talent drove him to the top, his steely determination and mental strength was the key attribute behind his title-winning form

WRC
Nov 25, 2021
How Ogier emerged out of Loeb's shadow to form his own WRC legend Plus

How Ogier emerged out of Loeb's shadow to form his own WRC legend

OPINION: Adding an eighth WRC title to his name, Sebastien Ogier has bowed out from full-time rallying in style. Having been compared throughout his career with nine-time champion Sebastien Loeb, Ogier has convincingly demonstrated that he can stand on his own as one of the greatest rally drivers in history

WRC
Nov 22, 2021
How confronting self-doubt drove Ogier to become a WRC legend Plus

How confronting self-doubt drove Ogier to become a WRC legend

This weekend's Rally Monza marks the end of an era in the World Rally Championship, as Sebastien Ogier prepares to bring down the curtain on his full-time career with an eighth title. For all his enduring success, the Toyota driver reveals in an exclusive interview that lingering insecurities have compelled his quest for perfection

WRC
Nov 18, 2021
The third generation McRae on his way to the WRC Plus

The third generation McRae on his way to the WRC

The McRae family name is steeped in rallying history, with eight British titles between Jimmy, Colin and Alister - plus the small matter of the 1995 WRC title too. Next on the conveyor of talent is Alister's 17-year-old Max McRae, who’s setting out in Australia to conquer the world of rallying and return the famous name to the WRC...

WRC
Nov 12, 2021
Inside Hyundai’s radical approach to prepare for the WRC hybrid era Plus

Inside Hyundai’s radical approach to prepare for the WRC hybrid era

As the World Rally Championship undergoes its biggest shift in regulations for a generation, teams are taking radical measures to prepare for its new era. Hyundai's unique approach involved conducting a private 1500km rally in Italy and Autosport went to see how the team is preparing for 2022

WRC
Nov 4, 2021
How Neuville stole the show from Ogier vs Evans slugfest in Spain Plus

How Neuville stole the show from Ogier vs Evans slugfest in Spain

While all pre-event chat focused on the two World Rally Championship title fighters, their closest challenger charged into the spotlight on Rally Spain. Thierry Neuville's star turn and another strong drive from Elfyn Evans in his fight with Sebastien Ogier made for an intriguing event as the 2021 campaign nears its crunch point

WRC
Oct 18, 2021