Day 3: Team by team

The first two days of the Swedish Rally saw remarkably low attrition and strikingly close competition at the sharp end - but a turbulent final morning changed all that. Victory contenders Marcus Gronholm and Sebastien Loeb retired, leaving Petter Solberg with a huge lead, while further back there were late dramas for Skoda and surprise bonuses for Ford and Mitsubishi. Autosport's rallies editor David Evans rounds-up the events of leg three

Day 3: Team by team


Big disappointment for the French team as Sebastien Loeb retired on the first stage after lunch. The Xsara's engine had struggled on, losing water throughout the third leg, but when it refused to fire for SS19, the game was up. Francois Duval's eventual 12th place brought little more cheer among the Parisians, but there was limited sympathy among the remainder of the service park - it's not like success has been thin on the ground at Citroen.


Toni Gardemeister leads the World Rally Championship. The Finn himself appeared to be as surprised as anybody by the standings, especially as he had struggled to find the right set-up with the car through the event. On top of the drivers' championship success, Ford is also standing on top of the world in the race for the makes' title. Henning Solberg's debut for the team was a successful one as he brought his Focus home for valuable points in fifth.


Petter Solberg admitted the final-day fight had been tough, but a long way from the toughest. He felt the 12-second buffer he'd started this morning with was always going to be enough to keep him ahead of Gronholm, but when the Finn went off, Solberg could throttle back and drive to the splits. Chris Atkinson continued to shine, until he slid off the road on SS18 for 13 minutes. Despite that, the Australian has impressed mightily on his debut. Stephane Sarrazin finally found a driving style that suited the conditions and a set-up he liked on the car - now he was just wishing he could start the event all over again.


Peugeot team director Corrado Provera started his final rally day in charge of Peugeot Sport with high hopes of going out on the highest high. Those hopes were blasted out of the water when Marcus Gronholm rolled out of the event on SS16. His demise elevated team-mate Markko Martin to second place which came as some solace for the retiring maestro of the French team. Martin's second place leaves him second in the championship.


Harri Rovanpera picked up his pace through the final day to move clear of Henning Solberg and his team-mate Gigi Galli, securing fourth place - and another fastest time - for the Mitsubishi team. Galli went off the road briefly on the opening stage, which served as a timely reminder of the chat he'd had with the management about finishing the rally. For the rest of the rally there was more thought and less throttle.


Jani Paasonen finished as top Skoda, bouncing back from a troubled opening leg. The Finn enjoyed a trouble-free Sunday, but was left to ponder what might have been had he had a clean run. Mattias Ekstrom was one place further back, with possibly more to complain about. Had his power steering not failed, the Swede reckoned he could have made the podium. Janne Tuohino knocked a wheel off his Fabia on the penultimate stage. He made it through there and the team told him to press on through the final test, but the oil drained away and left the car high and dry in SS20.



Petter Solberg (Subaru Impreza) 3h00m52.1s
Markko Martin (Peugeot 307) 3h03m03.2s
Toni Gardemeister (Ford Focus) 3h04m06.8s
Harri Rovanpera (Mitsubishi Lancer) 3h04m18.5s
Henning Solberg (Ford Focus) 3h04m21.9s
Daniel Carlsson (Peugeot 307) 3h04m34.6s
Gigi Galli (Mitsubishi Lancer) 3h04m56.1s
Roman Kresta (Ford Focus) 3h05m31.7s
Jani Paasonen (Skoda Fabia) 3h05m43.2s
Mattias Ekstrom (Skoda Fabia) 3h07m56.3s



Anthony Warmbold (Ford Focus) 3h07m56.4s
Francois Duval (Citroen Xsara) 3h08m11.7s
Stephane Sarrazin (Subaru Impreza) 3h08m33.1s
Chris Atkinson (Subaru Impreza) 3h17m43.6s

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