Petter sets up WRC title

It's been a steady afternoon in Wales Rally GB, with Petter Solberg completing an utterly dominant day by taking the three stages after the midday service. Solberg has gradually pulled out a 40.8 second advantage on Sébastien Loeb

Petter sets up WRC title

With just the harmless Cardiff Superspecial stage to go tonight, Solberg looks to have wrapped up this event barring any problems tomorrow. Loeb has had no answers for the Subaru driver, who will be World Champion unless the Frenchman gets past him.

Talk in the paddock was of Citroën's order to Loeb to keep the car on the road to ensure the manufacturers' title for the team, but Loeb's deficit seems to be a representative one regardless.

"We pushed on SS12 but took nothing out of Solberg's lead," said a resigned Loeb, who said he had also tried to push in the morning in spite of poor tyre choice. "So I tried to back off a bit in the next one. The pressure is getting to me now."

After the two were split by just a tenth on Stage 12, Solberg delivered killer blows by taking out 6.5 seconds on Loeb at Margam Park (SS13) and then another 9.5 seconds on SS14 at Resolfen.

There's more cheer for Subaru with Tommi Makinen retaining his surprise third place over familiar foe Colin McRae. There was rarely much to choose between these two as they traded times all afternoon. They go into the superspecial 6.4s apart, although almost not in the same rally as the leaders.



"It's like the old days and I am enjoying it," said McRae. "But we can't go too much quicker at the moment. I'd rather be safe than sorry." A podium would be of enormous value to McRae's future prospects, but also a happy ending for Tommi Mäkinen's career.

There's not much competition for Harri Rovanpera in fifth place. He's just about two minutes behind McRae and more than a minute ahead of François Duval's Ford. All things being equal, then, the strongest battle going into tomorrow is likely to be that for third.

Solberg is showing no sign of nerves going into a tricky Sunday: "Everything is perfect all the time. And I am really enjoying this. Normally I change the settings a lot but I'm leaving them alone here. I am getting stronger all weekend - a strategy that has worked for me all year."

There will be a final report after the Cardiff Superspecial, which gets underway at 1938 GMT today (Saturday).


Petter Solberg (Subaru) 2h46m50.3s
Sébastien Loeb (Citroën) +40.8s
Tommi Mäkinen (Subaru) +2m23.7s
Colin McRae (Citroen) +2m30.1s
Harri Rovanpera (Peugeot) +4m30.6s
François Duval (Ford) +5m52.0s

shares
comments
Sainz set for retirement

Previous article

Sainz set for retirement

Next article

Rally GB leaders

Rally GB leaders
Load comments
How Finland’s newest rally hero made WRC history in Estonia Plus

How Finland’s newest rally hero made WRC history in Estonia

Kalle Rovanpera broke a decade-old record in becoming the World Rally Championship's youngest-ever winner in a truly dominant performance on Estonia's fast gravel roads. Staving off the challenge of Hyundai's Craig Breen, his committed drive showed a maturity beyond his 20 years that gives Toyota's post-Ogier era a far brighter complexion

WRC
Jul 19, 2021
How WRC's new Safari adventure ended with a familiar tale Plus

How WRC's new Safari adventure ended with a familiar tale

The World Rally Championship’s delayed return to the Safari Rally was always set throw up some surprises, but aside from a spirited showing by Thierry Neuville it became another painful event for Hyundai in 2021. Once again it was Sebastien Ogier who took full advantage as he completed a stunning comeback drive

WRC
Jun 28, 2021
Remembering Colin McRae’s final WRC win Plus

Remembering Colin McRae’s final WRC win

The Safari Rally returns to the World Rally Championship this weekend for the first time since 2002 - when crowd favourite Colin McRae set aside the maximum attack style for which he was renowned to deliver a textbook third win

WRC
Jun 23, 2021
How Hyundai's broken record gave Toyota a special Sardinia 1-2 Plus

How Hyundai's broken record gave Toyota a special Sardinia 1-2

For the second WRC gravel rally in a row, a promising Friday for Hyundai turned into desolation as Toyota gratefully picked up the pieces. This time it was championship leader Sebastien Ogier who took full advantage after Ott Tanak and Dani Sordo retired to score a memorable victory, having swept the road on the first two days

WRC
Jun 7, 2021
How Hyundai's latest self-destruction handed Evans Portugal victory Plus

How Hyundai's latest self-destruction handed Evans Portugal victory

At one point Hyundai held the top three positions in Portugal, but when trouble struck the Korean marque's two leading chargers, a grateful Elfyn Evans was on hand to see off Hyundai third man Dani Sordo and become the third different winner in four rallies

WRC
May 24, 2021
Why the success of AVB's WRC debut won't be defined on the stages Plus

Why the success of AVB's WRC debut won't be defined on the stages

Three years after a Dakar Rally crash resulted in him being airlifted to hospital, Andre Villas-Boas is preparing to make his debut on his home round of the World Rally Championship later this month. His goals for the event are modest, but the same cannot be said for the charities he plans to promote where his true impact could be felt

WRC
May 13, 2021
Why there's no easy fix for Hyundai's operational Achilles Heel Plus

Why there's no easy fix for Hyundai's operational Achilles Heel

Hyundai Motorsport boss Andrea Adamo was vocal in his criticism of his team's tyre choices on Rally Croatia and declared that he "had better move my ass and solve it". Doing so will be vital to getting Hyundai's 2021 WRC title hopes back on track, but finding the root of the problem won't be the work of a moment

WRC
Apr 28, 2021
How Ogier held on after a shock bump in the road to triumph in Croatia Plus

How Ogier held on after a shock bump in the road to triumph in Croatia

Sebastien Ogier was already in an incredibly tight fight at Rally Croatia before a surprise collision with public road traffic at the start of the final day. But the defending champion held his nerve to take a narrow victory and create further World Rally Championship history

WRC
Apr 26, 2021