Rd.1 Uddeholm Swedish Rally

Production Car World Rally Championship
8 to 11 February 2007


Battle for Lead Hangs in the Balance ahead of Final Day
SUBARU IMPREZAs occupy seven of the top ten positions in P-WRC

10 February 2007
Copyright © STI 
Day two of the 2007 Swedish Rally dawned with more clear, sunny skies as crews took to the first of the morning's two pairs of stages.

Leader since the event's opening stage, Kristian Sohlberg maintained his gap at the head of the field throughout the morning, reporting absolutely no problems with the car. It was still Hanninen in second place, with Alen and Svedlund fighting for third in a thrilling battle all the way to lunchtime. Alen did run wide on a long left-hander, taking off the rear bumper, but that was repaired at the first Service. Unfortunately, a slow puncture on SS11 meant the Finn fell to fifth after losing two minutes. The heroic tussles with Svedlund were now over. He did manage to take back a position right after lunch, and spent the rest of the day running in fourth. "As well as my puncture, I nearly went out on the same corner as Kristian. It's been enough drama for one day, that's for sure! I'm looking forward to tomorrow."

Oscar Svedlund reported everything with the car to be perfect, and was happy to be back in third place after his battles with Alen. "There are no problems with the car. We're just trying to remain on the edge and see what happens. He had a huge spin on SS14, though managed to get it all together however - so they lost only a bit of time. "It was a slow place, but we managed to take it fast." he said.

Copyright © STI 
Mirco Baldacci had a good morning, reporting the car was good, but that he was still learning it. "I reckon there's a lot more to come from me. It's my first event, and and I'm felling very good at the moment in terms of my performance." His handling problems of day one seemed to return in the afternoon. The team will perform some geometry changes tonight and see if the car's better tomorrow.

On the long stage, Nasser Al Attiyah clipped too far into a snow bank, filling the front of the car with snow. Because he kept going, the snow got sucked in and he had to continue the stage with the equivalent of a 10mm restrictor. " We didn't touch the snow bank very hard, and I can't believe this actually happened." He was understandably a bit frustrated, particularly after falling to 11th position as a result. He reported a good stage 13, though had a bit of an overshoot on SS14. "I'm really enjoying the stages and the event. I wish I could have a good run!"

Toshi Arai rolled. Under braking on a high-speed section he got a bit off line and just slipped wide into a ditch. As he stopped, the car just fell over onto its roof. There wasn't too much damage, but losing six minutes was a big let-down. "The car's been better in the afternoon. It's now more stable but is still losing a bit of grip towards the end of the stages. The handbrake wasn't working in the Super Special tonight so that was a bit difficult."

Copyright © STI 
After a dramatic rise on the opening stage of the day where he moved from 11th to 8th, Russian driver Alexander Dorosinskiy grabbed another position later on, ironically on the very stage where he spun, SS12. That delay however, cost him any chance of moving past Portuguese national champion Araujo.

The afternoon began with SS13, the 24.75-kilometre Fredriksberg stage. P-WRC leader leader Krisitan Sohlberg increased his margin over Juho Hanninen. However, it was Finnish flyer Anton Alen who took the stage win. The last road test of the day was Lejen, SS14, at 26.47 kilometres. The second longest test of the rally, it's run only once, before the Hagfors Super Special which rounds out the action on leg two. It was on this stage that Hanninen took over the lead from Kristian Sohlberg, though by only 2.1 seconds. Sohlberg, at a very tricky place, went through a snow bank, losing about 10 seconds. Fortunately there was nothing in the way, and the car came back on the road. "Make no mistake, I'm on the limit. I've made a couple of mistakes, so I can't afford any more. I'll be making a big effort on the first stage tomorrow."

George Donaldson - STI Group N Project General Manager:

"It was interesting to see the drivers spending a huge amount of time looking at their tyres, deciding which ones to use on the next group of stages. The tyre companies are in there giving advice, and there are local people around, trying to get some extra advice and help. It's a real game to try and get it all correct. The pace has stayed incredibly fast at the head of the field today. From the top runners down to the people who've had trouble earlier on, everyone's experienced some sort of difficulty here today. Anton Alen losing the most with the puncture. Kristian Sohlberg has been charging hard - really on the limit. He made a couple of errors, but hasn't lost too much time - though it did cost him his lead. It's nice to see Nasser and Toshi coming back with respect to their times. Of course, they're just hopeful of getting some points. Svedlund ran without too much drama until stage 14, but he survived that. Mirco Baldacci is learning the car very, very well. Hopefully we'll see the whole thing come together for him tomorrow.

"As we head to the final leg of competition in Sweden, Sohlberg remains locked on Hanninen's bumper, and we know Kristian is determined to get the best possible result, Oscar Svedlund in third, Anton Alen fourth, and Mirco Baldacci in fifth."

Pos Driver Car Name Time   Diff  
1 Juho HÄNNINEN Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 2:33:30.4 0.0
2 Kristian SOHLBERG SUBARU IMPREZA WRX STI 2:33:37.3 +6.9
3 Oscar SVEDLUND SUBARU IMPREZA WRX STI 2:34:44.1 +1:13.7
4 Anton ALÉN SUBARU IMPREZA WRX STI 2:35:47.5 +2:17.1
5 Mirco BALDACCI SUBARU IMPREZA WRX STI 2:36:26.0 +2:55.6
6 Armindo ARAUJO Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 2:38:50.7 +5:20.3
7 Alexande DOROSINSKIY SUBARU IMPREZA WRX STI 2:39:18.3 +5:47.9
8 Fumio NUTAHARA Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 2:39:29.2 +5:58.8
9 Nasser Saleh AL-ATTIYAH SUBARU IMPREZA WRX STI 2:40:27.1 +6:56.7
10 Toshihiro ARAI SUBARU IMPREZA WRX STI 2:41:43.1 +8:12.7