WRC – Hirvonen Heads World Championship After Dramatic Final Day In France

October 3, 2011


Ford Abu Dhabi World Rally Team drivers Mikko Hirvonen and Jarmo Lehtinen are tied for the lead of the FIA World Rally Championship following a dramatic turn of events after the finish of Rallye de France today.
The Finns finished round 11 of the series in fourth place in a Ford Fiesta RS World Rally Car, to leave them just three points from the head of the championship.  However, Petter Solberg was this evening excluded from third after his car was found to be under weight, promoting Ford’s 31-year-old Finnish driver onto the podium of the asphalt event.
The additional points mean Hirvonen is tied for the lead of the drivers’ championship with Sébastien Loeb, who retired from the rally in Friday’s opening leg with engine problems.  Just three points cover the leading trio, with two rounds remaining in Spain later this month and in Britain next month.
“It’s unfortunate to inherit a position due to a rival’s misfortune, but at this stage of the season every point counts,” said Hirvonen.  “We’ll go to the next round in Spain as joint leaders of the championship and with just two rounds remaining, the fight for the title is truly wide open.  I aim to be on top form in Spain and an exciting conclusion to the year is in prospect.  I can’t wait!”
Solberg’s exclusion promoted Ford Abu Dhabi’s Jari-Matti Latvala and Miikka Anttila to fourth in another Fiesta RS World Rally Car.  Latvala lies fourth in the points table.
Revised final positions
1.  S Ogier/J Ingrassia         FRA             Citroen DS3             3hr 06min 20.4sec
2.  D Sordo/C Del Barrio                ESP             Mini John Cooper        3hr 06min 26.7sec
3.  M Hirvonen/J Lehtinen               FIN             Ford Fiesta RS  3hr 09min 47.0sec
4.  J-M Latvala/M Anttila               FIN             Ford Fiesta RS  3hr 09min 50.7sec
5.  D Kuipers/F Miclotte                NLD             Ford Fiesta RS  3hr 13min 02.4sec
6.  H Solberg/I Minor           NOR             Ford Fiesta RS  3hr 13min 28.7sec
7.  M Østberg/J Andersson               NOR             Ford Fiesta RS  3hr 14min 18.7sec
8.  K Block/A Gelsomino         USA             Ford Fiesta RS  3hr 14min 45.9sec
9.  P Campana/S De Castelli             FRA             Mini John Cooper        3hr 14min 59.1sec
10 M Wilson/S Martin            GBR             Ford Fiesta RS  3hr 16min 21.2sec
1= M Hirvonen           196pts
1= S Loeb                       196pts
3.  S Ogier                      193pts
4.  J-M Latvala         131pts
5.  P Solberg             110pts
6.  M Østberg                       62pts
1.  Citroen Total                         372pts
2.  Ford Abu Dhabi                318pts
3.  M-Sport Stobart Ford        133pts
4.  Petter Solberg                 98pts
5= FERM Power Tools       34pts
5= Team Abu Dhabi                  34pts
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