Miniatures of Juan Manuel Fangio and a flying Tommi Makinen


Australia 2009


WITH ONLY 3 RALLIES LEFT, INCLUDING THIS ONE, AND WITH ONLY 3 POINTS SEPARATING MIKKO HIRVONEN (1ST) AND SEBASTIEN LOEB (2ND), THE STAKES COULD NOT BE HIGHER FOR EITHER DRIVER. ASSUMING THEY WOULD BOTH FINISH EACH RALLY IN THE TOP TWO PLACES, THEN THERE WOULD ONLY BE 6 NET POINTS IN TOTAL TO DISTRIBUTE BETWEEN THEM.

MIKKO'S 3 POINT-LEAD GIVES HIM THE ADVANTAGE GOING INTO THIS RALLY SO SEBASTIEN NOW HAS TO WIN THE THREE REMAINING RALLIES TO BE SURE OF THE CHAMPIONSHIP - IF HE ONLY WINS 2 AND MIKKO WINS 1 THEN ON THE ABOVE ASSUMPTION SEBASTIEN WOULD SCORE 28 POINTS TO MIKKO'S 26. MIKKO WOULD WIN THE TITLE BY A SINGLE POINT.

THIS IS THE FIRST RALLY OF AUSTRALIA FOR 3 YEARS AND, TO COMPLICATE MATTERS FOR THE DRIVERS, IT IS ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE AUSTRALIAN CONTINENT TO THE PREVIOUS RALLIES AND SO NO ONE KNOWS THE STAGES.

IT BECAME AN INTRIGUING BATTLE FROM THE OFF WITH JARI-MATTI LATVALA LEADING AT THE END OF DAY 1. CITROEN CHOSE AN INTERESTING TYRE STRATEGY IN THE AFTERNOON BY RUNNING ON WORN SLICKS. THIS DISADVANTAGED THEM ON THE AFTERNOON GRAVEL BUT FAVOURED THEM ON THE CLOSING SUPER SPECIAL STAGES.

AS ROAD POSITIONS ON DAY 2 WERE DETERMINED BEFORE THE DAY 1 SUPER SPECIALS, THIS PUT MIKKO 3RD ON THE ROAD BUT 5TH IN THE RALLY PLACINGS, WHILST SEBASTIEN WAS 5TH ON THE ROAD BUT 3RD IN THE RALLY! VERY NEAT.

FROM THAT POINT ON, SEBASTIEN HELD THE UPPER HAND AND EMERGED AT THE END OF THE RALLY AS THE CLEAR WINNER. MIKKO TRIED HIS HARDEST BUT WAS UNABLE TO CHALLENGE LOEB ALTHOUGH HE DID MANAGE TO JUST GET AHEAD OF DANIEL SORDO AND SO LIMIT HIS LOSSES TO JUST 2 POINTS AS OPPOSED TO THE 4-POINT LOSS IF SORDO HAD STAYED 2ND.

HOWEVER, IN POST-EVENT SCRUTINEERING, THE STEWARDS PENALISED ALL CITROENS BY ADDING 1 MINUTE TO THEIR OVERALL RALLY TIMES BECAUSE CITROEN HAD FITTED A FRONT ANTI-ROLL BAR LINK TO THEIR CARS THAT DID NOT COMPLY WITH THE HOMOLOGATION FORM OF THE CAR.

THIS GAVE THE VICTORY TO MIKKO HIRVONEN AND INCREASED THE GAP BETWEEN HIRVONEN FROM 1 POINT TO 5 POINTS. CITROEN'S ERROR COULD COME BACK TO HAUNT SEBASTIEN. THE AMENDED RESULTS ARE AS SHOWN BELOW.

ROLL ON SPAIN AND WALES - THE FIRST IS A TARMAC SURFACE WHILST THE SECOND IS OFFICIALLY GRAVEL BUT IT COULD BE ICE, SNOW OR JUST VERY WET DEPENDING ON THE WEATHER.





RESULT

1. Mikko Hirvonen / BP-Ford
2. Sebastien Loeb / Citroen Total
3. Daniel Sordo / Citroen Total
4. Jari-Matti Latvala / BP-Ford
5. Sebastien Ogier / CitroŽn Junior Team
6. Matthew Wilson / Stobart VK Ford
7. Henning Solberg / Stobart VK Ford
8. Federico Villagra / Munchi's Ford

 

CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS

Drivers :

Mikko Hirvonen 78
Sebastien Loeb 73
Daniel Sordo 50
Jari-Matti Latvala 36
Henning Solberg 29
Petter Solberg 25
Matthew Wilson 23
Sebastien Ogier 20

Constructors :

CitroŽn Total 133
BP-Ford 120
Stobart VK Ford 69
Citroen Junior Team 37
Munchi's Ford 21

Rally Results posted by
David Little
7th September 2009

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