So, after the long time off, here comes a catch up of what I haven’t mentioned:
- Rally of Portugal ended quite as expected. Loeb first, Hirvonen next, the Sordo and then finally something unexpected: Petter Solberg. I’m really impressed by seeing him so high up in the standings. The car went well in Cyprus, but that’s a much slower and way different rally. I’m really impressed and I must admit I was wrong regarding Portugal, but I still think Petter shouldn’t expect very much of the Xsara later on in the faster rallies of the season. Anyway, Portugal was a real Norweigan party with Petter 4th, Henning 5th and Östberg 6th!
- Patrik Sandell made the PWRC season much more interesting when he went off the road early in Portugal, allowing for Armindo Araujo to win the group N class. This means a huge change in the standings where Araujo now leads with 23 points, before Sandell on 20 and both Brynhildsen and Prokop on 14. Now we just need a Brynhildsen and Prokop to take one step up – then the PWRC is a real nest. In fact, I consider PWRC at least as interesting this season as the WRC.
- Added to Petter’s impressive performance in Portugal, one should take into account that he was ill. On the run-up to the rally he was diagnosed with legionella, an evil disease that can be really bad. Petter is still suffering from the bacteria, but doctors have this week made sure that there will be no permanent harm to Petter’s lungs. That’s the good news. The bad news is that Petter has bronchitis and will have to take medicins for a while – medicins that interfere with the doping rules of the WRC. Petter has discussed the issue with the WRC doctors, and he will now have to stop eating the medicines before starting in Argentina next weekend.
- A lot about Petter, but it should also be added that he have tested the Abarth Grande Punto Super2000 – and Abarth immediately sent out a press release that Petter was looking to do a few IRC events in the car this year. I don’t know if that’s true, but didn’t Petter say something about a focus on the WRC? Well, I don’t know, I just know that I probably wouldn’t choose the Abarth…
- Conrad Rautenbach will go to Azores in a PH Sport backed Peugeot 207 Super2000. I guess his competitive impression will be quite weak, as usual, but it still annoys me considering the doubtful source of his money. When will somebody ask this guy where he get all his cash? Considering that he now adds an IRC drive on top of his current Citroen drive in WRC, war and crimes(?) seems to be really a good affair.
- Jari-Matti Latvala immediately got speculated to leave the team after his frightening crash in Portugal. After 20 rolls, voices were raised everywhere that he should be thrown out of the Ford team. I think that Latvala’s team-mate, Mikko Hirvonen, has proven quite the opposite. Hirvonen’s career in Subaru in 2004 was disastrous, but exactly that kind of learning period that a young drivers needs – and to stop investing in Latvala now would be totally stupid, since he has shown numerous times that he has got the speed. Just wait and see, if Latvala get’s the time he will show everyone… (and at the moment he seems to have gotten a little bit more time)
- That’s it – keep coming here, because Rally Argentina is coming up – and I’ll try to be a little bit more regular in my posting again!