Rally Sardina 2007.
The third and final leg of Rally Sardinia had six short stages, the longest of the stages being only 10.66km long. Since the drivers only had 54.74 competitive kilometres, there was no time to attack for position so the drivers only drove to secure their places on the leader board.

Sebastien Loeb began the last leg as the rally leader, a position which he had held for the majority of the rally. However the Frenchman’s luck changed when he suffered an ‘off’ on the first stage of the leg, which forced him to retire. His victory here would have meant his fifth of the season; unfortunately he not only gave away the rally win but also the Drivers’ Championship.

Marcus Gronholm was the overall winner of rally Sardine after inheriting from Loeb. For most of the rally it seemed as if Gronholm would not be able to match Loeb’s fast pace, so he slowed down trying not to make any mistakes. He then claimed his second victory of the 2007 season and moved ahead of Loeb in the Drivers’ Championship.

There was even better news to be heard from the BP-Ford tent when Mikko Hirvonen was declared second overall which helped the team move further forward in the Manufacturer’s Championship. Hirvonen, who promised to get into the fight for 1st place this weekend, was unable to challenge Gronholm or Loeb during the rally, however he drove a consistent rally and finished just under thirty seconds from Gronholm.

Dani Sordo and Henning Solberg provided all of rally Sardinia’s excitement with the battle for the final podium position. The pair started the final leg with only ten seconds separating them; Solberg was trailing Citroen Sordo in a thrilling battle. It was Solberg who started the completion off with an early challenge, but this only led to Sordo pulling back out finishing the day on the final podium position. Solberg finished in fourth even though he gave a valiant effort throughout this short leg.

Petter Solberg was hoping to claim a solid result this weekend in Sardinia, but was unable to capitalise on his leg one success where he was third overall. Solberg had previously suffered troubles in the first leg of the rally and ended up having to settle for sixth, though Loeb’s retirement pushed him up into fifth. This left him with three unfinished rallies in this season, this is not the news Solberg wanted to hear.

Toni Gardemeister who is only contesting on limited privateer schedule, finished the rally sixth overall. His point scoring finished here where this was the first for Gardemeister since Rally Sweden. This rally marked the third time that Gardemeister finished in the top eight this year. Still adjusting to the Mitsubishi Lancer after the drive in the Citroen Xsara last season, this Fin now holds eight points in the Drivers’ Standings.

Manfred Stohl finished the weekend in seventh overall. It was a disappointing weekend for the Austrian who unable to get consistent times throughout the rally. Still the Austrian was able to avoid a major incident and at the end of the rally with his fourth top-eight finish of the season, despite contesting this years’ championship on a small budget.

Juho Hanninen finished the weekend eighth overall. Hanninen had driven a quiet weekend, though he was able to post several top-ten times during the second and third legs. It was revenge after he was excluded earlier this year from Rally Sweden after a rally inspection that revealed an improper fuel pump in the Mitsubishi Lancer. This was the first time that Hanninen had scored points in the WRC.

Matthew Wilson was forced out of the second leg after a collision when a roach had caused suspension damage. He was the first competitor on the stages with the job of sweeping the stages for the remainder of the field. The Brit drove for experience but finished the weekend well outside the top-ten.

Jari-Matti Latvala and Chris Atkinson had both posted competitive times during the final leg, despite being positioned no where near any points. Latvala showed his speed during the second and third leg and will look to use his growing confidence in Greece in the hopes of avoiding a similar trap which ended his chances of his bid for Sardinian points.

It was a very slow weekend for the Munchi’s Ford World Rally Team as Gederico Villagra spent his first ever weekend in a World Rally car learning the ropes and slowly adjusting. The Argentinean had replaced Juan Pablo Raies in the team shortly after their home rally in Argentina and was able to avoid mechanical or driver issues this weekend in Sardinia. His team-mate Luis Perex Companc was not as lucky however as he rolled out of the second leg. The Munchi’s Ford driver did not return for the final leg as the damage to his Focus was too extensive.

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