SWRT leave Sardinia consoled by third position in the title hunt
After a tough Rally Sardinia, Chris Atkinson and Stéphane Prevot collected a crucial three championship points for their sixth position finish, keeping the duo third in the drivers’ title hunt. Similarly, the Subaru World Rally Team remain third in the Manufacturers’ race.

The final day of this rally proved no let-up for the team as Atkinson and Solberg were not able to match the pace of the front-runners, who were pushing hard in their own battle for the win. The day comprised the event’s roughest stages, whilst stage fourteen’s river crossing added patches of thick mud to the mix.

“It’s been a disappointing rally but in spite of the setbacks both Chris and the team retain third place in the championship” said David Richards, Subaru World Rally Team Principal. “We must now focus all our attention on ensuring that we arrive in Greece with an improved setup for the conditions we are likely to encounter there.”

Atkinson and Prévot retained their comfortable placing from yesterday to complete the event in sixth position overall, demonstrating their consistency this year to add more points to their championship tally. It is their fifth points score from the six rallies this season, retaining third place in the championship and consolidating their impressive start to 2008 whilst keeping them in touch with the top of the leaderboard.

“OK, it’s good to get more points and to still be third in the championship, but it’s definitely not been an easy weekend” said Chris Atkinson. “I drove the best I could and made no mistakes, and that’s it.”

Petter Solberg and Phil Mills had another hard day aboard their number five Impreza, slipping to twelfth before doggedly climbing to finish tenth overall, eking some impressive split times from their machine including second fastest time on the final stage. With the third place they held on day one only too distant, the vociferous Norwegian was uncharacteristically subdued, letting the team do the talking for him.

With Subaru’s all-new Impreza WRC2008 on the horizon, drivers and the team alike are eagerly awaiting its first public appearance.

Next event
Next up for the WRC is the punishing Acropolis Rally, 29 May to 1 June. Another of the WRC’s iconic events, 2008 is the 54th running of the Acropolis Rally. The gravel event is again focused around Athens, with the service park based in Markopoulo. The stages themselves will be outside of the Greek capital city, but the Hippodrome superspecial makes three appearances, bringing to a close Thursday, Saturday and Sunday. The Acropolis Rally is one of the toughest and rockiest events of the year, renowned for the searingly hot temperatures, and is notoriously hard on equipment. The combination of heat, rough gravel and unforgiving rocks has brought many crews’ rallies to a premature end.

Final positions
1. S Loeb/D Elena 3hr 57min 17.2sec
2. M Hirvonen/J Lehtinen 3hr 57min 27.8sec
3. J-M Latvala/M Anttila 3hr 57min 32.5sec
4. G Galli/G Bernacchini 3hr 58min 59.7sec
5. D Sordo/M Marti 3hr 59min 22.8sec
6. C Atkinson/S Prevot 4hr 02min 25.8sec
7. H Solberg/C Menkerud 4hr 03min 18.2sec
8. U Aava/K Sikk 4hr 03min 38.5sec
9. P-G Andersson/J Andersson 4hr 05min 05.9sec
10 P Solberg/P Mills 4hr 06min 58.2sec

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