Saturday, March 12, 2011

WRC Mexico 2011

Well, it didn't take long for Loeb to return to his winning ways. It wasn't easy, though, as Ogier led for most of rally while Loeb worked hard to keep up. In the end it came down to their difference in experience. Ogier made a small mistake on stage 20 on day three, drifted wide, clipped something beside road, and wrecked the left front suspension. Loeb hasn't been under much pressure in the last few years and, even though he was diplomatic, it was completely obvious he was not enjoying the fight with Ogier. Expect more of this for the rest of the season.

Hirvonen, as the points leader, was first on the road on day one and had to contend with being the road sweeper. It's not a role he enjoys very much but it looks like he has become better at it. He drove a steady first day and gained from other's misfortune to finish the day in a respectable third, which was not bad considering his road position. Hirvonen kept that steady pace throughout the rally and had a remarkably incident free weekend. He turned it up big time on the power stage though, to take his only stage win of the rally, the three bonus points, and second place on the podium. I think it was one of his most mature drives ever.

Petter Solberg had a fun filled weekend. Things were going great on the morning of day one, but then his bad luck struck. A simple broken wire cost him seven minutes, which dropped him to thirteenth place at the end of day one. By day three he had fought back to fifth but his bad luck returned again on stage 21 when the handle of the gear shifter broke, which led to this scary moment. It's hard to tell what actually happened since Solberg's excited comments don't fit with the on-board video, which doesn't show him spinning in the air. He retained fifth place despite the incident, went on to score two bonus points on the power stage, and eventually finished fourth after Ogier's retirement promoted everyone. Yep, Solberg definitely had a fun weekend. ^_^

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