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|11th April 2005, 12:12||#1|
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: HYDERABAD INDIA
Thanked: 2 Times
Wrc 2005 ...
RALLY NEW ZEALAND ...
Sebastian Loeb in his citroen wins the Rally Of NewZealand in style and is now just one point away from Championship leader Subaru's Petter Solberg who finished third behind Peugeot's Marcus Gronholm .....
"It's very nice to win here in New Zealand after our frustrating outings in Sweden and Mexico," Loeb explained after the rally. "I am particularly pleased with this weekend's result because we won in a straight fight with Marcus (Gronholm) and Petter (Solberg)."
"Also, winning on this terrain -- which tended to be a little difficult for us in previous years -- is a positive sign on two accounts. First, it proves that the Xsara continues to progress and, secondly, the fact that we are now competitive on fast gravel means we can hope for a top result in Finland!"
"Before the rally started I thought I could win, but this turned out not to be possible: the combination of Sebastien and Citroen was too fast to catch," said Gronholm. "In any case, I am reasonably happy to finish second. I had a big fight with Petter, but I was quite confident I could keep him behind me."
Gronholm opened Sunday with the fastest time in the first three stages, enhancing the gap between himself and Solberg. Loeb won the final stage to close out his victory.
"I'm very happy actually," commented points leader Solberg. "My plan for this rally was third or fourth place and we've come away with some good points and the lead of the championship. We knew it would be difficult right from the start.
"I'm feeling very positive about the championship now. For sure we have some work to do, but overall the feeling is good. I'm very happy with the new car and with 12 more rallies to go, things are looking very interesting."
Toni Gardemeister was third in the standings prior to this weekend's event. The Ford Focus driver came home sixth and is now tied with Gronholm in points.
The novice in WRC competition rallyist from Australia continues to learn lessons and build experience. After his leg one two stage wins, Chris Atkinson found it a bit harder going and ended the event seventh.
"We have achieved two more goals in our careers this weekend, to win a stage in the WRC and also score Championship points in our WRC campaign," said Atkinson. and he is very very ecstatic about his first WRC points ... way to go Chris ..... he has come a long way from APRC ... i saw him in action in Pune in 2003 in Suzuki Ignis 1600
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