WRC – Rally Sweden Day 2 : Hirvonen Leads the Charge

Mikko Hirvonen, Rally Sweden 2011.

Day 2 concluded with a new leader after Ford’s Mikko Hirvonen demoted previous leader Mads Ostberg to 2nd place. However, Rally Sweden are set for the final showdown after the top five drivers were only separated by 15.8 seconds.

Hirvonen took the lead from Ostberg despite only registering the 5th fastest time in SS11. Now the table will be reversed for Day 3 as Hirvonen had to run first, cleaning the line for the drivers running after him, something that Ostberg (above) had to do in Day 2. Ostberg started the day with a 14.8 seconds lead to Hirvonen but saw the gap reduced slowly after he struggled to replicate the form he had the day before.

Atmosphere, Rally Sweden 2011.

Petter Solberg in action, Rally Sweden 2011.

Petter Solberg is in 3rd place, 8.9 seconds behind Hirvonen. An excellent performance saw Solberg winning in SS9, SS11 and SS16. The 2003 world champion might have taken lead had he not served a 10 second penalty after arriving late at the start of SS10. In 4th place is Hirvonen’s teammate Jari-Matti Latvala. Latvala suffered a high speed spin in SS12 but escaped without losing too much time to finish the day only 10.9 seconds behind the leader.

Sebastien Ogier, Rally Sweden 2011.

Sebastien Ogier will be the only works Citroen DS3 WRC driver still in contention to fight for the win after finishing the day in 5th with a gap of 15.8 seconds to Hirvonen. World champion Sebastien Loeb is too far behind in 6th place with a gap of 1:42.1. Loeb suffered a puncture and a brush with the snow bank which filled his air filter with snow resulting in a loss of engine power. Despite all that, Loeb demonstrated why he is the world champion by winning 4 stages and will be a force to be reckoned with this season.

Kimi Raikkonen is 7th ahead of PG Andersson and Patrik Sandell while M-Sport Stobart Ford Rally Matthew Wilson (above) completed the top 10. Day 3 resumes with the drivers taking on the 19.21km SS17 Torntorp.

Atmosphere, Rally Sweden 2011.

Sebastien Loeb in action, Rally Sweden 2011.

Photo : Citroen WRC, worldrallypics.com

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