Australia : SS 1 & 2 - Super Special
Rally Australia got underway this evening with the first two runs of the Perth City Super Special stage.
The drivers competed sided by side, two at the time on this modified horse racing track located at Gloucester Park, not far
from the service area.Marcus Gronholm
set the fastest time in SS1 with a time of 1:21.1. The Ford driver beat Petter Solberg by nearly a second (0”9). Mikko Hirvonen set the third fastest time followed by Manfred Stohl (4th), Dani Sordo (5th), Henning Solberg (6th), Luis Perez Companc (7th) and Chris Atkinson (8th).
Gronholm then went on to improve his performance in SS2, setting a time of 1:20.7, taking his second stage win. Mikko Hirvonen completed Ford's success with a second place finish, nine tenths slower than his teammate.
Petter Solberg achieved a second top 3 result, losing three tenths of a second over Hirvonen to clinch third position. The top 8 is completed by Manfred Stohl (4th), Dani Sordo (5th), Luis Perez Companc (6th), Xevi Pons (7th) and Chris Atkinson (8th).
Ford will be pleased to have their two drivers in the top two positions this evening. Gronholm is the leader after SS2, 1.9 second in front of Hirvonen. Petter Solberg is the closest rival of the Ford drivers, the Norwegian just two tenths of a second behind Hirvonen.
Manfred Stohl has made a good start and sits in fourth place after SS2. The Austrian driver is followed by Dani Sordo (5th), Luis Perez Companc (6th), Xevi Pons (7th) and Henning Solberg (8th).
The race action will resume on Friday morning (local time) with nine more stages on the programme to complete leg 1.
Hugo GIGUERE © CAPSIS International