The WRC Minis, set back by dust clouds on day one of the three-day event, finished fourth and fifth in Rally Spain. The win went to Citroen’s Sebastien Loeb.
Dani Sordo, A Spaniard, had hoped to make his home rally the first win for the Mini team, but heavy dust clouds on the first day, the only day run on gravel, severely limited visibility for everyone but Loeb, who had started first. At the end, of the day, Sordo and his co-driver Carlos Del Barrio finished fourth, while their teammates Kris Meeke and co-driver Paul Nagle finished sixth. (Text continues after photo)
The Mini’s fortunes improved on Saturday, the second day, when the rally was run on tarmac. Sordo won a stage in the afternoon, and finished fourth, while Meeke stayed in sixth.
On day three, anticipating rain, the team chose to run a combination of softer compound Michelins on the right side of the car, and harder compounds on the left. The Citroen and Ford teams, believing that conditions would stay dry, chose hard compound tires.
The Minis paid for their tire choice early in the day, when conditions remained dry. But the rains came later, and Meeke won the final stage of the rally and Sordo came in second.
At the end, Sordo and Del Barrio finished fourth overall while Meeke and Nagle finished fifth. Ahead of them were Loeb’s winning Citroen and the Fords of Mikko Hirvonen and Jari-Matti Latvala.
Sordo said afterwards, “It is okay to be fourth, but we lost a lot on the first day on the gravel stages and with the dust. We had hoped the rain would have come a little bit earlier today. For the first two stages we had the wrong tires and the others had the right ones, then in the final stage we had the right ones. It was fun and a little bit slippery in some places. I am quite okay, but not totally happy as I really wanted to finish on the podium on my home rally, but it didn’t happen this time.”
Videos from Rally Spain are posted on the World Rally Championship website, www.wrc.com.
The team will finish its test season in the WRC finale, Rally Great Britain, which will be run in Wales on November 10-13.—Brian S. Morgan, motorsports editor, bmwcca.org
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