Solberg snatches perfect Polish podium for Stobart

Solberg snatches perfect Polish podium for Stobart

28.06.2009: The Stobart VK M-Sport Ford team have had a fantastic finish to Rally Poland, the eighth round of the FIA World Rally Championship, as Henning Solberg secured his second podium finish

FIA World Rally Championship Rally Poland, 25-28 June 2009

The Stobart VK M-Sport Ford team have had a fantastic finish to Rally Poland, the eighth round of the FIA World Rally Championship, as Henning Solberg secured his second podium finish of the season.  With Matthew Wilson and Krzysztof Holowczyc both scoring points, it is a result which sees the Cumbrian team break through the 250 manufacturer points threshold since joining the championship in 2006.

Solberg scored two stage victories on his way to a dramatic third place; the third rally in a row that the team has taken overall stage wins.  Meanwhile Matthew Wilson added good points to his championship standing with fifth place and Krzysztof Holowczyc surpassed his best ever WRC performance with sixth.  He made history scoring Poland’s first ever points in the WRC drivers’ championship; a feat which earned him the Abu Dhabi Spirit of the Rally award. 

In one of the most exciting rallies of the season so far, both the vast crowds of spectators and the crews revelled in the incredibly fast, flowing roads around the Mazurian Lake District in northern Poland.  Changeable weather conditions contributed to the challenge for the drivers on the sandy, tree-lined roads with the surface becoming extremely slippery in the wet. 

A capacity 10,000 crowd had set the tone for the weekend as they turned out to watch Thursday night’s Super Special stage kick off the rally in Mikolajki.  Solberg and co-driver Cato Menkerud began their battle with Petter Solberg which would last throughout the rally, the younger brother snatching the honours.  Wilson and co-driver Scott Martin got the better of Russian youngster Evegeny Novikov, while Holowczyc thrilled the fanatical Polish fans finishing just outside the top ten.

After overcoming set-up problems on the early stages of day one, Solberg posted some scorching times on the second pass of the three-stage loop along the coast of Sniardwy Lake, taking fifth place and homing in on his brother one place ahead.  Wilson also had a strong day, moving up to seventh and staying in touch with fast-charging Sebastien Ogier one place ahead.  Holowczyc and co-driver Lukasz Kurzeja, on a rare outing in a WRC car, found their rhythm as the day went on, ending the day in ninth and just outside the points.

Day two took the 47 starting crews east and north of Rally HQ in Mikolajki for the longest day of the rally, 149.44kms over two passes of a three-stage loop.  With further changes made to his car overnight, Solberg lifted his game again to hunt down his sibling’s Citroën Xsara, aiming to maintain familial advantage in the drivers’ championship. 

It turned out to be an epic battle, with Ogier also vying for fourth place, and the initiative changed hands constantly throughout the day with Solberg eventually pushed down to sixth at the end of the day, but with just 10 seconds separating all three drivers.

Wilson posted consistently strong times to maintain his place in the points but had to have one eye on the car behind him as Holowczyc moved into eighth place, using all of his local knowledge to try and claim his first WRC points finish.  But, not for the first time this season, Solberg saved his best for last as he moved up the field again on Sunday morning. 

On the first stage of the morning he moved back up to fifth and continued his excellent run taking victory on the next two stages, closing the gap on Ogier and then taking fourth place as the Frenchman suffered engine problems.  The Norwegian gained a further place in dramatic fashion as BP Ford Abu Dhabi’s Jari-Matti Latvala crashed out from second place on the closing Super Special Stage.  That incident elevated Wilson to fifth, a reward for another weekend of mature and consistent driving. 

After a steady morning, which had seen team mate Holowczyc cut his advantage, he turned up the pace this afternoon to stay ahead and score more good points for the team. Holowczyc’s sixth capped off a fabulous weekend for the team.


Other rally news

BP Ford Abu Dhabi took victory for the third rally in a row as Mikko Hirvonen claimed the top step of the podium but his win was marred by the performance of Jari-Matti Latvala who crashed off while occupying second place on the final Super Special stage of the rally handing second to Citroen’s Dani Sordo. His team mate Sebastien Loeb recovered from his day one crash to take seventh place.

Stobart VK M-Sport Ford driver Henning Solberg said:

“Wow, what an end to the rally, it’s very sad for Ford but the podium is fantastic for me.  We have come a long way since Thursday when the feeling after Shakedown wasn’t very good and today the car has been much better.  I’ve been driving as fast as I can on this rally and really been pushing hard in the battle with Petter; the fastest stage times we had today prove just that. 

We have had a learning weekend and this rally has some fantastic stages but it’s also been very difficult.  I’ve got the result I wanted, and that helps me maintain my position as the best non-factory driver in the championship.”

Stobart VK M-Sport Ford driver Matthew Wilson said:

“The stages here have been amazing and the number of people here spectating has just been incredible; they really like their rallying here in Poland.  One of the biggest challenges has been adjusting my brain to the speed of the stages here and trying to maintain the rhythm when the type of road changes.

 It’s been really good preparation for Finland from that respect and it will be a help to have had three days driving at these speeds.  We have taken a lot from this weekend and I need to just get my notes more consistent to be able to push harder.”

Stobart VK M-Sport Ford driver Krzysztof Holowczyc said:

“It’s been a fantastic rally and I’m very happy with the result.  I have become the first Polish driver to score a drivers’ point and to do it here on my home rally is a very special feeling; we’ve also scored our best WRC finish ever which was a big surprise at the end. 

I have to thank the fans, I have never seen so many people and flags and their energy and the atmosphere has really helped me along.  It’s five years since I have driven a WRC car and they have improved so much, this Focus is incredible and it’s helped me to drive in a very clean and precise way.”

Stobart VK M-Sport Ford team principal Malcolm Wilson said:

“It has been a really strong performance by the team on the final day and another podium for Henning after a bizarre last stage.  All cars and crews were in good shape when they needed to push to improve their position today and I’m especially pleased for Krzysztof to be the first Pole to score a point in the WRC;

it’s great that he has done that as a part of the Stobart team.  The rally has been really good preparation for Finland so things are looking very positive for the next event.”

Stobart Group CEO Andrew Tinkler said:

“It’s a surprise, and well-deserved, podium for Henning and we’ve also reached 250 points for the Stobart team; I’m really proud of what we achieved against the best rally teams in the world. 

The guys have all done a fantastic job on this new rally and their ever-growing experience is shining through with more consistent results and stage wins.  I must congratulate Krzysztof on his points and it’s great that he’s achieved this as part of our team.”

Final Leaderboard

1. M Hirvonen/J Lehtinen (FIN)                 Ford Focus RS          +3h07m.27.5s

2. D Sordo/M Marti (ESP)                        Citroën C4               +1m10.3s

3. H Solberg/C Menkerud (NOR)              Ford Focus RS           +2m05.7s

4. P Solberg/P Mills (NOR)                       Citroën Xsara           +2m24.3s

5. M Wilson/S Martin (GB)                        Ford Focus RS           +4m17.5s

6. K Holowczyc/L Kurzeja (POL)             Ford Focus RS           +4m33.9s

7. S Loeb/D Elena (FRA)                         Citroën C4               +19m15.1s

8. C Rautenbach/D Barritt (ZIM)               Citroën C4               +19m20.6s

9. E Novikov/D Moscatt (RUS)                  Citroën C4               +19m26.2s

10. M Bebenek/G Bebenek (POL)              Mitsubishi Lancer      +23m08.7s             


FIA WRC manufacturer standings

1. Citroen Total WRT - 106                    
2. BP Ford Abu Dhabi WRT - 89       
3. Stobart VK M-Sport Ford - 60
4. Citroen Junior Rally Team - 29            
5. Munchi’s Ford WRT - 18


FIA WRC driver standing

1. M Hirvonen - 58         
2. S Loeb - 57               
3. D Sordo - 39              
4. H Solberg - 27        
5=. J-M Latvala - 25      
5=. P Solberg - 25         
7. M Wilson - 19         
 8. Federico Villagra - 14


-  Glenn Patterson -  photos Stobart
 More photos on under PHOTOS SLIDESHOWS and Photos Ecards WRC Rallyes


28.06.2009 / MaP

More News

Overall classification in Poland top 25 - unofficial results
POLAND RALLY 2009 1. 3 Mikko HIRVONEN M 3:07:27.5 0.0 0.0 2.   2 Dani SORDO M 3:08:37.8 +1:10.3 +1:10.3 3.   6 Henning SOLBERG M 3:09:33.2 +55.4 +2:05.7 4.   more >>
Mikko Hirvonen takes win in Poland
BP Ford Abu Dhabi Team driver Mikko Hirvonen has won his second consecutive WRC event by claiming victory on the brand new Rally Poland, round eight of the World Rally Championship. The momentous win, the ninth of his career, has promoted Hirvonen, 28, into the lead of the drive more >>
Latvala crashes on Super Special!
Jari-Matti Latvala has crashed out of Rally Poland on the rally closing Super Special in Jikolajki. Latvala clipped a barrel on the inside of a right-hand corner and drove into a metal barrier. His Ford Focus sustained front suspension damage and is stuck in the stage. more >>
SS17 Overall standings top30
POLAND RALLY 2009 1. 3 Mikko HIRVONEN M 3:05:37.6 0.0 0.0 2. 4 Jari Matti LATVALA M 3:05:55.4 +17.8 +17.8 3. 2 Dani SORDO M 3:06:48.5 +53.1 +1:10.9 4. 6 Henning SOLBERG M 3:07:42.2 +53.7 +2:04.6  more >>
SS16: Ogier and Kosciuszko out! - Kevin Abbring takes lead in JWRC
The repeat pass through the 27.07km Milki stage proved to be a giant killer, bringing about the retirement of two of the leading drivers on Rally Poland. Citroen Junior Team driver Sebastien Ogier was first to go, losing his fourth place when an engine problem forced more >>
J-WRC: Abbring battles on as Kosciuszko snatches the lead
  Local driver Michal Kosciuszko moved back the lead of the Junior World Rally Championship class in Poland after another tense battle in the two-wheel drive category this morning. At the wheel of his Suzuki swift, Kosciuszko edged 0.1sec ahead of overnight le more >>
SS16 Overall standings top 25
POLAND RALLY 20091. 3 Mikko HIRVONEN M 2:57:48.1 0.0 0.0 2. 4 Jari Matti LATVALA M 2:58:04.5 +16.4 +16.4 3. 2 Dani SORDO M 2:58:58.8 +54.3 +1:10.7 4.   6 Henning SOLBERG M 2:59:50.8 +52.0 +2:02.7 5.   11 Petter SOLBERG  3:00:13.8 +23.0 +2:25.7 6.  more >>
WRC Rallyes - SS15 Overall standings
POLAND RALLY 1. 3 Mikko HIRVONEN M 2:43:45.5 0.0 0.0 2. 4 Jari Matti LATVALA M 2:43:54.9 +9.4 +9.4 3. 2 Dani SORDO M 2:44:47.7 +52.8 +1:02.2 4. 12 Sebastien OGIER  2:45:37.9 +50.2 +1:52.4 more >>
WRC Rallyes - Day three stages overview
Featuring a competitive distance of just 86.86 kilometres, the final day of competition on Rally Poland is the shortest of the event and takes crews for one last sortie into the Mazurian Lake district.The lion's share of Sunday's stages are located north east of host town Mikolajki, close to the towns of Ryn (SS15/17) and Gizycko (SS14/16). The day begin more >>
Citroen et Rale de Pologne en chiffres
Sébastien Loeb / Daniel Elena Dani Sordo / Marc MartiSpéciale Général Spéciale Général ES8 : Danowo 1 (11,88 km) 1er 29e +19'53''9 4e +4''5 3e +40''8ES9 : Gawliki 1 (32,75 km) 2e +1''8 23e +19'42''6 more >>
Les C4 WRC affchent leurs performances
Rally Poland (24 - 28 juin 2009) – Jour 2 En remportant cinq des six spéciales de la deuxième journée du Rallye de Pologne, les C4 WRC du Citroën Total World Rally Team ont affché un très haut niveau de per more >>
Henning Solberg promises final day thriller
 FIA World Rally Championship Rally Poland, 25-28 June 2009 The Stobart VK M-Sport Ford team are well placed to capture a superb points haul at Rally Poland with all three drivers lying in the top eight going into the final day.  Henning Solberg en more >>
Day 2 overall standings
POLAND RALLY 2009 1. 3 Mikko HIRVONEN M 2:21:45.8 0.0 0.0 2. 4 Jari Matti LATVALA M 2:21:57.8 +12.0 +12.0 3. 2 Dani SORDO M 2:22:24.3 +26.5 +38.5 4. 12 Sebastien OGIER  2:23:45.1 +1:20.8 +1:5 more >>
SS12 Overall standings top 20
POLAND RALLY 2009  - SS121. 3 Mikko HIRVONEN M 2:06:12.7 0.0 0.0 2. 4 Jari Matti LATVALA M 2:06:23.4 +10.7 +10.7 3. 2 Dani SORDO M 2:06:45.4 +22.0 +32.7 4. 12 Sebastien OGIER  2:08:07.1 +1:21.7 +1:54.4 5. 6 Henning SOLBERG M 2:08:07.4 +0.3 +1:54.7 6. 11 Petter SOLBER more >>
Afternoon news from Polish Rally
SS12: Ford pair at full tilt photo FordRally leaders Mikko Hirvonen and Jari-Matti Latvala said they had driven through Saturday's penultimate stage at the limit - and in Latvala's case over it - in an effort to keep the hard charging more >>
Stobart shine as Solberg fights back for good in Poland
 FIA World Rally Championship Rally Poland, 25-28 June 2009 after SS10 All three Stobart VK M-Sport Ford drivers have moved into points-scoring positions after an excellent performance on the opening stages of day two at Rally Poland.&n more >>
Day 2 Midpoint driver quotes
photo Ford Malcolm Wilson, BP Ford Abu Dhabi team principal: "Our plan this morning was that on the two long stages Mikko and Jari-Matti would make sure their pace notes and everything were 100 per cent right for this afternoon. To be hon more >>
SS10 Overal results - Loeb takes the stage - Hirvonen leads
POLAND RALLY 20091. 3 Mikko HIRVONEN M 1:42:33.2 0.0 0.0 2. 4 Jari Matti LATVALA M 1:42:36.2 +3.0 +3.0 3. 2 Dani SORDO M 1:42:52.7 +16.5 +19.5 4.   12 Sebastien OGIER  1:43:54.8 +1:02.1 +1:21.6 5. 6 Henning SOLBERG M 1:44:06.5 +11.7 +1:33.3 6.   11 Petter SO more >>
Morning stages in Poland
SS8: So far so good for Ford pair Saturday's opening stage was the first opportunity for Dani Sordo, in third place, to challenge the two Ford drivers ahead of him. In the event, Sordo either decided not to risk an attack, or decided not to do i more >>


2001-2022 copyright