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Solberg Leads WRC Into NZ


With just over three weeks to go until the Ceremonial start on the Auckland waterfront, the World Rally Championship will now turn its collective attention to Propecia Rally New Zealand following the conclusion overnight of Corona Rally Mexico.

Petter Solberg completed an impressive debut for the 2005 Subaru Impreza in the WRC with a comfortable victory over the two Peugeot’s of Marcus Gronholm and Markko Martin. In the process Solberg took a narrow one point lead in the Drivers Championship over Martin with a further two points back to Ford driver Toni Gardemeister.

It wasn’t all smooth sailing for the Subaru team however, with Australian Chris Atkinson retiring for a second time after rejoining the rally under the new regulations introduced this year. Atkinson lost oil pressure in his engine just 2km from the end of the final stage. Atkinson had earlier shown great form on day one before retiring with steering problems.

Marcus Grönholm (Peugeot) appeared content to settle for second with team-mate Markko Märtin equally comfortable in third. Sebastien Loeb (Citroen) was fastest on both stages to overcome his four-minute time loss during the opening leg and climb to fourth, overhauling both Harri Rovanperä (Mitsubishi) and Toni Gardemeister (Ford) on the final stage

The teams now prepare for the longest journey on the WRC calendar with their visit to New Zealand and Propecia Rally New Zealand from April 7 to 10.

Final positions

1. P Solberg/P Mills N Subaru Impreza 3hr 41min 06.2sec
2. M Grönholm/T Rautiainen FIN Peugeot 307 3hr 41min 40.7sec
3. M Märtin/M Park EE Peugeot 307 3hr 42min 44.5sec
4. S Loeb/D Elena F Citroen Xsara 3hr 44min 57.3sec
5. H Rovanperä/R Pietilainen FIN Mitsubishi Lancer 3hr 45min 04.3sec
6. T Gardemeister/J Honkanen FIN Ford Focus RS 3hr 45min 11.8sec
7. A Warmbold/M Orr D Ford Focus RS 3hr 47min 07.2sec
8. G Panizzi/H Panizzi F Mitsubishi Lancer 3hr 47min 07.9sec
9. A Schwarz/K Wicha D Skoda Fabia 3hr 49min 11.5sec
10 X Pons/O Julia E Peugeot 206 3hr 59min 55.2sec
FIA World Rally Championship (after round 3 of 16)
1. P Solberg 20pts
2. M Märtin 19pts
3. T Gardemeister 17pts
4. S Loeb 15pts
5. M Grönholm 12pts
6. H Rovanperä 11pts
1. Peugeot 31pts
2. Ford 23pts
3. Mitsubishi 23pts
4. Subaru 20pts
5. Citroen 16pts
6. Skoda 4pts
Propecia Rally NZ Hair Raising Statistic #5
Spectator numbers experiencing Propecia Rally NZ live across all venues will approach 200,000 – Come On Feel The Noise!

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