Monte Day 3: Solberg and Sordo Battle Behind Loeb

Posted on 20. Jan, 2012 by in Event Coverage, Monte Carlo Rally, World Rally Championship, WRC 2012

Photo: Citroen Racing Media

For the third day of the 2012 Monte Carlo rally, Sebastien Loeb concentrated on managing his lead, rather than taking big risks. His reward was the rally lead at the end of day three. “We knew that the weather might be difficult today,” said Loeb. “That's why I kept pushing yesterday to try and open a bit of a gap at the front.” Behind the Citroen driver, Daniel Sordo and Petter Solberg started the day just a few seconds apart, but things wouldn't finish that way. Both Solberg and Sordo gambled on tire choice, and in the opening stage, it seemed Sordo had lost, dropping time to Solberg on the mostly dry and ice-free stage. The tables turned a stage later, when extensive ice and snow covered the road. Solberg dropped well over a minute, and would need to focus on staying ahead of fourth place Mikko Hirvonen, rather than trying to catch Sordo for second. Solberg referred to his drive today as a wild ride, and appeared happy simply to have stayed on the road. Hirvonen found his pace and won a stage midday, edging closer to a podium position. “It’s good to confirm my progress with a fastest time,” acknowledged Mikko. “I felt good in the car with the four studded tyres fitted. The handling was consistent and I was able to push the way I wanted. We have closed the gap to Petter, but I’m not going to take too many risks to catch him.” Behind, Evgeny Novikov settled into fifth, while Francois Delacour ended the day in sixth. On the final stage of the day, it looked as if Solberg would recover some of his lost ground, but a flat tire destroyed any hope of catching Sordo by day's end, and the Ford driver finished in third, about 30 seconds ahead of Hirvonen, heading into day four.    

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