2009 Production Car World Rally Championship – Round 5
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Red Bull Rally Team – 1.5 seconds short of the win! Close, but no cigar – Patrik Sandell loses a last-second thriller on the final stage!
Cruel luck! The Red Bull Rally Team missed its third win of the season in the Production Car World Rally Championship by 1.5 second!
Patrik Sandell/Emil Axelsson (SWE) – Skoda Fabia S2000 – had a great performance in the ‘Rally d’Italia Sardegna’, leading for ten special stages while also setting five fastest stage times – and still it was not enough for the win! What an incredibly exciting final day with an enthraling duel!
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Al-Atthiyah upped the ante this morning, 14.9 seconds faster than Sandell, whose lead was down to just 8.6 seconds. But the Red Bull driver fought right back, re-extending his advantage to 16.2 seconds with two fastest times.
But Al-Atthiyah did not give up: a great performance on SS 16 – the lead down to just four seconds. The final special stage would have to decide!
And there Nasser Al-Atthiyah got the better end, beating Sandell by 5.5 seconds, thus winning with the minimal advantage of 1.5 seconds! Third place went to Armindo Araujo from Portugal.
Patrik Sandell: ‘I still can hardly believe it. We really risked everything on the final stage, but Nasser must have put in a superhuman effort. For me there’s no other explanation for this time. Of course I’m disappointed right now – but on the other hand we scored eight important points for the championship. And there’s still everything to play for.’
The interim PWRC standings are no less exciting: Al-Atthyiah is leading with 31 points ahead of Araujo with 29 after five rounds. Patrik Sandell follows in P3 with 28 points!
Team boss Raimund Baumschlager: ‘Of course this missed win is a bitter pill. But apart from this I’m completely satisfied with the way everything worked out. Patrik has been driving a faultless rally, the car had no technical difficulties whatsoever – and a runner-up spot in a PWRC event really isn’t something you have to feel sad about. This rally has shown how strong the PWRC field is.’
PWRC classification, Sardinia, final standings after 17 special stages:
P1 Al-Atthiyah/Bernacchini (QAT/ITA) Subaru Impreza – 4:20:39.4 hrs
P2 Sandell/Axelsson (SWE) Skoda Fabia S2000 + 1.4 secs
P3 Araujo/Miguel (POR) Mitsubishi EVO IX + 3:44.1 mins
Daily log of Sandell/Axelsson: PWRC/overall
SS 13: Monte Olia 1 / 19.31 km – P 05/16
SS 14: Sorillis 1 / 18.66 km – P 01/12
SS 15: Arzachena / 10.24 km – P 01/11
SS 16: Monte Olia 2 / 19.31 km – P 02/12
SS 17: Sorillis 2 / 18.66 km – P 02/11
– Red Bull