May 13, 2010

2010 WRC Rally New Zealand Review

Jari-Matti Latvala coming around a bend on Day 2 - May 8, 2010.
Photo by MacSpeedFoto.

The 2010 WRC Rally New Zealand was held over this past weekend, Friday through Sunday, May 7 - May 9, 2010. In its 40th anniversary year, the rally was moved 200 kms north from Hamilton, its base for the past three years, to a new home in the country's biggest city, Auckland. The winner for 2010 was Finnish rally driver Jari-Matti Latvala, of the BP Ford Abu Dhabi WRT.

Known for its fast flowing gravel roads (some asphalt) and the beautiful landscape of the country’s North Island, Rally New Zealand may be the most treacherous of all the rallies. It's one the drivers, when they and their cars survive it, really enjoy.

I've compiled the following title linked list of articles and some videos (in chronological order), as a review of New Zealand, the fifth rally of the 2010 World Rally Championship Season.

The main WRC catagory is represented here. Links to interesting rally items posted to the internet, but not having to do with this event specifically, may be found in regular Junior's 'Reading And Viewing List' blog entries.

Latvala quickest in Rally New Zealand Shakedown
Posted at on May 6, 2010

Finn Jari-Matti Latvala was the fastest driver at the pre-event shakedown for Rally New Zealand earlier today, with defending World Rally Champion Sebastien Loeb his closest rival.

The four hour test took place on a 1.5km asphalt road in the Auckland Domain - a park nestled in the centre of the city. The same section will be driven competitively on Friday as SS9. Weather conditions were dry and sunny throughout with a temperature peaking at 16 degrees Celsius...

2010 WRC: Rally NZ Shakedown - Jari-Matti Latvala Onboard

Rally New Zealand stage guides - Friday
Posted at on May 6, 2010

After Thursday evening's ceremonial start on the harbour side in Auckland, the competitive action of Rally New Zealand kicks off on Friday with a selection of classic northland stages which haven’t been used on the event for five years.

Organisers of the 40th Rally New Zealand have fully embraced new-for-2010 rules to increase competitive distances, and have employed remote service halts to enable Friday's route to stretch up to the Whangarei and Kaipara districts...

SS1: Petter takes the early lead
Posted at on May 7, 2010

Citroen C4 WRC driver Petter Solberg got his Rally New Zealand off to the best possible start by going fastest through the opening stage.

The Norwegian completed the 11.09km Waipu Gorge test 2.4sec faster than his closest rival, Citroen Junior Team driver Sebastien Ogier...

SS2: Ogier responds
Posted at on May 7, 2010

Citroen Junior Team driver Sebastien Ogier was the quickest driver through the second stage of Rally New Zealand, to narrow the gap on leader Petter Solberg to half a second.

Ogier, running fifth through Friday's stages, set a time of 8min 13.7sec through the 13km Brooks test. His closest challenger was Briton Matthew Wilson, who fired his Stobart team Ford Focus RS though the section just 1.2sec slower...

SS3: Sordo leaps into the lead
Posted at on May 7, 2010

Citroen C4 WRC driver Dani Sordo leapt from sixth place into the lead of Rally New Zealand after a crushing stage win on SS3 - the longest of the event.

The Spaniard, sixth in Friday's running order, completed the 32km Bull stage seven seconds clear of his closest rival, Ford driver Jari-Matti Latvala...

SS4: Loeb hits trouble
Posted at on May 7, 2010

Defending World Rally Champion Sebastien Loeb lost around 80 seconds on SS4 when he slid wide and side-swiped a narrow bridge with his C4 World Rally Car.

The incident happened 5.4km into the 22km Cassidy stage and left his Citroen with extensive side panel damage and a door which he had to hold shut with a Velcro strap...

Midday update: Sordo leads after Loeb runs into trouble
Posted at on May 7, 2010

The result was just as Sebastien Loeb had predicted: he wasn’t leading. The good news for the Citroen team is that his team-mate Dani Sordo is out front after the first four stages of Rally New Zealand.

The news of the Spaniard’s early success did little to cheer the championship leader’s mood. He’d had a bad morning, bouncing his C4 off a bridge in the fourth stage and dropping to eighth place...

SS5: Ogier the new leader
Posted at on May 7, 2010

A fastest time for Citroen Junior Team driver Sebastien Ogier on SS5 meant he became the third man to lead Rally New Zealand on the opening day of the competition.

Ogier completed the brand new 9km Springfield stage in 5min 36.5sec, six-tenths quicker than Sebastien Loeb who was his closest rival...

SS6: Ogier fastest again
Posted at on May 7, 2010

Sebastien Ogier notched up his third stage win of the day on SS6 to extend his lead of Rally New Zealand to 3.6sec.

Ogier was fastest on the earlier run through the 13km Brooks stage (SS2) and took the honours again on the repeat - beating his earlier time by more than 16 seconds...

SS7: Leaders shuffle again
Posted at on May 7, 2010

The lead of Rally New Zealand changed hands for the fourth time today on SS7 when Ford driver Jari-Matti Latvala moved ahead of Sebastien Ogier into first place.

Sebastien Loeb was fastest though the repeated Bull stage but remained 1min 23sec adrift of the leaders after his earlier crash. Petter Solberg was second quickest with Jari-Matti Latvala rounding off the top three stage times...

SS8: Petter into the lead
Posted at on May 7, 2010

Citroen privateer Petter Solberg emerged from the repeated Cassidy section (SS8) as leader of Rally New Zealand and the man with the dubious honour of being first in Saturday's start order.

Solberg was the fastest driver through Cassidy, to move back into the rally lead he lost on SS3...

Loeb: podium finish is still possible
Posted at on May 7, 2010

Sebastien Loeb still hasn’t given up on a podium finish on Rally New Zealand, despite completing the opening day of the world championship qualifier more than one minute off the lead.

Loeb dropped out of contention for his fourth consecutive victory of 2010 when he slid into a bridge on the fourth stage of the Auckland-based rally...

WRC Friday wrap: Solberg on top in New Zealand
Posted at on May 7, 2010

Petter Solberg will start day two of Rally New Zealand in the lead following a dramatic start to round five of the World Rally Championship on the stages north of host city Auckland.

However, Sebastien Loeb, who began the event with a 40-point lead in the drivers’ standings, is more than one minute off the pace following a major scare on the event’s fourth stage when he struck a bridge in his Citroen C4 WRC and lost vital time trying to keep his driver’s door closed...

2010 WRC: Rally New Zealand - Day 1 Highlights

Rally New Zealand stage guides - Saturday
Posted at on May 7, 2010

The second day of Rally New Zealand takes competitors south-west of Auckland to the Franklin and northern Waikato areas and to stages last used in 2008.

All the country stages are mixed surface - gravel and asphalt - and the day also includes two all-asphalt tests at the Hampton Downs motor racing circuit...

SS10: Ogier takes the rally lead
Posted at on May 8, 2010

Citroen Junior Team driver Sebastien Ogier was the big winner on Saturday's opening stage in Rally New Zealand, jumping up from third place into the lead of the event.

The Frenchman, third in today's running order, overturned the advantages of Petter Solberg and Jari-Matti Latvala who were ahead of him on Friday night...

SS11: Petter up to second
Posted at on May 8, 2010

Former World Champion Petter Solberg moved up to second place on Saturday's second stage, thanks in part to a slow time from Ford's Jari-Matti Latvala.

Solberg now lies 9.2sec adrift of rally leader Sebastien Ogier, while Latvala - who was sixth-fastest on SS11 - is just one second behind the Norwegian...

SS12: Loeb the comeback king
Posted at on May 8, 2010

Sebastien Loeb set a remarkable time though the 30km Te Akau Coast to put himself firmly back in the fight for victory on Rally New Zealand.

The Citroen star side-swiped a bridge on the rally's opening day - an incident which cost him more than 80 seconds. But on SS11, after his four consecutive stage win, Loeb lies just 1.5sec behind fifth-placed Mikko Hirvonen and 38sec off the lead...

SS13: Ogier fastest on race track Super Special
Posted at on May 8, 2010

Rally leader Sebastien Ogier set the fastest time through the last test before midday service - the 4.6km Super Special on the Hampton Downs motor racing circuit...

Midday update: Ogier leads, but it’s a Loeb masterclass
Posted at on May 8, 2010

Overnight leader Petter Solberg’s hopes that the road surface would be similar to yesterday were dashed on the first corner this morning - that’s how long it took for the Norwegian to realise he was in for a tough three stages. Two cars further back, Sebastien Ogier made his move and leapfrogged his way to the front of the field...

SS14: Loeb leaps up to third
Posted at on May 8, 2010

Sebastien Loeb recorded another crushing stage victory on the repeated New Franklin stage (SS14), completing it 10.4sec quicker than anybody else to move third in the overall standings.

The defending world champion leapfrogged Mikko Hirvonen, Dani Sordo and Petter Solberg to slot in 10.5sec behind Jari-Matti Latvala...

SS15: Loeb up to second
Posted at on May 8, 2010

Another dominant performance through the 21km Baker stage netted Sebastien Loeb another place on the overall leaderboard, with the Frenchman sliding past Jari-Matti Latvala into second.

Heading to the repeated Te Akau Coast - the stage which determines Sunday's road order - Loeb trails leader Sebastien Ogier by 19.6sec and lies 4.5sec ahead of Latvala.

SS16: Ogier takes first in Sunday's start order
Posted at on May 8, 2010

Sebastien Ogier will be the first driver through Sunday's four stages after holding the rally lead at the end of SS16 - Saturday's final gravel stage.

Ogier's position as road sweeper should prove beneficial to Sebastien Loeb who looks likely to be second on the road on Sunday...

SS17: Ogier fastest on Super Special
Posted at on May 8, 2010

Sebastien Ogier was the fastest driver through Saturday's final test - the repeated Super Special at Hampton Downs - to secure an overnight rally lead of 5.3 seconds over fellow Citroen pilot Sebastien Loeb.

The win was the second at Hampton Downs for Ogier, who was quickest on the earlier pass as SS13...

WRC Saturday wrap: Ogier leads but Loeb is close behind
Posted at on May 8, 2010

Sebastien Ogier is four stages away from a sensational debut victory on Rally New Zealand - providing he can fend off Sebastien Loeb on the final day of the world championship event.

Loeb, the six-time world champion, was 1m19.8s adrift of the lead at the start of day two following a disastrous run through Friday’s fourth stage...

2010 WRC: Rally New Zealand - Day 2 Highlights

Loeb praised for stunning recovery drive
Posted at on May 8, 2010

Sebastien Loeb’s rivals have heaped praise on the six-time world champion following his stunning performance on the second day of Rally New Zealand.

Driving a factory Citroen C4 WRC, Loeb is just 5.3 seconds behind leader Sebastien Ogier, despite the fact he started Saturday’s opening stage 1m19.8s shy of the top spot following his collision with a bridge on day one...

Rally New Zealand stage guides - Sunday
Posted at on May 8, 2010

The final day of the 2010 Rally New Zealand is unchanged from the 2008 edition and takes crews more than 150km south of Auckland to two stages near the west coast town of Raglan.

After leaving Auckland from 0600hrs, crews will tackle a loop of two stages including the classic Whaanga Coast which hugs the Tasman Sea coastline. After a remote 15-minute service in Raglan, crews will tackle the same stages again before heading back to Queens Wharf in Auckland...

SS18: Loeb takes the lead as Ogier spins
Posted at on May 9, 2010

Sebastien Loeb continued his remarkable Rally New Zealand recovery on Sunday's opening stage when he moved into the lead of the event.

After losing 80 seconds in a crash on day one, Loeb moved 4.5sec ahead of the man now in second, fellow Citroen C4 driver Sebastien Ogier...

SS19: Loeb goes off!
Posted at on May 9, 2010

Minutes after taking the lead of Rally New Zealand Sebastien Loeb slipped down to fourth after an off-road excursion on the epic Whaanga Coast stage cost him almost 50 seconds.

Loeb went off the road on a long right-hand corner and emerged from the 29km stage with his car sporting damage to its right-hand (driver's side) front corner. With no obvious mechanical damage, Loeb continued on...

Midday update: Loeb mistake sets up a thriller
Posted at on May 9, 2010

The direction of this year’s Rally New Zealand took another twist this morning when superhero Sebastien Loeb dropped his Citroen C4 WRC on the Whaanga Coast stage.

The Frenchman slipped from first to fourth leaving his countryman Sebastien Ogier out front and defending a slender lead from Ford’s Jari-Matti Latvala with two stages to go...

SS20: Ogier hangs on through penultimate stage
Posted at on May 9, 2010

Sebastien Ogier kept himself on course for his first ever WRC victory with a trouble-free run through the penultimate stage of Rally New Zealand.

Ogier will take a 6.2sec advantage into the rally's decisive stage - the repeated Whaanga Coast...

SS21: Jari-Matti Latvala wins Rally New Zealand!
Posted at on May 9, 2010

Finn Jari-Matti Latvala sealed victory on Rally New Zealand today after a thrilling last day battle that went right to the end of the final stage.

The Ford Focus RS driver began the decisive Whaanga Coast test 6.2 sec behind rally leader Ogier, but edged ahead in the final sector when Ogier spun his Citroen C4 three corners before the finish...

WRC wrap: Latvala claims dramatic Rally New Zealand victory
Posted at on May 9, 2010

Jari-Matti Latvala has described his victory on Rally New Zealand as “unbelievable” after he edged out Sebastien Ogier for first place by 2.4 seconds in what equalled the third closest finish to a world championship rally.

The Ford pilot and his co-driver Miikka Anttila started the final Whaanga Coast stage 6.2 seconds behind Ogier. But when Ogier spun and stalled his Citroen C4 three corners from the end of the last test, Latvala was able to...

2010 WRC: Rally New Zealand - Day 3 Highlights

Q&A - Malcolm Wilson
Posted at on May 9, 2010

How do you sum up Jari-Matti's performance this weekend?
"I think it's been a fantastic drive, especially considering he set no fastest times, so in that way it's been an out-of-character rally for him. But we're really starting to see the benefit of the work we did together in the closed season now. He's finished every rally this year and now he's second in the championship thanks to a great strong, solid performance."...

Ford breaks Lancia's winning record
Posted at on May 9, 2010

Jari-Matti Latvala's victory on Rally New Zealand was Ford's 75th at World Championship level and makes it the most successful manufacturer in the history of the sport - smashing Lancia's record of 74 which has stood since 1992.

Lancia amassed its 74 wins between 1974 and 1992 - with the first and last coming on the Italian firm's home round in Sanremo.

Ford's tally of 75 victories began at the 1000 Lakes Rally in Finland in 1973 - the year the World Rally Championship was founded...

Latvala’s win puts Ford’s title bid back on track
Posted at on May 10, 2010

Factory Ford ace Mikko Hirvonen says team-mate Jari-Matti Latvala’s victory on Rally New Zealand could prove a turning point in the Blue Oval’s fortunes this season.

Latvala’s triumph in New Zealand was the marque’s first since Hirvonen’s win on the season-opening Rally Sweden in February. Citroen’s defending world champion Sebastien Loeb claimed first place on the subsequent three events...

New Zealand my best win so far, says Latvala
Posted at on May 11, 2010

Jari-Matti Latvala has labelled his Rally New Zealand victory as the best of his career.

The 25-year-old Finn, who has won twice previously in the World Rally Championship, says it was the manner of his victory in Auckland which really pleased him more than anything else. After a torrid season in 2009, Latvala says his third win demonstrated how much he has changed from last year...

The rally review: New Zealand
Posted at on May 11, 2010

It’s a strange thing, but Rally New Zealand always has an unnerving habit of throwing up the unexpected.

In 2007, the antipodean event was the scene of the closest-ever finish on the World Rally Championship, when Marcus Gronholm edged out Sebastien Loeb...

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