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WRC: Ford wins in Spain

2004-11-01 10:38

Their Ford Focus RS World Rally Car finished this penultimate round of the FIA World Rally Championship in the mountains north of Barcelona 23.2sec ahead.

The result confirmed that Ford will finish second in the manufacturers' series.

Marcus Grönholm (Peugeot) was fastest on the final three stages to take second overall, fending off the challenge from Spanish hero Carlos Sainz (Citroen), competing on home ground for the final time in his career.

The gap between the two was 14.5sec.

Ex-Formula 1 racer and private entrant Stephane Sarrazin (Subaru) finished a superb fourth, ahead of outgoing world champion Petter Solberg (Subaru).

Career best

Team-mates Dani Sola and Gigi Galli (Mitsubishi) were sixth and seventh, separated by just 0.2sec.

It was a career-best result for Sola, who survived a late scare when his car briefly caught fire while waiting to enter the final service park.

Mikko Hirvonen (Subaru) took the final manufacturers' points in eighth.

He edged out Toni Gardemeister (Skoda) during a tight final day battle.

Just two weeks ago in Corsica, Märtin and Park claimed their first asphalt victory on the Rallye de France in their Castrol-branded Focus RS.

This weekend they won five of the 19 sealed surface speed tests and, after taking the lead early on the second leg, controlled their pace at the top of the leaderboard to allow their rivals no opportunity to make a challenge.

The result moved Märtin to within three points of Petter Solberg in the drivers' championship and the fight for the runners-up position will go to the final rally next month.

After two consecutive asphalt events, the championship returns to gravel for the final round. Perth is the host city for the Rally Australia on November 11 - 14.

Final positions

1. M Märtin/M Park, Ford Focus RS, 3hr 40min 43.8sec
2. M Grönholm/T Rautiainen, Peugeot 307, 3hr 41min 07.0sec
3. C Sainz/M Marti E Citroen Xsara 3hr 41min 21.5sec
4. S Sarrazin/P Pivato, Subaru Impreza, 3hr 43min 34.2sec
5. P Solberg/P Mills, Subaru Impreza, 3hr 43min 50.5sec
6. D Sola/X Amigo, Mitsubishi Lancer, 3hr 44min 49.5sec
7. G Galli/G D'Amore, Mitsubishi Lancer, 3hr 44min 49.7sec
8. M Hirvonen/J Lehtinen, Subaru Impreza, 3hr 45min 15.5sec
9. T Gardemeister/P Lukander, Skoda Fabia, 3hr 45min 21.4sec
10 N Vouilloz/D Giraudet, Peugeot 206, 3hr 45min 28.8sec

FIA World Rally Championship (after round 15 of 16)

1. S Loeb 108 pts
2. P Solberg 82 pts
3. M Märtin 79 pts
4. C Sainz 73 pts
5. M Grönholm 62 pts
6. F Duval 47 pts

1. Citroen 184 pts
2. Ford 137 pts
3. Subaru 117 pts
4. Peugeot 93 pts

Inside Wheels24

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