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Rally Poland:
driver report: part 2

The final part of our post-Rally Poland driver round-up:

Jari-Matti Latvala (VW Polo R)
His championship challenge continues to fade after he was unable to stay out of trouble in Poland. Started unusually slowly after complaining about a lack of confidence and his progress wasn’t helped when he broke his car’s front suspension on an SS14 rock. Improved in the closing stages and clawed his way back up to fifth place – 0.7s shy of fourth – but not the result he was looking for.

Mads Ostberg (Citroen DS3)
Quietly went about his business and his measured approach placed him third going into Saturday afternoon. Was only 9.8s behind Mikkelsen’s second place when he hit the infamous SS14 rock, took a front wheel off his Citroen and rolled. The incident didn’t look too serious but a damaged roll cage ended his Rally 2 chances and he climbed aboard a flight bound for Norway early.

Mikko Hirvonen (Ford Fiesta RS)
The M-Sport driver finished fourth in Poland. But it was a result he had to earn. The pace notes he made on the recce were too slow when they were employed on the gravel stages and that meant he and Jarmo Lehtinen had to spend every waking hour amending them. Benefited from other’s misfortune to get to fourth and described his recce issues as a “wake up call”.

Juho Hanninen (Hyundai i20)
A fastest time on SS2 was the perfect start for the capable Finn and he ran as high as fourth at one stage. But his progress began to falter when the steering wheel on his i20 WRC was knocked out of alignment and that distraction meant he struggled to point the car where he needed to. That dropped him down the order and he eventually finished sixth after 22 competitive stages.

Andreas Mikkelsen (VW Polo R)
On Rally Poland evidence, the Norwegian is the driver most capable of beating championship leader, Ogier, right now. Took the fight to his team-mate early – and benefited from a cheeky short cut on SS2 to claim a few extra seconds. He led on four occasions, but an overshoot and a loss of the brakes on his VW brought his challenge to an end. Settled for a respectable second place.

Hayden Paddon (Hyundai i20)
The Kiwi was relishing the level playing field that the unknown stages in Poland brought and finishing eighth marked another step forward in his fledgling career. Felt he lost time when the stages were rutted and needed to work on his pace notes during the rally, but his job at the moment is to learn and get experience. He did both in Poland and will head to Finland with extra confidence.

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