30 May 08
In a dramatic twist on Friday’s final stage, BP-Ford team drivers Mikko Hirvonen and Jari-Matti Latvala both dropped out of the top five after completing the Superspecial with broken suspension.
Both drivers collected the damage after hitting the same rock at the end of the previous stage - SS6. And although the full extent of the damage wasn’t clear as the crews left the Psatha test, both cars experienced problems on the 57km road section to the Superspecial.
Latvala’s Focus RS WRC was the worst affected, with its right-hand rear wheel running badly out of alignment. The Finn, who was second after SS6, dropped 70 seconds on the 4.6km stage and fell to sixth overall.
Hirvonen’s car carried a similar injury - but to its right-hand front wheel. He lost 50 seconds on the stage and dropped from fourth to seventh.
Chris Atkinson of the Subaru team picked up right-hand front corner damage in similar circumstances on SS16 - most likely on the same rock. He dropped around 18 seconds to the leaders on the Superspecial but managed to hold on to eighth.
The Ford duo's misfortune was a boost for four other drivers in the top ten who found themselves moving up the table.
Citroen privateer Urmo Aava moved up to fifth, Henning Solberg to fourth, Petter Solberg to third while Dani Sordo regained the second place he gifted to Latvala earlier on.