Petter Solberg and Kimi Räikkönen finish in the points

Solberg tried to improve the car by changing the setup

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By Olivier Ferret

30 July 2011 - 22:49
Petter Solberg and Kimi Räikkönen (...)

Petter Solberg and Chris Patterson finished in fifth place in Rally Finland, the eighth round of the FIA World Rally Championship. This result has helped them to consolidate their fifth place in the Drivers’ and Co-Drivers’ ratings. Kimi Räikkönen and Kaj Lindström confirmed their recent improvement in form with a ninth-place finish on home turf after a very promising drive.

Petter Solberg and Chris Patterson were soon among the quickest and took fifth place in the overall classification in the short first leg on Thursday afternoon. The Petter Solberg World Rally Team crew got past Jari Ketomaa and went into fourth behind Loeb, Ogier and Latvala during the long day’s stages in Jyväskylä and Lahti. The Norwegian was always on the lookout to find ways and means of improving his performance till the finish, and he saw the flag in fifth place overall.

“I pushed throughout the whole rally,” said Solberg at the finish. “We tried to improve the car by changing the setup during the weekend, but we were not able to match the pace of the leaders. The result’s rather frustrating. Now, we’re going to concentrate on the next event in Germany on tarmac.”

Kimi Räikkönen and Kaj Lindström, who already showed a promising turn of speed in the previous rally in Greece, confirmed their progress in Finland. The ICE1 Racing driver started his third Rally Finland at a searing pace only a second per kilometre off the reference time, and finished the first leg in thirteenth place. He lost precious time due to a minor error on Friday morning. On the way back to Jyväskylä he got back into the rhythm and moved up to twelfth. Iceman’s confidence was now at full boost, and he upped the pace even further in the home stretch by overtaking his nearest rivals and finished in ninth place.

“These roads are as quick and as difficult as ever,” underlined the Finnish driver. "But we still managed to set good times. I’d like to thank the many spectators who cheered us on during the weekend. We were able to maintain a good pace throughout the whole rally despite a few minor mistakes. It’s encouraging for the rest of the season.”

With both Citroën DS3 WRCs at the finish, Benoit Nogier, the Citroën Racing Technologies team manager, was pretty satisfied with the team’s overall performance in Rally Finland: “Kimi’s made a lot of progress since last season. He’s showing promising steadiness and he’s on the right track. Above all, he’s now getting used to finishing the rallies in the points. It’s both satisfying and very encouraging. Petter Solberg’s rally is more disappointing as he lacked speed. We’ll have to analyze what happened to find out why we were slower than the front-runners. He’ll have the right equipment to shine on tarmac in Germany.”

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