New Zealand 1-2 for Citroen

Sebastien Loeb's inexorable march to a record ninth world title came another step nearer in New Zealand when the Frenchman extended his World Rally Championship lead to 38 points, taking his fifth win from seven 2012 rallies and leading team-mate Mikko Hirvonen to Citroen's third successive one-two finish.
Apart from Jari-Matti Latvala's Ford briefly leading after SS1, Citroen was ahead all the way this weekend.
Its decision to run early in the start order on Friday in the expectation of rain proved correct and as Latvala dropped back, Hirvonen and Loeb began an intra-team battle for victory.
Loeb edged ahead during leg one, then resisted a concerted challenge from Hirvonen on Saturday, after which Citroen asked them to hold position through the forecast tricky conditions of Sunday. The team mates duly obeyed their team manager's instruction and thus delivered another dominant result with Petter Solberg rescuing a little credibility for Ford with the final step of the podium.
Prodrive made a welcome return to the fray with a single Mini for Dani Sordo but a wrong tyre choice and gear selection problems on Friday morning dropped Sordo out of podium contention and he had to settle for sixth. Team Portugal's Armindo Araujo made it two Minis in the points in eighth.
IRDC member Ken Block enjoyed a good run to ninth in the Monster Ford, while Manfred Stohl completed the scorers on a one-off return to the WRC in the Brazil-branded Ford that he usually fields for Daniel Oliveira.

Driver Car Time/Gap
1 Sebastien Loeb Citroen 4h04m51.2s
2 Mikko Hirvonen Citroen +29.6s
3 Petter Solberg Ford +1m36.4s
4 Evgeny Novikov M-Sport Ford +2m13.6s
5 Thierry Neuville Quatar Citroen +2m42.4s
6 Dani Sordo Prodrive Mini +3m03.1s
7 Jari-Matti Latvala Ford +4m52.9s
8 Armindo Araujo Portugal Mini +9m36.4s
9 Ken Block Monster Ford +10m30.3s
10 Manfred Stohl Brazil Ford +11m26.3s

25th June, 2012