Hirvonen Claims first Win for Citroen

Mikko Hirvonen claimed his first World Rally Championship win for Citroen on the second Rally d'Italia. The Finn had begun the event with an epic lead battle with team-mate Sebastien Loeb - until the world champion crashed out on SS3 on Friday morning.

For a short time Ford's Petter Solberg was Hirvonen's main rival, before the Norwegian too crashed later on Friday. Solberg's exit completing a dreadful day for the factory Ford team in the week that the manufacturer announced its WRC exit.

Solberg's team-mate Jari-Matti Latvala had already retired from leg one after two accidents on the same stage and Ford reflected on more chances squandered. M-Sport's young guns Evgeny Novikov and Ott Tanak rescued Ford's rally however with mature drives to second and third, sealing a maiden podium for Tanak, and equaling Novikov's WRC career best.

Sebastien Ogier took a remarkable fifth in Volkswagen's Super 2000 Skoda. As the World Rally Cars struggled with extreme tyre wear on Friday, the S2000s flew, resulting in an outright stage win for Ogier and great times for his team-mate Andreas Mikkelsen and Ford S2000 privateer Karl Kruuda too.

Pos Driver Team/Car Time/Gap
1. Mikko Hirvonen Citroen 3h23m54.9s
2. Evgeny Novikov M-Sport Ford + 1m20.6s
3. Ott Tanak M-Sport Ford + 2m21.1s
4. Mads Ostberg Adapta Ford + 3m42.9s
5. Sebastien Ogier VW Skoda + 4m27.5s
6. Chris Atkinson Italia Mini + 5m22.2s
7. Andreas Mikkelsen VW Skoda + 6m12.5s
8. Martin Prokop Czech Ford + 9m29.3s
9. Petter Solberg Ford + 9m52.3s
10. Luca Pedersoli CRT Citroen + 20m35.6s

22nd October, 2012