Whilst we were expecting a battle involving all of the top drivers, this is not what we got. In fact, they were dropping like flies. Petter Solberg, Jari-Matti Latvala, Thierry Neuville, even the Champion Loeb, all fell victim to the Italian stages. For Loeb this meant an early bath, as there was no reason for him to continue. The two Ford boys restarted and in particularly Latvala was desperate to get some points to leave him with a chance of getting third place in the championship.
It was Mr. Consistency, Mikko Hirvonen, who took the win. His form has been superb this season, and he has been a vital part of the Citroen team. He has now secured second place in the championship and cannot be caught.
Second place went to an unlikely candidate, in the form of Evgeny Novikov. The young Russian drove well and avoided incident, and even threw in a couple of stage wins for good measure.
It was Ott Tanak who claimed the final podium spot. This was a great result for him too.
After day two, it was Mads Ostberg who had a lot of work to do. Lying down in 7th place after trouble with his rear diff, he set a target of fourth, which to some might have seemed unlikely. However with a lot of great driving he managed it, which means he takes over the third place spot in the championship. There are now four points separating him from Jari-Matti Latvala, which means the final rally will most certainly be interesting.
Fifth place went to Sebastien Ogier, and it's not often you see a Super-2000 car this high up in the standings. He has shown us that he will be a talent to watch next year, with his team-mate Latvala in the Polo WRC's. This rally also saw the first time a S2000 car posted a stage win.
The top ten was rounded off by Chris Atkinson, Andreas Mikkelsen, Martin Prokop, Petter Solberg and finally the local driver Luca Pedersoli.
The championship tables are featured below. The next, and final rally of the 2012 season is the RACC Rally de Espana, from 8-11 November. See you then!
|1.||Citroen Total World Rally Team||413|
|2.||Ford World Rally Team||281|
|3.||M-Sport Ford World Rally Team||170|
|4.||Citroen Junior World Rally Team||72|
|5.||Adapta World Rally Team||71|
|6.||Qatar World Rally Team||71|
|7.||MINI WRC Team||26|
|8.||Brazil World Rally Team||20|