The treat we got though, was not what we expected. We had several big names crashing out of the rally, with the difficult conditions and tough stages causing all sorts of problems. Petter Solberg, Thierry Neuville, Dani Sordo, Martin Prokop and Evgeny Novikov all fell foul to the Spanish stages. This meant that the leaderboard for the final rally of the season was a rather surprising one...
What wasn't surprising though, was the podium spot; that went to none other than Sebastien Loeb. The 2012 champion finished strong before his semi-retirement next season. He wasn't allowed an easy victory though, because Jari-Matti Latvala was pushing hard.
The Finn was trailing Mads Ostberg by 3 points going into this final rally and knew he needed a great result to ensure he got that all-important third championship place. And although he was helped slightly by Ostberg having some problems, Latvala still put in a great drive to push Loeb to the very end; finishing just 7 seconds behind the champion. This meant he would take third in the championship, and overall this is a good result for him.
Third place went to Mr. Consistency; Mikko Hirvonen. He is set to be Citroen's number one driver next season with Loeb taking a more casual approach. It is also looking likely that he will be joined by Dani Sordo, with the Spaniard parting company with Prodrive where he has not been overly impressed with the car.
Fourth went to Mads Ostberg, who has had an exceptional season. His consistency and performance has been great considering he is a privateer, and I really hope he manages to find a works drive next season. With Ford no longer having a works team, only time will tell what the future holds for Mads, but it would be great to see him back next season.
Fifth spot went to Jarkko Nikara; the Finnish driver taking a seat in a Prodrive Mini for this rally. It was unusual to see the names that rounded off the top ten; with two S2000 cars in there. Sixth was Craig Breen in his Fiesta, seventh Chris Atkinson, eighth was PG Andersson, ninth Dani Sordo and tenth Evgeny Novikov. Just missing out on a top-10 finish was Solberg in 11th.
So there you have it, a full WRC season done and dusted. Simply Motor will be back with some more round-ups of the 2013 season, and we look forward to it starting. For now, take a look at the final championship tables below, and keep an eye out for any news in the near future.
|1.||Citroen Total World Rally Team||453|
|2.||Ford World Rally Team||309|
|3.||M-Sport Ford World Rally Team||170|
|4.||Adapta World Rally Team||83|
|5.||Citroen Junior World Rally Team||72|
|6.||Qatar World Rally Team||71|
|7.||Brazil World Rally Team||28|
|8.||MINI WRC Team||26|