From Subaru Press [ 23/09/2002 ].
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All eyes were on 555 Subaru driver Petter Solberg who put in a fantastic performance at the wheel of his Impreza to finish third and claim his first ever WRC asphalt podium position. As the only driver in the field to seriously trouble the front runners and the only non-French team pilot to claim a stage win (three in total), the promising Subaru star certainly proved himself during this event as an all-round championship contender. Peugeot’s Gilles Panizzi maintained his overnight lead and drove a faultless Leg to win the rally and make it a hat trick of victories at this Italian event. His team-mate, Marcus Gronholm, finished second, 20.9 seconds behind.
Today’s final day of competition in Sanremo began at 0600hrs this morning when 36 of the original 53 starters left parc ferme to travel east to central service park in Imperia.
Comprising just four stages, which ran twice over two twisty asphalt routes located to the north of the town, Leg 3 presented crews with a further 88.02 competitive kilometres. Despite a chilly start, weather conditions brightened throughout the day bringing blue skies, warm temperatures and dry stages.
Petter Solberg: “That was nice, everything has been perfect. We have had no mechanical problems at all and have made some good tyres choices. We’ve been making little changes throughout the rally and the car has been getting better and better. All the time I knew that we had the pace when the road was wet, but I was a bit worried about the hot and dry stages – however I must say I was very, very impressed. Overall it’s been a great event.”
David Lapworth, 555 Subaru Team Principal: ”I’m really pleased for Petter. He put in a champion- class drive and not only got a podium finish on tarmac but was also faster than anyone else on both wet and dry asphalt surfaces. We are all waiting now for the day when he’ll win his first rally. He’s done an incredible job.”
Rallye Sanremo - Final Results
1. Gilles Panizzi/Herve Panizzi Peugeot 4hr 10min 15.6sec
2. Marcus Gronholm/Timo Rautiainen Peugeot 4hr 10min 36.5sec
3. Petter Solberg/Phil Mills Subaru 4hr 11min 22.0sec
4. Richard Burns/Robert Reid Peugeot 4hr 11min 34.5sec
5. Markko Martin/Michael Park Ford 4hr 12min 10.5sec
6. Jesus Puras/Carlos Del Barrio Citroen 4hr 12min 54.9sec
7. Cedric Robert/Gerald Bedon Peugeot 4hr 13min 16.9sec
8. Colin McRae/Nicky Grist Ford 4hr 15min 33.1sec
9. Harri Rovanpera/Voitto Silander Peugeot 4hr 16min 34.5sec
10. François Delecour/Daniel Grataloup Mitsubishi 4hr 17min 40.0sec
Round 12 of the 2002 World Rally Championship, starts in two weeks time when teams travel to the other side of the world for Rally New Zealand. Comprising a total of 414.04 competitive kilometres located around Auckland, the event starts on 3rd October.