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Last Updated: Sunday, 22 June, 2003, 11:57 GMT 12:57 UK
Solberg claims Cyprus win
Petter Solberg
Subaru's Petter Solberg took the chequered flag at the Rally of Cyprus on Sunday after a dominant display in the three-day event.

The Norwegian driver finished ahead of Finland's Harri Rovanpera in a Peugeot and the Citroen Xsara of France's Sebastian Loeb.

Britain's Richard Burns, driving a Peugeot 206, was forced out of the race on Saturday but retained his overall World Championship lead.

Burns was far from being the only driver to suffer, as only 17 of 51 starters finished the event because of sweltering heat, poor road conditions and the dusty environment.

Only Solberg's Subaru team and Citroen managed to get all three cars to the finish.

This was a rally of attrition - it is a fantastic feeling to win here
Petter Solberg
Even Rovanpera had difficulty hanging on to second place with transmission problems slowing him down in the last three special stages. He held off Loeb's charge by just 2.8 seconds.

Loeb's British team mate Colin McRae was fourth, about 30 seconds behind, and just short of a minute in front of Carlos Sainz in the third Citroen.

Solberg's second victory - his first came at last season's Rally of Great Britain - lifted him to fourth place in the drivers' standings.

"I had a strategy for this race," said Solberg, who won five of six stages on Sunday.

"There was no point pushing too early, because the nature of the stages meant that was not possible.

"This was a rally of attrition. This morning I was prepared to push hard, but I think Harri and Peugeot had too much at stake to take risks.

"It is a fantastic feeling to win here. It was a great rally."


Rally of Cyprus results:
1. Petter Solberg (Norway), Subaru, five hours nine minutes 12.6 seconds
2. Harri Rovanpera (Finland), Peugeot, four minutes 14 seconds behind
3. Sebastien Loeb (France), Citroen, +4.16.8
4. Colin McRae (GB), Citroen, +4.45.3
5. Carlos Sainz (Spain), Citroen, +5.42.2
6. Mikko Hirvonen (Finland), Ford, +8.58.7
7. Armin Schwarz (Germany), Hyundai, +13.29.0
8. Alistair Ginley (GB), Ford, +23.57.3
9. Toshihiro Arai (Japan), Subaru, +30.01.1
10. Martin Rowe (GB), Subaru, +33.44.1

Drivers standings:
1. Richard Burns (GB), Peugeot, 37 points
2. Sainz, 36
3. Marcus Gronholm (Finland), Peugeot, 30
4. Solberg, 29
5= Loeb, 23
5= Markko Martin (Estonia), Ford, 23
5= McRae, 23
8. Rovanpera, 16
9. Tommi Makkinen (Finland), Subaru, 15
10= Francois Duval (Belgium), Ford, 9
10= Toni Gardemeister (Finland), Skoda, 9

Constructors standings:
1. Peugeot, 81 points
2. Citroen, 73
3. Subaru, 47
4. Ford, 43
5. Skoda, 20
6. Hyundai 6




WATCH AND LISTEN
BBC Five Live's Greg Strange
"Less than a third of the starters finished the rally"


Subaru's Petter Solberg
"I like these twisty technical courses"



WORLD RALLY 2003

THIS YEAR'S RALLIES


TEAMS & DRIVERS PROFILED
 


SEE ALSO
Gronholm hits the front
20 Jun 03  |  World Rally
Solberg commits to Subaru
15 May 03  |  World Rally


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