Xevi Pons and his co-driver Alex Haro (ESP) committed to the 2010 FIA Super 2000 World Rally Championship focused on winning the world title in their Ford Fiesta on the final round of the season at Wales Rally GB, which they did.
Once the Spanish pairing had commenced their hunt for victory they never looked back. Seemingly oblivious to their competitors, they drove their own rallies, from Mexico where they dominated the field and immediately stormed to the top of the S-WRC leaderboard – a position they held throughout the season – to GB, as they calmly negotiated the treacherous Welsh roads to come home a strong second and make history as the first ever S-WRC Champions.
Meanwhile, it was Norwegian Škoda driver Andreas Mikkelsen who slashed his way through the stages to win his first ever S-WRC event in style. Having twice before competed in Wales Rally GB, but failed to finish on either occasion, he started this weekend out to prove a point. He succeeded, scooping 25 S-WRC points and one WRC point in his first world rally in a Škoda. An impressive performance on Thursday night’s opening super special marked the first of 12 stage wins for the 21 year-old. Having taken the lead, he then kept pushing and refused to submit to the formidable pressure presented by the Fiesta of Championship contender Jari Ketomaa (FIN) on Day Two. Ketomaa’s retirement on SS17, the opening stage of Day Three, increased Mikkelsen’s lead and the young Norwegian finished the event over six minutes ahead of second placed Craig Breen (IRL, Ford).
Also on his first S-WRC outing, Breen wowed the crowds when after a steady drive throughout the weekend, he suddenly broke free of Pons and Patrik Sandell (SWE, Škoda) on the last two stages of Day Three and whipped along the Welsh roads to climb from fourth to second at the last minute. Pons finished a contented and triumphant third, while Sandell fell to fourth, the culmination of a disappointing weekend for the 2006 J-WRC Champion.
Sandell began the event with a shot at his second world title. Unfortunately his hopes were dashed on Day One when he lost his power steering on SS5, the opening stage of the afternoon loop, and fell to fifth. Unable to make up lost time and plagued by further set up problems throughout the second day, the Swede did however remain focused and was delighted to secure his third podium finish in a row and take home the WRC Cup for his team, Red Bull Rallye Team.
Sandell wasn’t the only one to have a disappointing rally. After differential problems on Day One, Ketomaa clocked six stage wins on Day Two and was lying in a strong second after the end of day super special. However, a cracking season where he successfully proved his sheer speed time and again came to a disappointing end when he went off on SS17. His Fiesta unharmed, he went so far down a bank in a deserted area that he and his co-driver were simply unable to rejoin the stage without help and had to retire from the event, leaving the road clear for rival Pons to seal a comfortable Championship victory.
The final S-WRC finisher in Wales, Rally GB was young Polish driver Michal Kościuszko who finished fifth.
- Pons and Ketomaa set for S-WRC showdown in Wales
- Xevi Pons holds onto the top spot after S-WRC title fight
- Newly-crowned champion sets pace on shakedown
- Martin Prokop catch up the S-WRC leader Xevi Pons
- J-WRC Rookie champion Hunts down FSTi title in Wales
- Martin Prokop achieved second in the Rally Deutschland
- S-WRC wrap: Win for Mikkelsen but Pons takes the title