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Loeb closes on Spanish victory

11 November 2012


Citroen number one driver Sebastien Loeb remains on course to win Rally de Espana.

Loeb finished day two with a 27 second advantage, but despite that comfortable cushion, he continued to set good times this morning, and was second quickest in the first stage and third quickest in SS14 and SS15. That allowed Ford's Jari-Matti Latvala to close in slightly, although the Frenchman still remains 24.7 seconds ahead.

Mikko Hirvonen meanwhile continues to hold third place, albeit almost a minute back in the second works Citroen DS3 WRC car.

Mads Ostberg has moved up to fourth and ahead of Ott Tanak after the Estonian went off the road in SS14 and hit a barrier. Tanak also lost more time in the following test when he spun and as a result trails Ostberg by 12.8 seconds going into service G.

Behind, Jarkko Nikara is sixth on his one-off outing with the Prodrive WRC Team MINI John Cooper Works WRC car, followed by SWRC runners, Craig Breen and P-G Andersson, split by over 2.5 minutes.

Chris Atkinson and Evgeny Novikov round out the provisional points' scorers, the latter hit with a 10 minute penalty this morning after it was discovered the tread on his tyres were below the 1.6mm limit following Saturday's final stage.

Of the rest, Martin Prokop holds eleventh with Petter Solberg twelfth and Dani Sordo 13th. The Spaniard again starred and after taking two stages wins on Saturday afternoon, he took a clean sweep this morning and was quickest in all three tests in his Prodrive WRC Team MINI John Cooper Works WRC car.

In terms of retirements, Han Weijs was looking good to take sixth on his guest outing with the Qatar WRT. However he rolled his Citroen DS3 WRC car in SS15 and was unable to continue.

As for the support categories, Breen – as mentioned – is still way ahead of P-G Andersson in the SWRC, while similarly, Benito Guerra has a good lead in the PWRC, 5 minutes 24.7 seconds up on Subhan Aksa.

The event now concludes with a repeat run through this morning's loop. SS16, the 16.35 km Riudecanyes 2 test, is due to start at 11.52 hours local time [10.52 hours UK time].



Rally de Espana: Overall standings after Stage 15 (Top 10):

1. Sebastien Loeb Citroen Total WRT DS3 WRC 3hours 45mins 18.8secs M
2. Jari-Matti Latvala Ford WRT Fiesta RS WRC +00mins 24.7secs M
3. Mikko Hirvonen Citroen Total WRT DS3 WRC +01mins 24.3secs M
4. Mads Ostberg Adapta WRT Fiesta RS WRC +01mins 44.2secs M
5. Ott Tanak M-Sport Ford WRT Fiesta RS WRC +01mins 57.0secs M
6. Jarkko Nikara Prodrive WRC Team MINI John Cooper Works WRC +14mins 58.0secs
7. Craig Breen Ford Fiesta S2000 +15mins 23.0secs S
8. P-G Andersson Proton Satria Neo S2000 +18mins 05.1secs S
9. Chris Atkinson WRC MINI Team Portugal John Cooper Works WRC +18mins 08.3secs
10. Evgeny Novikov Ford Fiesta RS WRC +25mins 09.7secs

Others

11. Martin Prokop Czech Ford National Team Fiesta RS WRC +25mins 46.8secs
12. Petter Solberg Ford WRT Fiesta RS WRC +25mins 50.6secs M
13. Dani Sordo Prodrive WRC Team MINI John Cooper Works WRC +25mins 55.7secs
14. Thierry Neuville Citroen Junior WRT Citroen DS3 WRC +26mins 07.6secs
15. Abdulaziz Alkuwari Seashore Qatar WRT MINI John Cooper Works WRC +27mins 55.5secs


SWRC standings after Stage 15 (Top 3):

1. Craig Breen Ford Fiesta S2000 4hours 00mins 41.8secs S
2. P-G Andersson Proton Satria Neo S2000 +02mins 42.1secs S
3. Yazeed Al-Rajhi Ford Fiesta S2000 +12mins 54.3secs S


PWRC standings after Stage 15 (Top 3):

1. Benito Guerra Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X 4hours 14mins 51.3secs P
2. Subhan Aksa Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X +05mins 24.7secs P
3. Valeriy Gorban Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX +05mins 28.9secs P


WRC Academy standings after Stage 12 (Top 3)#:

1. Jose Suarez Ford Fiesta R2 3hours 46mins 51.0secs A
2. Pontus Tidemand Ford Fiesta R2 +01mins 19.7secs A
3. Elfyn Evans Ford Fiesta R2 +03mins 22.3secs A

# WRC Academy event ended after SS12


Notable retirements:

SS2. Petter Solberg Ford WRT Fiesta RS WRC Hit a rock M*
SS2. Thierry Neuville Citroen Junior WRT Citroen DS3 WRC Hit a rock*
SS2. Andreas Mikkelsen VW Motorsport Skoda Fabia S2000 Hit a rock*
SS2/3. Martin Prokop Czech Ford National Team Fiesta RS WRC Crashed*
SS3. Daniel Oliveira Brazil WRT Ford Fiesta RS WRC Went off M*
SS3. Dani Sordo Prodrive WRC Team MINI John Cooper Works WRC Went off*
SS3/4. John Powell M-Sport Ford WRT Fiesta RS WRC Unwell M
SS4. Paulo Nobre WRC MINI Team Portugal John Cooper Works WRC Accident*
SS5. Evgeny Novikov Ford Fiesta RS WRC Went off*
SS5. Chris Atkinson WRC MINI Team Portugal John Cooper Works WRC Mechanical*
SS5/6. Sebastien Ogier VW Motorsport Skoda Fabia S2000 Stopped on road section

SS7/8. John Powell M-Sport Ford WRT Fiesta RS WRC Ear infection M

SS15. Han Weijs Qatar WRT Citroen DS3 WRC Rolled M

*denotes re-started under Rally 2


all times unofficial


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