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Ogier extends Rally Mexico lead
8 March 2013
Volkswagen's Sebastien Ogier has increased his advantage on Rally Mexico this afternoon.
Ogier began the second loop with a 12.9 second cushion and just like this morning he was quickest in the 21.91km El Cubilete test, SS8, to extend his lead over Mads Ostberg to 24.1 seconds.
However while he lost out again to the Norwegian in the two subsequent slower tests, SS9 and SS10, the Frenchman remained on top and in the long 30.57km El Chocolate 2 stage, was again in a class of his own. Indeed he was 10.4 seconds up on Mikko Hirvonen, who was 'best of the rest', while Ostberg was only third, 0.8 seconds further back.
Ogier thus finishes the final 'proper' test of the day with a 29.4 second margin and now just two short Super Specials stand between him and the overnight halt.
Hirvonen meanwhile is third and set for the final podium placing for Citroen, albeit 37.3 seconds off the lead and 7.9 seconds off Ostberg: “It is okay, but Ogier is going really fast. It is difficult to match him,” the Finn conceded.
Behind, Thierry Neuville closed right up on Hirvonen in SS8 and was just 0.4 seconds back. However he was unable to maintain the pressure, and lost significant ground in SS11 when he made an error and hit a pole. He now lies 24.4 seconds adrift.
Dani Sordo rounds out the top five after a rather mediocre day in his DS3 WRC. The Spaniard was not at all happy and complained the car was 'moving around' too much.
Further back, Nasser Al-Attiyah is sixth, with Ken Block, Benito Guerra and Martin Prokop in positions 7 through to 9. Chris Atkinson completes the points' scorers, having got up into the top-ten in SS11, something that drops Michal Kosciuszko back a spot.
In WRC2, Abdulaziz Al-Kuwari continues to dominate in his Ford Fiesta RRC and he is now over 2 minutes up on Nicolas Fuchs. Armin Kremer has dropped to third in class.
As for retirements, thus far, the only major casualty is Jari-Matti Latvala - the Finn going out this morning after hitting a rock near the start of SS3. He will re-start on Saturday under the Rally 2 regulations.
Friday's action now concludes with two runs through the 2.21 km Super Special. The event then continues on Saturday, with another seven stages on the bill.Rally Mexico: Overall standings after Stage 11 (Top 10):
1. Sebastien Ogier
Volkswagen Motorsport Polo R WRC 1hour 54mins 33.7secs
2. Mads Ostberg
Qatar M-Sport WRT Ford Fiesta RS WRC +29.4s
3. Mikko Hirvonen
Citroen Total Abu Dhabi WRT DS3 WRC +37.3s
4. Thierry Neuville
Qatar WRT Ford Fiesta RS WRC +1m 01.7s
5. Dani Sordo
Citroen Total Abu Dhabi WRT DS3 WRC +2m 35.0s
6. Nasser Al-Attiyah
Qatar WRT Ford Fiesta RS WRC +3m 15.6s
7. Ken Block
Hoonigan Racing Division Ford Fiesta RS WRC +4m 38.2s
8. Benito Guerra
Citroen DS3 WRC +5m 56.6s
9. Martin Prokop
Jipocar Czech National Team Ford Fiesta RS WRC +6m 18.0s
10. Chris Atkinson
Citroen Total Abu Dhabi WRT DS3 WRC +7m 06.5s
11. Michal Kosciousko
Lotos Team WRC MINI John Cooper Works WRC +8m 32.5s
12. Abdulaziz Al-Kuwari
Ford Fiesta RRC +12m 11.9s
13. Evgeny Novikov
Qatar M-Sport WRT Ford Fiesta RS WRC +12m 45.3s
14. Nicolas Fuchs
Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX +14m 33.7s
15. Armin Kremer
Subaru Impreza STi +16m 03.7s
WRC2WRC2 standings after Stage 11 (Top 3):
1. Abdulaziz Al-Kuwari
Ford Fiesta RRC 2h 06m 45.6s
2. Nicolas Fuchs
Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX +2m 21.8s
3. Armin Kremer
Subaru Impreza STi +3m 51.8s
SS3. Jari-Matti Latvala
Volkswagen Motorsport Polo R WRC Hit a rock
SS9. Yuriy Protasov
Subaru Impreza WRX STi Unknown
*denotes expected to re-start under Rally 2all times unofficial