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WRC Portugal 2013: Ogier extends lead

13 April 2013

Volkswagen's Sebastien Ogier has increased his advantage on Rally de Portugal this morning.

Ogier began the second day just 4.4 seconds ahead of Citroen's Dani Sordo, however, his Spanish rival soon put himself out of the game, when he went off the road in the opening test. That left Ogier 10.3 seconds up on his VW team-mate, Jari-Matti Latvala, and while he was fractionally slower than the Finn in SS6 and SS7, he ended the loop with the quickest time in SS8, 4 seconds faster than the sister car.

The Frenchman now heads back to service with a 14.1 second lead, and is seemingly well placed, even though he still isn't 100 per cent, after a bout of 'flu last week, which forced him to skip the Fafe Rally Sprint.

“It's been a good morning,” said Ogier. “It's been quite tough, however. Every stage after 10k I really have to fight. I feel like I'm driving with a problem, but it's not the car, it's my energy.”

Latvala meanwhile was also happy, and he now lies 23.1 seconds up on Mikko Hirvonen in third: “I am just [concentrating on] keeping Mikko behind,” said Latvala. “I am not thinking about Ogier – it would be nice but this is not the right time.”

Further back, Evgeny Novikov heads the Qatar M-Sport charge in fourth, albeit over 2 minutes off the final podium place.

“I'm pushing to the maximum and really happy with the driving, but for some reason the times aren't where they need to be,” said the Russian. “I'm not sure what the problem is but we need to do more somehow. Although we are in a good position, my pace is not what it should be so we need to change that.”

Nasser Al-Attiyah rounds out the top five, with fellow Fiesta RS WRC runner, Martin Prokop in sixth. Prokop remains in front of Michal Kosciuszko and Andreas Mikkelsen in seventh and eighth, although only 11.9 seconds separates the trio.

Dennis Kuipers and Esapekka Lappi complete the provisional top ten, the latter also set for the WRC2 victory: "Everything is okay, perfect. I am just driving safely and trying to finish. Maybe right now I'm driving at 70 per cent speed,” Lappi noted.

In terms of retirements, in addition to Sordo, SS6 also claimed the scalp of Thierry Neuville. Neuville had been fifth overnight, but hit a rock in Santana da Serra 1 and damaged his suspension. It is not yet known if they will re-start under the Rally 2 regulations, as Mads Ostberg and the likes of Robert Kubica did this morning.

Saturday's action now concludes with a repeat-run through this morning's three stages. SS9 is due to start at 15.09 hours local time.

Rally de Portugal: Overall standings after Stage 8 (Top 10):

1. Sebastien Ogier Volkswagen Motorsport Polo R WRC 1hour 43mins 25.8secs M
2. Jari-Matti Latvala Volkswagen Motorsport Polo R WRC +14.1s M
3. Mikko Hirvonen Citroen Total Abu Dhabi WRT DS3 WRC +37.2s M
4. Evgeny Novikov Qatar M-Sport WRT Ford Fiesta RS WRC +2m 51.6s M
5. Nasser Al-Attiyah Qatar WRT Ford Fiesta RS WRC +4m 36.7s
6. Martin Prokop Jipocar Czech National Team Ford Fiesta RS WRC +5m 24.9s T
7. Michal Kosciuszko Lotos Team WRC MINI John Cooper Works WRC +5m 33.7s T
8. Andreas Mikkelsen Volkswagen Motorsport II Polo R WRC +5m 36.8s T
9. Dennis Kuipers Qatar WRT Ford Fiesta RS WRC +5m 44.5s
10. Esapekka Lappi Skoda Motorsport Fabia S2000 +6m 58.1s WRC2


11. Khalid Al-Qassimi Citroen Total Abu Dhabi WRT DS3 WRC +7m 28.5s T
12. Robert Barrable Ford Fiesta S2000 +10m 02.4s WRC2
13. Edoardo Bresolin Ford Fiesta RRC +10m 37.4s WRC2
14. Sepp Wiegand Skoda Auto Deutschland Fabia S2000 +10m 50.6s WRC2
15. Ricardo Moura Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX +11m 24.2s

WRC2 standings after Stage 8 (Top 3):

1. Esapekka Lappi Skoda Motorsport Fabia S2000 1hr 50m 23.9s WRC2
2. Robert Barrable Ford Fiesta S2000 +3m 04.3s WRC2
3. Edoardo Bresolin Ford Fiesta RRC +3m 39.3s WRC2

WRC3 standings after Stage 8 (Top 3):

1. Bryan Bouffier Citroen DS3 R3T 1hr 56m 47.9s WRC3
2. Sebastien Chardonnet Citroen DS3 R3T +6m 57.6s WRC3
3. Francesco Parli Citroen DS3 R3T +8m 52.8s WRC3

JWRC standings after Stage 8 (Top 3):

1. Pontus Tidemand Ford Fiesta R2 1hr 59m 13.9s JWRC
2. Jose Antonio Suarez Ford Fiesta R2 +49.9s JWRC
3. Yeray Lemes Ford Fiesta R2 +3m 15.6s JWRC

Notable retirements:

SS3. Mads Ostberg Qatar M-Sport WRT Ford Fiesta RS WRC Rolled M*
SS4/SS5. Robert Kubica Citroen DS3 RRC Mechanical WRC2*

SS6. Dani Sordo Citroen Total Abu Dhabi WRT DS3 WRC Went off the road M
SS6. Thierry Neuville Qatar WRT Ford Fiesta RS WRC Suspension damage T

*denotes re-started under the Rally 2 regulations

all times unofficial