WRC »

Loeb slightly extends Finland lead.

Citroen team leader Sebastien Loeb has increased his advantage on the Neste Oil Rally Finland this morning following the opening loop of three stages, which kicked off the second leg.

Loeb was second best to his closest and only real rival Mikko Hirvonen in the first test of the day, the 15.35 kilometre-run through Himos, however the Frenchman struck back in SS13 and SS14. He thus returned to service with his overnight lead up from 14.4 seconds to 15.7.

"The first stage was difficult - and not such a good wake-up call for me," Seb conceded. "Mikko seems to be faster than me when the road is wider and yet when the stages are narrow I am quicker.

"I don't know if my position on the road is an advantage or not but so far so good. The fight this year looks like the one I had against Marcus [Gronholm] two years ago. It is a classic battle and I am really enjoying it."

Hirvonen meanwhile was disappointed with his pace in Hirvimaki and having conceded 3.7 seconds felt that he had probably been overly cautious in his Focus RS WRC07: "We were too careful in SS13 because in the middle there was a rocky part that we tried to avoid as we didn't want to pick up a puncture. The trouble is we did not go fast enough," said the BP Ford Abu Dhabi WRT #1.

"Seb and I are crazy to go so fast but there is no slowing down and this afternoon we will be faster."

Stobart Ford's Gigi Galli is third and the Italian moved in front of his team-mate, Henning Solberg in the first test. He now has an 8.4 second cushion, while Citroen's Dani Sordo is only 1.2 seconds further back in fifth in the second 'works' C4 WRC car.

"We were very happy with the opening stages this morning and it is very nice to have a big fight like this [for the final place on the podium]," said Gigi. "It is not easy to drive without making mistakes though, especially when the stages are new. I am not relaxed because I have to drive very fast."

Henning in contrast was annoyed to have lost third: "The first section was not so good this morning and I don't know why. It just feels that the car doesn't have enough grip today," added the Norwegian.

Further down the order Subaru duo Chris Atkinson and Petter Solberg are sixth and seventh in the all-new Impreza WRC2008, the latter having dropped behind his team-mate in SS13.



Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Sebastien Loeb (FRA) Daniel Elena (MON), Citroen C4, Citroen Total World Rally Team
Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC, Monza, [Credit: Hyundai Motorsport]
Podium 1st Australian - Molly Taylor (AUS) Bill Hayes (AUS) Subaru Impreza WRX Sti
Podium - Volkswagen
Podium - Andreas Mikkelsen (NOR) Anders Jaeger Synnevag (NOR) Volkswagen Polo R WRC
Lorenzo Bertelli (ITA) Simone Scattolin (ITA) Ford RS WRC
Podium, 1st Andreas Mikkelsen (NOR) Anders Jaeger Synnevag (NOR) Volkswagen Polo R WRC, 2nd Sebastien Ogier (FRA) Julien Ingrassia (FRA) Volkswagen Polo R WRC, 3rd Thierry Neuville (BEL) Nicolas Gilsoul (BEL) Hyundai i20 WRC
Podium, 1st Andreas Mikkelsen (NOR) Anders Jaeger Synnevag (NOR) Volkswagen Polo R WRC, 2nd Sebastien Ogier (FRA) Julien Ingrassia (FRA) Volkswagen Polo R WRC, 3rd Thierry Neuville (BEL) Nicolas Gilsoul (BEL) Hyundai i20 WRC
Podium - Andreas Mikkelsen (NOR) Anders Jaeger Synnevag (NOR) Volkswagen Polo R WRC
Podium - Volkswagen
Podium - Volkswagen
Podium 1st Andreas Mikkelsen (NOR) Anders Jaeger Synnevag (NOR) Volkswagen Polo R WRC, 2nd Sebastien Ogier (FRA) Julien Ingrassia (FRA) Volkswagen Polo R WRC, 3rd Thierry Neuville (BEL) Nicolas Gilsoul (BEL) Hyundai i20 WRC
Podium - Andreas Mikkelsen (NOR) Anders Jaeger Synnevag (NOR) Volkswagen Polo R WRC
Podium - Andreas Mikkelsen (NOR) Anders Jaeger Synnevag (NOR) Volkswagen Polo R WRC
Mads Ostberg (NOR) Ola Floene (NOR) Ford Fiesta RS WRC
Sebastien Ogier (FRA) Volkswagen Polo R WRC
Sebastien Ogier (FRA) Julien Ingrassia (FRA) Volkswagen Polo R WRC
Sebastien Ogier (FRA) Julien Ingrassia (FRA) Volkswagen Polo R WRC

Join the conversation - Add your comment

Please login or register before adding your comments.

Although the administrators and moderators of this website will attempt to keep all objectionable comments off these pages, it is impossible for us to review all messages. All messages express the views of the poster, and neither Crash Media Group nor Crash.Net will be held responsible for the content of any message. We do not vouch for or warrant the accuracy, completeness or usefulness of any message, and are not responsible for the contents of any message. If you find a message objectionable, please contact us and inform us of the problem or use the [report] function next to the offending post. Any message that does not conform with the policy of this service can be edited or removed with immediate effect.


Grant .

August 02, 2008 12:15 PM

Dafydd you are right Jari is a brilliant driver - and will only get better the more experience he gains. However don't forget he has a better road position than Seb and Mikko - and as conditions dry out that is getting more and more significant.



© 1999 - 2016 Crash Media Group

The total or partial reproduction of text, photographs or illustrations is not permitted in any form.