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Latvala remains on top in GB.

BP Ford Abu Dhabi's Jari-Matti Latvala continues to lead the Wales Rally GB following the opening loop on Saturday morning.

Latvala, who seized P1 on Friday afternoon, began the day with a 12.9 second advantage. However running first on the road he lost out in SS9, the 30.68 km Resolfen 1 test, and his advantage was cut back to just 0.8 seconds.

Jari-Matti struck back though in SS10 and another stage win - his fourth of the event - allowed him take the margin back up to 10 seconds. In the end the Finn returned to the mid-day halt with an 8.9 second cushion over Sebastien Loeb.

"I had no chance in the conditions on the first stage because the road was very frosty," Latvala said in service D. "The road was rock hard and every time I hit the throttle the wheels were spinning, so I eased off.

"The next two tests were similar but not as bad. Before bends I steered the car towards the side of the road to brake in the gravel where there was more grip. I'm being pressured by those behind but I want to try to build a 30sec lead tonight. I really want to win here for the team."

Loeb meanwhile, who was third in SS9 and SS11 and second in SS10, agreed that the conditions are still extremely tough. He also added that he is only too aware that with the manufacturers' championship still open, he can't go for broke and push for his first WRGB win.

"It's so slippery, with frozen surfaces everywhere. You never know where the grip is, so you have to be careful," said the Frenchman post-SS10. "We have to take it easy and think of the Manufacturers' title, but it's difficult to concentrate properly if you don't push to a certain degree."

Loeb's team-mate Dani Sordo is next up in the sister works C4 WRC and the Spaniard made the most of his more favourable road position in SS9 to set the pace and leap up from sixth to second. Although he dropped back in SS10, he set another quickest time in SS11 to further consolidate third place.

"We spent a lot of time on the recce marking exactly where the ice was, which explains our time in SS9," said Dani. "I was very careful on the next test as it was extremely slippery. Also there were some rocks on the edges, so it was better to be careful. There is a thin layer of ice on the top of the track."

Further down the order, Subaru's Petter Solberg is fourth, having moved in front of Mads Ostberg in SS9. Ostberg had a difficult start to the day and lost around 20 seconds in SS9 with engine gremlins.



Related Pictures

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Jari-Matti Latvala (FIN) Miikka Anttila(FIN), Ford Focus RS WRC07, BP Ford Abu Dhabi World Rally Team
Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC, Monza, [Credit: Hyundai Motorsport]
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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
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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

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