Loeb pacing himself, Sordo still second

Record-breaking multiple WRC champion Sebastien Loeb saw his advantage reduced from 40.5 seconds to 33.4 following SS11 and SS12 this morning, as he paces himself to the finish and what will be his fourth win of the 2010 WRC season.
Citroen number one driver Sebastien Loeb remains on course to win the inaugural Rally Bulgaria, but behind Dani Sordo and Petter Solberg continue to squabble over the runners-up spot.

Loeb began the final leg with a 40.5 second cushion and consequently the Frenchman could pace himself through Muhovo 1 and Slavovitsa 1, 'only' recording the fourth and third fastest times. With Sordo and Solberg both on a charge though, in a bid to claim silver, Seb saw his lead cut back to 33.4 seconds, still ample given there is only two stages to go.

Sordo had lost over 20 seconds to 'Hollywood' on Saturday afternoon, but this morning there was little to choose between them. Solberg took first blood, when he recorded his fourth stage win in a row. However he was only 0.9 seconds faster than his Spanish rival to reduce the gap from 4.7 seconds to 3.8.

Sordo then bounced back in SS12 and took his second stage win of the event, to pull back 2.7 seconds and head into service 6.5 seconds in front.

Away from the battle for second, there was no drama, with Sebastien Ogier still comfortably on course for fourth, ahead of BP Ford Abu Dhabi WRT duo Mikko Hirvonen and Jari-Matti Latvala. Latvala was the only leading runner to opt to run on the soft tyre this morning, as Ford opted to do some testing ahead of the other tarmac events. He lost some time as a result.

Stobart Ford's Per-Gunnar Andersson is next up and seventh, ahead of Peugeot 307 WRC man Frigyes Turan and then Matthew Wilson and Henning Solberg. F1 2007 world champion Kimi Raikkonen is just outside the top ten, having moved up from 14th to 11th.

In the JWRC, Thierry Neuville continues to hold the class honours, 54.4 seconds up on Hans Weijs. Todor Slavov has inherited third, after Yeray Lemes was excluded for a service violation at the end of day two.

Rally Bulgaria now concludes with a repeat run through the morning loop. SS13 is due to start around 11.52 hours, before SS14 gets underway around 12.34 hours [all times local].

Rally Bulgaria: Overall standings after Stage 12 (Top 10):

1. Sebastien Loeb Citroen Total WRT C4 WRC 2hours 37mins 50.2secs M
2. Dani Sordo Citroen Total WRT C4 WRC +00mins 33.4secs M
3. Petter Solberg PSWRT Citroen C4 WRC +00mins 39.9secs A8
4. Sebastien Ogier Citroen Junior Team C4 WRC +02mins 02.5secs M
5. Mikko Hirvonen BP Ford Abu Dhabi Focus RS WRC +03mins 06.1secs M
6. Jari-Matti Latvala BP Ford Abu Dhabi Focus RS WRC +04mins 09.4secs M
7. Per-Gunnar Andersson Stobart Ford Focus WRC +04mins 56.8secs M
8. Frigyes Turan Peugeot 307 WRC +06mins 18.6secs A8
9. Matthew Wilson Stobart Ford Focus WRC +08mins 40.3secs M
10. Henning Solberg Stobart Ford Fiesta S2000 +11mins 41.6secs N4


11. Kimi Raikkonen Citroen Junior Team C4 WRC +13mins 12.3secs M

JWRC Standings after Stage 12 (Top 3):

1. Thierry Neuville Citroen C2 S1600 2hours 51mins 22.6secs J
2. Hans Weijs Citroen C2 S1600 +00mins 54.4secs J
3. Todor Slavov Renault Clio R3 +06mins 17.0secs J

Notable retirements:

SS4. Kimi Raikkonen Citroen Junior Team C4 WRC Crashed M*
SS10 Yeray Lemes Renault C2 S1600 Excluded J
SS12 Harry Hunt Ford Fiesta R2 Mechanical J

* denotes elected/able to re-start under SupeRally.

all times unofficial

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Sebastien Loeb (FRA) Daniel Elena (MON), Citroën C4, Citroën Total World Rally Team
Sebastien Loeb (FRA) Daniel Elena (MON), Citroën C4, Citroën Total World Rally Team
Sebastien Loeb (FRA) Daniel Elena (MON), Citroën C4, Citroën Total World Rally Team

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