6 March 2011
Ogier to start final day top
Petter Solberg completes the top five having hauled himself back into contention after mechanical woes cost him around 7 minutes in SS6 on Friday. 'Hollywood' set four fastest stage times today, despite a problem with the handbrake and a broken gearlever on the second loop. He also picked up a penalty for starting SS17 late when his car failed to start due to a fuel pressure problem.
Petter remains positive though: “It's going really well. The speed is absolutely there and I'm very happy with our performance today. I was aiming for fifth and that's where we are now. I have no strategy for tomorrow, other than to go fast and win stages. Anything is possible.”
Of the rest, M-Sport Stobart's Mads Ostberg and Henning Solberg are sixth and seventh respectively, the latter having had a tough day due to issues with the power steering.
“For sure, today has been a nightmare – my arms ache and I am so tired. The power steering problems have made things very hard, I am strong but I am not that strong,” Henning noted. “The second stage this afternoon [SS16] was very hard to get through – it is the most technical stage of the rally with lots of hairpins and without power steering it was a big, big challenge.
“Then on the last stage, everything was going well – the split times were looking good and close to [Sebastien] Ogier but then the brake pipe went. My hands are blistered but I am still here - and I'm still smiling - so it is all OK.”
SWRC protagonists Nasser Al-Attiyah, Martin Prokop and Juho Hanninen round out the top ten, ahead of SupeRally runners Ken Block and Federico Villagra, the former forced out again this afternoon in his Monster WRT-run Fiesta RS WRC after he damaged his front suspension. Currently it looks like he should be able to rejoin the fold again on Sunday.
In terms of retirements, the second leg claimed three big scalps with Dennis Kuipers crashing out in the first test of the day, while mechanical problems sidelined both Matt Wilson and returnee Evgeny Novikov. All three will not be able to SupeRally.
“In a right-left combination the car clipped a left bend, we rolled into a ditch and we ended up on our side,” Kuipers recalled. “Until the crash the rally was going really well. I felt at ease in the car and I put in some good stage times. Although I think the exit is disappointing, the seventh position after the first day gives me confidence for Portugal.”
Wilson was similarly downbeat: “It's just not been my weekend. Everything was going so well for us on Friday – we'd worked our way up to fourth and I was really happy with the car set-up. Then we had electrical problems on Stage 7. I was gutted but the team worked throughout the night to try and get the car back on the road for today. Then on the way to the first stage the engine kept cutting out and we knew there was nothing else that could be done. It's so disappointing but I'd really like to thank all the team for their efforts to try and get us back in the rally.”
The action now concludes on Sunday with 62 competitive kilometres on the bill - and three separate stages, including the Guanajuato Power Stage. SS20, the 29.13 kilometre-run through Guanajuatito, begins at 08.28 hours local time [14.28 hours UK time]. The Power Stage (SS23) starts at 11.06 hours local time [17.06 hours UK time].
Rally Mexico: Overall standings after Stage 19 / Day 2 (Top 10):
1. Sebastien Ogier Citroen Total WRT DS3 WRC 3hours 12mins 52.6secs M
2. Sebastien Loeb Citroen Total WRT DS3 WRC +00mins 10.5secs M
3. Mikko Hirvonen Ford Abu Dhabi WRT Fiesta RS WRC +01mins 30.4secs M
4. Jari-Matti Latvala Ford Abu Dhabi WRT Fiesta RS WRC +02mins 43.8secs M
5. Petter Solberg PSWRT Citroen DS3 WRC +06mins 51.8secs M
6. Mads Ostberg M-Sport Stobart Ford Fiesta RS WRC +08mins 09.8secs M
7. Henning Solberg M-Sport Stobart Ford Fiesta RS WRC +08mins 41.6secs M
8. Nasser Al-Attiyah Ford Fiesta S2000 +10mins 53.9secs S
9. Martin Prokop Ford Fiesta S2000 +11mins 32.5secs S
10. Juho Hanninen Skoda Fabia S2000 +12mins 02.6secs S
11. Ken Block Monster WRT Ford Fiesta RS WRC +43mins 09.8secs#
12. Federico Villagra Munchis Ford WRT Fiesta RS WRC +45mins 17.7secs M
# assumes will re-start under SupeRally on day 3
SWRC standings after Stage 19 / Day 2 (Top 3):
1. Nasser Al-Attiyah Ford Fiesta S2000 3hours 23mins 46.5secs S
2. Martin Prokop Ford Fiesta S2000 +00mins 38.6secs S
3. Juho Hanninen Skoda Fabia S2000 +01mins 08.7secs S
SS1. Ken Block Monster WRT Ford Fiesta RS WRC Electrical problem*
SS2. Federico Villagra Munchis Ford WRT Fiesta RS WRC Lost a wheel M*
SS7. Matthew Wilson M-Sport Stobart Ford Fiesta RS WRC Electrical problem A1*
SS8. Ken Block Monster WRT Ford Fiesta RS WRC Electrical problem*
SS10/SS11. Matthew Wilson M-Sport Stobart Ford Fiesta RS WRC Mechanical A1
SS11. Dennis Kuipers FERM Powertools Ford Fiesta RS WRC Crashed M
SS11. Ott Tanak Ford Fiesta S2000 Crashed S
SS12/13. Evgeny Novikov M-Sport Stobart Ford Fiesta RS WRC Oil leak A1
SS16. Ken Block Monster WRT Ford Fiesta RS WRC Lost a wheel*
* denotes re-started under SupeRally.
all times unofficial
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