18 June 2011
Ogier to the fore in Greece
Sebastien Ogier has seized the initiative in Greece and now lies 15.1 seconds up on Sebastien Loeb, while Petter Solberg has slipped to third, 7.5 seconds further back.
Citroen's Sebastien Ogier has taken the lead on the Acropolis Rally this afternoon and he now has a 15.1 second cushion at the head of the pack.
Ogier stormed through this morning's opening loop, winning all three stages to haul himself up to second and in the processing slashing Petter Solberg's overnight advantage from 51.6 seconds to just 5.4 going into the mid-day halt. On the repeat run this afternoon the Frenchman kept pushing and immediately went into the lead in SS10, before extending his lead in SS11 and SS12, where he took his fourth stage victory of the day.
Competitors now head back to service, before venturing out again for the SS13 - a night time-run through the 17.71 kilometre Nea Politia stage, which will bring the second leg to a close.
“It's okay. We tried very hard on this one,” Ogier told the official WRC site after SS12. “The time is not bad. We will have to push on the last stage as well because the gap is not enough.”
Sebastien Loeb meanwhile is now second, 15.1 seconds off P1 and 7.5 seconds up on Petter, who has slipped down to third: “I pushed to maximum this afternoon,” Loeb revealed, “we will see what happens in the next stage now...”
“It was very loose,” Solberg added. “I am pushing very, very hard. I can't push more. I don't want to lose too much to Ogier for tomorrow. I am looking forward to the night stage.”
Mikko Hirvonen is fourth, 12.8 seconds off the final place on the podium, and convinced he is still in with an outside chance of winning: “There is still a small chance to catch the boys,” he confirmed after SS12. “I do want to fight and I have to go for that.”
Further back Henning Solberg is a distance fifth, followed by his M-Sport Stobart team-mate, Matt Wilson and F1 2007 world champion, Kimi Raikkonen in sixth and seventh respectively. SWRC class leader Juho Hanninen rounds out the top eight, 3 minutes up on closest class rival, Bernardo Sousa, with Dennis Kuipers tenth ahead of Frigyes Turan and the luckless Jari-Matti Latvala.
The final test of the leg now starts at 21.33 hours local time [19.33 hours British time] – and the big question is: Will anyone go slow in order to get a better road position for the final day?
Stay tuned to find out...
Acropolis Rally: Overall standings after Stage 12 (Top 10):
1. Sebastien Ogier Citroen Total WRT DS3 WRC 3hours 07mins 16.1secs M
2. Sebastien Loeb Citroen Total WRT DS3 WRC +00mins 15.1secs M
3. Petter Solberg PSWRT Citroen DS3 WRC +00mins 22.6secs M
4. Mikko Hirvonen Ford Abu Dhabi WRT Fiesta RS WRC +00mins 35.4secs M
5. Henning Solberg M-Sport Stobart Ford Fiesta RS WRC +03mins 36.0secs
6. Matthew Wilson M-Sport Stobart Ford Fiesta RS WRC +05mins 14.8secs M
7. Kimi Raikkonen ICE1 Racing Citroen DS3 WRC +06mins 34.3secs M
8. Juho Hanninen Red Bull Skoda Fabia S2000 +08mins 33.6secs S
9. Bernardo Sousa Ford Fiesta S2000 +11mins 40.3secs S
10. Dennis Kuipers FERM Powertools Ford Fiesta RS +12mins 00.4secs M
11. Frigyes Turan Ford Fiesta S2000 +13mins 01.2secs S
12. Jari-Matti Latvala Ford Abu Dhabi WRT Fiesta RS WRC +13mins 36.7secs M
13. Hermann Gassner Jr. Skoda Fabia S2000 +14mins 36.2secs S
14. Mads Ostberg M-Sport Stobart Ford Fiesta RS WRC +16mins 27.8secs M
SWRC standings after Stage 12 (Top 3):
1. Juho Hanninen Red Bull Skoda Fabia S2000 3hours 15mins 49.9secs S
2. Bernardo Sousa Ford Fiesta S2000 +03mins 06.7secs S
3. Frigyes Turan Ford Fiesta S2000 +04mins 27.6secs S
SS2. Evgeny Novikov M-Sport Stobart Ford Fiesta RS WRC Suspension*
SS3. Peter van Merksteijn Jr Van Merksteijn Citroen DS3 WRC Off road. M
SS4. Mads Ostberg M-Sport Stobart Ford Fiesta RS WRC Off road. M*
SS5. Daniel Oliveira Brazil WRT Mini John Cooper Works Stopped in stage M*
SS6. Federico Villagra Munchis Ford WRT Fiesta RS WRC Front car damage M*
SS7. Ott Tanak Ford Fiesta S2000 Off road S
* denotes re-started under SupeRally
all times unofficial
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