18 June 2011
Loeb top at close of day two
Sebastien Loeb will lead into the final day and will again have to play the 'road sweeper', leaving team-mate, Sebastien Ogier well poised to grab the victory – just 2.2 seconds back; Petter Solberg is third, 18.7 seconds further adrift.
Sebastien Loeb has finished day two of the Acropolis Rally in the lead, with Sebastien Ogier dropping back to second overall in the final test.
Petter Solberg had began the day on top, with a 51.6 second advantage. However running first on the road and having to sweep away the loose gravel, he was unable to hold off the factory Citroen's of Ogier and Loeb and he slipped back to third this afternoon on the repeat loop.
Heading into SS13, Ogier had built up a 15.1 second advantage, but he was 17.3 seconds slower than Loeb through the 17.71 kilometre Nea Politia test, which was run in the dark, and conveniently now slips 2.2 seconds back.
At the finish though he insisted he wasn't playing tactics: “I don't know what position I have,” Ogier maintained. “It was very difficult in the stage. We did not reduce speed. It was difficult to drive.”
Loeb will thus revert to road sweeper for the final leg and he was the fastest of the victory contenders in SS13, beaten only by Jari-Matti Latvala, who is outside the top ten after losing over 10 minutes this morning with a turbo problem.
“I was pushing hard,” Loeb said. “It was very slippery. Also there was a lot of dust at the beginning of the stage from Petter. But later on it was okay.”
Solberg meanwhile now lies just over 20 seconds off the lead. He was disappointed with his time in Nea Politia: “There were many people in the stage. Chris [Patterson – my co-driver] lost the pace notes and we lost some time. It is what it is,” said 'Hollywood'.
Mikko Hirvonen is the last of the runners in contention for the win and he ends the day just 1.5 seconds off P3: “It wasn't bad, but in some places you couldn't see anything,” said the Ford Abu Dhabi WRT man. “We are in good position for tomorrow. Game on!"
Further back Henning Solberg lies a distant fifth, ahead of his M-Sport Stobart Ford team-mate, Matt Wilson and then F1 2007 world champion Kimi Raikkonen. SWRC front runner Juho Hanninen rounds out the top eight – four minutes up on his closest class rival Bernardo Sousa, who drops back to tenth overall, behind Dennis Kuipers' FERM Powertools Ford Fiesta RS WRC.
The action now concludes on Sunday with 65.58 competitive kilometres on the bill - and five separate stages.
SS14, the 19.42 km-run through Aghii Theodori 1, begins at 09.03 hours local time [07.03 hours UK time].
Acropolis Rally: Overall standings after Stage 13 (Top 10):
1. Sebastien Loeb Citroen Total WRT DS3 WRC 3hours 20mins 27.6secs M
2. Sebastien Ogier Citroen Total WRT DS3 WRC +00mins 02.2secs M
3. Petter Solberg PSWRT Citroen DS3 WRC +00mins 20.9secs M
4. Mikko Hirvonen Ford Abu Dhabi WRT Fiesta RS WRC +00mins 22.4secs M
5. Henning Solberg M-Sport Stobart Ford Fiesta RS WRC +03mins 58.9secs
6. Matthew Wilson M-Sport Stobart Ford Fiesta RS WRC +05mins 30.2secs M
7. Kimi Raikkonen ICE1 Racing Citroen DS3 WRC +06mins 55.4secs M
8. Juho Hanninen Red Bull Skoda Fabia S2000 +08mins 55.0secs S
9. Dennis Kuipers FERM Powertools Ford Fiesta RS +12mins 25.7secs M
10. Bernardo Sousa Ford Fiesta S2000 +12mins 55.3secs S
11. Jari-Matti Latvala Ford Abu Dhabi WRT Fiesta RS WRC +13mins 16.3secs M
12. Frigyes Turan Ford Fiesta S2000 +13mins 54.5secs S
13. Hermann Gassner Jr. Skoda Fabia S2000 +15mins 16.9secs S
14. Mads Ostberg M-Sport Stobart Ford Fiesta RS WRC +16mins 35.7secs M
SWRC standings after Stage 13 (Top 3):
1. Juho Hanninen Red Bull Skoda Fabia S2000 3hours 29mins 22.6secs S
2. Bernardo Sousa Ford Fiesta S2000 +04mins 00.3secs S
3. Frigyes Turan Ford Fiesta S2000 +04mins 59.5secs 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
SS12. Evgeny Novikov M-Sport Stobart Ford Fiesta RS WRC Alternator belt
* denotes re-started under SupeRally
all times unofficial
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