23 October 2011
Sebastien Loeb looks on course to claim his fifth win of the season in Spain and with three stages to go he has a very comfortable lead.
Sebastien Loeb has increased his overnight cushion on Rally de Espana this morning and halfway through the final day he now heads Jari-Matti Latvala by 31.1 seconds.
Loeb went into the final leg 27.6 seconds up on his Ford rival and he began with the second best time in SS13, 0.1 seconds behind his Citroen team-mate, Sebastien Ogier. Loeb was then fourth in SS14, before setting the pace in the next test, the 4.32 km Coll de la Teixeta stage, which will act as the event closing Power Stage this afternoon.
“It was okay,” Seb told the official WRC site after SS15. “I tried to do a good stage to see how it is working. The car is okay. A few little mistakes, which we'll have to correct.”
Latvala meanwhile was fourth in SS13 and third in SS14 and SS15, seemingly unable to apply the pressure like he did so well on Saturday.
Mikko Hirvonen continues to hold third in the second Ford Abu Dhabi WRT Fiesta RS WRC and after topping the times in SS14 he said he has finally realised how to drive the car on asphalt.
Away from the top three, MINI WRT man Dani Sordo is fourth and any outside hopes he had of getting on the podium were dashed in La Mussara when he picked up a rear-left puncture, losing over 20 seconds. That has allowed Ogier to close up, and from being over a minute off P4 last night, he now trails the Spaniard by 36.8 seconds.
Further back, Britain's Kris Meeke is sixth, with Mads Ostberg, Henning Solberg, Evgeny Novikov and Matthew Wilson in positions 7 through to 10, the latter surviving a scare in Santa Marina 1.
In the support categories, Juho Hanninen has moved ahead of Nasser Al-Attiyah to claim the lead in the SWRC. Hanninen, who is also on course to win the SWRC title, is 7.1 seconds in front post-SS15. As for the PWRC, Patrik Flodin continues to lead, now 10.5 seconds up on Michal Kosciuszko.
In terms of retirements, SupeRally runner Ken Block retired in SS13 after going off the road in his Monster WRT Fiesta RS WRC. Armindo Araujo also stopped in that test in his Motorsport Italia MINI John Coopers Works WRC.
Rally de Espana now draws to a close with a repeat-run through this morning's three tests. SS16, Santa Marina 2, is due to start at 11.39 hours local time [10.39 hours UK time]. The Power Stage, SS18, gets underway at 14.11 hours local time [13.11 hours UK time].
Rally de Espana: Overall standings after Stage 15 (Top 10):
1. Sebastien Loeb Citroen Total WRT DS3 WRC 3hours 35mins 51.3secs M
2. Jari-Matti Latvala Ford Abu Dhabi WRT Fiesta RS WRC +00mins 31.1secs M
3. Mikko Hirvonen Ford Abu Dhabi WRT Fiesta RS WRC +01mins 53.5secs M
4. Dani Sordo MINI WRT John Cooper Works +03mins 02.3secs
5. Sebastien Ogier Citroen Total WRT DS3 WRC +03mins 39.1secs M
6. Kris Meeke MINI WRT John Cooper Works +04mins 42.9secs
7. Mads Ostberg M-Sport Stobart Ford Fiesta RS WRC +05mins 33.8secs M
8. Henning Solberg M-Sport Stobart Ford Fiesta RS WRC +08mins 31.3secs
9. Evgeny Novikov Citroen DS3 WRC +08mins 54.2secs M
10. Matthew Wilson M-Sport Stobart Ford Fiesta RS WRC +10mins 09.0secs M
11. Dennis Kuipers FERM Powertools Ford Fiesta RS WRC +10mins 20.7secs M
12. Juho Hanninen Skoda Fabia S2000 +12mins 14.8secs S
13. Nasser Al-Attiyah Ford Fiesta S2000 +12mins 21.9secs S
14. Khalid Al-Qassimi Team Abu Dhabi Fiesta RS WRC +12mins 59.9secs M
15. Martin Prokop Ford Fiesta S2000 +13mins 06.4secs S
18. Federico Villagra Munchi's Ford WRT Fiesta RS WRC +15mins 53.3secs M
20. Peter van Merksteijn Van Merksteijn Citroen DS3 WRC +17mins 15.8secs M
23. Patrik Flodin Subaru Impreza +21mins 18.1secs P
28. Daniel Oliviera Brazil WRT MINI John Cooper Works +35mins 42.2secs M
SWRC standings after Stage 15 (Top 3):
1. Juho Hanninen Skoda Fabia S2000 3hours 48mins 06.1secs S
2. Nasser Al-Attiyah Ford Fiesta S2000 +00mins 07.1secs S
3. Martin Prokop Ford Fiesta S2000 +00mins 51.6secs S
PWRC standings after Stage 15 (Top 3):
1. Patrik Flodin Subaru Impreza 3hours 57mins 09.4secs P
2. Michal Kosciuszko Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X +00mins 10.5secs P
3. Benito Guerra Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX +09mins 04.3secs P
SS1. Petter Solberg PSWRT Citroen DS3 WRC Broken wheel M
SS1. Ken Block Monster WRT Ford Fiesta RS WRC Broken steering M*
SS3. Kimi Raikkonen ICE1 Racing Citroen DS3 WRC Engine M
SS11. Bernardo Sousa Ford Fiesta S2000 Engine S
SS13. Armindo Araujo Motorsport Italia MINI John Cooper Works Mechanical
SS13. Ken Block Monster WRT Ford Fiesta RS WRC Stopped in stage M
* denotes re-started under SupeRally
all times unofficial
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