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Loeb leads in GB, Hirvonen goes off

Sebastien Loeb leads in Wales by 17.7 seconds following SS7; Jari-Matti Latvala is second and Mads Ostberg third; Mikko Hirvonen has dropped way down the order after going off the road in Dyfnant 1...
Sebastien Loeb has re-taken the lead on Wales Rally GB and with Mikko Hirvonen losing nearly four minutes in SS7, the Frenchman now looks well placed to take his eighth WRC title.

Hirvonen had moved in front of Loeb this morning, having set the pace in SS5 and SS6. However in the 21.34 km-run through Dyfnant he went off the road, damaging a rear wheel and his radiator. Subsequently he had to stop after the first split when his Fiesta RS WRC began to overheat. Although he eventually got to the end of the test, it is currently uncertain if he will be able to get back to service.

Hirvonen's misfortune, puts Loeb back top, after he slipped 0.4 seconds behind in Dyfi East 1. The Citroen man now returns to Builth Wells for the 30-minute mid-day service with a 17.7 second lead.

“I found it very tricky [in that last test] because it is foggy at the top, so really difficult,” Loeb said. “I also had a few moments in stage so finally we are here - I am quite happy. Now we have to see what happens with Mikko.”

Hirvonen's team-mate Jari-Matti Latvala meanwhile now moves up to second, having been third quickest this morning in SS4, SS5 and SS6. He ended the loop with the second best time in SS7.

Mads Ostberg is next up for the M-Sport Stobart Ford team, albeit 42 seconds adrift of Latvala: “I guess a lot of things are happening,” said the Norwegian. “It [SS7] was a very hard stage. We had one big moment and we try to push like all the others. Coming into some of the corners there is just no grip.

“Horrible conditions with the fog but I actually enjoyed that stage. It is nice to make the heart beat sometimes!”

Further back, Petter Solberg is fourth in his privately entered Citroen DS3 WRC car, despite picking up a puncture, with his brother, Henning fifth followed by fellow M-Sport Stobart Ford runners Ott Tanak and Matthew Wilson in sixth and seventh respectively.

F1 2007 world champion Kimi Raikkonen, Dennis Kuipers and Evgeny Novikov round out the top ten, the latter one spot ahead of Kris Meeke, who lost 2.5 minutes after stopping with a mechanical issue in SS7.

In the PWRC, Patrik Flodin moved ahead of Jarkko Nikara in the final test of the morning and is now 9.9 seconds in front.

In terms of retirements, Dani Sordo was the most notable scalp, going out in SS5 when he went off the road in his MINI John Cooper Works WRC car and got stuck in a ditch.

Sebastien Ogier re-started this morning under the SupeRally, but is way down the order after his error on Thursday.

The action now continues this afternoon with a repeat-run through this morning's tests. SS8, the 10.31 kilometre Dyfi West 2 test, is due to start at 14.18 hours local time.


Wales Rally GB: Overall standings after Stage 7 - Top 10:

1. Sebastien Loeb Citroen Total WRT DS3 WRC 48mins 37.7secs M
2. Jari-Matti Latvala Ford Abu Dhabi WRT Fiesta RS WRC +00mins 17.7secs M
3. Mads Ostberg M-Sport Stobart Ford Fiesta RS WRC +00mins 59.7secs M
4. Petter Solberg PSWRT Citroen DS3 WRC +01mins 13.4secs M
5. Henning Solberg M-Sport Stobart Ford Fiesta RS WRC +01mins 39.0secs
6. Ott Tanak M-Sport Stobart Ford Fiesta RS WRC +01mins 52.9secs
7. Matthew Wilson M-Sport Stobart Ford Fiesta RS WRC +02mins 07.8secs M
8. Kimi Raikkonen ICE1 Racing Citroen DS3 WRC +02mins 26.6secs
9. Dennis Kuipers FERM Powertools Ford Fiesta RS WRC +02mins 32.7secs M
10. Evgeny Novikov Team Abu Dhabi Fiesta RS WRC +02mins 49.6secs M


Others:

11. Kris Meeke MINI WRT John Cooper Works +03mins 17.3secs
12. Ken Block Monster WRT Ford Fiesta RS WRC +03mins 21.6secs M
13. Mikko Hirvonen Ford Abu Dhabi WRT Fiesta RS WRC +03mins 52.2secs M
14. Kevin Abbring Skoda Fabia S2000 +04mins 01.5secs
15. Armindo Araujo Motorsport Italia/BAMP MINI John Cooper Works +04mins 11.6secs
17. Patrik Flodin Subaru Impreza +04mins 55.2secs P


PWRC standings after Stage 7 - Top 3:

1. Patrik Flodin Subaru Impreza 53mins 32.9secs P
2. Jarkko Nikara Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX +00mins 09.9secs P

3. Michal Kosciuszko Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X +00mins 55.2secs P


Notable retirements:

SS1. Sebastien Ogier Citroen Total WRT DS3 WRC Hit a wall and ripped off a wheel M*
SS5. Dani Sordo MINI WRT John Cooper Works Went off
SS6. Martin Prokop Ford Fiesta RS WRC Went off

*denotes re-started under SupeRally

all times unofficial



Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Sebastien Loeb (FRA) Daniel Elena (MON), Citroën DS3 WRC, Citroën Total World Rally Team
Sebastien Loeb (FRA) Daniel Elena (MON), Citroën DS3 WRC, Citroën Total World Rally Team
Sebastien Loeb (FRA) Daniel Elena (MON), Citroën DS3 WRC, Citroën Total World Rally Team
Sebastien Loeb (FRA) Daniel Elena (MON), Citroën DS3 WRC, Citroën Total World Rally Team
Mikko Hirvonen (FIN) Jarmo Lehtinen (FIN), Ford Fiesta RS WRC,  BP Ford Abu Dhabi World Rally Team
Mikko Hirvonen (FIN) Jarmo Lehtinen (FIN), Ford Fiesta RS WRC,  BP Ford Abu Dhabi World Rally Team
Mikko Hirvonen (FIN) Jarmo Lehtinen (FIN), Ford Fiesta RS WRC,  BP Ford Abu Dhabi World Rally Team
Sebastien Loeb (FRA) Daniel Elena (MON), Citroën DS3 WRC, Citroën Total World Rally Team

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DM52 - Unregistered

November 11, 2011 11:49 AM

how is M-Sport responsible for Hirvonen driving off the road and damaging his car? I think the cars are pretty even and views are being corrupted a little by the dominance of one of the best rally drivers ever to grace the sport. Ford must be doing something right to fight for the championship at the very last rally. Personally I think if it wasn't for M-Sport WRC would be in a very sorry state of affairs right now.

Taz - Unregistered

November 11, 2011 11:56 AM

A branch went into the radiator, lost it's water and cooked the engine, can hardly be described as M-sports fault...it's just bad luck in this case. Looks like he'll retire.



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