10 March 2012
Loeb extends lead in Mexico
Sebastien Loeb will head back to service in Leon with his overnight advantage stretched from 11.2 seconds to 18.2 seconds; Mikko Hirvonen remains second, with Jari-Matti Latvala now up to third, albeit still a minute off P2...
Citroen's Sebastien Loeb has increased his lead on Rally Mexico following the opening loop this morning, which included a run through the long 41.88 km Otates test.
Loeb began the second day with an 11.2 second lead and initially team-mate, Mikko Hirvonen managed to make up some ground, cutting the margin to 8.7 seconds. Seb responded though in the next test, SS14, the longest of the day, and was quickest, 9.5 seconds up on the sister car. He thus heads into service with an 18.2 second advantage.
"I lost a lot at the end [of SS13]. I don't know why. Maybe I lost a little confidence. I just don't know," Loeb said. "I then had to push really hard in SS14. I tried really hard in that one."
Jari-Matti Latvala meanwhile is now up to third, having overhauled Mads Ostberg in the very first stage when he was quickest. The Finn continued to push in SS14 as well and was second to further close on Hirvonen in P2. Despite making up over 9 seconds though, he remains more than a minute further back.
"It is a good feeling. The car is running very well," Latvala commtned. "Maybe I was over speeding in some places. I tried, I really, really tried. I want to keep the pressure on Citroen, just in case!"
Behind, Ostberg is now only 9.3 seconds up on Petter Solberg, who was fourth quickest in the first stage of the day and fifth in SS14: "I lost a little bit with the brakes," Petter said after Otates 1. "It is really, really tricky. I know they are much faster behind me. I am going to go to service and make some changes."
Further back, M-Sport Ford WRT duo Ott Tanak and Evgeny Novikov hold positions six and seven, the former now over 30 seconds off 'Hollywood'. Then it is Chris Atkinson and Nasser Al-Attiyah with Armindo Araujo completing the top ten.
In PWRC, Benito Guerra remains in control, although Michal Kosciuszko has closed the gap ever so slightly, down from 32.6 seconds last night to 29.1 seconds going into service E.
In terms of retirements, Paulo Nobre re-started this morning in his 'little green pig'. Sadly though, he didn't last long and crashed out again early in SS14. The WRC MINI Team Portugal man is now hoping to re-start again on Sunday. Thierry Neuville and Kevin Abbring also rejoined the fold this morning under Rally 2, the former now running at the head of the pack in his Citroen DS3 WRC and playing the road sweeper.
The action now continues with a repeat-run through this morning's stages. It is then back to service in Leon, before a third loop of four stages conclude the day.
Rally Mexico: Overall standings after Stage 14 (Top 10):
1. Sebastien Loeb Citroen Total WRT DS3 WRC 2hours 13mins 15.5secs M
2. Mikko Hirvonen Citroen Total WRT DS3 WRC +00mins 18.2secs M
3. Jari-Matti Latvala Ford WRT Fiesta RS WRC +01mins 25.6secs M
4. Mads Ostberg Adapta WRT Fiesta RS WRC +02mins 00.6secs M
5. Petter Solberg Ford WRT Fiesta RS WRC +02mins 09.9secs M
6. Ott Tanak M-Sport Ford WRT Fiesta RS WRC +02mins 42.7secs M
7. Evgeny Novikov M-Sport Ford WRT Fiesta RS WRC +03mins 41.1secs M
8. Chris Atkinson Monster WRT Fiesta RS WRC +04mins 22.2secs
9. Nasser Al-Attiyah Qatar WRT Citroen DS3 WRC +04mins 43.9secs M
10. Armindo Araujo WRC MINI Team Portugal John Cooper Works WRC +06mins 51.4secs
11. Sebastien Ogier VW Motorsport Skoda Fabia S2000 +08mins 11.9secs
12. Ken Block Monster WRT Fiesta RS WRC +10mins 30.9secs
13. Benito Guerra Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X +11mins 51.8secs P
14. Ricardo Trivino Ford Fiesta RS WRC +12mins 19.2secs
15. Michal Kosciuszko Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X +12mins 20.9secs P
16. Nicolas Fuchs Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX +12mins 51.7secs P
PWRC standings after Stage 14 - Top 3:
1. Benito Guerra Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X 2hours 25mins 07.3secs P
2. Michal Kosciuszko Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X +00mins 29.1secs P
3. Nicolas Fuchs Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX +00mins 59.9secs P
DNS. Henning Solberg Go Fast Energy WRT Fiesta RS WRC Did not start
SS5. Paulo Nobre WRC MINI Team Portugal John Cooper Works WRC Accident*
SS5/SS6. Kevin Abbring VW Motorsport Skoda Fabia S2000 Mechanical*
SS6. Thierry Neuville Citroen Junior WRT DS3 WRC Lost a wheel M*
SS14. Paulo Nobre WRC MINI Team Portugal John Cooper Works WRC Accident
* re-started under Rally 2 (new name for SupeRally)
all times unofficial
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