29 April 2012
Loeb in lead still with three tests to go
Sebastien Loeb heads back to service in Carlos Paz after Sunday's opening loop, 1.3 seconds up on Mikko Hirvonen; Dani Sordo remains third, although further back Thierry Neuville has moved up to sixth and Petter Solberg is now eighth; Andreas Mikkelsen has retired...
Citroen's Sebastien Loeb and Mikko Hirvonen continue to run 1-2 in Argentina, although cheekily, despite team orders, Hirvonen has reduced the gap to his team-mate to just 1.3 seconds.
Loeb began the final day with a 7.2 second cushion, and while the two Citroen works men set near identical times in SS14, the monster 65.74 km Matadero test, Hirvonen was a lot quicker in SS15 and finished it just 0.2 seconds off the lead. Loeb was then 1.1 seconds quicker in SS16, as they close on a one-two formation finish.
“It's okay,” Loeb told the official WRC site after El Condor. “We're trying to take a safe rhythm at the moment. It was a long first loop.”
Behind, Dani Sordo remains a distant third, ahead of fellow Ford men, Mads Ostberg and Martin Prokop.
Rally 2 runner Thierry Neuville now holds sixth, having moved ahead of the Volkswagen Motorsport Skoda Fabia S2000's of Sebastien Ogier and Andreas Mikkelsen in SS14. Ogier trails Neuville by almost 30 seconds, while Mikkelsen had to retire in SS15 due to suspension damage.
Petter Solberg rounds out the top eight, having won all three tests this morning, with Armindo Araujo and Evgeny Novikov ninth and tenth.
Nasser Al-Attiyah, who re-joined the fold today under the Rally 2 regulations, is eleventh, with Benito Guerra 12th and leading the PWRC, after fellow Production man Nicolas Fuchs had problems and dropped back to second in class and 14th overall.
The event now draws to a close with a repeat-run through Mina Clavero and El Condor, before the Copina Power Stage at 15.21 hours local time [19.21 hours UK time].
Rally Argentina: Overall standings after Stage 16 (Top 10):
1. Sebastien Loeb Citroen Total WRT DS3 WRC 5hours 06mins 35.7secs M
2. Mikko Hirvonen Citroen Total WRT DS3 WRC +00mins 01.3secs M
3. Dani Sordo Ford WRT Fiesta RS WRC +01mins 38.1secs M
4. Mads Ostberg Adapta WRT Fiesta RS WRC +03mins 01.6secs M
5. Martin Prokop Ford Fiesta RS WRC +09mins 14.1secs
6. Thierry Neuville Citroen Junior WRT DS3 WRC +11mins 08.0secs M
7. Sebastien Ogier VW Motorsport Skoda Fabia S2000 +11mins 37.3secs
8. Petter Solberg Ford WRT Fiesta RS WRC +12mins 25.5secs M
9. Armindo Araujo WRC MINI Team Portugal John Cooper Works WRC +15mins 45.5secs
10. Evgeny Novikov M-Sport Ford WRT Fiesta RS WRC +21mins 13.9secs M
11. Nasser Al-Attiyah Qatar WRT Citroen DS3 WRC +28mins 10.9secs M
12. Benito Guerra Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X +34mins 18.2secs P
13. Ott Tanak M-Sport Ford WRT Fiesta RS WRC +36mins 55.7secs M
14. Nicolas Fuchs Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX +37mins 52.2secs P
15. Eliseo Salazar MINI John Cooper Works WRC +38mins 36.6secs
16. Valeriy Gorban Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX +41mins 28.1secs P
19. Paulo Nobre WRC MINI Team Portugal John Cooper Works WRC +54mins 01.5secs
PWRC standings after Stage 16 – Top 3:
1. Benito Guerra Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X 5hours 40mins 54.0secs P
2. Nicolas Fuchs Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX +03mins 33.9secs P
3. Valeriy Gorban Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX +07mins 09.9secs P
SS1. Ramona Karlsson Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X Mechanical P
SS3. Evgeny Novikov M-Sport Ford WRT Fiesta RS WRC Lost wheel M*
SS3. Paulo Nobre WRC MINI Team Portugal John Cooper Works WRC Stopped*
SS4. Petter Solberg Ford WRT Fiesta RS WRC Steering arm M*
SS4. Ott Tanak M-Sport Ford WRT Fiesta RS WRC Stopped M*
SS5. Thierry Neuville Citroen Junior WRT DS3 WRC Rolled M*
SS9. Alexey Kikireshko Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX Mechanical P
SS9. Michal Kosciuszko Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X Mechanical P
SS9/SS10. Nasser Al-Attiyah Qatar WRT Citroen DS3 WRC +07mins 58.1secs M
SS9/SS10. Paulo Nobre WRC MINI Team Portugal John Cooper Works WRC Overheating
SS12/SS13. Daniel Oliveira Brazil WRT Ford Fiesta RS WRC Engine
SS15. Andreas Mikkelsen VW Motorsport Skoda Fabia S2000 Mechanical
* denotes re-started under Rally 2
all times unofficial
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