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Citroen in command in New Zealand

“Things are going good. The morning stages were more slippery than I expected but everything is ok and I am happy with our pace,” Novikov remarked. “The tyres were not so good at the end of the day but I am happy with my position overall. It has been a good day and I made the right tyre choices. We will try to keep the same speed tomorrow, but we know Petter will be fast.”

Solberg opted for hard tyres this morning and with the roads wetter than expected he lost around 90 seconds. The Norwegian fought back though this afternoon and with the more suitable soft tyres fitted, set two second quickest times, and hauled himself up from seventh to fourth.

“It could have been a better morning!” Solberg conceded. “We made a decision as a team to choose hard tyres. We had to estimate how the conditions would be as the morning progressed, and we made a mistake. We had a good run this afternoon, trying to climb the leaderboard sufficiently to be close to the podium tonight.

“It will be tough to take time out of the guys ahead, although we have more of our soft compound tyre allocation remaining than they do. Hopefully it will rain tomorrow and Sunday so that we can make that count. But I will continue to push and try to climb back into the fight again.”

Ott Tanak meanwhile rounds out the top five, 7.7 seconds off 'Hollywood', followed by Thierry Neuville and the MINI John Cooper Works WRC cars of Dani Sordo and Arminado Araujo in seventh and eighth.

“We had a big moment on SS4 going into a fast, sixth-gear right-hander which was quite muddy. We had a big slide, but apart from that it was a good morning,” Tanak stated. “Some parts of the stages were more slippery than I had expected, but I really enjoyed the morning loop.

“We went for a big push on the last stage in the afternoon [SS8] but unfortunately the tyres wore a little more over the second pass – by the middle of SS7 they were getting quite worn. I am happy with my day. We have a good position so I will try to continue the same tomorrow.”

Of the rest, after Latvala in ninth, Ken Block is tenth, ahead of Manfred Stohl – taking in his first WRC event since 2007, SWRC leader, Haydon Paddon, Richard Mason and Jari Ketomaa in positions 11 through to 14. Marcos Liagto heads the PWRC, over 1.5 minutes up on his closest class rival and 17th overall.

Rally New Zealand now continues on Saturday and the second day takes competitors north of Auckland into the Northland region for tests in the Whangarei and Kaipara districts. After restarting at 07.10, drivers tackle three stages before the respite of a 15-minute service in Whangarei. Four more tests follow before they return to Auckland for the final overnight halt at 19.48 after 143.01km of competition.


Rally New Zealand: Overall standings after Stage 8 (Top 10):

1. Sebastien Loeb Citroen Total WRT DS3 WRC 2hours 07mins 35.0secs M
2. Mikko Hirvonen Citroen Total WRT DS3 WRC +00mins 04.0secs M
3. Evgeny Novikov M-Sport Ford WRT Fiesta RS WRC +01mins 31.0secs M
4. Petter Solberg Ford WRT Fiesta RS WRC +01mins 39.3secs M
5. Ott Tanak M-Sport Ford WRT Fiesta RS WRC +01mins 47.0secs M
6. Thierry Neuville Qatar WRT Citroen DS3 WRC +02mins 18.0secs M
7. Dani Sordo Prodrive WRC Team MINI John Cooper Works WRC +02mins 34.3secs
8. Armindo Araujo WRC MINI Team Portugal John Cooper Works WRC +04mins 36.9secs
9. Jari-Matti Latvala Ford WRT Fiesta RS WRC +04mins 56.1secs M
10. Ken Block Monster WRT Ford Fiesta RS WRC +06mins 25.3secs

Others

11. Manfred Stohl Brazil WRT Ford Fiesta RS WRC +6mins 55.5s M
12. Hayden Paddon Skoda Fabia S2000 +7mins 45.0secs S
13. Richard Mason Subaru Impreza WRX STi +9mins 02.0secs
14. Jari Ketomaa Ford Fiesta RS WRC +9mins 03.2s
17. Marcos Ligato Subaru Impreza WRX STi +15mins 24.4secs P
20. Paulo Nobre WRC MINI Team Portugal John Cooper Works WRC +18mins 00.5secs


SWRC standings after Stage 8 - Top 3:

1. Hayden Paddon Skoda Fabia S2000 2hours 15mins 20.0secs S
2. Alister McRae Proton Satria Neo S2000 +25mins 25.2secs S
3. Maciej Oleksowicz Ford Fiesta S2000 +28mins 03.8secs


PWRC standings after Stage 8 - Top 3:

1. Marcos Ligato Subaru Impreza WRX STi 2hours 22mins 59.4secs P
2. Ramona Karlsson Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X +01mins 40.1secs P
3. Valeriy Gorban Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX +02mins 17.8secs P


Notable retirements:

DNS. Henning Solberg Ford Fiesta RS WRC Listed on the entry list, but did not make the trip out to NZ

SS3. Per-Gunnar Andersson Proton Satria Neo S2000 Went off the road S
SS4. Alister McRae Proton Satria Neo S2000 Mechanical problem S


all times unofficial




Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Sebastian Loeb (FRA) Daniel Elena (MCO) Citroen DS3 WRC
Sebastian Loeb (FRA) Citroen DS3 WRC
Sebastian Loeb (FRA) Daniel Elena (MCO) Citroen DS3 WRC
Sebastian Loeb (FRA) Daniel Elena (MCO) Citroen DS3 WRC
Sebastian Loeb (FRA) Daniel Elena (MCO) Citroen DS3 WRC

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Chris J - Unregistered

June 22, 2012 11:35 AM

At least Petter's still got a chance at a podium. Both Seb and Mikko seem wary that if they make the wrong call on tyres Petter could catch them, though I can't see that happening. Latvala's admitted that his 2012 title challenge is over, could well have been his last chance with Ogier and the Polo on the way next season. Malcolm's kept saying JML is the #1 driver but now that even Latvala's admitted it's over, if Ford want to keep their small chance of winning a title alive they have to put all their weight behind Petter.



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