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Loeb leads still in Finland

3 August 2012


Citroen's Sebastien Loeb remains on top on Rally Finland, but team-mate, Mikko Hirvonen has closed the gap.

Loeb began the final loop of the day with a 5 second cushion, but, just like on the first runs through Mokkipera and Lankamaa, he was slower than Hirvonen, although the margins were small and he conceded just 2.4 seconds. He also set the pace again in Palsankyla [SS10] – the middle test of the loop – to help minimise the damage and he now heads into the final test of the day, the short 2.06 km Killeri super special stage, 3 seconds in front.

Jari-Matti Latvala meanwhile is third, although he lost another 5 seconds to Loeb, and has seen Petter Solberg close to within less than a second in the other works Ford Fiesta RS WRC, after the Norwegian was quickest in SS10.

Behind Mads Ostberg is fifth, 24.5 seconds further back, followed by Ott Tank, Jari Ketomaa, Matti Rantanen and Martin Prokop. Ken Block completes the provisional points scorers, with Sebastien Ogier eleventh.

Thierry Neuville was the biggest casualty on this loop, rolling his Citroen Junior WRT-run DS3 WRC car near the end of SS11, when he failed to hear a pacenote. It is thought he should be able to re-start on Saturday. He had been fighting for fifth with Ostberg prior to his error.

Chris Atkinson also retired this afternoon, hitting a rock in SS9 and damaging the front-right wheel. The Aussie was already running down the order though, after rolling in his Qatar WRT DS3 WRC in SS8.

In the support categories, Craig Breen now heads the SWRC, 4.3 seconds up on P-G Andersson, while Elfyn Evans continues to dominate the WRC Academy.

As mentioned above, just one test remains before day two comes to a close - a run through the Killeri SSS, due to start at 20.00 hours local time [18.00 hours UK time].


Rally Finland: Overall standings after Stage 11 (Top 10):

1. Sebastien Loeb Citroen Total WRT DS3 WRC 1hour 19mins 07.6secs M
2. Mikko Hirvonen Citroen Total WRT DS3 WRC +00mins 03.0secs M
3. Jari-Matti Latvala Ford WRT Fiesta RS WRC +00mins 20.0secs M
4. Petter Solberg Ford WRT Fiesta RS WRC +00mins 20.9secs M
5. Mads Ostberg Adapta WRT Fiesta RS WRC +00mins 45.4secs M
6. Ott Tanak M-Sport Ford WRT Fiesta RS WRC +01mins 34.8secs M
7. Jari Ketomaa Ford Fiesta RS WRC +02mins 25.7secs
8. Matti Rantanen Ford Fiesta RS WRC +02mins 44.0secs
9. Martin Prokop Ford Fiesta RS WRC +03mins 15.8secs
10. Ken Block Monster WRT Ford Fiesta RS WRC +04mins 44.3secs

Others

11. Sebastien Ogier VW Motorsport Skoda Fabia S2000 +04mins 48.6secs
12. Craig Breen Ford Fiesta S2000 +05mins 27.3secs S
13. P-G Andersson Proton Satria Neo S2000 +05mins 31.6secs S


SWRC standings after Stage 11 - Top 3:

1. Craig Breen Ford Fiesta S2000 1hour 24mins 34.9secs S
2. P-G Andersson Proton Satria Neo S2000 +00mins 04.3secs S
3. Juha Salo Proton Satria Neo S2000 +01mins 10.4secs S


Notable retirements:

SS5. Hayden Paddon Skoda Fabia S2000 Engine S
SS9/SS10. Chris Atkinson Qatar WRT Citroen DS3 WRC Hit a rock M
SS10. Paulo Nobre WRC MINI Team Portugal John Cooper Works WRC Went off the road
SS11. Thierry Neuville Citroen Junior WRT DS3 WRC Rolled M


all times unofficial


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