9 February 2013
Ogier concludes day two on top
Behind, Evgeny Novikov rounds out the top five in the second Qatar M-Sport WRT entry, 39.7 seconds off the battle for the final podium spot, while Thierry Neuville is now sixth, and ahead of team-mate, Juho Hanninen. Hanninen had been 15.8 seconds in front, until he made a 'stupid mistake' in the last test and hit a snow bank, losing just over a minute.
“Today had been going well and I was feeling more confident with the car, but then on the last stage [SS16] we got stuck in a snow bank and lost a lot of time. It was maybe 100 metres before the finish and it took a long time to get back on the stage,” Hanninen said. “Obviously it was very disappointing for us – especially as it was on the last stage of the day – but luckily we have only lost one place and I hope we can continue to improve the pace tomorrow.”
Further back, Henning Solberg is eighth on his WRC return, with fellow Ford runner, Martin Prokop ninth and Citroen third driver, Dani Sordo tenth.
“After a disappointing first stage this morning, we changed some of the suspension settings. After that, the car was more balanced and I felt more confident in it,” said Sordo. “We still have some improvements to make and I can make up another place tomorrow. More importantly, I want to go home having had a good feeling in the DS3 WRC.”
In WRC2, Anders Grondal remains in the lead in his Subaru Impreza – and in eleventh place overall. However, Yazeed Al-Rajhi has closed right in, slashing the Norwegian's advantage from over 30 seconds last night to just 4.5 seconds post-SS16. Sepp Wiegand is still third in the class.
As for retirements, the major scalps on day two were Pontus Tidemand, Matt Wilson and Khalid Al-Qassimi. Tidemand was sidelined this morning in SS9 with engine problems, while Wilson went off the road in the same test. Al-Qassimi had to park his Citroen this afternoon following an off in SS14.
“It's a real shame, because I had found decent pace,” Al-Qassimi lamented. “The stages were quicker than yesterday, and I felt good. I got caught out and we had to stop. The engine was overheating since the radiator was damaged.”
Rally Sweden now concludes on Sunday with six stages on the bill and a total competitive distance of 94.29 kilometres. SS17, the 27.07 km Mitandersfors test, is due to kick things off tomorrow at 07.54 hours local time [06.54 hours British time].
Rally Sweden: Overall standings after Stage 16 (Top 10):
1. Sebastien Ogier Volkswagen Motorsport Polo R WRC 2h 18m 22.8s M
2. Sebastien Loeb Citroen Total Abu Dhabi WRT DS3 WRC +26.9s M
3. Mads Ostberg Qatar M-Sport WRT Ford Fiesta RS WRC +57.7s M
4. Jari-Matti Latvala Volkswagen Motorsport Polo R WRC +1m 03.8s M
5. Evgeny Novikov Qatar M-Sport WRT Ford Fiesta RS WRC +1m 43.5s M
6. Thierry Neuville Qatar WRT Ford Fiesta RS WRC +3m 16.2s T
7. Juho Hanninen Qatar WRT Ford Fiesta RS WRC +4m 10.5s
8. Henning Solberg Ford Fiesta RS WRC +5m 16.7s
9. Martin Prokop Jipocar Czech National TeamFord Fiesta RS WRC +7m 56.1s T
10. Dani Sordo Abu Dhabi Citroen Total WRT DS3 WRC +8m 31.9s
11. Anders Grondal Subaru Impreza +12m 19.6s WRC2
12. Yazeed Al-Rajhi Ford Fiesta RRC +12m 24.1s WRC2
13. Michal Solowow Peugeot 207 S2000 +13m 57.4s
14. Sepp Wiegand Skoda Fabia S2000 +15m 19.3s WRC2
15. Yuriy Protasov Subaru Impreza WRX STi +19m 04.1s WRC2
16. Michal Kosciousko Lotos Team WRC MINI John Cooper Works WRC +20m 18.6s T
21. Mikko Hirvonen Citroen Total Abu Dhabi WRT DS3 WRC +26m 54.9s M
33. Jarkko Nikara Prodrive WRC Team MINI John Cooper Works WRC +51m 04.5s
WRC2 standings after Stage 16 (Top 3):
1. Anders Grondal Subaru Impreza 2h 30m 42.4s WRC2
2. Yazeed Al-Rajhi Ford Fiesta RRC +04.5s WRC2
3. Sepp Wiegand Skoda Fabia S2000 +2m 59.7s WRC2
SS5. Jari Ketomaa Ford Fiesta RS WRC Mechanical*
SS9. Pontus Tidemand Ford Fiesta WRC Engine
SS9. Matthew Wilson Qatar WRT Ford Fiesta RS WRC Went off the road
SS14/SS15. Khalid Al-Qassimi Abu Dhabi Citroen Total WRT DS3 WRC Went off T
*denotes re-started under Rally 2
all times unofficial
Polo R WRC
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