Latvala doubles Germany lead, survives scare
24 August 2013
Volkswagen's Jari-Matti Latvala has successfully increased his lead on Rallye Deutschland this morning, despite hitting a hinkelstein in SS11.
Latvala began the third leg with a 7.3 second advantage over Thierry Neuville, and in the first test of the day, he was third fastest – 0.1 seconds up on his Belgian rival. Latvala then beat him again in SS10, setting the second best time, 3.2 seconds quicker than Neuville.
The final test of the loop was the daunting 41.08 km Arena Panzerplatte test and once again Jari-Matti had the edge, gaining another 4.2 seconds, although he had a lucky escape after contact with a hinkelstein – one of the large concrete blocks that line the test and are designed to keep tanks on the road.
“There was one left hand corner in the forest that was very, very slippery and I just lost a little bit of grip on that, we went wide and we just hit the hinkelstein and that sent us into a small spin,” Latvala recalled. “It was a very lucky situation - all is OK with the car.”
“Initially, I saved the tyres too much [in SS11]. Then I attacked, but I wasn't fast enough,” lamented Neuville, who is now 14.8 seconds adrift.
"This was our first time through all of '[Arena] Panzerplatte' though, so it was always going to be a bit more of a challenge for us," he added. "I tried to manage the tyres and not push too much and in the end the time wasn't too bad.
“I had a good start this morning however, and now I am really looking forward to the afternoon. If it is wet, I think it will be really interesting. I can definitely do more, especially on the twisty sections. Of course we will need to be careful, but I think the Fiesta will be really good in the rain and I hope I can also prove my ability in those kinds of conditions.”
Behind, Citroen's Dani Sordo had an encouraging morning in his DS3 WRC, and after going quickest in SS10 and second quickest in SS9 and SS11, he has closed up on Neuville, the gap now down to just 9 seconds.
Mikko Hirvonen and Mads Ostberg hold fourth and fifth places respectively, although both are some way back, and overshot the same junction in Peterberg 1.
“We had a massive jump on the first run through Panzerplatte [SS11]," said Ostberg. "I actually blame Jonas [Andersson, co-driver] because I asked him if I should take it flat-out and he said 'it's your choice' – us drivers, we always choose flat-out! It's always fun to have a big jump like that, but maybe I was a bit too enthusiastic with that one!
“But overall I think we have had a good morning. I missed a junction on SS10, but otherwise I am feeling a lot more comfortable with the car in the types of sections I was struggling with yesterday.”
Martin Prokop rounds out the top six, with WRC2 runners Robert Kubica, Elfyn Evans, Hayden Paddon and Sepp Wiegand in positions 7 through to 10. Kubica lost the lead in WRC2 in SS9, after he spun, but then Evans had his own issues in the next test and slipped back. Kubica now leads by just 1.4 seconds.
In the other support categories, there is no change - Sebastien Chardonnet remains out front in WRC3 and Pontus Tidemand continues to lead the JWRC.
As for retirements, Qatar WRT man Nasser Al-Attiyah was forced out in SS11, after he hit a rock and broke a steering arm on his M-Sport-run Fiesta RS WRC. It is not yet known if he will re-start on Sunday.
Sebastien Ogier did re-join the fold this morning, however, and the Frenchman was immediately on the pace in his Volkswagen Polo R WRC, winning SS9 and SS11, while he was third in SS10, 1.9 seconds off the pace. Ogier now lies 28th overall. Michal Kosciuszko opted not to re-start today after injuring his back on Friday.
The event now continues with a repeat-run through this morning's three tests. SS12, the 26.54 km Stein & Wein 2 test, is due to start at 14.25 hours local time [13.25 hours UK time].
Rallye Deutschland: Overall standings after Stage 11 (Top 10):
1. Jari-Matti Latvala Volkswagen Motorsport Polo R WRC 2h 21m 53.9s M
2. Thierry Neuville Qatar WRT Ford Fiesta RS WRC +00m 14.8s M
3. Dani Sordo Citroen Total Abu Dhabi WRT DS3 WRC +00m 23.8s M
4. Mikko Hirvonen Citroen Total Abu Dhabi WRT DS3 WRC +01m 16.7s M
5. Mads Ostberg Qatar M-Sport WRT Ford Fiesta RS WRC +03m 00.8s M
6. Martin Prokop Jipocar Czech National Team Ford Fiesta RS WRC +05m 33.6s M
7. Robert Kubica Citroen DS3 RRC +07m 09.3s WRC2
8. Elfyn Evans Qatar M-Sport WRT Ford Fiesta R5 +07m 10.7s WRC2
9. Hayden Paddon Skoda Fabia S2000 +09m 29.2s WRC2
10. Sepp Wiegand Skoda Fabia S2000 +09m 38.8s WRC2
11. Nasser Al-Attiyah Qatar WRT Ford Fiesta RS WRC +10m 27.7s M
12. Khalid Al-Qassimi Abu Dhabi Citroen Total WRT DS3 WRC +11m 54.9s M
13. Yuriy Protasov Ford Fiesta R5 +13m 42.1s
14. Evgeny Novikov Qatar M-Sport WRT Ford Fiesta RS WRC +13m 48.9s M
15. Sebastien Chardonnet Citroen DS3 R3T +16m 18.2s WRC3
WRC2 standings after Stage 11 (Top 3):
1. Robert Kubica Citroen DS3 RRC 2h 29m 03.2s WRC2
2. Elfyn Evans Qatar M-Sport WRT Ford Fiesta R5 +00m 01.4s WRC2
3. Hayden Paddon Skoda Fabia S2000 +02m 19.9s WRC2
WRC3 standings after Stage 11 (Top 3):
1. Sebastien Chardonnet Citroen DS3 R3T 2h 28m 12.1s WRC3
2. Keith Cronin Citroen DS3 R3T +01m 48.4s WRC3
3. Mohamed Al-Mutawaa Citroen DS3 R3T +19m 00.2s WRC3
JWRC standings after Stage 11 (Top 3)
1. Pontus Tidemand Ford Fiesta R2 2h 44m 10.0s JWRC
2. Michael Burri Ford Fiesta R2 +02m 09.4s JWRC
3. Martin Koci Ford Fiesta R2 +02m 52.8s JWRC
DNS. Andreas Mikkelsen Volkswagen Motorsport II Polo R WRC Did not start – co-driver injury M
SS1. Evgeny Novikov Qatar M-Sport WRT Ford Fiesta RS WRC Went off the road M*
SS1/2. Per-Gunnar Andersson Ford Fiesta RS WRC Stopped*
SS3. Per-Gunnar Andersson Ford Fiesta RS WRC Retired
SS4. Sebastien Ogier Volkswagen Motorsport Polo R WRC Suspension damage after off in SS3 M*
SS5/6. Michal Kosciuszko Lotos Team WRC Ford Fiesta RS WRC Injury M
SS11. Nasser Al-Attiyah Qatar WRT Ford Fiesta RS WRC Suspension M
*denotes re-started under the Rally 2 regulations
M denotes Manufacturer entry
all times unofficial