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Rally Argentina: Latvala extends lead

Jari-Matti Latvala completes the final 'proper' stage of the day in Argentina with a 29.9 second lead over team-mate, Sebastien Ogier; Kris Meeke rounds out the top three ahead of Andreas Mikkelsen, Thierry Neuville and Robert Kubica...
Volkswagen's Jari-Matti Latvala has pulled further ahead this afternoon on Rally Argentina, winning both stages to stretch his advantage at the head of the pack.

Latvala went into the repeat loop 21.2 seconds up on team-mate, Sebastien Ogier and he managed to beat the Frenchman in both SS8 and SS9. Indeed he gained 3 seconds in San Agustin-Villa del Dique 2, despite a spin 5 kilometres in and despite stalling near the end, and then took another 5.7 seconds in Amboy-Yacanto 2. The Finn will now head into the short super special this evening with his advantage up from 17.7 seconds at the start of the day to 29.9 seconds.

“This is honestly one of my best drives, even though I made a mistake on the previous stage [SS8] - it just tells how fierce the fighting is,” Latvala said. “On this stage I have to say big thanks to Miikka [Anttila – my co-driver], he did really brilliant reading the notes. Sometimes you get one of those days that you have the flow. You just have to use it right!”

Ogier meanwhile had problems with the left front tyre near the end of SS8 and then he also completed SS9 with no front bumper or spoiler.

“Nothing happened,” he told the official WRC site at the end of the Amboy-Yacanto 2. “It is just a consequence of the earlier problem [in SS8]. However without the bumper I have no power and in the slower sections the engine went into safety mode. I don't seem to have much luck here in Argentina.”

Behind, Kris Meeke remains on course for the final spot on the podium in his Citroen, with Andreas Mikkelsen fourth in the Volkswagen Motorsport II entry and Thierry Neuville fifth for Hyundai. Neuville had been eighth after the morning loop, but the Belgian gained three places this afternoon.

Robert Kubica holds sixth, surviving a scare in the first test this afternoon, when he hit a rock and got his car sideways on two wheels. Elfyn Evans and Martin Prokop then round out the top eight, with WRC2 leader, Nasser Al-Attiyah ninth and Mads Ostberg tenth, the latter complaining he had hurt his right hand in SS9. Mikko Hirvonen is just outside the points, 18.4 seconds back in P11.

Saturday's action now concludes with a run through the Parque Tematico super special, which kicked off proceedings on Thursday afternoon. It is due to start at 19.03 hours local time [23.03 hours UK time].



Rally Argentina: Overall standings after Stage 9 (Top 10):

1. Jari-Matti Latvala Volkswagen Motorsport Polo R WRC 3hrs 28m 15.6s M
2. Sebastien Ogier Volkswagen Motorsport Polo R WRC +00m 29.9s M
3. Kris Meeke Citroen Total Abu Dhabi WRT DS3 WRC +03m 41.2s M
4. Andreas Mikkelsen Volkswagen Motorsport II Polo R WRC +05m 42.3s M
5. Thierry Neuville Hyundai Motorsport i20 WRC +06m 41.9s M
6. Robert Kubica RK M-Sport WRT Ford Fiesta RS WRC +07m 05.3s M
7. Elfyn Evans M-Sport WRT Ford Fiesta RS WRC +07m 44.7s M
8. Martin Prokop Jipocar Czech National Team Ford Fiesta RS WRC +08m 12.5s M
9. Nasser Al-Attiyah Drive DMACK Ford Fiesta RRC +16m 05.8s WRC2
10. Mads Ostberg Citroen Total Abu Dhabi WRT DS3 WRC +20m 36.0s M

Others

11. Mikko Hirvonen M-Sport WRT Ford Fiesta RS WRC +20m 54.4s M
12. Diego Dominguez Ford Fiesta R5 +21m 28.8s WRC2
13. Nicolas Fuchs Ford Fiesta RRC +23m 50.3s WRC2
14. Gustavo Saba Skoda Fabia S2000 +27m 38.7s WRC2


WRC2 standings after Stage 9 (Top 3):

1. Nasser Al-Attiyah Drive DMACK Ford Fiesta RRC 3hrs 44m 21.4s WRC2
2. Diego Dominguez Ford Fiesta R5 +05m 23.0s WRC2
3. Nicolas Fuchs Ford Fiesta RRC +07m 44.5s WRC2


Notable retirements:

SS2. Mikko Hirvonen M-Sport WRT Ford Fiesta RS WRC Hit a wall M*
SS2. Mads Ostberg Citroen Total Abu Dhabi WRT DS3 WRC Hit a rock and lost a wheel M*
SS2. Ott Tanak Drive DMACK Ford Fiesta R5 Crashed WRC2*
SS5. Dani Sordo Hyundai Motorsport i20 WRC Engine M*
SS5. Thierry Neuville Hyundai Motorsport i20 WRC Engine M*
SS5. Andreas Mikkelsen Volkswagen Motorsport II Polo R WRC Technical M*

SS6/SS7. Dani Sordo Hyundai Motorsport i20 WRC Turbo M

*denotes re-started on Saturday under Rally 2

all times unofficial



Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Jari-Matti Latvala,  Miikka Anttila (Volkswagen Polo WRC #7, Volkswagen Motorsport)
Jari-Matti Latvala,  Miikka Anttila (Volkswagen Polo WRC #7, Volkswagen Motorsport)
Jari-Matti Latvala,  Miikka Anttila (Volkswagen Polo WRC #7, Volkswagen Motorsport)
Jari-Matti Latvala,  Miikka Anttila (Volkswagen Polo WRC #7, Volkswagen Motorsport)
Jari-Matti Latvala,  Miikka Anttila (Volkswagen Polo WRC #7, Volkswagen Motorsport)
Jari-Matti Latvala,  Miikka Anttila (Volkswagen Polo WRC #7, Volkswagen Motorsport)

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