3 October 2014
Rallye de France: Latvala pulls ahead in France
Jari-Matti Lavala completes SS6 of Rallye de France with his lead over Andreas Mikkelsen up to 8.5 seconds; Kris Meeke remains third – 14.2 seconds back, with Dani Sordo fourth and Mads Ostberg fifth; Sebastien Ogier is running well down after his issues this morning...
Volkswagen's Jari-Matti Latvala won two of the three stages this afternoon to extend his lead on Rallye de France.
Latvala finished the opening loop this morning just 0.7 seconds up on team-mate Andreas Mikkelsen and in SS4 - the repeat run through the 11.11 km Col de la Charbonniere test - there was again little between them, although the Norwegian did close slightly, setting the pace and gaining 0.5 seconds.
However, in SS5 and SS6, Latvala reasserted his authority, gaining around 4 seconds in both tests.
The Finn will now go into the short 4.67 km Strasbourg super special this evening – the concluding test of the day - with an 8.5 second advantage.
“We have the lead – it is a good position to be in and the car feels good, but there is still a long way to go,” Latvala remarked after Pays de Salm 2.
“Jari-Matti's time [in SS6] is absolutely crazy. It is madness!” Mikkelsen added. “Okay, I'm happy with my time – I have not felt so happy in the Polo on tarmac before - but Jari-Matti was insanely quick.”
Meanwhile, Kris Meeke remains third in his Citroen DS3 WRC, but he has slipped further behind the battle at the front and is now 22.7 seconds off the lead – and 14.2 seconds off P2.
Hyundai's Dani Sordo is next up, 28.8 seconds further back, while Mads Ostberg completes the top five.
M-Sport duo Mikko Hirvonen and Robert Kubica hold sixth and seventh, the former more comfortable with his Fiesta on the second loop after making changes to the set-up.
Bryan Bouffier, Martin Prokop and Elfyn Evans round out the top ten, the latter slipping back after picking up a 1 minute 40 second penalty for being late into the mid-day service. He had been running in fourth.
“At the end of the third stage we had a warning light appear on the dash and the car stopped on the liaison back to service. We had no choice but to push the car into regroup, which wasn't easy!” said the M-Sport WRT man.
“It's obviously very disappointing but I think that we can be encouraged by the times we were able to set.”
In WRC2, Quentin Gilbert continues to lead in his Ford Fiesta R5, now 10.6 seconds up on Bernardo Sousa. Sebastien Chardonnet is third.
There were no major retirements, although Sebastien Ogier had more problems after breaking a front left damper in SS4. Ogier had already endured a nightmare morning, losing 4 minutes with engine problems in SS2 and then picking up a 4 minute penalty for checking in early to SS3. He concluded SS6 more than 8.5 minutes off the lead, way down and with his hopes of securing his second successive WRC Drivers' title this weekend now pretty much gone.
Rallye de France-Alsace: Overall standings after Stage 6 (Top 10):
1. Jari-Matti Latvala Volkswagen Motorsport Polo R WRC 58m 07.3s M
2. Andreas Mikkelsen Volkswagen Motorsport II Polo R WRC +00m 08.5s M
3. Kris Meeke Citroen Total Abu Dhabi WRT DS3 WRC +00m 22.7s M
4. Dani Sordo Hyundai Motorsport i20 WRC +00m 51.5s M
5. Mads Ostberg Citroen Total Abu Dhabi WRT DS3 WRC +00m 57.6s M
6. Mikko Hirvonen M-Sport WRT Ford Fiesta RS WRC +01m 00.0s M
7. Robert Kubica RK M-Sport WRT Ford Fiesta RS WRC +01m 01.2s M
8. Bryan Bouffier Hyundai Motorsport N i20 WRC +01m 38.8s M
9. Martin Prokop Jipocar Czech National Team Ford Fiesta RS WRC +02m 15.7s M
10. Elfyn Evans M-Sport WRT Ford Fiesta RS WRC +02m 22.8s M
11. Thierry Neuville Hyundai Motorsport i20 WRC +03m 04.5s M
12. Dennis Kuipers M-Sport WRT Ford Fiesta RS WRC +03m 10.4s
13. Julien Maurin Ford Fiesta RS WRC +03m 22.3s
14. Quentin Gilbert Ford Fiesta R5 +03m 40.6s WRC2
15. Yuriy Protasov M-Sport WRT Ford Fiesta RS WRC 3m 43.2s
16. Bernardo Sousa Ford Fiesta RRC +03m 51.2s WRC2
33. Sebastien Ogier Volkswagen Motorsport Polo R WRC +08m 50.6s M
WRC2 standings after Stage 3 (Top 3):
1. Quentin Gilbert Ford Fiesta R5 1hr 01m 47.9s WRC2
2. Bernardo Sousa Ford Fiesta RRC +00m 10.6s WRC2
3. Sebastien Chardonnet Citroen DS3 R5 +02m 02.6s WRC2
M denotes Manufacturer entry
all times unofficial
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