4 October 2014
Rallye de France: Latvala stretches lead
Volkswagen's Jari-Matti Latvala completes Saturday's repeat loop with his lead on Rallye de France up to 25.6 seconds
Jari-Matti Latvala gained more ground this afternoon on day two of Rallye de France-Alsace, stretching his lead to 25.6 seconds.
Latvala had already increased his overnight lead from 8.2 seconds to 14.8 seconds this morning and he continued in a similar vein in SS11, taking his fourth stage win on the trot and his eighth of the event.
The Finn then opted for a more cautious approach in SS12 and SS13, but was still second and third quickest respectively and crucially still beat team-mate and closest rival Andreas Mikkelsen, gaining 3.2 seconds in Soultzeren-Hohnack 2 and 2.2 seconds in Pays Welche-Riquewihr 2.
“It [SS13] was a good stage again - a controlled drive, no risks, I stayed away from the cuts. In my position there is no point taking any risks. It is just about keeping it under control,” Latvala remarked.
Behind the top two, Kris Meeke continues to hold third in his Citroen, now 25.4 seconds off P2 and 47.1 seconds up on Dani Sordo in fourth.
Sordo has come under increased pressure from behind with former F1 driver Robert Kubica cutting the gap from 7.3 seconds post-SS10 to just 0.3 seconds post-SS13.
Mads Ostberg is sixth, but will drop to seventh and behind Mikko Hirvonen after picking up a penalty for being late to the SS13 time control. He had to stop to repair a leaking rear diff on the road section.
“We noticed it on the stages after service and it affected the rear end stability,” Ostberg explained. “We had to take a penalty to re-fill it, but it was worth it, because we might not have made it through at all if not.”
Further back, Elfyn Evans has pulled almost 30 seconds clear of Bryan Bouffier, despite a spin in SS11. Bouffier was slowed in SS12 after striking a rock.
Thierry Neuville rounds out the points' scorers – given a notional time for the final test after he was slowed by the FIA's in-car yellow flag system, deployed after the road opening zero car crashed. That incident halted SS13 for around 30-40 minutes.
Sebastien Ogier meanwhile continues to run well down the field after his woes on Friday. He is now up to 18th and was quickest in SS12 and SS13, the latter his 300th stage win in total in the WRC.
In WRC2, Quentin Gilbert re-took the lead from Bernardo Sousa in SS12 and he now has a 9.5 second cushion.
Day two now concludes with a run through the 4.86km Mulhouse super special. SS14 is scheduled to start at 18.00 hours local time [17.00 hours UK time].
Rallye de France-Alsace: Overall standings after Stage 13 (Top 10):
1. Jari-Matti Latvala Volkswagen Motorsport Polo R WRC 2hrs 03m 17.6s M
2. Andreas Mikkelsen Volkswagen Motorsport II Polo R WRC +00m 25.6s M
3. Kris Meeke Citroen Total Abu Dhabi WRT DS3 WRC +00m 51.0s M
4. Dani Sordo Hyundai Motorsport i20 WRC +01m 38.1s M
5. Robert Kubica RK M-Sport WRT Ford Fiesta RS WRC +01m 38.4s M
6. Mads Ostberg Citroen Total Abu Dhabi WRT DS3 WRC +01m 50.6s M
7. Mikko Hirvonen M-Sport WRT Ford Fiesta RS WRC +01m 51.0s M
8. Elfyn Evans M-Sport WRT Ford Fiesta RS WRC +03m 11.1s M
9. Bryan Bouffier Hyundai Motorsport N i20 WRC +03m 39.7s M
10. Thierry Neuville Hyundai Motorsport i20 WRC +04m 00.9s M
11. Martin Prokop Jipocar Czech National Team Ford Fiesta RS WRC +04m 43.4s M
12. Julien Maurin Ford Fiesta RS WRC +05m 30.0s
13. Dennis Kuipers M-Sport WRT Ford Fiesta RS WRC +06m 03.1s
14. Kevin Abbring Peugeot 208 T16 +07m 29.5s
15. Yuriy Protasov M-Sport WRT Ford Fiesta RS WRC +07m 52.0s
16. Quentin Gilbert Ford Fiesta R5 +08m 28.6s WRC2
17. Bernardo Sousa Ford Fiesta RRC +08m 38.1s WRC2
18. Sebastien Ogier Volkswagen Motorsport Polo R WRC +08m 52.5s M
WRC2 standings after Stage 13 (Top 3):
1. Quentin Gilbert Ford Fiesta R5 2hr 11m 46.2s WRC2
2. Bernardo Sousa Ford Fiesta RRC +00m 09.5s WRC2
3. Sebastien Chardonnet Citroen DS3 R5 +02m 04.5s WRC2
SS2. Marty McCormack Ford Fiesta R5 Accident WRC2
SS11. Francois Delecour Porsche 997 GT3 Accident RGT
M denotes Manufacturer entry
all times unofficial
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