WRC RallyRACC Catalunya: Ogier extends lead as Latvala’s challenge falters

Sebastien Ogier completes SS13 of RallyRACC Catalunya-Costa Daurada with a 51.4s lead over Dani Sordo
Sebastien Ogier has extended his overnight lead on RallyRACC Catalunya-Costa Daurada following Saturday's opening loop, while team-mate Jari-Matti Latvala hit trouble.

Ogier began the second full-day of competition with a 4 second lead over Latvala, and he immediately increased it in SS10, the first test of the leg, going quickest in his Volkswagen Polo R WRC and beating the Finn, who reported brake problems, by 2.4s.

Ogier then took more time out of Latvala in SS11, as he continued to struggle with the brakes. The crucial test, however, was SS12, where a puncture cost Latvala more than 50 seconds.

Ogier eventually finished the morning having won three of the four tests and with his lead up to 51.4s: “A great loop,” Ogier told the official WRC site. “We were pushing hard this morning to make a difference.

“When Latvala had a puncture the gap became bigger, so it's not the same level of attack.

“I'm enjoying the driving though.”

Local star Dani Sordo now finds himself second in his Hyundai i20 WRC, albeit just 1.5s up on VW Motorsport II pilot Andreas Mikkelsen, who in turn is only 6s up on Latvala.

“We have to fight for second place. That's all we can do now,” noted Latvala, who struck back after his puncture with the quickest time in SS13, 5s up on both Sordo and Mikkelsen.

“I have a good feeling now - a nice pace,” he added.

Quizzed on the puncture, Latvala added: “I had been fighting all morning with the brakes. I got them right in SS12 and attacked. It was my mistake though I cut in a corner and hit some concrete. I broke the tyre or wheel straight away.

“The podium is the target now.”

Behind, Citroen duo Mads Ostberg and Kris Meeke hold fifth and sixth, split by 11.6s, with Hayden Paddon seventh having conceded 25s in SS10 with a front-left puncture: "We hit a small stone on the inside of a corner. I didn't see it on the recce,” he admitted.

Further back, Thierry Neuville is eighth in his Hyundai, one spot ahead of Ford privateer Martin Prokop.

In terms of retirements, Ott Tanak was the biggest casualty, retiring from third in SS11 after hitting a barrier and losing a wheel. Tanak's M-Sport team-mate, Elfyn Evans then joined him on the sidelines in SS13 after going off the road. Evans had been running 9th.

In WRC2, Pontus Tidemand continues to lead and is also now up to 10th overall, more than a minute up on his closest rival, Jan Kopecky. Kopecky was quickest in SS11, SS12 and SS13, but power steering problems in Saturday's opener left him over 60s off the pace. Eric Camilli holds third, after Esapekka Lappi crashed out in SS11. WRC2 Championship leader Nasser Al-Attiyah is fourth.

The event now continues this afternoon, with repeat-runs through three of this morning's four stages. SS14, the 26.26km La Piguera 2 test, is due to start at 14.16 hours local time [13.16 hours UK time]. Full itinerary for round twelve in WRC 2015 available - HERE.

2015 RallyRACC Catalunya-Costa Daurada: Overall standings after Stage 13 (Top 10):

1. Sebastien Ogier Volkswagen Motorsport Polo R WRC 2h 01m 14.6s M
2. Dani Sordo Hyundai Motorsport i20 WRC +0m 51.4s M
3. Andreas Mikkelsen Volkswagen Motorsport II Polo R WRC +0m 52.9s M
4. Jari-Matti Latvala Volkswagen Motorsport Polo R WRC +0m 58.9s M
5. Mads Ostberg Citroen Total Abu Dhabi WRT DS 3 WRC +1m 15.1s M
6. Kris Meeke Citroen Total Abu Dhabi WRT DS 3 WRC +1m 26.7s M
7. Hayden Paddon Hyundai Motorsport N i20 WRC +1m 31.7s M
8. Thierry Neuville Hyundai Motorsport i20 WRC +1m 39.1s M
9. Martin Prokop Jipocar Czech National Team Ford Fiesta RS WRC +3m 30.1s M
10. Pontus Tidemand Skoda Fabia R5 +5m 25.2s WRC2


11. Jan Kopecky Skoda Fabia R5 +6m 30.2s WRC2
12. Eric Camilli Ford Fiesta R5 +7m 07.6s WRC2
13. Nasser Al-Attiyah Skoda Fabia R5 +8m 18.7s WRC2
14. Robert Kubica Ford Fiesta RS WRC +8m 55.7s
17. Khalid Al-Qassimi Citroen Total Abu Dhabi WRT DS 3 WRC +11m 40.9s

WRC2 standings after Stage 13 (Top 3):

1. Pontus Tidemand Skoda Fabia R5 2h 06m 39.8s WRC2
2. Jan Kopecky Skoda Fabia R5 +1m 05.0s WRC2
3. Eric Camilli Ford Fiesta R5 +1m 42.4s WRC2

Notable retirements:

SS2. Lorenzo Bertelli Ford Fiesta RS WRC Rolled M

SS9/SS10. Stephane Lefebvre Citroen Total Abu Dhabi WRT DS 3 WRC Retired on road section to SS10 - mechanical
SS10. Lorenzo Bertelli Ford Fiesta RS WRC Crashed M*
SS11. Ott Tanak M-Sport WRT Ford Fiesta RS WRC Took a wheel off M
SS11. Esapekka Lappi Skoda Fabia R5 Crashed WRC2
SS13. Elfyn Evans M-Sport WRT Ford Fiesta RS WRC Off road M

*denotes re-started on Saturday under Rally 2
M denotes Manufacturer entry

all times unofficial
by Rob Wilkins

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
03.10.2015 - Sebastien Ogier, Julien Ingrassia (Volkswagen Polo WRC #1, Volkswagen Motorsport)

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