WRC »

Cyprus – day 2: Loeb maintains lead

Sebastien Loeb has maintained his lead through the second day of Rally Cyprus, but saw his advantage cut on the run through Saturday afternoon's stages.

Aiming to secure his 50th victory in the WRC, the Citroen driver had extended his lead during the three stages which made up the morning of day two, with Ford's Mikko Hirvonen moving ahead of Dani Sordo into second place.

During the afternoon however, Hirvonen was able to take time out of Loeb on both the Xyliatos and Kourdali stages as Loeb struggled with a brake problem on his C4 and also suffered a stall in the final stage.

As a result, his lead going into the final day will be just under 50sec, although Loeb will have to contend with running first on the road through the final three stages of the event; which includes the longest test of the rally at more than 40km.

“We had to drive very smoothly to keep the brake temperature down,” he said following the final stage of the day. “Then, one kilometre from the end, we spun and stalled on a hairpin and I had to reverse to get going again. So two very difficult stages in the afternoon and we lost some time, but we're still in the lead and that's the most important thing for the moment.”

Hirvonen had endured a difficult opening day to the event but moved ahead of Sordo into second place when he went quickest on the second stage on Saturday and was able to hold his place through to the end of the leg, making the most of his road position to open up an advantage of over 46 seconds to the Spaniard.

“Finally I have learnt how to drive,” the Finn quipped. “There is a long day tomorrow and hopefully we can put some pressure on Sebastien. The gap is still very big, but you never know.”

From a solid second place overnight, Sordo now finds himself battling to even remain on the podium going into the final day after a storming afternoon from Petter Solberg in his privately-entered Citroen Xsara.

Having been over a minute and a half behind the works Citroen going into the leg, Solberg made small gains during the morning's three stages but was still 1min 25.7secs behind at the mid-day service. However, during the afternoon, Solberg was a man on a mission and took nearly 35 seconds out of Sordo on SS10 and the same amount on SS11 – both of which he won – to end the day just 15.9secs away from a place on the podium.



Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Sebastien Loeb (FRA), Citroën C4, Citroën Total World Rally Team
Mads Ostberg, Jonas Andersson (Citroen DS3 WRC, #4 Citroën Total Abu Dhabi WRT)
Mads Ostberg, Jonas Andersson (Citroen DS3 WRC, #4 Citroën Total Abu Dhabi WRT)
Mads Ostberg, Jonas Andersson (Citroen DS3 WRC, #4 Citroën Total Abu Dhabi WRT)
Mads Ostberg, Jonas Andersson (Citroen DS3 WRC, #4 Citroën Total Abu Dhabi WRT)
Mads Ostberg, Jonas Andersson (Citroen DS3 WRC, #4 Citroën Total Abu Dhabi WRT)
Mads Ostberg, Jonas Andersson (Citroen DS3 WRC, #4 Citroën Total Abu Dhabi WRT)
Sebastien Ogier, Julien Ingrassia (Volkswagen Polo WRC #1, Volkswagen Motorsport)
Sebastien Ogier, Julien Ingrassia (Volkswagen Polo WRC #1, Volkswagen Motorsport)
Sebastien Ogier, Julien Ingrassia (Volkswagen Polo WRC #1, Volkswagen Motorsport)
Sebastien Ogier, Julien Ingrassia (Volkswagen Polo WRC #1, Volkswagen Motorsport)
Sebastien Ogier, Julien Ingrassia (Volkswagen Polo WRC #1, Volkswagen Motorsport)
Sebastien Ogier, Julien Ingrassia (Volkswagen Polo WRC #1, Volkswagen Motorsport)
Jarkko Nikara (FIN) Jarkko Kalliolepo (FIN), Ford Fiesta WRC
Jarkko Nikara (FIN) Jarkko Kalliolepo (FIN), Ford Fiesta WRC
Jarkko Nikara (FIN) Jarkko Kalliolepo (FIN), Ford Fiesta WRC
Robert Kubica,  Maciej S zczepaniak (Ford Fiesta RS WRC, #10 RK M-Sport World Rally Team)
Robert Kubica,  Maciej S zczepaniak (Ford Fiesta RS WRC, #10 RK M-Sport World Rally Team)

Join the conversation - Add your comment

Please login or register before adding your comments.

Although the administrators and moderators of this website will attempt to keep all objectionable comments off these pages, it is impossible for us to review all messages. All messages express the views of the poster, and neither Crash Media Group nor Crash.Net will be held responsible for the content of any message. We do not vouch for or warrant the accuracy, completeness or usefulness of any message, and are not responsible for the contents of any message. If you find a message objectionable, please contact us and inform us of the problem or use the [report] function next to the offending post. Any message that does not conform with the policy of this service can be edited or removed with immediate effect.


Alistair Graham - Unregistered

March 14, 2009 11:16 PM

Nothing would please me more than to see our next potential British world champion on the stages, and I don't think it will be Matt, and fair enough, he may have gained from Latvala and Ogier's off's but to finish first, first you have to finish.

Twin Cam Sam - Unregistered

March 14, 2009 8:58 PM

Yeah, so Matt's up to 5th. He gained this position because Latvala threw it off the road this morning and lost 21 minutes and Ogier rolled and lost 2 minutes. He did not gain this position on pace. Admittedly, he has driven better today than yesterday, but he is still 5m 13 s behind Loeb - 5 MINUTES 13 SECONDS !!! It's a lifetime, and nearly 3 and a half minutes behind Petter in a 2006 spec car. I'm still looking for the next British world champion, and this is going to be it, 5 year plan, 10 year plan or 15 year plan !



© 1999 - 2014 Crash Media Group

The total or partial reproduction of text, photographs or illustrations is not permitted in any form.