Close battle for Norwegian supremacy in Mexico

Ostberg less than 10 seconds in front of countryman Solberg

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By Franck Drui

10 March 2012 - 18:49
Close battle for Norwegian supremacy in

The battle to be the top Norwegian finisher on Rally Guanajuato Mexico looks set to go down to the wire with Mads Ostberg heading countryman Petter Solberg by less than 10 seconds starting Saturday’s second loop of stages.

Ostberg began day two in third overall but dropped behind Jari-Matti Latvala to fourth on Ibarrilla 1 due to a combination of low-lying sun and a build-up of dust inside his Adapta Fiesta affecting his vision.

He went faster than factory Ford driver Solberg on the next test, Otates 1, but his advantage over the 2003 world champion, who is driving a similar Ford Fiesta RS WRC, was down to 9.3s prior to stage 15, the repeat of the Ibrarrilla run.

“We had two very long stages so it was quite a tricky morning and nothing really worked for us on the first stage,” said Ostberg. “We are getting there but there are still some things to improve on the car and I also have to make some changes to my driving style. But we are learning. Sometimes it is going in the right direction and then we are quicker, but other times it is not that simple. But that is just the way it is.”

Solberg, the winner in Mexico in 2005, said: “I struggled a little for traction in the first stage so I softened the settings for the next test, but that didn’t help. The brakes started to fade midway through the long stage, which made the car more difficult to drive. I have to continue to drive flat out, but I must avoid hitting anything that can cause punctures.”

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