Latvala holding on in Jordan

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By www.wrc.com

2 April 2010 - 11:40
Latvala holding on in Jordan

The battle for the World Rally Championship was turned on its head this morning when title chaser Mikko Hirvonen crashed out of the Jordan Rally.

Hirvonen, who started day two in fifth overall, crashed 4.5 kilometres from the start of the 10.49-kilometre Suwayma stage after clipping a bank with the front-right corner of his Focus RS WRC 09. He then ricocheted across the road into another bank, breaking his car’s front-left suspension in the process.

The Finn and co-driver Jarmo Lehtinen were unhurt in the incident but were forced to retire from today’s action. It is expected they will return under SupeRally regulations on Saturday.

Hirvonen’s Ford team-mate Jari-Matti Latvala continues to lead the third round of the WRC, although his overnight advantage has been slashed from 30.2 seconds to 4.7s after three special stages.

“It has been a difficult morning and I dropped more time in Jordan River than I thought,” said Latvala. “My pacenotes were too ambitious in places and I slid wide.” Citroen’s Sebastien Loeb, the six-time WRC champion and current championship leader, is up to second place after going fastest on Friday’s first stage and the daunting Jordan River test, which at 41.45 kilometres is the longest of this demanding gravel event."

“I am happy so far with no problems,” said Loeb. “I was a bit slower in the second stage because it was not so clean and it was difficult to find a rhythm.”

Sebastien Ogier is currently third for the Citroen Junior Team, 13.9 seconds up on Petter Solberg. The Norwegian moved into second in his privately-run Citroen C4 after winning stage nine, the 17.20-kilometre Kafrain test. However, he lost time on the Jordan River stage due to a lack of grip caused by running stiffer spring settings.

Dani Sordo, in the second factory C4, is 6.3 seconds behind Solberg after the Spaniard suffered a half spin close to the end of the Jordan River stage. Henning Solberg had been sixth but lost several minutes when he nudged his right-rear tyre off its rim hitting a rock on the Jordan River stage and drove on for approximately 18 kilometres. He complained of a brake problem afterwards.

Solberg’s misfortune has promoted Stobart M-Sport team-mate Matthew Wilson into sixth with Federico Villagra now in seventh in his Munchi’s Ford Focus.

Ex-Formula One world champion Kimi Raikkonen is up to eighth after an encouraging start to the day when he set the sixth fastest time on the Suwayma stage. He reported losing more than a minute stuck behind the slow-moving Solberg on Jordan River.

Xevi Pons has moved ahead of Bernardo Sousa in the Super 2000 World Rally Championship category. Patrik Flodin still leads the race race for Production Car World Rally Championship honours, despite an overshoot on stage ten.

Of the original 33 starters, 31 made the re-start at the Dead Sea this morning. There are three stages remaining before crews reach the overnight halt.

Pos.DriverCarTime
01 Jari-Matti LATVALA Ford Focus WRC 1h56m50.4s
02 Sébastien LOEB Citroën C4 WRC +4.7s
03 Sébastien OGIER Citroën C4 WRC +14.1s
04 Petter SOLBERG Citroën C4 WRC +28.0s
05 Dani SORDO Citroën C4 WRC +34.3s
06 Matthew WILSON Ford Focus WRC +3m17.9s
07 Federico VILLAGRA Ford Focus WRC +4m26.3s
08 Kimi RAIKKÖNEN Citroën C4 WRC +5m46.7s
09 Xavier PONS Ford Fiesta S2000 +7m12.2s
10 Bernardo SOUSA Ford Fiesta S2000 +7m20.3s
11 Patrik FLODIN Subaru Impreza Gr N +7m35.7s
12 Armindo ARAÚJO Mitsubishi Lancer Gr N +7m53.3s
13 Henning SOLBERG Ford Focus WRC +8m34.3s
14 Yazeed AL RAJHI Peugeot 207 S2000 +11m10.4s
15 Mikko Hirvonen Ford Focus WRC +15m14.8s
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