Latvala leads Jordan Rally for Ford
Ford’s Jari-Matti Latvala holds a 4.3-second lead over Citroen privateer Petter Solberg following the opening two stages of the Jordan Rally, round three of the World Rally Championship.
Latvala and co-driver Miikka Anttila have been fastest on both runs so far, the 15.34-kilometre Rumman Forest test and the first pass of the 8.65-kilometre Wadi Shueib stage.
But while Latvala is in a buoyant mood heading to the third Mahes stage, his team-mate Mikko Hirvonen is languishing in seventh overall following a half-spin in Rumman Forest. The Finn lost approximately 10 seconds after stalling twice in his efforts to restart his Ford Focus WRC.
He is currently 20.5 seconds behind leader Latvala and 10.5 seconds adrift of archrival and world championship leader Sebastien Loeb, who is fifth overall in his Citroen C4 WRC.
Loeb was braced for a difficult morning by virtue of the fact he’s having to create a line through the loose gravel surface, which hinders traction and braking. Hirvonen’s early delay, therefore, provided an unexpected boost for the Frenchman in his efforts to land a second successive win.
Loeb’s team-mate Dani Sordo is third with Citroen Junior Team ace Sebastien Ogier 1.7 seconds behind in fourth.
Behind Loeb, Henning Solberg holds sixth with Matthew Wilson eighth after dropping a few seconds avoiding a rock lying in the middle of the road on stage one.
Ex-Formula One world champion Kimi Raikkonen, who is competing on a gravel rally for only the third time, is currently 11th overall in his C4.
P-G Andersson tops the Super 2000 World Rally Championship class in a Skoda Fabia, which has lost Finn Jari Ketomaa who is reported to have failed to have started stage two in his Ford Fiesta due to an engine problem.
Patrik Flodin leads the Production Car World Rally Championship division in his Subaru Impreza.
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