Latvala still on top in Jordan Rally
Just 0.4 seconds separate Jari-Matti Latvala and Dani Sordo at the top of the leaderboard of the Jordan Rally following the opening loop of four stages.
Ford Focus driver Latvala had built a 4.3-second advantage after setting the fastest time on the first two stages. Although he momentarily dropped behind Sordo to second when the Spaniard went quickest on stage three, the 20.44-kilometre Mahes run, he moved back in front on the final stage of the morning.
“The first two stages were slippery, which helped me because my road position is further back,” said Latvala. “But the first stage was really tough, it was like ballbearings - almost like it was on the old Rally Australia. The third stage was not so slippery and that helped the drivers behind us even more because they had a cleaner line.
“The grip has been changing a lot all of the time today, it’s been quite hard to read. I will be happy if the afternoon went as well as the morning. I’ve been very happy with the car, so far.”
Petter Solberg, who set the pace on stage four, the first pass of the 11.09-kilometre Mount Nebo run, is third overall in his Citroen C4 after a strong morning.
Sebastien Ogier is fourth in the first of the Citroen Junior Team’s two C4s, one place ahead of Sebastien Loeb. The six-time world champion is running first on the road and has lost ground on each stage as a result.
Mikko Hirvonen completes the top six in the second works Focus as he continues to recover from his spin halfway through the first stage of the day. The Finn was planning to return to the stages with a stiffer Ford Focus RS WRC 09, after he felt the car was too soft this morning.
“The spin was really frustrating,” said Hirvonen. “We just ran wide on some loose and the car half-spun. I then stalled twice while trying to get the car going again. After that it was okay, but the conditions were tough out there. I got into a good rhythm for the rest of the morning’s stages.”
Henning Solberg and Matthew Wilson are seventh and eighth respectively in their semi-works Focuses. FIA Super 2000 World Rally Championship class leader Nasser Al-Attiyah is ninth in a Skoda Fabia with Argentine Federico Villagra completing the top 10 in his Focus.
Wilson admitted he was surprised at the conditions, saying: “It’s not cleaning anything like as much as we thought it would. There’s just so much gravel around and it’s so deep - it’s incredible. It’s quite frustrating because, every now and then, you do get down to the hard base and the road is rock hard and the grip really good. It’s just getting that deep stuff swept aside off the top.”
The weather conditions remain hot and sunny with the ambient temperature hovering around the 25 degrees Centigrade mark.
The afternoon loop consists of three stages with the crews due to reach final service overlooking the Dead Sea at 1731hrs local time.
Results after SS4
|01||Jari-Matti LATVALA||Ford Focus WRC||42m25.6s|
|02||Dani SORDO||Citroën C4 WRC||+0.4s|
|03||Petter SOLBERG||Citroën C4 WRC||+1.5s|
|04||Sébastien OGIER||Citroën C4 WRC||+14.0s|
|05||Sébastien LOEB||Citroën C4 WRC||+21.1s|
|06||Mikko HIRVONEN||Ford Focus WRC||+28.0s|
|07||Henning SOLBERG||Ford Focus WRC||+41.6s|
|08||Matthew WILSON||Ford Focus WRC||+1m07.1s|
|09||Nasser AL-ATTIYAH||Skoda Fabia S2000||+1m26.1s|
|10||Federico VILLAGRA||Ford Focus WRC||+1m28.0s|
|11||Michal KOSCIUSZKO||Ford Fiesta S2000||+1m50.0s|
|12||Kimi RAIKKÖNEN||Citroën C4 WRC||+2m07.2s|
|13||Bernardo SOUSA||Ford Fiesta S2000||+2m13.4s|
|14||Patrik FLODIN||Subaru Impreza Gr N||+2m14.2s|
|15||Armindo ARAÚJO||Mitsubishi Lancer Gr N||+2m15.8s|
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