SS11 : Dramatic stage victory for Loeb
Tactics come into play
Sebastien Loeb has gone fastest on Friday’s final stage to retake the lead of Neste Oil Rally Finland from Citroen team-mate Sebastien Ogier.
It means the seven-time world champion will start first on the road on the final day with a 1.5s lead after Ogier slowed during the stage to avoid running at the head of the field over Saturday’s 11 stages.
Loeb checked in one minute late at the stage start, which incurred a 10-second time penalty, in an attempt to ensure he would run behind Ogier on Saturday. But Ogier responded by slowing.
Jari-Matti Latvala, running third on the road, was the main beneficiary. Although he dropped time, the combination of Loeb’s penalty and Ogier’s reduced pace on the final stage means the Finn will start day three 2.6s off the lead in third position, which is expected to hand the Ford driver an advantage due to the effect of road cleaning.
Mikko Hirvonen has moved ahead of Dani Sordo into sixth overall after the MINI driver reported making a mistake and going off the road.
MINI driver Armindo Araujo and Volkswagen Motorsport’s Andreas Mikkelsen both spun during the stage.
|01||S. LOEB / D. ELENA||Citroën DS3 WRC||1h29m01.3s|
|02||S. OGIER / J. INGRASSIA||Citroën DS3 WRC||+1.5s|
|03||J. LATVALA / M. ANTTILA||Ford Fiesta RS WRC||+2.6s|
|04||P. SOLBERG / C. PATTERSSON||Citroën DS3 WRC||+29.2s|
|05||M. ØSTBERG / J. ANDERSSON||Ford Fiesta RS WRC||+1m00.1s|
|06||M. HIRVONEN / J. LEHTINEN||Ford Fiesta RS WRC||+1m28.7s|
|07||D. SORDO / C. DEL BARRIO||MINI WRC||+1m36.2s|
|08||K. MEEKE / P. NAGLE||MINI WRC||+1m51.0s|
|09||J. HANNINEN / M. MARKKULA||Skoda Fabia S2000||+2m04.0s|
|10||H. SOLBERG / I. MINOR||Ford Fiesta RS WRC||+2m06.1s|
|11||M. WILSON / S. MARTIN||Ford Fiesta RS WRC||+2m16.9s|
|12||K. RAIKKONEN / K. LINDSTRÖM||Citroën DS3 WRC||+2m20.5s|
|13||M. PROKOP / J. TOMÁNEK||FORD Fiesta S2000||+3m31.7s|
|14||D. KUIPERS / F. MICLOTTE||Ford Fiesta RS WRC||+3m28.3s|
|15||A. MIKKELSEN / O. FLOENE||SKODA Fabia S2000||+4m14.8s|
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