SS14: Three in a row for Latvala
Jari-Matti Latvala claimed his third consecutive stage win when he edged out a resurgent Mads Ostberg through Dyfnant, but more importantly for the Finn he made sizeable inroads into Sebastien Ogier’s Wales Rally GB lead.
Latvala was 7.9sec quicker than his Volkswagen Polo R team-mate to reduce the deficit to 17.1sec with just two passes through the short Chirk Castle spectator stage remaining in today’s third leg.
The excitement in Latvala’s voice was clear when he said: “Sometimes you really get a big kick when you do a good stage. Ogier has been really quick but he is also human and he cannot do a perfect run in every stage.”
Ogier was unperturbed by his time, which was fourth quickest. “Yes, we lost a bit of time but it’s not a big drama. We can afford to lose a bit. There was nothing particular wrong, I was just too slow and too careful,” explained the Frenchman.
Ostberg delivered his best performance so far in his Ford Fiesta RS after some strong words on the telephone from father Morten.
“I’ve been driving very hard all day but I’ve not understood things. The balance was good but the times weren’t there. We were lacking traction, especially in the uphill sections, and losing a lot of time – perhaps a second per kilometre.
“I had a call from my father and he told me to listen. He said if I wanted to finish where I was then carry on with the car as it was. But he told me if I wanted to improve then I should fully open the (suspension) rebound. I’ve always listened to him and I did so again!” said Ostberg.
Andreas Mikkelsen maintained his impressive showing with third fastest time, 6.4sec behind Latvala. But Ostberg’s pace means there is now only 4.8sec between the duo.
Thierry Neuville was fifth in his Fiesta RS, despite a minor panic at the start. “I was a bit late at the start and didn’t have time to fix my seat belts, but once we got into the stage it was OK,” said the Belgian.
Dani Sordo completed the top six in his Citroen DS3.
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