SS17: Puncture wrecks Ogier’s hopes

Loeb edges away



30 July 2011 - 13:44
SS17: Puncture wrecks Ogier's (...)

Sebastien Ogier’s hopes of winning Neste Oil Rally Finland for the first time appear to be over after the Citroen ace picked up a front-left puncture approximately halfway through the 21.35-kilometre stage.

Ogier’s delay means he is now 17.7s behind his team-mate and rally leader Sebastien Loeb. “I had a puncture, I don’t know where it happened, maybe half of the stage,” said Ogier. “I don’t know now, we’ll see.”

Loeb could only manage the fourth fastest time and put his lack of pace down to the slippery stage conditions. “It was really, really bad in that stage,” he said. “There is a lot of loose gravel everywhere and we have no grip. I took big risks but I can’t go faster.”

Jari-Matti Latvala reported the rear grip problems that have plagued his factory Ford Fiesta for much of the event have been cured after his engineers adjusted the pre-load on his car’s rear differential. “It’s how I wanted it to be from the start of the rally,” said Latvala.

Mikko Hirvonen has closed to within one second of fifth-placed Mads Ostberg by winning the repeat of the Leustu stage. Ostberg was third quickest and in turn has closed to within 12.8s of the struggling Petter Solberg in fourth.

“We are getting close,” said Hirvonen. “The tyres are wearing and they are moving so much on this stage, but it’s the same playing field for everyone.”

Kris Meeke was delayed completing the stage in his MINI John Cooper Works WRC after suffering a puncture one kilometre from the start. An overheating problem caused him further anguish.

01 S. LOEB / D. ELENA Citroën DS3 WRC 2h13m16.4s
02 S. OGIER / J. INGRASSIA Citroën DS3 WRC +17.7s
03 J. LATVALA / M. ANTTILA Ford Fiesta RS WRC +18.2s
04 P. SOLBERG / C. PATTERSSON Citroën DS3 WRC +1m13.8s
05 M. ØSTBERG / J. ANDERSSON Ford Fiesta RS WRC +1m26.6s
06 M. HIRVONEN / J. LEHTINEN Ford Fiesta RS WRC +1m27.6s
08 H. SOLBERG / I. MINOR Ford Fiesta RS WRC +3m09.6s
09 M. WILSON / S. MARTIN Ford Fiesta RS WRC +3m31.3s
10 K. RAIKKONEN / K. LINDSTRÖM Citroën DS3 WRC +3m33.2s
11 J. HANNINEN / M. MARKKULA Skoda Fabia S2000 +4m12.1s
12 M. PROKOP / J. TOMÁNEK FORD Fiesta S2000 +6m19.8s
13 D. KUIPERS / F. MICLOTTE Ford Fiesta RS WRC +6m31.0s
14 K. MEEKE / P. NAGLE MINI WRC +6m57.4s
15 A. MIKKELSEN / O. FLOENE SKODA Fabia S2000 +7m18.8s


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