SS17: Puncture wrecks Ogier’s hopes
Loeb edges away
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|
|07||D. SORDO / C. DEL BARRIO||MINI WRC||+2m23.3s|
|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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