SS8 : Loeb closes the gap

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By www.wrc.com

26 March 2011 - 12:17
SS8 : Loeb closes the gap

Sebastien Loeb has moved into second overall on Vodafone Rally de Portugal after winning Saturday’s opening stage.

The seven-time world champion, at the wheel of a Citroen DS3 WRC, was eight-tenths of a second faster than team-mate Sebastien Ogier, who moves up into third.

“That’s a good start for sure,” said Loeb. “The road was cleaning and it’s more dry than we thought in the service park because of the rain. I am pushing very hard and we try to go as fast as possible but all drivers are still in the fight. It’s a hard battle.”

Ogier said: “The rally is really tough and we didn’t drive quite so well at the end. I had to wake up quicker today than yesterday. I have to drive fast, safely but fast. You can see a clean line and I think I will have a better advantage on the next stage.”

Mikko Hirvonen, who has slipped from second to fourth overall, said: “I just made a small mistake at the end. We had a near off right at the start of the stage as well because we are really pushing hard.”

Overnight leader Jari-Matti Latvala, who is facing the prospect of cleaning the loose-surface gravel by running first on the road, was 9.9s slower than Loeb on the stage.

“There’s more cleaning today than yesterday,” said Latvala. “Let’s hope the overnight rain will help on the next two stages because on this stage it has not really been raining.”

Matthew Wilson impressed by moving ahead of M-Sport Stobart team-mate Henning Solberg into fifth overall despite reporting a lack of grip on the slippery surface.

Standings after SS8:

Pos.DriverCarTime
01 J. LATVALA / M. ANTTILA Ford Fiesta RS WRC 1h39m54.1s
02 S. LOEB / D. ELENA Citroën DS3 WRC +3.8s
03 S. OGIER / J. INGRASSIA Citroën DS3 WRC +7.6s
04 M. HIRVONEN / J. LEHTINEN Ford Fiesta RS WRC +9.8s
05 M. WILSON / S. MARTIN Ford Fiesta RS WRC +2m36.8s
06 H. SOLBERG / I. MINOR Ford Fiesta RS WRC +2m44.3s
07 A. ARAUJO / M. RAMALHO Mini John Cooper Works S2000 +4m44.4s
08 K. RAIKKONEN /K. LINDSTROM Citroën DS3 WRC +5m12.9s
09 F. VILLAGRA / J. PÉREZ COMPANC Ford Fiesta RS WRC +5m24.2s
10 K. AL QASSIMI / M. ORR Ford Fiesta RS WRC +5m50.5s
11 H. PADDON / J. KENNARD Subaru Impreza STI +7m00.5s
12 D. KUIPERS / F. MICLOTTE Ford Fiesta RS WRC +7m04.6s
13 A. GRONDAL / V. ENGAN Subaru Impreza STI +8m04.9s
14 B. MAGALHAES / P. GRAVE Peugeot 207 S2000 +9m33.5s
15 P. VAN MERKSTEIJN / E. CHEVAILLIER Citroën DS3 WRC +10m01.2s

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