SS8 : Loeb closes the gap
Setting the fastest time
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:
|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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