SS9: Loeb’s fury at dust delay

After Hirvonen’s puncture



26 March 2011 - 13:07
SS9: Loeb's fury at dust delay

Sebastien Loeb has vented his anger at rival Mikko Hirvonen at the finish of stage nine of Vodafone Rally de Portugal.

Hirvonen suffered a puncture during the stage and had to stop to fit a spare. He resumed his charge in front of Loeb who lost time running in the dust clouds created by Hirvonen’s Ford Fiesta RS WRC.

Loeb switched on his windscreen wipers in an effort to see where he was going in his Citroen DS3 WRC but lost vital ground to leader, the Ford-driver Jari-Matti Latvala.

“I’m sure Sebastien is really mad but it happens, I’m sorry,” said Hirvonen, who lost almost two minutes. “We changed the tyre, the road was clear and we went.”

At the end of stage stop control Loeb nudged the bumper of Hirvonen’s car with his before telling WRC TV that Hirvonen had “destroyed” his race.

“He has a puncture and started eight seconds in front of me and didn’t let me pass to protect Latvala,” said Loeb, who is now 32.5s adrift of Latvala. “He destroyed my race. He had the puncture not me. We can play for third only. It’s finished.”

Loeb’s team-mate Sebastien Ogier was second fastest through the stage to close to within 5.6 seconds of Latvala.

“It was a hard stage,” said Latvala. “It was clear for us but there are so many rocks that you can’t take cuts. At the end of the stage I started to feel I had a puncture.”

Petter Solberg, on a charge to make up the time lost with a spate of punctures on Friday, won the stage.

Standings after SS9:

01 J. LATVALA / M. ANTTILA Ford Fiesta RS WRC 1h56m22.7s
02 S. OGIER / J. INGRASSIA Citroën DS3 WRC +5.6s
03 S. LOEB / D. ELENA Citroën DS3 WRC +32.5s
04 M. HIRVONEN / J. LEHTINEN Ford Fiesta RS WRC +2m06.5s
05 M. WILSON / S. MARTIN Ford Fiesta RS WRC +3m08.9s
06 H. SOLBERG / I. MINOR Ford Fiesta RS WRC +3m13.5s
07 A. ARAUJO / M. RAMALHO Mini John Cooper Works S2000 +5m36.4s
08 K. RAIKKONEN /K. LINDSTROM Citroën DS3 WRC +5m51.8s
09 F. VILLAGRA / J. PÉREZ COMPANC Ford Fiesta RS WRC +6m06.1s
10 K. AL QASSIMI / M. ORR Ford Fiesta RS WRC +6m57.6s
11 H. PADDON / J. KENNARD Subaru Impreza STI +8m01.7s
12 D. KUIPERS / F. MICLOTTE Ford Fiesta RS WRC +8m09.2s
13 A. GRONDAL / V. ENGAN Subaru Impreza STI +10m49.8s
14 B. MAGALHAES / P. GRAVE Peugeot 207 S2000 +10m54.6s
15 P. SOLBERG / C. PATTERSON Citroën DS3 WRC +11m23.3s


Motorsport news