Citroen's Sebastien Loeb and Mikko Hirvonen told to hold position at front of Rally New Zealand field
|By David Evans||Saturday, June 23rd 2012, 08:24 GMT|
Citroen has told its drivers to hold position on the final day of Rally New Zealand, with Sebastien Loeb and Mikko Hirvonen currently first and second in the event's standings.
This means that Loeb should secure his third Rally NZ victory, providing he emerges unscathed from Sunday's seven stages.
Team principal Yves Matton said: "I told them to stay where they are now. It makes no sense for them to continue the fight into tomorrow."
Matton admitted Hirvonen's lack of suitable tyres for the final leg made the decision even easier to make.
"Seb has some [soft] tyres for tomorrow, but Mikko doesn't, with this situation it could be even more complicated if they are going to fight, so it's sensible for them to stop. I spoke with Mikko and he understands, in fact, he came to the same conclusion as me about the situation."
Loeb said he was happy that the fight with Hirvonen had continued for a second day.
"We were in this position last night," said the world champion, "and Yves might have told us then, so I am pleased he let us carry on fighting for 350km. It was a big fight with Mikko."
Hirvonen dropped two seconds to Loeb through Saturday, going into the final loop just 6.4 seconds down on the leader.