Jari-Matti Latvala charges away after opening day of Rally GB
|By Matt Beer||Friday, September 14th 2012, 14:57 GMT|
Jari-Matti Latvala charged away from the field as Ford dominated the second half of Rally GB's opening day on Friday.
Latvala and team-mate Petter Solberg had a comfortable advantage on the leg's last two stages, the Fiesta WRCs proving better suited to the increasingly slippery conditions than their Citroen rivals.
That meant Latvala was able to establish a 12-second lead, as Solberg grabbed second place from Sebastien Loeb.
The world champion is now 9.2s off Solberg and 21s adrift of leader Latvala. Although Loeb insisted he was still pushing, he acknowledged that with a very comfortable championship lead, being beaten in Wales would not be a disaster.
Loeb managed to keep Mads Ostberg's Adapta Ford at arm's length. The fourth-placed Norwegian is now 11s behind Loeb.
Mikko Hirvonen continues to struggle for speed in the second factory Citroen and is almost a minute down on Latvala in fifth.
There has been nothing to choose between M-Sport Ford's two full-time drivers all day, with Ott Tanak staying just ahead of team-mate Evgeny Novikov in sixth despite power steering worries.
Thierry Neuville is running a steady eighth for Citroen Junior, while Matthew Wilson is ninth in his first World Rally Championship appearance since January's Monte Carlo Rally.
Leading positions after SS6: Pos Driver Team/Car Time/Gap 1. Jari-Matti Latvala Ford 1h25m05.7s 2. Petter Solberg Ford + 12.1s 3. Sebastien Loeb Citroen + 21.3s 4. Mads Ostberg Adapta Ford + 32.6s 5. Mikko Hirvonen Citroen + 53.8s 6. Ott Tanak M-Sport Ford + 1m19.2s 7. Evgeny Novikov M-Sport Ford + 1m32.8s 8. Thierry Neuville Citroen Junior + 2m27.9s 9. Matthew Wilson M-Sport Ford + 3m17.0s 10. Martin Prokop Czech Ford + 3m36.8s