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Rally GB: Jari-Matti Latvala stretches lead after Saturday's opening loop

Jari-Matti Latvala, Ford, GB 2012Jari-Matti Latvala stretched his Rally GB lead to 22 seconds with another commanding performance on Saturday's opening loop.

Latvala's first stage win of the day did not come until the third test, Halfway, but he was consistently quicker than nearest rival and Ford team-mate Petter Solberg.

Sebastien Loeb finally gave Citroen its first stage win on Epynt, as he closed in on Solberg for second. The gap between them is down to 3.9s.

Mads Ostberg is still in touch with the podium fight, 12.2s behind Loeb. The Adapta Ford was quickest on Crychan.

It has been another difficult morning for Mikko Hirvonen.

The Finn was despondent about his lack of pace early on, and then declared he would push to the limit once his Citroen started performing better on Halfway.

But even on that stage he was only fifth quickest, and he is now half a minute behind Ostberg and only 20s clear of Ott Tanak, who has edged away from his M-Sport Ford team-mate Evgeny Novikov.

Leading positions after SS9:

Pos  Driver              Team/Car           Time/Gap
 1.  Jari-Matti Latvala  Ford             1h50m49.5s
 3.  Petter Solberg      Ford                + 22.2s
 2.  Sebastien Loeb      Citroen             + 26.1s
 4.  Mads Ostberg        Adapta Ford         + 38.3s
 5.  Mikko Hirvonen      Citroen           + 1m08.9s
 6.  Ott Tanak           M-Sport Ford      + 1m28.8s
 7.  Evgeny Novikov      M-Sport Ford      + 1m46.1s
 8.  Thierry Neuville    Citroen Junior    + 3m04.6s
 9.  Matthew Wilson      M-Sport Ford      + 4m00.0s
10.  Martin Prokop       Czech Ford        + 4m35.0s
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