Argentina WRC: Sebastien Loeb cruising towards victory
|Saturday, May 4th 2013, 13:38 GMT|
Sebastien Loeb is cruising towards an eighth Rally Argentina victory with Sebastien Ogier having backed right off.
The gap between Loeb's Citroen and Ogier's Volkswagen is now up to 1m06.9s with just two stages to go.
Having lost time with a puncture and an error on Friday, Ogier decided to let Loeb go as his arch-rival is not a championship threat this year.
That allowed both Frenchmen to take it easy through Saturday's opening loop.
But behind them, the battle for the final podium spot still rages.
VW's Jari-Matti Latvala took both stage victories as he attempts to get third place back from Evgeny Novikov's M-Sport Ford following a Friday puncture.
Novikov was only 0.9s shy of Latvala's pace on the opening Mina Clavero stage, despite his Ford's engine refusing to engage stage mode, leaving him struggling for throttle response.
But Latvala was comfortably faster on El Condor and is now only 3.4s behind.
The only other changes affecting the leading drivers are among the Rally2 returnees at the foot of the top 10, where Dani Sordo has got ahead of Andreas Mikkelsen for ninth as both close on Martin Prokop.
Leading positions after SS12: Pos Driver Team/Car Time/Gap 1. Sebastien Loeb Citroen 4h04m09.1s 2. Sebastien Ogier VW + 1m06.9s 3. Evgeny Novikov M-Sport Ford + 2m33.5s 4. Jari-Matti Latvala VW + 2m36.9s 5. Thierry Neuville M-Sport Ford + 4m19.1s 6. Mikko Hirvonen Citroen + 6m37.6s 7. Mads Ostberg M-Sport Ford + 10m57.5s 8. Martin Prokop Czech Ford + 13m17.4s 9. Dani Sordo Citroen + 13m21.3s 10. Andreas Mikkelsen VW + 13m25.3s