Germany WRC: Thierry Neuville hounding leader Jari-Matti Latvala
|By Matt Beer||Friday, August 23rd 2013, 10:49 GMT|
Jari-Matti Latvala is under huge pressure for the Rally Germany lead from Thierry Neuville.
The pair found themselves elevated into a fight for victory when Latvala's championship-leading Volkswagen team-mate Sebastien Ogier went off the road on Friday morning's opener and damaged his suspension.
Ogier effected a temporary fix using ratchet straps and continued. He had already lost two and a half minutes, though, and then crashed on the next stage when the ad hoc repairs broke.
Latvala was initially five seconds clear of Neuville's M-Sport Ford after Ogier's incident.
But the Belgian went fastest on all three Friday morning stages and has cut Latvala's advantage to just 2.1s.
The Citroens are next up, Dani Sordo and Mikko Hirvonen gradually slipping away from Latvala and Neuville's battle in third and fourth places.
Neuville's team-mate Mads Ostberg is a distant fifth and unhappy with his pace.
Robert Kubica continues to lead WRC2, but Elfyn Evans has closed the gap to eight seconds.
Leading positions after SS5: Pos Driver Team/Car Time/Gap 1. Jari-Matti Latvala VW 59m12.6s 2. Thierry Neuville M-Sport Ford +2.4s 3. Dani Sordo Citroen +15.1s 4. Mikko Hirvonen Citroen +28.3s 5. Mads Ostberg M-Sport Ford +1m20.3s 6. Martin Prokop Czech Ford +2m45.3s 7. Nasser Al-Attiyah M-Sport Ford +2m55.1s 8. Robert Kubica PH Citroen +3m17.8s* 9. Elfyn Evans M-Sport Ford +3m26.1s* 10. Michal Kosciuszko Lotos Ford +3m42.7s * WRC2