WRC Rally GB: Sebastien Ogier on brink of win in Wales
|By Ben Anderson||Sunday, November 17th 2013, 11:55 GMT|
Sebastien Ogier remains on course for his maiden Rally GB victory after Volkswagen team-mate Jari-Matti Latvala failed to make a significant dent in the world champion's advantage on Sunday morning.
Ogier tightened his grip on the rally by going quickest through the first stage in Dyfnant, at 13.23 miles the longest of the day by far.
From there he simply managed the gap to Latvala, who complained of increased understeer in his VW Polo.
Ogier heads into the final round of stages with a 26 second lead at the top of the standings after Latvala dropped more time by stalling on SS19.
Thierry Neuville dropped a handful of seconds with a mistaken pacenote in SS18, but remains on course to complete the podium in his final rally with the M-Sport Ford Fiesta before he leaves to head up Hyundai's new World Rally Championship programme.
He capped a fine morning's work by winning the powerstage at Clocaenog by 0.5s from Evgeny Novikov and Mads Ostberg.
Andreas Mikkelsen headed into the final day hoping to close down Neuville and make it a VW podium lockout in the final rally of the season, but a spin on SS17 dropped him into a tight fight with Ostberg for fourth.
Ostberg set the fastest time of all through SS18 and led Mikkelsen by just 1.9s heading into SS19, but Mikkelsen damaged his Polo against a bank on the powerstage and dropped almost 16s to his Norwegian rival.
Martin Prokop's Ford Fiesta comfortably heads Citroen's Dani Sordo in rounding out the top six, while local hero Elfyn Evans still holds a comfortable lead over Jari Ketomaa in the battle to be best of the WRC2 runners.
Leading positions after SS19: Pos Driver Team/Car Time/Gap 1. Sebastien Ogier VW 2h57m47.6s 2. Jari-Matti Latvala VW +26.0s 3. Thierry Neuville M-Sport Ford +1m18.8s 4. Mads Ostberg M-Sport Ford +1m38.5s 5. Andreas Mikkelsen VW +1m56.0s 6. Martin Prokop Czech Ford +7m19.2s 7. Dani Sordo Citroen +8m17.2s 8. Elfyn Evans M-Sport Ford +10m44.2s* 9. Jari Ketomaa Autotek Ford +11m47.3s* 10. Mark Higgins Symtech Ford +12m46.1s* * WRC2 Leading powerstage results: Pos Driver Team/Car Time/Gap 1. Thierry Neuville M-Sport Ford 4m18.0s 2. Evgeny Novikov M-Sport Ford +0.5s 3. Mads Ostberg M-Sport Ford +0.5s 4. Sebastien Ogier VW +1.1s 5. Jari-Matti Latvala VW +7.6s