WRC Sweden: Latvala holds slender lead as Mikkelsen closes the gap
|Friday, February 7th 2014, 18:08 GMT|
Jari-Matti Latvala continues to lead Rally Sweden despite Volkswagen team-mate Andreas Mikkelsen clawing back time on the Karlstad superspecial.
Latvala had built up a 4.8-second advantage over Mikkelsen on Friday afternoon, but his charging team-mate - seeking a maiden World Rally Championship podium, let alone victory – reduced that to 3.6s with the fastest time on Friday evening.
Mads Ostberg still holds a firm grasp of third place in the lead Citroen, despite twice being baulked by M-Sport Ford driver Robert Kubica earlier in the day.
The Norwegian extended his advantage over M-Sport pair Mikko Hirvonen and Ott Tanak on the superspecial to 19.7s. Hirvonen's narrow lead in the intra-team team fight remains at six seconds.
Kubica's woes, allied to Juho Hanninen crashing his Hyundai, had elevated Kris Meeke to sixth, and the Citroen driver consolidated that position with the eighth fastest time. Henning Solberg is now his closest rival, 15.8s back, after leapfrogging Pontus Tidemand.
World champion Sebastien Ogier's charge back up the order in his VW continued as he nicked ninth place from Elfyn Evans.
The Frenchman continued his fine form from Friday afternoon – when he claimed all four stage wins – with the second quickest time on the 1.9km Karlstad blast.
Leading positions after SS16:
Pos Driver Team/Car Time/Gap 1. Jari-Matti Latvala VW 1h48m47.6s 2. Andreas Mikkelsen VW +3.6s 3. Mads Ostberg Citroen +43.0s 4. Mikko Hirvonen M-Sport Ford +1m02.7s 5. Ott Tanak M-Sport Ford +1m08.7s 6. Kris Meeke Citroen +2m31.2s 7. Henning Solberg Solberg Ford +2m47.0s 8. Pontus Tidemand M-Sport Ford +2m48.4s 9. Sebastien Ogier VW +3m38.4s 10. Elfyn Evans M-Sport Ford +3m41.8s
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