Ogier moves clear in New Zealand
|By Matt Beer||Friday, May 7th 2010, 21:56 GMT|
Sebastien Ogier has taken a clear lead in the Rally New Zealand after the first three stages of leg two.
In his first attempt at the event, the Citroen Junior driver moved up from his overnight third place to first on Saturday's opening stage and then began edging away from the field.
Second-placed Jari-Matti Latvala (Ford) is now 12.6 seconds behind Ogier, with works Citroen driver Dani Sordo a further 10.7s back in third.
Petter Solberg had led at the end of Friday, but that meant he ran first on the road today. He managed to stay close to the pace for the first two stages of the leg, but lost 16s to Ogier on the long Te Akau Coast stage and fell to fifth.
All three stages so far have been won by Sebastien Loeb (Citroen), as the world champion mounts an incredible fightback following his brush with a bridge on Friday morning.
Loeb's winning margin on the 30.89-kilometre Te Akau Coast was an astonishing 22s, bringing him to within 38.5s of the rally lead, and putting him less than 2s behind title rival Mikko Hirvonen, whose underwhelming weekend continued when he spun and clipped a bank on today's first stage.
Pos Driver Car Time/Gap 1. Sebastien Ogier Citroen 2h19m06.4s 2. Jari-Matti Latvala Ford + 12.6s 3. Dani Sordo Citroen + 23.3s 4. Petter Solberg Citroen + 25.4s 5. Mikko Hirvonen Ford + 36.6s 6. Sebastien Loeb Citroen + 38.5s 7. Matthew Wilson Ford + 2m03.0s 8. Henning Solberg Ford + 4m09.7s 9. Jari Ketomaa Ford + 5m56.2s 10. Xevi Pons Ford + 6m28.1s