Loeb on top, Junior pair hit trouble
|By Matt Beer||Friday, July 9th 2010, 14:09 GMT|
Sebastien Loeb is now half a minute clear of the field in Bulgaria, while Sebastien Ogier lost time with an error and Kimi Raikkonen crashed out.
Raikkonen had been enjoying his best World Rally Championship performance to date as he held fifth on the opening loop, and then set better split times than Loeb on occasion this afternoon.
But the former grand prix driver then crashed near the end of today's final stage. The stage was stopped afterwards, with following drivers reporting that Raikkonen's car had gone a long way off the road. The Citroen Junior team confirmed that Raikkonen and co-driver Kaj Lindstrom are uninjured.
Raikkonen's Citroen Junior team-mate Ogier was second behind Loeb at the lunchtime service, but lost nearly a minute and a half when he overshot a junction on SS3 and had difficulty getting back on the road.
Having dropped to seventh, Ogier immediately commenced his recovery by going second-fastest to Loeb on SS4, taking seven seconds out of the two Fords ahead in the process.
With Ogier delayed, Dani Sordo is up to second, half a minute behind his dominant team-mate Loeb, but now nearly 10s ahead of third-placed Petter Solberg (Solberg Citroen).
Ford continues to struggle to match Citroen in Bulgaria, with Mikko Hirvonen and Jari-Matti Latvala over a minute adrift in fourth and fifth positions, and facing a fight to hold off Ogier tomorrow.
P-G Andersson is a lonely seventh on his Stobart Ford debut, while Hungarian driver Frigyes Turan is impressively keeping his ageing Peugeot 307 ahead of Andersson's team-mate Matthew Wilson.
Henning Solberg completes the top ten in his first run with the S2000 Ford. Just behind, Mathieu Arzeno holds a narrow lead over Thierry Neuville in the Junior contest.
Pos Driver Car Time/Gap 1. Sebastien Loeb Citroen 1h05m26.7s 2. Dani Sordo Citroen + 28.1s 3. Petter Solberg Citroen + 38.0s 4. Mikko Hirvonen Ford + 1m10.9s 5. Jari-Matti Latvala Ford + 1m21.2s 6. Sebastien Ogier Citroen + 1m31.3s 7. P-G Andersson Ford + 2m26.3s 8. Frigyes Turan Peugeot + 2m49.1s 9. Matthew Wilson Ford + 3m45.6s 10. Henning Solberg Ford + 4m43.4s