Latvala still leads as Ogier closes
|By Matt Beer||Saturday, July 31st 2010, 11:26 GMT|
Jari-Matti Latvala holds a 10-second lead over the flying Sebastien Ogier going into the final two stages of Rally Finland.
With Latvala (Ford) finding being first on the road more of an impediment on the latest loop of stages, Ogier (Citroen) has been able to carve into his lead.
The Frenchman, driving for the factory Citroen line-up for the first time, does not think he can catch Latvala in the time remaining, but intends to keep pushing.
"For the moment Jari-Matti has a good position because he still has 10 seconds [lead] and it's difficult to gain time now it's the second pass on the stage," said Ogier. "But we can put pressure on him until the end."
Latvala will now have the bonus of no longer having to clear the loose gravel from the road, though, as the leading running order is reversed for the final loop to ensure a better spectacle for the live television coverage of the deciding stage.
Ogier's team-mate Sebastien Loeb won two of the last three stages and has moved up to third ahead of Petter Solberg's private Citroen. However the world champion says Ogier is the only man who can defeat Latvala.
"I cannot go for the victory, it's too far now with two stages to go," said Loeb, who is 23s behind the leader. "Ogier is in a position where he can push."
Further back, Mads Ostberg's impressive progress has been the main source of interest. During the last three stages the Adapta Subaru driver demoted Juha Kankkunen (Stobart Ford) from seventh to eighth, and closed to within 33s of sixth-placed Matthew Wilson, having been nearly 1m20s adrift of the Briton at the start of the loop.
Pos Driver Car Time/Gap 1. Jari-Matti Latvala Ford 2h11m13.0s 2. Sebastien Ogier Citroen + 10.6s 3. Sebastien Loeb Citroen + 23.6s 4. Petter Solberg Citroen + 29.0s 5. Dani Sordo Citroen + 1m16.7s 6. Matthew Wilson Ford + 5m00.0s 7. Mads Ostberg Subaru + 5m32.7s 8. Juha Kankkunen Ford + 6m16.1s 9. Juho Hanninen Skoda + 7m35.9s 10. P-G Andersson Skoda + 8m26.5s