Sebastien Ogier moves into Rally Finland lead
|Friday, July 29th 2011, 13:54 GMT|
Sebastien Ogier has taken a narrow Rally Finland lead after SS9.
The three-way battle between Citroen team-mates Sebastien Loeb and Ogier, and Ford's Jari-Matti Latvala, got increasingly close through stages seven to nine, before Ogier moved into first place by 0.4 seconds over Loeb at the end of Hyvaneula.
"It was a very good stage time," said Ogier. "I think we all pushed to the maximum and it's very difficult to make a difference."
Latvala had closed to within 5s of the lead following SS8 as he raised his pace this afternoon, but he then dropped a couple of seconds on SS9 when he briefly lost control as his Ford bottomed out on a rut.
Petter Solberg continues in fourth place in his own team's Citroen.
Jari Ketomaa's superb run has come to an end after he rolled his Ford out of fifth place on SS8. That promoted Mads Ostberg's Stobart Ford into the top five, ahead of the works Mini of Dani Sordo, whose team-mate Kris Meeke has slipped back a little in eighth amid electrical glitches.
Mikko Hirvonen continues to fly back through the field, his run of stage wins only interrupted by his Ford team-mate Latvala going quickest on SS7 (by just 0.2s). That pace has brought him back up from an overnight 36th place to seventh, with the gap to the front down from 2m02s to 1m37s.
Skoda driver Juho Hanninen now holds a clear S2000 lead in ninth overall after rival Ott Tanak lost a lot of time trying to get going again after an SS8 spin. Henning Solberg (Stobart) has edged clear of team-mate Matthew Wilson and Ice 1 Citroen's Kimi Raikkonen in their battle for what is now 10th.
Leading positions after SS9: Pos Driver Team/Car Time/Gap 1. Sebastien Ogier Citroen 1h21m28.6s 2. Sebastien Loeb Citroen + 0.4s 3. Jari-Matti Latvala Ford + 7.2s 4. Petter Solberg Solberg Citroen + 32.4s 5. Mads Ostberg Stobart Ford + 1m05.9s 6. Dani Sordo Mini + 1m29.2s 7. Mikko Hirvonen Ford + 1m37.3s 8. Kris Meeke Mini + 1m53.3s 9. Juho Hanninen Red Bull Skoda + 1m57.9s 10. Henning Solberg Stobart Ford + 2m05.3s