Sebastien Loeb leads into closing stages of Rally Finland
|Saturday, July 30th 2011, 13:30 GMT|
Sebastien Loeb holds a 12.5-second advantage going into the final three stages of Rally Finland after maintaining his lead through the first part of the final afternoon.
The world champion made a break from rivals Sebastien Ogier and Jari-Matti Latvala this morning, giving him a cushion to maintain during the remaining six-stage loop.
Citroen has currently lost its one-two formation, though, as a puncture on SS17 cost Ogier several seconds and left him more cautious thereafter, allowing Latvala (Ford) to move into second, 2.5 seconds ahead.
"It's difficult for me because I have no more spares and one tyre very bad on the rear," said Ogier.
"First of all I want to finish the rally. It's a shame because without this puncture I think I would have been in a very good position to fight for the win."
Ford's Mikko Hirvonen continues to set a spectacular pace, winning two of the latest three stages to take fifth from Mads Ostberg (Stobart Ford) and close to within 3.6s of Petter Solberg's independent Citroen.
Mini has had a tough afternoon so far, with temperature issues affecting both cars and Kris Meeke also sustaining a puncture. Dani Sordo has fallen from seventh to 10th, behind the Stobart Fords of Henning Solberg and Matthew Wilson, and Kimi Raikkonen's Citroen. The former Formula 1 driver lost a little time when he damaged his car in an impact with the scenery on SS18.
Leading positions after SS19: Pos Driver Team/Car Time/Gap 1. Sebastien Loeb Citroen 2h27m21.2s 2. Jari-Matti Latvala Ford + 12.5s 3. Sebastien Ogier Citroen + 15.0s 4. Petter Solberg Solberg Citroen + 1m14.9s 5. Mikko Hirvonen Ford + 1m18.5s 6. Mads Ostberg Stobart Ford + 1m25.4s 7. Henning Solberg Stobart Ford + 3m21.9s 8. Matthew Wilson Stobart Ford + 3m44.9s 9. Kimi Raikkonen Ice 1 Citroen + 3m47.0s 10. Dani Sordo Mini + 3m49.3s