Sebastien Loeb still leads in Wales as Jari-Matti Latvala closes in
|Friday, November 11th 2011, 16:33 GMT|
Sebastien Loeb's Rally GB lead is down to just one second over Jari-Matti Latvala - but the Frenchman remains on the brink of the title.
If Ford confirms tonight that Mikko Hirvonen's car cannot restart via superally tomorrow due to the engine damage it sustained when he punctured his radiator this morning, Loeb will be able to celebrate his eighth consecutive world championship.
"For sure we are in a good situation at the moment after Mikko's problem," said the Citroen driver. "So we are waiting a bit now to see if Mikko restarts or not. It was very important for me to finish the day.
"Tomorrow is another day. If he doesn't start tomorrow morning then I'm world champion and there's no pressure."
Keen to salvage something for Ford, Latvala won three of this afternoon's four stages and moved right onto Loeb's tail - having been 17.7s behind at lunchtime.
"In the morning I was struggling," Latvala admitted. "I wasn't having a great feeling and I didn't drive well. But this afternoon I was more relaxed."
Mads Ostberg continues to hold third in his Stobart Ford, maintaining an 8s advantage over chasing independent Citroen driver Petter Solberg - to Ostberg's delight.
"It's a fine line between having fun and being on your roof in a ditch," said Ostberg. "But I'm having fun and enjoying the position we are in."
Henning Solberg currently completes the top five in another Stobart car, with Ice 1 Citroen's Kimi Raikkonen leaping to seventh - just one second behind Ott Tanak in sixth - as he coped better than most with fog on Dyfnant.
Mini's Kris Meeke was the only man other than Latvala to win a stage this afternoon, going quickest on Dyfi East as he recovered from the alternator issue that dropped him to 11th earlier. Meeke is now back up to eighth, and close behind Tanak and Raikkonen.
Leading positions after SS11: Pos Driver Team/Car Time/Gap 1. Sebastien Loeb Citroen 1h23m18.3s 2. Jari-Matti Latvala Ford + 1.1s 3. Mads Ostberg Stobart Ford + 1m13.5s 4. Petter Solberg Solberg Citroen + 1m21.3s 5. Henning Solberg Stobart Ford + 2m51.7s 6. Ott Tanak Stobart Ford + 3m46.0s 7. Kimi Raikkonen Ice 1 Citroen + 3m47.0s 8. Kris Meeke Mini + 3m51.3s 9. Matthew Wilson Stobart Ford + 3m59.4s 10. Dennis Kuipers FERM Ford + 4m23.2s