Mikko Hirvonen leads Rally Mexico after problems for Jari-Matti Latvala
|Friday, March 9th 2012, 17:07 GMT|
Citroen's Mikko Hirvonen and Sebastien Loeb have moved ahead in Rally Mexico after erstwhile leader Jari-Matti Latvala sustained broken suspension on Friday morning's final stage.
Latvala (Ford) had been edging away from the Citroen duo prior to the stage five incident, which cost him nearly two minutes and saw the Ford fall to eighth place.
Hirvonen now leads, but two consecutive stage wins from five-time Mexico victor Loeb - who had initially been puzzled by his lack of pace today - mean the Citroens are just 0.6s apart at the front of the field.
With factory number two Petter Solberg having picked up two punctures on Friday's first two stages, leaving him back in seventh, Adapta's Mads Ostberg has been left to uphold Ford honour in third place. The Norwegian is 39.9s off the lead, and only just ahead of impressive Citroen Junior driver Thierry Neuville, who is flying on his first appearance in a World Rally Car on gravel.
Ott Tanak is enjoying his strongest run of the year so far in fifth for M-Sport Ford, one place in front of team-mate Evgeny Novikov.
Chris Atkinson is currently ninth on his World Rally Championship return with Monster Ford after a delay on stage five.
Leading positions after SS5: Pos Driver Team/Car Time/Gap 1. Mikko Hirvonen Citroen 47m50.1s 2. Sebastien Loeb Citroen + 0.6s 3. Mads Ostberg Adapta Ford + 39.9s 4. Thierry Neuville Citroen Junior + 45.1s 5. Ott Tanak M-Sport Ford + 1m02.5s 6. Evgeny Novikov M-Sport Ford + 1m16.7s 7. Petter Solberg Ford + 1m26.8s 8. Jari-Matti Latvala Ford + 1m32.8s 9. Chris Atkinson Monster Ford + 1m47.2s 10. Armindo Araujo Portugal Mini + 2m10.5s