Sebastien Loeb edges away from Mikko Hirvonen as Citroen team orders take effect on Rally Argentina
|Saturday, April 28th 2012, 20:42 GMT|
Sebastien Loeb and Mikko Hirvonen are now 7.8 seconds apart at the head of the Rally Argentina field after Citroen ordered the pair to hold station.
A tight battle had been brewing between the two team-mates following Saturday's first loop of stages, but with no threat from behind, Citroen requested that they maintain position for the run to the finish.
Nearest rival Dani Sordo (Ford) became even less of a threat on SS11 when he picked up a puncture. The Spaniard made it through the stage but is now 1m48.3s off the lead, though still over a minute clear of fourth-placed Mads Ostberg (Adapta Ford).
With Nasser Al-Attiyah having to retire his Qatar Citroen after breaking his suspension on the final stage of the morning loop, Martin Prokop's Czech Ford has been elevated to fifth.
Sebastien Ogier passed his Volkswagen Skoda team-mate Andreas Mikkelsen for sixth on SS12, as the two S2000 underdogs maintained their lofty overall positions.
Thierry Neuville is up to eighth for Citroen Junior, having flown past the struggling Armindo Araujo (Portugal Mini). The Portuguese driver is now on the brink of losing ninth to Ford's Petter Solberg. Like Neuville, Solberg is running under Rally 2 after retiring on Friday, and won all three stages on the latest loop.
Crews are now travelling back to service prior to another run through the superspecial to conclude the Saturday action.
Leading positions after SS12: Pos Driver Team/Car Time/Gap 1. Sebastien Loeb Citroen 3h52m45.7s 2. Mikko Hirvonen Citroen + 7.8s 3. Dani Sordo Ford + 1m48.3s 4. Mads Ostberg Adapta Ford + 2m55.5s 5. Martin Prokop Czech Ford + 9m16.0s 6. Sebastien Ogier VW Skoda + 10m20.1s 7. Andreas Mikkelsen VW Skoda + 10m25.9s 8. Thierry Neuville Citroen Junior + 11m53.7s 9. Armindo Araujo Portugal Mini + 14m09.3s 10. Petter Solberg Ford + 14m09.9s