WRC Rally Spain: Latvala's Toyota leads Ogier as Sordo drops back

Jari-Matti Latvala became the fourth different leader on Rally Spain after the Saturday stages, as the Toyota driver chases his first World Rally Championship victory in 20 months

WRC Rally Spain: Latvala's Toyota leads Ogier as Sordo drops back

Sebastien Ogier is the best of the title challengers in second - ahead of nine-time WRC champion Sebastien Loeb - with points leader Thierry Neuville back in fifth and Ott Tanak declaring his championship bid over.

After Tanak suffered a puncture on the morning's final leg, that cost him his commanding 32.9-second lead, Hyundai's returning Dani Sordo had led his home event.

But Sordo lost out to Latvala on the first use of Savalia - after the morning's run was cancelled due to badly placed spectators - amid changeable conditions.

Compounding his woes, on SS13 he was slowest of the WRC field and so dropped to sixth.

That allowed a consistent Latvala, who has not won in the WRC since Sweden last season, to steal a 4.7s march, despite what he considered to be a poor performance on the reversed El Montmell stage.

"It was quite muddy and I was too cautious because Ott had a puncture here," he said.

"I was too cautious with the exits. I was not confident in the car. It's poor, I didn't drive well."

Despite moving into a strong position after Tanak's troubles, M-Sport driver Ogier still lamented lost time on SS13.

It began in dry conditions, allowing Neuville on soft tyres to set the fastest time. Although Ogier, on wet tyres, was only 0.9s off the benchmark.

He said: "It has been a difficult afternoon unfortunately. It is a team sport, we all work together, but we trusted our [meteorologist] and there was no rain all afternoon."

But after his leg had ended, wet weather moved in. That meant Loeb was unable to take advantage of the extra grip available from his soft tyres and so fell behind Ogier.

Conditions continued to deteriorate, however, for those behind him. So Loeb hangs on to a potential podium by 1.3s ahead of Elfyn Evans.

Neuville lies fifth, ahead of Esapekka Lappi who suffered a high-speed, sixth gear spin also on SS13.

Behind the i20 WRC of Sordo, Citroen's Craig Breen - who reckoned he had "the most horrible stage I've ever driven in my life" during the morning - and Tanak are eighth and ninth.

Gearshift issues for Eric Camilli on SS11 look set to deny the Volkswagen Polo GTI R5 a WRC2 victory on its maiden competitive event, as Skoda Fabia driver Kalle Rovanpera moved to the top of the class.

Leading positions after SS14

Pos Driver Team Car Gap
1 Jari-Matti Latvala, M.Anttila Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT Toyota 2h35m01.8s
2 Sebastien Ogier, J.Ingrassia M-Sport Ford WRT Ford 4.7s
3 Sebastien Loeb, D.Elena Citroen Total Abu Dhabi WRT Citroen 8.0s
4 Elfyn Evans, D.Barritt M-Sport Ford WRT Ford 9.8s
5 Thierry Neuville, N.Gilsoul Hyundai Shell Mobis WRT Hyundai 12.7s
6 Dani Sordo, C.del Barrio Hyundai Shell Mobis WRT Hyundai 16.5s
7 Esapekka Lappi, J.Ferm Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT Toyota 46.5s
8 Ott Tanak, M.Jarveoja Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT Toyota 1m00.7s
9 Craig Breen, S.Martin Citroen Total Abu Dhabi WRT Citroen 1m37.9s
10 Andreas Mikkelsen, A.Jager Hyundai Shell Mobis WRT Hyundai 2m07.3s



shares
comments
WRC Rally Spain: Ott Tanak explains puncture that cost him the lead

Previous article

WRC Rally Spain: Ott Tanak explains puncture that cost him the lead

Next article

WRC Rally Spain: Returning Loeb takes shock lead for Citroen

WRC Rally Spain: Returning Loeb takes shock lead for Citroen
Load comments

About this article

Series WRC
Drivers Dani Sordo , Jari-Matti Latvala , Sébastien Ogier
Teams Toyota Racing
Author Matt Kew
Why there's no easy fix for Hyundai's operational Achilles Heel Plus

Why there's no easy fix for Hyundai's operational Achilles Heel

Hyundai Motorsport boss Andrea Adamo was vocal in his criticism of his team's tyre choices on Rally Croatia and declared that he "had better move my ass and solve it". Doing so will be vital to getting Hyundai's 2021 WRC title hopes back on track, but finding the root of the problem won't be the work of a moment

WRC
Apr 28, 2021
How Ogier held on after a shock bump in the road to triumph in Croatia Plus

How Ogier held on after a shock bump in the road to triumph in Croatia

Sebastien Ogier was already in an incredibly tight fight at Rally Croatia before a surprise collision with public road traffic at the start of the final day. But the defending champion held his nerve to take a narrow victory and create further World Rally Championship history

WRC
Apr 26, 2021
Why the casualty of rallying's evolution should still be cherished Plus

Why the casualty of rallying's evolution should still be cherished

The WRC's support categories are in a process of streamlining that will spell the end of a formalised 2WD world championship-level category. While its relevance to the top level has been questioned for some time, that doesn't mean it should be swept quietly under the carpet

WRC
Apr 5, 2021
Why WRC's hybrid path could leave it at a crossroads Plus

Why WRC's hybrid path could leave it at a crossroads

With all three major manufacturers committing to the World Rally Championship’s hybrid era from 2022, the future of the series is assured for now, but it could lead to trickier twists and turns further down the road

WRC
Apr 1, 2021
How Tanak froze out the competition at the Arctic Rally Plus

How Tanak froze out the competition at the Arctic Rally

Ott Tanak made up for a disastrous Monte Carlo Rally by leading all the way on the snow-kissed stages of the Arctic Rally Finland and in the process hit back at an event Toyota had been expected to dominate

WRC
Mar 1, 2021
What to expect from the WRC's venture to the Arctic Plus

What to expect from the WRC's venture to the Arctic

This week's Arctic Rally Finland will bring the World Rally Championship into new territory. And, almost without exception, the service park can't wait for the subzero challenge to commence

WRC
Feb 25, 2021
How Ogier achieved a fitting Monte Carlo farewell Plus

How Ogier achieved a fitting Monte Carlo farewell

Against pandemic-shaped odds, the World Rally Championship season opener went ahead in Monte Carlo last weekend as a familiar face again took top spot. But for an emotional Sebastien Ogier, his record-breaking eighth win meant more than most

WRC
Jan 25, 2021
What to look out for in the 2021 WRC Plus

What to look out for in the 2021 WRC

As the 2021 World Rally Championship prepares to launch amid tight COVID-19 restrictions in Monte Carlo, here are the eight things unrelated to the pandemic that you should keep an eye on this year

WRC
Jan 21, 2021