Citroen fight up front at Rally Finland
Citroen duo Sebastien Loeb and Mikko Hirvonen are separated by just five seconds with a day remaining at Rally Finland.
Loeb and Hirvonen battled throughout the second leg with the French superstar in front despite a rear differential glitch and a rare driving error on the penultimate stage.
“It’s a long final day tomorrow and we will see what we can do,” said Loeb.
“The gap is so small, it will be a hard fight but we have to do it correctly.”
Hirvonen is yet to win for Citroen and is keen to add his second victory on his home event.
“I was pushing really hard and so was Sebastien,” said Hirvonen.
“Little by little I have taken time out of him. It will be a big fight tomorrow but I am confident.”
Jari-Matti Latvala is the top Ford driver in third overall with Petter Solberg in fourth.
Australia’s Chris Atkinson was in eighth overall, when he left the road on stage eight after mishearing a pace note. He lost several minutes when his Qatar World Rally Team Citroen got stuck on a tree stump.
“I’ve got nobody else to blame but myself,” said Atkinson.
“I misheard a note and turned right on a crest instead of left thinking I was at the next corner. I went through some trees and got stuck, it was completely my fault.”
The Queenslander eventually retired from the day when he damaged the front-right of his car striking a rock on stage nine.
A better day for Molly Taylor who sits second in her class in a 2WD Citroen DS3T.
“A long but good day in Finland, feeling better every kilometre,” said Taylor.
“Lying second overnight and I’m so happy with that. Will keep working to our plan tomorrow!”
Brendan Reeves is third in the WRC Academy and well within striking distance of second. His day was highlighted with two stage wins at the end of the leg.
“I am absolutely over the moon to take the last stage from Elfyn [Evans],” said Reeves.
“We have managed to take third place overall at the end of Day 2, but I am very aware of how close Timo [Van der Marel] is behind me.
“It has been a cat and dog fight the whole way, but it’s really good fun. The best thing is that the strong competition makes you fight and be a better driver, consistently pushing hard – all of us our giving it our all out there!”
Disappointment for Kiwi star Hayden Padden who had to retire his S2000 Skoda Fabia with an engine problem while sitting second in the category.
“Unfortunately our Rally Finland has not gone to plan, terminal engine failure today putting us out of the event and a zero point score for the weekend,” said Paddon.
“It is bitterly disappointing especially after how good the car was feeling and how easily the times were coming. We certainly had a lot in reserve as we got more used to the car and this is something encouraging to take forward as we now look toward our next round in Wales Rally GB in just over four weeks.”
The final day of Rally Finland includes six final stages covering just under 140 competitive kilometres.
Check out Chris Atkinson’s wild ride
Rally Finland after Leg 2
|1||Sebastien Loeb||Citroen WRT||1:20:30.4|
|2||Mikko Hirvonen||Citroen WRT||+0:05.0|
|3||Jari-Matti Latvala||Ford WRT||+0:20.3|
|4||Petter Solberg||Ford WRT||+0:21.4|
|5||Mads Ostberg||Adapta Ford||+0:47.7|
|6||Ott Tanak||M-Sport Ford||+1:36.4|
|7||Jari Ketomaa||Autotek Ford||+2:28.3|
|8||Matti Rantanen||M-Sport Ford||+2:47.4|
|9||Martin Prokop||Czech Ford||+3:18.4|
|10||Ken Block||Monster Ford||+4:47.0|