LATEST

Loeb holds narrow lead in Finland

Speedcafe.com

Friday 29th July, 2011 - 7:34am

Share:

Sebastien Loeb out front in Finland

Sebastien Loeb will take a lead of 2.8-seconds into day two of the Neste Oil Rally Finland after a short but dramatic opening leg on high-speed gravel stages north of Jyvaskyla.

Driving a Citroen DS3 WRC, the Frenchman not only swept the roads through the opening three stages, but will also have to clean the line through the loose surface gravel through the Friday stages.

The defending seven-time World Champion sealed his fate with the fastest time on stage two, the classification after which was used to determine the starting order for Friday.

“I’ve made no mistakes and we will see what will happen tomorrow with the road position,” said Loeb.

Citroen team-mate Sebastien Ogier was second fastest on the opening test but slowed sufficiently on the next run to ensure he would slip behind Loeb in the overall standings after the stage.

“There is only one man who is important for me for the championship and that is Seb Loeb,” said Ogier.

“My goal is to try and beat Seb.”

Factory Ford driver Jari-Matti Latvala, is third overnight, 4.4-seconds behind Loeb, was cautious on the opening stage before admitting to dropping time nearing the finish of stage two to gain a more advantageous road position for the second day.

Jari Ketomaa, making his debut in a Ford Fiesta RS WRC in Finland, was a sensational fastest outright on the first stage. But anxious to avoid running first on Friday the Finn wisely reduced his pace close to the finish of stage two.

“I don’t like doing tactics but it’s a long day tomorrow and I don’t want to be first on the road,” said Ketomaa.

Mikko Hirvonen, who hails from Jyvaskyla, suffered a disastrous start to the event, which he won in 2009. The works Ford ace went off the road on a left-hand bend on stage one and struck a tree after he reported his car’s engine momentarily lost power and drive. Damage sustained to his Fiesta’s rear brakes and suspension caused further delay over the next two stages to the extent he is 2m02.7s off the overnight pace.

“We went into one left-hander and the engine died and we lost drive,” said Hirvonen.

“We hit a tree lost all the brakes. The suspension was also damaged.”

Citroen privateer Petter Solberg, Dani Sordo is the top MINI John Cooper Works WRC driver in sixth position following a solid start to the rally.

Leg 1 Results : RallyFinland

 

Pos

Driver

Car

Model

Time

1

Sebastien Loeb

Citroen

DS3 WRC

20:17.5

2

Sebastien Ogier

Citroen

DS3 WRC

+0:02.8

3

Jari-Matti Latvala

Ford

Fiesta WRC

+0:04.4

4

Jari Ketomaa

Ford

Fiesta WRC

+0:7.0

5

Petter Solberg

Citroen

DS3 WRC

+0:12.6

6

Dani Sordo

Mini

Countryman WRC

+0:14.3

7

Ott Tänak

Ford

Fiesta S2000

+0:17.3

8

Mads Østberg

Ford

Fiesta WRC

+0:18.6

9

Kris Meeke

Mini

Countryman WRC

+0:20.9

10

Juho Hanninen

Skoda

Fabia S2000

+0:25.8

 

 

 

Speedcafe.com comment policy

Speedcafe.com reserves the right to deny any post that is abusive or offtopic. Users are encouraged to flag/report comments which should be removed.

Some comments may require approval before being published which can take up to 48 hours.

For support, please contact [email protected]

Comments are closed.

Speedcafe.com has been established to provide a daily motorsport news service to the industry and fans in Australia and internationally.

Read the Speedcafe.com promise
Newsletter

Subscribe to our daily newsletter, the best way to get your news first, fast, and free!