Ogier grabs lead in German

Speedcafe.com

Sunday 21st August, 2011 - 6:00am

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Sebastien Ogier has jumped into the lead in Germany

Sebastien Ogier is five stages away from claiming a shock victory on ADAC Rallye Deutschland after he completed day two of the Tarmac event 73 seconds in front of his Citroen team-mate Sebastien Loeb.

Loeb hasn’t been beaten in Germany since the country joined the world championship in 2002 but his run could be over after his front-left tyre punctured on Saturday’s final stage.

Ogier began Saturday’s first test 7.4-seconds behind the seven-time world champion and still in the hunt for victory only to be informed that he would have to maintain position behind Loeb to ensure a one-two finish for the French make.

Although Citroen is still on course to occupy the top two positions at the finish in Trier on Sunday afternoon, Loeb’s drama represents a remarkable reversal of fortune for Ogier.

The 27-year-old was furious after being told to hold station having stated before the rally that beating Loeb in Germany was crucial to his bid to win the world title for the first time. He is now seemingly on course for his first WRC win on Tarmac and his fourth triumph of 2011.

“For sure I can’t be happy when my team-mate had a problem,” said Ogier.

“It’s a good thing there is justice in the sport.”

Loeb was unsure what had caused his puncture.

“I think maybe in a straight we saw a few rocks on the road,” said Loeb.

“We were taking it easy but what can we do?”

Behind the Citroens, Dani Sordo heads Mikko Hirvonen in the battle for third. Sordo, in a MINI John Cooper Works WRC, took the place when Hirvonen’s factory Ford Fiesta RS WRC picked up a right-rear puncture on stage 10.

Although Hirvonen was able to narrow Sordo’s advantage in the afternoon, a storming effort by the Spaniard on the day’s final stage means he starts day three 33.1s ahead of his rival in his bid to land MINI’s maiden WRC podium on only its third start in the series.

Kris Meeke is fifth overnight in the second factory MINI, 9.1s clear of Petter Solberg. The Norwegian suffered no fewer than three punctures during the course of the day in his privateer Citroen, while Meeke completed the day’s final test with damaged rear suspension following a minor off, having picked up a puncture of his own on the previous test.

Dennis Kuipers was on course for seventh place in his FERM Power Tools World Rally Team Fiesta following an impressive display when a puncture on the day’s final stage wrecked his chances. As a result the luckless Dutchman has slipped to 11th.

Kimi Raikkonen was the main beneficiary of Kuipers’ woe but the ex-Formula One world champion was far from happy with his performance behind the wheel of his ICE 1 Racing Citroen.

“Maybe it was better to stay at home because my driving has been very bad and I’ve made some stupid mistakes spinning off and losing time,” said Raikkonen.

“Hopefully it will be better tomorrow.”

Henning Solberg is eighth, 6.2s behind Raikkonen in his M-Sport Stobart Fiesta. Armindo Araujo is ninth for the Motorsport Italia MINI team with Peter van Merksteijn moving into 10th in his Van Merksteijn Motorsport Citroen. Matthew Wilson is 12th after losing ground in the afternoon with brake problems.

Jari-Matti Latvala began day two with the fastest time on stage seven but his challenge ended when he crashed his Fiesta on the penultimate test. While he inflicted extensive damage to his car he hopes to restart on the final day under SupeRally.

Leg 2 Results : Rallye Deutschland

Pos

Driver

Car

Model

Time

1

Sebastien Ogier

Citroen

DS3 WRC

2:44:43.9

2

Sebastien Loeb

Citroen

DS3 WRC

+1:11.3

3

Dani Sordo

Mini

Countryman WRC

+2:10.2

4

Mikko Hirvonen

Ford

Fiesta WRC

+2:43.3

5

Kris Meeke

Mini

Countryman WRC

+3:33.2

6

Petter Solberg

Citroen

DS3 WRC

+3:42.3

7

Kimi Raikkonen

Citroen

DS3 WRC

+5:53.2

8

Henning Solberg

Ford

Fiesta WRC

+5:59.4

9

Armindo Araujo

Mini

Countryman WRC

+7:51.6

10

Dennis Kuipers

Ford

Fiesta WRC

+8:52.5

 

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