Saturday 16 November 2013

Rally - Day 3 Roundup

Sebastien with his 'ferret'
With 3 Volkswagens in the top four places, a clean sweep of the podium is not out of the question tomorrow. Ogier set about maintaining position today, but that left Latvala and Mikkelson to get on with their own battles. Mikkelson was fastest on the first two forests stages of the day and Latvala fastest on the three afternoon forest tests.

At the final service of the day, Sebastien Ogier reflected: “I am happy with the way we handled this long day today. It was a good clean performance without any major mistakes. Surprisingly, the grip was better on most of today’s stages than it was on Friday. For us, it was all about maintaining a steady lead over our team-mate Jari-Matti, and we did that perfectly. As such, we did not have to take too many risks and took a rather cautious approach to the many new stages. A 20-second lead is, to a certain degree, reassuring. However, we will have to stay wide awake if Jari-Matti pushes hard again tomorrow. If not, you can be out before you know it – and I definitely want to make it to the finish this time. That would be the perfect end to a perfect season.”

For his part, Latvala commented: “Our goal for today was to push hard again and put some pressure on Séb. Unfortunately the morning’s stages did not go quite as we had hoped. On the one hand, I was lacking a little bit of confidence to go flat out from the start and find a good rhythm. Then we had also marked too many places as slippery when we did the recce prior to the rally. As a result, I hesitated a little a few times during the first loop. Things went better for us later on, and we won three special stages. However, Séb and Julien were barely slower than us and able to maintain their lead. We only have about another 50 kilometres of special stage to go on Sunday. Barring something out of the ordinary, it will no longer be possible to make up that much ground. Despite this, I will try to keep up both my pace and the pressure.”

Still hanging on to third place in face of mounting pressure, Thierry Neuville is going as hard as he can in the Ford: “I’ve always been close to the fastest except on the long stage, so I can be really pleased with my day.”

Mark Higgins still has issues with his Fiesta, but has narrowed it down to the lamda sensor – he thinks! Further down the field, Molly Taylor in the Citroen had a wee fright:  We are very lucky. We had some problems on the recce and only did one run over Dyfnant. We had a bad note on one corner and rolled over on a hairpin 3km from the finish. We were so lucky to land on four wheels but we lost 20-30 seconds. Everything seems ok and I just hope we can carry on.”

Leaderboard after 16 (of 22) stages:
1, S. Ogier, 2h 33m 47.6s
2, J. Latvala, 2h 34m 07.9s, +20.3
3, T. Neuville, 2h 35m 02.0s, +1:14.4
4, A. Mikkelsen, 2h 35ms 22.0s, +1:34.4
5, M. Østberg, 2h 35m 29.3s, +1:41.7
6, M. Prokop, 2h 40m 29.6s, +6:42.0
7, D. Sordo, 2h 41m 33.1s, +7:45.5
8, E. Evans, (WRC2), 2h 43m 07.1s, +9:19.5
9, J. Ketomaa, (WRC2), 2h 44m 06.9s, +10:19.3
10  M. Higgins, (WRC2), 2h 44m 42.6s, +10:55.0

12, T. Cave, (WRC2), 2h 49m 54.8s, +16:07.2
20, M. Taylor, 3h 01m 44.2s, +27:56.6
22, R. Barrable, (WRC2), 3h 04m 10.3s, +30:22.7
24, T. Jardine, 3h 08m 48.2s, +35:00.6
27, E. Boland, 3h 11m 29.1s, +37:41.5
31, J. Ford, 3h 15m 09.1s, +37:33.9
33, O. Pryce, 3h 16m 51.9s, +43:04.3
34, C. Ingram, 3h 16m 56.3s, +43:08.7
36, D. McKenna, 3h 19m 29.6s, +45:42.0
37, K. Cronin, (WRC3), 3h 21m 49.5s, +48:01.9
38, P. Morrow, 3h 22m 01.9s, +48:14.3

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