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

By On October 27, 2018

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

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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.

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 w as 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 eve nt, as Skoda Fabia driver Kalle Rovanpera moved to the top of the class.

Leading positions after SS14

1Jari-Matti Latvala, M.AnttilaToyota Gazoo Racing WRTToyota2h35m01.8s
2Sebastien Ogier, J.IngrassiaM-Sport Ford WRTFord4.7s
3Sebastien Loeb, D.ElenaCitroen Total Abu Dhabi WRTCitroen8.0s
4Elfyn Evans, D.BarrittM-Sport Ford WRTFord9.8s
5Thierry Neuville, N.GilsoulHyundai Shell Mobis WRTHyundai12.7s
6Dani Sordo, C.del BarrioHyundai Shell Mobis WRTHyundai16.5s
7Esapekka Lappi, J.FermToyota Gazoo Racing WRTToyota46.5s
8Ott Tanak, M.JarveojaToyota Gazoo Racing WRTToyota1m00.7s
9Craig Breen, S.MartinCitroen Total Abu Dhabi WRTCitroen1m37.9s
10Andreas Mikkelsen, A.JagerHyundai Shell Mobis WRTHyundai2m07.3s

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Previous / Tanak explains cause of Rally Spain punctureSource: Google News Spain | Netizen 24 Spain

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