Motorsport News - Rally
Latvala tied in second after quickfire opening day in Finland
6th August 2012
Ford World Rally Team duo Jari-Matti Latvala and Miikka Anttila are tied for second place after a fast and furious opening to Rally Finland last night. Driving a Ford Fiesta RS World Rally Car, the Finns are 7.3sec from the lead, with team-mates Petter Solberg and Chris Patterson less than two seconds behind in sixth.
This eighth round of the FIA World Rally Championship headed south towards Helsinki from its traditional Jyvskyl base this afternoon. After a regroup alongside the picturesque harbour in Lahti, competitors tackled just three gravel speed tests before returning to Jyvskyl late tonight for what will be a short nights rest.
Two traditional forest special stages sandwiched a short test at Lahtis trotting track, offering just 29.90km of competition ahead of two longer days on more familiar Rally Finland territory. After yesterdays thunderstorms, today remained dry and the Ford drivers decision to start down the running order to avoid the worst of the slippery loose gravel proved correct.
It took 27-year-old Latvala a while to find his rhythm in the opening speed test. Third place around the trotting track calmed his nerves, but Latvala admitted he was surprised to drop five seconds in the final stage.
I was a little too careful in the opening stage, but the second test was fine, said Latvala. I thought I drove well in the last stage, but the clock showed that I dropped five seconds. That was frustrating because I dont understand where the time went.
I tried a new suspension set-up so perhaps I need to think if that was the reason. I pushed hard, so I also need to consider whether I drove too sideways as a result and lost time. The gap is small but tomorrow is much longer and more demanding and I dont want to concede more seconds in the morning, he added.
Solberg was quickly into his stride, setting second fastest time in the opening stage before winning the trotting track test. The 37-year-old Norwegian also dropped some seconds in the final test, but such was the pace in this fastest round of the championship that just 9.2sec cover the top six drivers.
The opening stage went well and the second test was even better, because I was fastest, said Solberg. I decided to make a small change to the cars set-up before the final stage, making it slightly lower to try to improve the performance even further. Unfortunately it didnt work and I lost a few seconds.
Because todays leg was so short, it was the right time to try something like that. If it didnt work the time loss was always going to be small. Tomorrow Ill go back to my previous settings and Ill continue to push hard, he added.
Ford World Rally Team director Malcolm Wilson said: Im pleased we have completed these three stages without problems. They are of a different character to the rest of the rally and it was important not to get caught out. We didnt and Im looking forward to a full days driving tomorrow.
News from other Ford teams
Adapta World Rally Teams Mads stberg / Jonas Andersson are fourth after a strong start in their Fiesta RS WRC. M-Sport Ford World Rally Team duo Evgeny Novikov / Denis Giraudet and Ott Tnak / Kuldar Sikk are eighth and ninth respectively, with the privately-entered car of Jari Ketomaa / Mika Stenberg rounding off the top 10. Martin Prokop / Zdenĕk Hrůza are 11th in the Czech Ford National Team car, with Finns Matti Rantanen / Mikko Lukka in 14th.
The second leg is based much closer to Jyvskyl. Competitors restart at 06.30 and tackle three loops of tests, mainly west of the city. The final two loops are identical and the day then ends with a short super special stage at the Killeri trotting track on the edge of Jyvskyl. The action finishes at 21.15 after nine stages covering 133.82km.
Leaderboard after Day 1
1. S Loeb/D Elena FRA Citroen DS3 15min 07.1sec
2= J-M Latvala/M Anttila FIN Ford Fiesta RS 15min 14.4sec
2= M Hirvonen/J Lehtinen FIN Citroen DS3 15min 14.4sec
4. M stberg/J Andersson NOR Ford Fiesta RS 15min 14.6sec
5. T Neuville/N Gilsoul BEL Citroen DS3 15min 16.1sec
6. P Solberg/C Patterson NOR Ford Fiesta RS 15min 16.3sec
7. C Atkinson/S Prvot AUS Citroen DS3 15min 22.7sec
8. E Novikov/D Giraudet RUS Ford Fiesta RS 15min 25.3sec
9. O Tnak/K Sikk EST Ford Fiesta RS 15min 28.2sec
10 J Ketomaa/M Stenberg FIN Ford Fiesta RS 15min 40.2sec
Stage 1: 1. Loeb 6min 59.8sec; 2. P Solberg + 1.6; 3. Neuville + 2.1; 4. Latvala + 2.2; 5. stberg + 2.3; 6. Hirvonen + 2.4.
Stage 2: 1. P Solberg 1min 32.5sec; 2. Loeb + 0.1; 3. Latvala + 0.2; 4. Neuville + 0.6; 5. Novikov + 1.1; 6. Hirvonen + 1.5.
Overall: 1. Loeb 8min 32.4sec; 2. P Solberg + 1.5; 3. Latvala + 2.3; 4. Neuville + 2.6; 5. Hirvonen + 3.8; 6. stberg + 4.3.
Stage 3: 1. Loeb 6min 34.7sec; 2. stberg + 3.2; 3. Hirvonen + 3.5; 4. Latvala + 5.0; 5. Neuville + 6.4; 6. P Solberg + 7.7.
Overall: 1. Loeb 15min 07.1sec; 2= Latvala, Hirvonen + 7.3; 4. stberg + 7.5; 5. Neuville + 9.0; 6. P Solberg + 9.2.
TAGGED AS : WRC Team MINI Portugal, WRC, World Rally Championship, Rally Finland, Sebastien Loeb, Loeb, Elena, Citroen DS3, Hirvonen, Lehtinen, Latvala, Anttila, Ford Fiesta RS, Solberg, Patterson, M Ostberg, J Andersson, Tnak, K Sikk, Rantanen, M Lukka, J Ketomaa, M Stenberg, M Prokop, Z Hrůza, S Ogier, J Ingrassia, Skoda Fabia S2000, motorsport news, rally news, A. Arajo, M. Ramalho, miniP. Nobre, E.Paula ,
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