SS21: Ogier fast, Latvala faster
Sebastien Ogier has extended his advantage on Rallye de France Alsace after he went one second faster than rival Dani Sordo on the repeat of the mixed-surface Graviere de Bischwiller run.
With two stages remaining Citroen driver Ogier is 5.9s ahead of MINI ace Sordo as the battle for victory intensifies.
“There was no fog this time and not so much cleaning on the gravel,” said Ogier.
Sordo added: “I went a little bit off line in the gravel part and lost a little bit of time. It’s okay, I will do my best but now it will be difficult because of the tyres.”
Click: wrc.com/france ss21
Injured crews on road to recovery
Red Bull Skoda team boss Raimund Baumschlager says navigator Kathi Wuestenhagen had a lucky escape when she and driver Hermann Gassner Jr crashed out of Rally de France Alsace on Saturday’s opening stage.
Wuestenhagen [pictured above] suffered a broken rib and pelvis when the Skoda she was co-driving crashed into a tree in fourth gear. Gassner Jr was uninjured.
Baumschlager confirmed Wuestenhagen would remain in hospital in France for three more days before returning to her native Germany. The Austrian added he wasn’t sure how long her recovery would take.
Co-driver Carlos Magalhaes was detained in hospital overnight after the Brazil World Rally Team MINI John Cooper Works WRC he was sharing with Daniel Oliveira crashed heavily on Saturday. The Portuguese is understood to have sustained rib injuries but is due to be released from hospital today.
“We went off the road and crashed,” said Oliveira. “We were taken to hospital just for a general check-up.”
WRC Academy newcomer Ashley Haigh-Smith, from South Africa, suffered a fractured shoulder and collarbone in a heavy accident on the second stage of the event. British co-driver James Aldridge suffered minor injuries and was discharged from hospital on Saturday afternoon.
Click: wrc.com/injured crews
SS22: Ogier and Latvala equal quickest
The close nature of Rallye de France Alsace has been further underlined after Sebastien Ogier and Jari-Matti Latvala both completed the penultimate stage in a time of 5m50.3s.
Ogier’s performance in his Citroen DS3 WRC means he extends his advantage at the top of the leaderboard to 6.7s over MINI John Cooper Works WRC driver Dani Sordo with one stage remaining. For Latvala, his stage time was further confirmation of the pace of Ford’s Fiesta RS WRC on asphalt.
“It was okay, I did the job I needed to,” said Ogier. “Now I need to have a good last stage.”
Sordo was 0.8s off the pace. He said: “It’s normal with the [soft compound] tyres, it’s really hot with the temperatures. At the end of the stage the car is moving a little bit.”
Petter Solberg remains in third overall in his privateer Citroen although Latvala is now 11.5s behind the Norwegian.
Click: wrc.com/france ss22
SS23: Power Story glory for Latvala
Jari-Matti Latvala has won the Rallye de France Alsace Power Stage, the first time he has triumphed on one of the live television spectaculars this season.
Latvala, who began the run with a two-minute time penalty for checking in early at the pre-stage regroup to promote factory Ford team-mate and title chaser Mikko Hirvonen into fourth overall, was 2.1s faster than Dani Sordo, who claimed the first Power Stage points for the works MINI squad.
French star Sebastien Ogier secured his maiden world championship victory on home soil in his Citroen in third place with Hirvonen fourth quickest, 2.5s slower than Latvala, despite reporting making a small mistake in his Fiesta.
Mads Ostberg lost time when he damaged the front-right tyre on his M-Sport Stobart Fiesta early in the stage. As a result the Norwegian had to adopt a cautious approach to make it to the end of the test.
Click: wrc.com/france ss23
Sebastien Ogier, in a Citroen DS3 WRC, has won Rallye de France Alsace for the first time following a nail-biting finish to the world championship qualifier near Strasbourg this afternoon.
Ogier fended off the MINI John Cooper Works WRC of Spaniard Dani Sordo on the event-closing Power Stage in Sebastien Loeb’s hometown of Haguenau. The seven time-world champion wasn’t in action following his retirement on Friday morning when his factory Citroen suffered a rare engine failure.
Victory for Ogier and co-driver Julien Ingrassia marked their fifth triumph of 2011 following wins in Portugal, Jordan, Greece and Germany earlier in the campaign. The result also puts Ogier back into contention for the drivers’ world title with two events remaining.
Petter Solberg, in a privateer Citroen, finished third with Mikko Hirvonen the first factory Ford driver home in fourth to maintain his championship bid.
Click: wrc.com/Ogier wins
also Congratulations to Ken/Alex and MWRT on finishing 9th