Final Rnd: WRC Wales RallyGB Nov 10-13 talk/results spoiler**
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    Cool Final Rnd: WRC Wales RallyGB Nov 10-13 talk/results spoiler**

    Wales Rally GB 10-13 Nov



    Britain’s World Rally Championship counter has been a qualifying round of the series every year since the WRC was established in 1973.

    Its origins date back to 1932 and, for many years, it was known as the RAC Rally in deference to the organiser, the Royal Automobile Club, before the advent of commercial sponsorship brought about a change of name.

    While the event used to roam around England, Scotland and Wales, making it a test of endurance rather than a demonstration of all-out speed, since 2000 the action has been contained in south Wales prior to the inclusion of stages further north into mid-Wales in 2008.

    Official Website: walesrallygb.com/

    WRC Radio: wrc.com/fanzone/world-rally-radio/


    After 12 thrilling rounds in four continents, the 2011 World Rally Championship concludes in Great Britain next week with the title battle finely poised between Mikko Hirvonen and defending champion Sebastien Loeb.

    Loeb, the seven-time title-winner, is eight points clear of Hirvonen after he ended a barren spell with victory on the last round, the 67th of his phenomenal career. But with Wales Rally GB’s stages frequently subjected to mud, rain and strong wind, the destination of this year’s crown is far from settled.

    In a further twist, significant changes have been made to the itinerary of this year’s title showdown with a route spanning from Llandudno in the north of Wales to Cardiff, the principality’s capital, in the south.

    Although the stages on Saturday and Sunday will be familiar to Rally GB regulars, albeit with a few modifications, the stages on Thursday and Friday represent unchartered territory for most. And to spice up the action, an all-asphalt test on the Great Orme toll road, which juts out into the Irish Sea, will open the action, the first time since 1981 that it has been used on the rally.

    Furthermore, the Clocaenog Forest stage late on Thursday afternoon last appeared on the event route in 1996, one year before Sebastien Loeb first took part in a full rally. Friday’s route is also untried by the bulk of the overseas competitors, with Dyfi Forest last used in 1996 and Dyfnant Forest not visited since 1997.

    Read More: wrc.com/preview-wales-rally-gb/

    Wales RallyGB preview Video:




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    Complete event timetable for Wales Rally GB - the 13th and final round in the 2011 FIA World Rally Championship.


    Thursday 10 November: Day 1 Llandudno – Llandudno

    Start Llandudno 14.30
    SS1 Great Orme 1 4.74km 14.38
    SS2 Great Orme 2 4.74km 14.55
    SS3 Clocaenog 15.77km 16.18
    RSZ A Llandudno (15 mins) 18.25
    Finish Llandudno 18.55


    Friday 11 November: Day 1 (continued) Llandudno - Cardiff

    Start Llandudno 05.30
    SS4 Gartheiniog 1 19.72km 07.33
    SS5 Dyfi West 1 10.31km 08.30
    SS6 Dyfi East 1 6.72km 08.48
    SS7 Dyfnant 1 21.34km 09.43
    Serv B Builth Wells (30 mins) 12.05
    SS8 Dyfi West 2 10.31km 14.18
    SS9 Dyfi East 2 6.72km 14.36
    SS10 Gartheiniog 2 19.72km 14.51
    SS11 Dyfnant 2 21.34km 16.01
    Serv C Builth Wells (45 mins) 18.16
    Finish Cardiff 20.57

    Total 141.43km competitive


    Saturday 12 November: Day 2 Cardiff – Cardiff

    Start Cardiff 06.00
    Serv D Builth Wells (15 mins) 07.56
    SS12 Hafren 1 32.14km 09.24
    SS13 Sweet Lamb 1 4.01km 10.05
    SS14 Myherin 1 27.88km 10.23
    Serv E Builth Wells (30 mins) 12.08
    SS15 Hafren 2 32.14km 13.51
    SS16 Sweet Lamb 2 4.01km 14.32
    SS17 Myherin 2 27.88km 14.50
    Serv F Builth Wells (45 mins) 16.23
    Finish Cardiff 19.16

    Total 128.06km competitive


    Sunday 13 November: Day 3 Cardiff - Cardiff

    Start Cardiff 04.55
    Serv G Builth Wells (15 mins) 06.51
    SS18 Halfway 1 14.93km 07.43
    SS19 Crychan 1 22.73km 08.11
    SS20 Monument 1 4.36km 08.47
    Serv H Builth Wells (30 mins) 09.29
    SS21 Halfway 2 14.93km 10.36
    SS22 Crychan 2 22.73km 11.04
    SS23 Monument 2 4.36km 12.11
    Serv I Builth Wells (10 mins) 12.46
    Finish Cardiff 14.52

    Total 84.04km competitive
    Rally total 1967.46km (353.53km competitive)

    All times Local (UK)

    --------------------------------

    WRC GB - Colin Clark drives the Great Orme:




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    Ostberg and Meeke set shakedown pace

    Mads Ostberg has vowed not to get too carried away after he set the joint fastest time in shakedown for Wales Rally GB, the deciding round of the 2011 World Rally Championship.

    Ostberg, driving an M-Sport Stobart Ford Fiesta RS WRC, completed the 1.7-kilometre all-gravel stage in a time of 1m31.2s, the same time set by factory MINI John Cooper Works WRC driver Kris Meeke, from Northern Ireland.

    “Okay, it’s only shakedown and not the rally but it still means things are working straight away with the car,” said the Norwegian. “It gives you a small boost when you are fastest but we won’t get carried away. Definitely I’m happy with the car after the pre-event test. I just can’t wait to start the stages now.”

    Works Citroen driver Sebastien Loeb, who heads Mikko Hirvonen by eight points in the chase for the world drivers’ title, was third fastest over the rain-hit practice course around the service park in Builth Wells with Meeke’s MINI team-mate Dani Sordo fourth quickest despite a minor scare when he slid off the road on his first run.

    MINI WRC Team technical chief Dave Wilcock explained: “Dani had a near miss with a Spanish photographer. Luckily they are all okay and as Dani knows him well he has rung him and had a chat with him about this.

    “Both cars functioned perfectly on the shakedown. Both drivers are very happy with their cars and looking forward to starting the rally proper tomorrow. Now it is business as usual, getting the mud off the cars and putting the final settings in for the lights.”

    Sebastien Ogier, who partners Loeb at Citroen, factory Ford ace Jari-Matti Latvala and Briton Matthew Wilson were equal fifth fastest, all setting a time of 1m32.5s.

    Hirvonen, meanwhile, was eighth quickest with ex-Formula One world champion Kimi Raikkonen ninth and Monster World Rally Team’s Ken Block 10th.

    Here are the Shakedown times of the World Rally Car drivers:

    =1. OSTBERG. Ford Fiesta RS WRC. 1:31.2

    =1. MEEKE. MINI John Cooper Works WRC. 1:31.2

    3. LOEB. Citroen DS3 WRC. 1:32.1

    4. SORDO. MINI John Cooper Works WRC. 1:32.2

    =5. OGIER. Citroen DS3 WRC. 1:32.5

    =5. LATVALA. Ford Fiesta RS WRC. 1:32.5

    =5. WILSON. Ford Fiesta RS WRC. 1:32.5

    =8. HIRVONEN. Ford Fiesta RS WRC. 1:32.8

    =8. RAIKKONEN. Citroen DS3 WRC. 1:32.8

    10. BLOCK. Ford Fiesta RS WRC. 1:33.4

    11. H. SOLBERG. Ford Fiesta RS WRC. 1:33.9

    =12. KUIPERS. Ford Fiesta RS WRC. 1:34.4

    =12. P. SOLBERG. Citroen DS3 WRC. 1:34.4

    =12. PROKOP. Ford Fiesta RS WRC. 1:34.4

    15. NOVIKOV. Ford Fiesta RS WRC. 1:34.7

    16. TANAK. Ford Fiesta RS WRC. 1:34.8

    17. ARAUJO. MINI John Cooper Works WRC. 1:35.2

    (19). VAN MERKSTEIJN JR. Citroen DS3 WRC. 1:36.2

    (23). OLIVEIRA. MINI John Cooper Works WRC. 1:39.3

    Click: wrc.com/news/RallyGB-shakedown


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    SS1 Breaking News

    Sebastien Ogier has crashed out of Wales Rally GB, the deciding round of the 2011 World Rally Championship.

    Ogier hit trouble approximately 1.6 kilometres into the first run of the 4.74-kilometre Great Orme test, taking a wheel off his Citroen DS3 WRC.

    Petter Solberg damaged the right-rear of his privateer Citroen, clipping a kerb and taking the tyre off the rim. The Norwegian feared he’d damaged the bottom arm of his car’s rear suspension in the process.

    The first 1.5 kilometres of the stage were held in dry conditions. However, the remainder of the test ran over damp and slippery roads.

    Click: wrc.com/news/breaking-news-ogier-out-in-wales/

    ------------------------

    Thursday SS1

    There was high drama as Wales Rally GB, the deciding round of the 2011 World Rally Championship, got underway with two runs over the all-asphalt Great Orme stage.

    Sebastien Ogier crashed approximately 1.6 kilometres into the first run of the 4.74-kilometre test, taking a wheel off his Citroen DS3 WRC. It is understood his damaged car will be transported back to the permanent service park in Builth Wells where his mechanics will attempt to carry out repairs to enable him to restart under SupeRally regulations on day two.

    Although Ogier dropped out of contention for the world title when he retired on the previous round in Spain, he was planning to play a supporting role to team-mate and championship leader Sebastien Loeb.

    Petter Solberg, running two places behind Ogier, was also in trouble on the stage, damaging the right-rear of his privateer Citroen when he clipped a kerb and took the tyre off the rim.

    The Norwegian feared he’d damaged the bottom arm of his car’s rear suspension in the process and reported a bout of understeer on the second pass, which he still managed to complete in fourth position overall. The first 1.5 kilometres of the stage were held in dry conditions. However, the remainder of the test ran over damp and slippery roads, increasing the challenge for the crews.

    Jari-Matti Latvala, in a factory Ford Fiesta RS WRC, was fastest on both runs and takes a lead of 0.9s over Loeb into the event’s first forest stage, the 15.77-kilometre Clocaenog test, which gets underway at 16:18hrs local time.

    “It was a difficult start for me, really, really nasty,” said Latvala. “I saw big braking marks and then I saw Ogier’s car in the wall. I took this a little more steady and careful this time so the time was not so good, but we will carry on from here.”

    Click: wrc.com/SS1 & SS2



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    SS3



    Mikko Hirvonen has boosted his chances of winning the World Rally Championship by going fastest on the Clocaenog stage in his Ford Fiesta RS WRC.

    Hirvonen completed the first forest stage of Wales Rally GB 2.3s faster than title rival Sebastien Loeb, who moves ahead of Jari-Matti Latvala into the overall lead, 0.7s ahead of Hirvonen.

    “It was very slippery,” said Citroen driver Loeb. “There was a lot of mud and the grip was changing at every corner.”

    Hirvonen said: “It was surprisingly dark in the forests but I was quite happy with that.”

    Former leader Latvala, who drops to third overall, said: "I wasn't maybe having the best feeling on the stage but it was okay."

    With the daylight rapidly fading, crews began to struggle to see where they were going. Briton Matthew Wilson was affected more than most due to a broken light pod.

    “It was going really well,” said the M-Sport Stobart driver. “We were up on Mads at about six of seven kilometres, then the front bumper light came up and I couldn’t see anything - I lost the light completely.”

    Petter Solberg was fourth fastest in his privateer Citroen with Kris Meeke fifth in his MINI John Cooper Works WRC. Super 2000 World Rally Championship runner-up Ott Tanak impressed with the sixth fastest time on his first outing in a World Rally Car.

    Crews are now heading to Llandudno for the remote service halt via the opening ceremony at Conwy Quay.

    Click: wrc.com/news ss3



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    WRC Academy SS1 & SS2 - follow Chris Duplessis competiting in his 1st WRC event



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    SS3 WRC Academy




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    Friday
    SS4: Loeb rapid in Wales




    World champion Sebastien Loeb has claimed his second stage victory on Wales Rally GB after topping the times on the 20.44-kilometre Gartheiniog, the opening test of day two.

    Citroen driver Loeb, who heads Mikko Hirvonen in the world championship table by eight points, reported having a “few moments” in his Citroen DS3 WRC. “I had a very good start but a few moments on the mud and I lost a little bit of time in some places,” said the Frenchman. “I ran wide a bit everywhere.”

    Hirvonen, in a Ford Fiesta RS WRC, completed the test 3.1s slower than Loeb and is now 3.8s adrift of his title rival in the overall standings.

    “It was a bit dark, especially at the start of the stage,” said the Finn. “With the long straights you couldn’t see the braking so well. I was a bit disturbed at that but the conditions are really good.”

    Jari-Matti Latvala was third fastest in his factory Fiesta but wasn’t entirely happy with his performance. “In some places the grip was quite okay, in some places it’s changing,” he said. “It was difficult to get the rhythm and I didn’t have a good start of the stage.”

    Click: wrc.com/news ss4



    Overall: 64. Car#123 C. DUPLESSIS A 36:25.4 +14.5 +10:28.5

    -------------------------

    SS5: Hirvonen closes on Loeb



    Mikko Hirvonen has closed to within 1.3s of Sebastien Loeb in the battle for victory on Wales Rally GB, the deciding round of the 2011 World Rally Championship.

    The Ford driver edged his Citroen rival by 2.5s over the 10.31-kilometre run. Loeb was second fastest through the stage with Jari-Matti Latvala third in his works Fiesta.

    Mads Ostberg was fourth fastest in his M-Sport Stobart Fiesta, going quicker than fellow Norwegian Petter Solberg for the second stage in a row.

    Dani Sordo has crashed into a ditch in his MINI John Cooper Works WRC.

    Click: wrc.com/news ss5



    Overall: 69. Car#123 C. DUPLESSIS A 48:39.4 +2.2 +16:25.9

    -------------------------

    SS6: Hirvonen leads



    Mikko Hirvonen has snatched the lead of Wales Rally GB in his Ford Fiesta RS WRC.

    The Finn completed the short Dyfi East test 1.7s quicker than title rival Sebastien Loeb, who now falls 0.4s behind Hirvonen in the overall classification in his Citroen DS3 WRC.

    M-Sport Stobart’s Mads Ostberg, who overtook MINI driver Kris Meeke on the previous stage, was fourth quickest, 2.0s slower than Jari-Matti Latvala. Meeke was an impressive fifth fastest and is 1.3s behind Ostberg in the battle for fifth.

    Dennis Kuipers reported losing time running through a ditch in his FERM Power Tools World Rally Team Fiesta.

    Click: wrc.com/news ss6



    Overall: 72. Car#123 C. DUPLESSIS A 57:53.0 +2.4 +21:56.7

    -------------------------

    SS7: Loeb regains top spot

    Citroen’s Sebastien Loeb has reclaimed the lead of Wales Rally GB after Ford’s Mikko Hirvonen hit trouble on the event’s seventh stage.

    Hirvonen is understood to have gone off the road in his Fiesta RS WRC damaging a rear wheel and the radiator, which has been punctured by a tree branch.

    The Finn stopped at the 10-kilometre point in the stage after the engine began to overheat. Although he managed to reach the stage finish, there is a very real concern within the Ford Abu Dhabi World Rally Team that he might not be able to complete the 103.62-kilometre road section back to service in Builth Wells.

    Hirvonen was almost four minutes slower than Loeb through the stage. His hopes of his first world title are in tatters as a result with Loeb now leading the world championship qualifier by 17.7s from Ford’s Jari-Matti Latvala.

    Click: wrc.com/news ss7



    Overall: 71. Car#123 C. DUPLESSIS A 1:17:36.8 +4:04.3 +28:59.1

    ---------------------------
    ---------------------------

    EXCLUSIVE Mikko: my title dream is over



    Mikko Hirvonen's bid to win his first World Rally Championship title is over after he was forced to stop on the road section heading back to service in Builth Wells.

    The Finn damaged the radiator on his Ford Fiesta RS WRC striking a submerged branch on the Dyfnant stage. He tried to return to service in Builth Wells, a journey of more than 100 kilometres, but failed to get beyond the town of Newtown.

    He told WRC.com: “It was very tricky in the morning and the grip level was changing quite a lot. On one braking [point] it was very slippery and I was too fast into the next corner. There was a big slide and the rear touched the bank. I spun and it pulled the front of the car into a bank where there was a tree stump. The wood came through the radiator. There was no real damage but we lost all the water in the engine. We carried on for five-six kilometres but that was it.”

    Hirvonen had just taken the lead of the event and said he felt confident he could hold on for victory.

    “I felt really good. There were some slippery places but I was still able to push, although maybe not much more. It’s a hard rally and you can always have moments like that.”

    Of his title chances, the Finn added: “Like you said it’s over for sure. I have to thank the team for a really good effort and all the help. Unfortunately we have to look to the future and see what we can do in the future.”

    Click: wrc.com/news exclusive

    -------------------------

    Chris Duplessis / WRC Academy Friday morning times SS4 thru SS7


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    Friday Midday wrap

    Sebastien Loeb has completed Friday's opening four stages leading Wales Rally GB by 17.7s. With points rival Mikko Hirvonen out after damaging his car during a spin on stage seven Loeb is firmly on course for world title number eight.

    Hirvonen had actually snatched the lead from Loeb with a faster run through the event’s sixth stage, held in damp and slippery conditions. But a mistake on the next mud-coated run left his Ford Fiesta RS WRC with a holed radiator

    “It was very tricky in the morning and the grip level was changing quite a lot,” said Hirvonen. “On one braking [point] it was very slippery and I was too fast into the next corner. There was a big slide and the rear touched the bank. I spun and it pulled the front of the car into a bank where there was a tree stump. The wood came through the radiator. There was no real damage but we lost all the water in the engine. We carried on for five-six kilometres but the engine started to overheat.”

    Despite attempting to return to service in Builth Wells, Hirvonen was forced to stop on the road section and retire from the event. Early reports suggest it won’t be possible for his factory Ford team to repair the damage to his car’s engine, meaning Loeb will be able to celebrate becoming champion when the event finishes in Cardiff on Sunday afternoon.

    Loeb said Hirvonen’s exit had relieved some of he pressure he was feeling at the wheel of his Citroen DS3 WRC. However, he added that he wasn’t planning to begin celebrating.

    cont....Patrik Flodin heads Jarko Nikara in the Production Car World Rally Championship standings. Craig Breen is dominating the WRC Academy Cup from Alastair Fisher. His title rival Egon Kaur is third, 1m42.2s behind the Irishman.

    Read More: wrc.com/friday midday


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    SS8: Stage best for Latvala

    Jari-Matti Latvala has gone fastest on the repeat of the Dyfi West stage in his efforts to claim his first victory in the World Rally Championship this season.

    Driving a Ford Fiesta RS WRC, Latvala was 5.4s quicker than Wales Rally GB leader Sebastien Loeb through the 10.31-kilometre stage, which took place in increasingly wet and muddy conditions. He is now 12.3s behind the Frenchman in the overall standings.

    Kris Meeke impressed with the second fastest time in his MINI John Cooper Works WRC. The Northern Irishman is battling back from time lost with an alternator glitch on stage seven.

    Behind Loeb, Petter Solberg was fourth quickest in his self-run Citroen. Mads Ostberg set the fifth best time in his M-Sport Stobart Fiesta. Factory Citroen driver Sebastien Ogier was sixth quickest.

    Click: wrc.com/news ss8



    -----------------------

    SS9: Meeke sets the pace



    Kris Meeke has gone fastest on stage nine of Wales Rally GB in his MINI John Cooper Works WRC.

    In deteriorating weather conditions the British driver was 1.0s faster than Ford pilot Jari-Matti Latvala, who has trimmed Sebastien Loeb’s overall lead to 10.6s.

    “I’m quite happy to be honest,” said Meeke. “It was a lot more slippery than this morning but it was easier to judge the grip. The car is working well.”

    With title rival Mikko Hirvonen retiring this morning, Loeb has adopted a more cautious approach and settled for the fifth quickest time in his Citroen.

    Mads Ostberg continues to head Petter Solberg in the battle for the final podium spot after beating his fellow Norwegian through the stage.

    Click: wrc.com/news ss9



    -----------------------

    SS10: Latvala closes on Loeb

    Jari-Matti Latvala has trimmed Sebastien Loeb’s lead of Wales Rally GB to 8.6s by winning the repeat of the Gartheiniog stage in his Ford Fiesta RS WRC.

    Latvala was one second quicker than 2003 world champion Petter Solberg through the 19.72-kilometre test. Sebastien Loeb was third fastest, 2.0s down on Latvala with Mads Ostberg fourth and Kris Meeke fifth.

    Meeke is now 9.6s behind ninth-placed Dennis Kuipers as he continues to recover from the delays suffered this morning with an alternator glitch.

    Click: wrc.com/news ss10



    -----------------------

    SS11: Latvala cuts Loeb’s advantage



    Sebastien Loeb’s lead on Wales Rally GB has been slashed to just 1.1s after Jari-Matti Latvala recorded his third fastest stage time of the day.

    Driving a Ford Fiesta RS WRC, Latvala was 7.5s quicker than Citroen ace Loeb through Friday’s final stage, held in foggy and wet conditions.

    “I pushed a lot in the fog and there was one big moment but it came well in the end,” said Latvala.

    Petter Solberg and Mads Ostberg continued their battle for the final podium spot with Solberg beating his fellow Norwegian through the stage. However, Ostberg still occupies third place in the overall standings.

    Kris Meeke completed an encouraging afternoon with the sixth quickest time in his MINI John Cooper Works WRC, one place behind Loeb’s Citroen team-mate Sebastien Ogier.

    Matthew Wilson and Henning Solberg reported suffering substantial delay when fog descended just before they started the stage in their M-Sport Stobart Fiestas.

    Kimi Raikkonen set the seventh-best time despite fearing he’d picked up a puncture during the run in his ICE 1 Racing Citroen.

    Click: wrc.com/news ss11





    ...and rally radio is reporting mikko will not restart ...so Loeb is 8 times champion!


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    Friday WRC wrap



    A thrilling battle for victory is in store on the third day of Wales Rally GB after Sebastien Loeb reached Friday's final service halt in Builth Wells leading Jari-Matti Latvala by 1.1s.

    In a day of high drama, Citroen driver Loeb increased his grip on an eighth world crown when title rival Mikko Hirvonen retired with damage to the radiator of his works Ford Fiesta RS WRC following contact against a submerged tree stump when he slid into a bank.

    Hirvonen’s exit left Loeb torn between pushing for his fourth-straight victory in Wales and ensuring a strong finish in order to put the destination of this year’s World Rally Championship beyond doubt.

    “For sure we are in a good situation at the moment after Mikko’s problems,” said Loeb. “We are waiting a bit now to see if Mikko restarts or not tomorrow. If he does not restart then we are world champion and after that there will be no pressure. But now Jari-Matti is one second behind so it’s going to be very close.”

    With Loeb opting to play safe while he waited on news on whether Hirvonen would be able to restart on day two or not, Latvala gradually cut the Frenchman’s lead with an impressive charge in the afternoon.

    “I was struggling and not having a great feeling in the morning and not driving well,” said Latvala. “But the afternoon was better and I got a good feeling.”

    It’s not just the battle for victory that’s tightly poised with Norwegians Mads Ostberg and Petter Solberg engaged in a close fight for third place. After stage 11 Ostberg is 7.8s clear of Solberg, who lost vital seconds with a puncture and broken damper on stage seven.

    Read More: wrc.com/Friday WRC

    -----------------------

    Friday PWRC wrap



    Patrik Flodin's bid to finish runner-up in the Production Car World Rally Championship is on course after he completed day two of Wales Rally GB leading the category by more than two and a half minutes in his Subaru Impreza.

    Flodin, from Sweden, had been trailing Jarkko Nikara in the battle for victory in Wales only for the Finn to suffer a spin on the first Dyfnant stage and drop 9.9s behind Flodin heading into the afternoon loop of stages. A close fight ensued before Nikara went off the road the day’s final stage and retired, handing Flodin a clear advantage.

    “It was quite okay today but the conditions were tricky,” said Flodin, who is being co-driven by Timo Alanne for the first time this week after Goran Bergsten, his regular navigator was unable to travel to Wales due to work commitments. “We still need to get used to each other and build a good relationship but it’s working well so far.”

    Michal Kosciuszko is second overall in a Mitsubishi Lancer with Martin Semerad third after the Czech was slowed by a mechanical glitch in the morning when his Lancer’s engine dropped onto three cylinders.

    Read More: wrc.com/Friday PWRC

    ----------------------

    Friday WRC Academy wrap



    The chase for the inaugural WRC Academy Cup crown - and the scholarship prize of 500,000 Euros - is tightly poised after Craig Breen narrowed Egon Kaur's advantage at the top of the title standings on the second day of Wales Rally GB.

    Irishman Breen started the event 20 points behind Kaur and will finish the season 13 points adrift of the Estonian if he wins and Kaur takes second.

    But with Breen claiming nine bonus points already for his nine stage wins, there’s a strong chance that Breen will become champion when the event concludes in Builth Wells on Saturday evening providing he claims victory and maintains his stage-winning pace.

    “Everything is going according to the plan,” said Breen. “We attacked from the start yesterday and today we’ve been taking it a bit easier but the times still look very good so I’m quite pleased.”

    Kaur had been in third position heading into Friday’s final stage but inherited second place when Northern Irishman Alastair Fisher slid into a ditch and got stuck on the rain and fog hit 11th test, dropping behind Kaur to third.

    Christian Riedemann is fourth with Molly Taylor an impressive fifth on the back of her first stage victory in the WRC Academy, which she achieved on the second Dyfnant run. Czech Jan Cerny completes the top six.

    Several drivers encountered problems on a tough day in Wales. Brendan Reeves retired with driveshaft failure on stage four. American newcomer Chris Duplessis rolled into retirement on the same test (SS4), fortunately without injury, while a broken driveshaft forced Fredrik Ahlin’s exit on stage seven.

    wrc.com/Friday WRC Academy


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    Saturday -
    BREAKING NEWS:


    Petter Solberg has failed to start stage 12 of Wales Rally GB after his team confirmed that the 2003 world champion has stopped on the road section heading to the 32.14-kilometre Hafren run.

    Solberg’s privateer Citroen DS3 WRC has suffered a broken fuel pipe, putting him out of the World Rally Championship qualifier.

    His retirement leaves fellow Norwegian Mads Ostberg clear in third position in his M-Sport Stobart Ford Fiesta RS WRC.

    Click: wrc.com/news/breaking-news

    -------------------------

    SS12: Error harms Latvala’s attack



    Jari-Matti Latvala has faltered in his bid to catch Sebastien Loeb for the lead of Wales Rally GB after he overshot a junction during Saturday’s opening test.

    The Ford driver was 1.1s behind his Citroen rival at the stage start but is now 6.9s adrift in the overall standings when he got into difficulties braking in a particularly slippery section.

    “It was a really muddy section and we had to go straight on at an access road,” said Latvala. “The engine stopped and he had to reverse.”

    Mads Ostberg was alerted prior to the stage start that Petter Solberg, with whom he was battling for the final podium spot, had failed to start the run after his Citroen suffered a broken fuel pump on the road section heading to the test.

    “I struggled to focus through the stage,” said Ostberg. “I took it steady with no risk, I will have to drive with more pace now.”

    Ott Tanak continues to impress with the third fastest time on his debut in a new-generation World Rally Car.

    Click: wrc.com/news ss12




    Overall 65. Car #123 C. DUPLESSIS A 2:43:08.3 +9:55.2 +1:01:10.9

    -------------------------

    SS13: Meeke fighting power loss



    Kris Meeke continues to struggle in his bid to climb back into the top five on Wales Rally GB after his MINI John Cooper Works WRC was struck by a possible engine mounting failure.

    Briton Meeke was 6.6s slower than stage winner Jari-Matti Latvala in a Ford Fiesta RS WRC. “I think an engine mounting has gone, the engine is rattling and the turbo pipe is off,” said Meeke. “We tried to reattach it but it’s gone again.”

    “It was a clean run but I broke far too early for one corner and lost maybe half a second,” said Latvala who still managed to go 0.3s quicker than eight-time world champion Sebastien Loeb.

    Frenchman Loeb admitted he’d made several mistakes behind the wheel of his Citroen DS3 WRC. “It was so muddy that it was difficult to make a clean run. There were many spectators where you have the water splashes and the jumps.”

    Click: wrc.com/news ss13




    Overall 64. Car#123 C. DUPLESSIS A 2:46:37.6 +9:36.8 +1:01:51.4

    --------------------------

    SS14: Wilson moves up



    British driver Matthew Wilson has shot up from seventh to fifth on Wales Rally GB after the first run through Myherin.

    Wilson, in an M-Sport Stobart Ford Fiesta RS WRC, profited when Ott Tanak went off into a ditch and Kris Meeke continued to lose time with the engine mounting problem that has stuck his MINI John Cooper Works WRC this morning.

    Tanak’s delay occurred nearing the end of the stage when he went into a bank and blocked the radiator in his Fiesta. “I was just doing some corrections in my pace notes and I missed one tightening [corner],” he said. “I was a bit too much and it blocked the radiator. We were taking some time cleaning it because it was going too hot.”

    Meeke said: “We have no turbo, the engine mounting is broken and the gearshift is working intermittently. We hope we can fix it in service but the engine mounting is not the easiest thing sorted.”

    Sebastien Loeb, in a Citroen DS3 WRC, was fastest through the stage with a time that was 0.7s quicker than Jari-Matti Latvala. In the overall standings Latvala trails Loeb by 7.3s after the morning loop of stages.

    Crews are now heading back to service in Builth Wells. The second run through Hafren gets underway at 13:51hrs local time.

    Click: wrc.com/news ss14




    Overall 65. Car#123 C. DUPLESSIS A 3:05:27.6 +11.3 +1:04:56.8

    --------------------------
    --------------------------

    WRC Academy SS12 thru SS14 / Chris Duplessis




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    Last edited by Weasel 555; 11-12-2011 at 05:04 AM.
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    Raikkonen and P.Solberg retire in Wales

    Kimi Raikkonen and Petter Solberg won't take any further part on Wales Rally GB following their exits from the world championship finale this morning.

    Raikkonen suffered a light roll in his Citroen DS3 WRC on the opening Hafren test, while Solberg stopped prior to the run when a broken fuel pipe ignited a small fire in his similar Citroen.

    Ex-Formula One world champion Raikkonen and co-driver Kaj Lindstrom, who were sixth overall prior to their exit, managed to regain the road after the roll following the intervention of a number of spectators. However, the damage sustained meant they failed to complete the 32.14.kilometre test.

    Solberg had started day three in a fight with Mads Ostberg for the final podium spot. His team manager Ken Rees said: “The fuel pipe was broken in the engine bay, which started a small fire. Petter and Chris managed to put it out but they won’t be going any further. It’s very disappointing.”

    Click: wrc.com/news/raikkonen-and-psolberg

    ------------------------

    SS15: Latvala grabs top spot



    Jari-Matti Latvala has snatched the lead of Wales Rally GB from Sebastien Loeb while Mads Ostberg has revealed an engine problem could wreck his hopes of a podium finish.

    Latvala turned a deficit of 7.3s prior to the stage start into a lead of 1.3s after he was 8.6s faster than world champion Loeb through the repeat of the Hafren test.

    Despite his pace, Latvala said it had been difficult to make it through the stage unscathed. “It’s a tight situation and I was pushing on that stage,” admitted the factory Ford Abu Dhabi pilot. “It was very demanding, very difficult conditions and very slippery. The road was polished and it was difficult to grip.”

    Citroen ace Loeb, who clinched his eighth world title when Mikko Hirvonen retired on Friday, said: “I was pushing very hard but honestly it’s so slippery. I have absolutely no grip. I tried but I cannot do any better. I don’t give up but I can’t do any better on this one.”

    Ostberg, in third position in his M-Sport Stobart Fiesta, said: “It’s not good, we have engine problems. We changed everything in service but it’s getting worse and worse.”

    Click: wrc.com/news ss15




    Overall 64. Car#123 C. DUPLESSIS A 3:28:42.6 +42.2 +1:08:52.9

    ------------------------

    SS16: Ostberg fearing woe



    Mads Ostberg fears the engine problems that are holding him back on Wales Rally GB might cost him the final podium place on the world championship finale.

    The Norwegian continues to lose time in his M-Sport Stobart Fiesta. Speaking at the finish of the repeat of the Sweet Lamb stage, Ostberg said: “I just want to get through and I’ve been told by the team just to use high revs and no torque. I don’t have a clue what the problem is but if we stop the car it will only restart on three cylinders. It seems to be a big problem and I’m not sure if we can fix that in service (this evening).”

    In the battle for first place, Ford’s Jari-Matti Latvala has extended his advantage over Sebastien Loeb to 1.5s after going 0.2s faster than his Citroen rival through the run.

    “It’s much more slippery in the afternoon because it’s been raining and it’s taken the gravel off the top of the surface to leave a hard base, which is basically polished mud,” said the Finn.

    Loeb said: “We lose a lot of power after the water splash so for sure the time won’t be so good.”

    Click: wrc.com/news ss16




    Overall 62. Car#123 C. DUPLESSIS A 3:32:17.8 +41.4 +1:09:37.3

    ------------------------

    SS17: Loeb can’t stop flying Latvala



    Sebastien Loeb says he’s powerless to halt Jari-Matti Latvala’s progress on Wales Rally GB following the completion of Saturday’s final stage, Myherin.

    Loeb started Saturday afternoon’s loop of three stages 1.1s in front of Latvala but trails the Finn by 6.1s heading to the day’s final service halt in Builth Wells after Latvala went fastest on today’s three closing stages.

    “It’s going really well and tomorrow morning I need to wake up with a very clean head,” said factory Ford driver Latvala. “I have got a good confidence and I’m so hungry for the victory.”

    Citroen driver Loeb said: “I cannot do anything. Maybe he’s much better than me or maybe we are cleaning a bit but I did the perfect stage. If you watch on the video you can find no mistake anywhere. We have to continue, anything is possible.”

    Click: wrc.com/news ss17




    Overall 60. Car#123 C. DUPLESSIS A 3:51:33.7 +1:12.7 +1:12:55.8

    ------------------------

    WRC Academy News -- Craig Breen & Gareth Roberts have done it !! Congratulations


    BREAKING NEWS: Breen is WRC Academy champion



    Craig Breen has won the inaugural WRC Academy Cup title and with it a scholarship of 500,000 Euros following a thrilling finish to the young-driver class on Wales Rally GB this afternoon.

    Breen needed to win the final stage and claim the bonus point that put the title beyond the reach of Egon Kaur, who had led the standings from the opening round.

    “It’s an amazing feeling,” said Breen. “I know I was the quickest driver over the whole series so to win is just brilliant.”

    Egon Kaur said: “We had some damage to the filter mounting. We tried to fix it before this one and we also caught the car in front.”

    Click: wrc.com/breaking-news-breen-is-wrc-academy-champion

    ------------------------

    Q&A: Craig Breen



    Craig Breen has become the inaugural FIA WRC Academy Cup champion following a dramatic end to the final event of the season on Wales Rally GB this evening. Wrc.com was there when the Irishman reached the finish in Builth Wells.

    Craig, you’re the inaugural FIA WRC Academy Cup champion. How good does it feel?
    “I can’t find words to describe this moment. For sure it’s the most amazing feeling to finally get here after all the effort we’ve put in all year, all the ups and downs we’ve made it to the finish. We’ve finished level on points but we’ve got it on stage wins so we’re absolutely thrilled.”

    You had to win all three stages this afternoon to get enough bonus points to take the title. How hard was that?
    “I’d got into quite a good rhythm so I wasn’t thinking too much about the stages. I was just trying to be fast and carry good speed.”

    Did you believe you’d leave here with the title?
    “We were 100 per cent committed when we came here. We knew what we had to do and I never lost the faith. I didn’t lose it in Portugal, in Sardinia. We kept it going all year and I think belief is the main thing here. I’ve got a fantastic group of people back in Ireland that follow me and believe in me just about as much as I believe in myself. We left until the last stage of the last rally to get that finally. To do it is just amazing.”

    Read More: wrc.com/wrc-academy/qa-craig-breen/

    ------------------------


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    Last edited by Weasel 555; 11-12-2011 at 10:53 AM.
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    WRC Academy Time SS15 thru SS17 / Chris Duplessis



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  14. #13

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    Saturday wrap:



    Jari-Matti Latvala will start the final day of the 2011 World Rally Championship season in Wales tomorrow leading world champion Sebastien Loeb by 6.1s.

    The Finn, in a Ford Abu Dhabi World Rally Team Fiesta RS WRC, started day three trailing Loeb by 1.1s only for an overshoot on Saturday’s first test to drop him back.

    But three stage bests for Latvala in the afternoon propelled him to top spot heading into Sunday’s six stages.

    “It’s going really well and tomorrow morning I need to wake up with a very clean head,” said Latvala, who is still chasing his first victory of 2011. “I have good confidence and I’m so hungry for the victory. Sebastien is eight-time world champion now and maybe he doesn’t have the spark to fight completely at 100 per cent. I do.”

    Loeb reported the slippery conditions he encountered running at the head of the field in the afternoon had slowed his Citroen DS3 WRC. “I was pushing very hard but honestly it was so slippery and I had absolutely no grip,” said the French ace. “I tried and made no mistake but I could not do any better.”

    Mads Ostberg is third overall in his M-Sport Stobart Ford Fiesta but said he was being hampered by an engine problem, the cause of which he could not determine. But with an overnight lead of almost three minutes over team-mate and countryman Henning Solberg, Ostberg is firmly in contention for the final spot on the podium.

    Read More: wrc.com/Saturday wrap

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    Sunday

    SS18: Latvala edges clear


    Jari-Matti Latvala has extended his lead of Wales Rally GB to seven and a half seconds after winning Sunday’s first test, the mixed-surface 14.93-kilometre Halfway blast.

    Driving a Ford Fiesta RS WRC for the Ford Abu Dhabi World Rally Team, Latvala said: “It’s looking good. I think it was good to be running first on the road. There was one place where it was quite slippery and it made the heart beat faster.”

    Loeb was 1.4s slower than Latvala in his Citroen Total World Rally Team DS3 WRC. “Everything is okay but Jari-Matti is very fast,” said the French driver. “I’m pushing very hard but there is nothing to do at the moment. The asphalt section was clean, no problem.”

    Mads Ostberg, who is third in his M-Sport Stobart Fiesta on the World Rally Championship finale, said: “We’re working on securing the third position without any risks. We still have engine problems but we can definitely cope with it by turning down the power and not overusing it.”

    Kris Meeke continues to close the gap to fourth-placed Henning Solberg. “I want to catch Henning but I need to get it home,” said the MINI John Cooper Works WRC driver, who is now 35.1s behind the Norwegian. “At least I know the grip is there.”

    Click: wrc.com/news ss18



    ------------------------

    Drama in Wales as Loeb retires !!

    Sebastien Loeb has been involved in a road accident leaving stage 18, Halfway.

    The Citroen ace and co-driver Daniel Elena, plus the occupants of the car, are all understood to be uninjured. However, Loeb’s DS3 WRC has been damaged to the point he is unable to continue to the next stage, Crychan.

    A spokesperson for the Citroen Total World Rally Team: “The other car was coming towards Seb and Dani on the wrong side of the road. It’s not possible to make repairs, they are out of the rally.”

    On hearing the news, Loeb’s team-mate Sebastien Ogier said: “It’s a big shame for sure.”

    Click: wrc.com/loeb retires

    ------------------------

    SS19: Meeke closes on first podium



    Kris Meeke is 22.6s adrift of his maiden podium finish in the World Rally Championship as he continues to close the gap to third-placed Henning Solberg on Wales Rally GB.

    Meeke, who was third quickest through the run in his MINI John Cooper Works WRC, was more than 10 seconds faster than Fiesta driver Solberg.

    Jari-Matti Latvala was fastest through the stage, beating Sebastien Ogier by 9.9s, despite admitting he’s backing off following Sebastien Loeb’s dramatic retirement heading to the Crychan test.

    Click: wrc.com.news ss19



    ------------------------

    SS20: Solberg vows to fight for podium



    Henning Solberg says he will do all he can to maintain his grip on the final podium spot on Wales Rally GB, the closing round of the 2011 World Rally Championship season.

    The Norwegian M-Sport Stobart Ford Fiesta driver is under mounting pressure from Kris Meeke in the battle for third place with the Briton closing the gap to 21.3s with three stages remaining.

    “I try my best and we will see what we can do,” said Solberg, who was 1.3s slower than MINI driver Meeke through the stage. “A podium will be fantastic. I try.”

    Jari-Matti Latvala tops the overall standings by 3m19.5s in his Ford Fiesta RS WRC but had to give best to Citroen’s Sebastien Ogier, who was quickest through the short test by 0.2s, despite reporting that he was “validating his pace notes” when the stage is run for a second time this afternoon.

    Click: wrc.com/news ss20




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    Sunday

    SS18: Latvala edges clear


    Jari-Matti Latvala has extended his lead of Wales Rally GB to seven and a half seconds after winning Sunday’s first test, the mixed-surface 14.93-kilometre Halfway blast.

    Driving a Ford Fiesta RS WRC for the Ford Abu Dhabi World Rally Team, Latvala said: “It’s looking good. I think it was good to be running first on the road. There was one place where it was quite slippery and it made the heart beat faster.”

    Loeb was 1.4s slower than Latvala in his Citroen Total World Rally Team DS3 WRC. “Everything is okay but Jari-Matti is very fast,” said the French driver. “I’m pushing very hard but there is nothing to do at the moment. The asphalt section was clean, no problem.”

    Mads Ostberg, who is third in his M-Sport Stobart Fiesta on the World Rally Championship finale, said: “We’re working on securing the third position without any risks. We still have engine problems but we can definitely cope with it by turning down the power and not overusing it.”

    Kris Meeke continues to close the gap to fourth-placed Henning Solberg. “I want to catch Henning but I need to get it home,” said the MINI John Cooper Works WRC driver, who is now 35.1s behind the Norwegian. “At least I know the grip is there.”

    Click: wrc.com/news ss18



    ------------------------

    Drama in Wales as Loeb retires !!

    Sebastien Loeb has been involved in a road accident leaving stage 18, Halfway.

    The Citroen ace and co-driver Daniel Elena, plus the occupants of the car, are all understood to be uninjured. However, Loeb’s DS3 WRC has been damaged to the point he is unable to continue to the next stage, Crychan.

    A spokesperson for the Citroen Total World Rally Team: “The other car was coming towards Seb and Dani on the wrong side of the road. It’s not possible to make repairs, they are out of the rally.”

    On hearing the news, Loeb’s team-mate Sebastien Ogier said: “It’s a big shame for sure.”

    Click: wrc.com/loeb retires

    ------------------------

    SS19: Meeke closes on first podium



    Kris Meeke is 22.6s adrift of his maiden podium finish in the World Rally Championship as he continues to close the gap to third-placed Henning Solberg on Wales Rally GB.

    Meeke, who was third quickest through the run in his MINI John Cooper Works WRC, was more than 10 seconds faster than Fiesta driver Solberg.

    Jari-Matti Latvala was fastest through the stage, beating Sebastien Ogier by 9.9s, despite admitting he’s backing off following Sebastien Loeb’s dramatic retirement heading to the Crychan test.

    Click: wrc.com.news ss19



    ------------------------

    SS20: Solberg vows to fight for podium



    Henning Solberg says he will do all he can to maintain his grip on the final podium spot on Wales Rally GB, the closing round of the 2011 World Rally Championship season.

    The Norwegian M-Sport Stobart Ford Fiesta driver is under mounting pressure from Kris Meeke in the battle for third place with the Briton closing the gap to 21.3s with three stages remaining.

    “I try my best and we will see what we can do,” said Solberg, who was 1.3s slower than MINI driver Meeke through the stage. “A podium will be fantastic. I try.”

    Jari-Matti Latvala tops the overall standings by 3m19.5s in his Ford Fiesta RS WRC but had to give best to Citroen’s Sebastien Ogier, who was quickest through the short test by 0.2s, despite reporting that he was “validating his pace notes” when the stage is run for a second time this afternoon.

    Click: wrc.com/news ss20




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