WRC Wales Rally GB 13-16 Sept talk/results spoiler**
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This is a discussion on WRC Wales Rally GB 13-16 Sept talk/results spoiler** within the Motorsports Talk forums, part of the Community - Meet other Enthusiasts category; Next: Round 10 Wales RallyGB 13-16 Sep Britain’s World Rally Championship counter has been a qualifying round of the series ...

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    Cool WRC Wales Rally GB 13-16 Sept talk/results spoiler**

    Next: Round 10 Wales RallyGB 13-16 Sep



    Britain’s World Rally Championship counter has been a qualifying round of the series every year since the WRC was established in 1973. This year’s event will mark a move away from its end-of-term slot to a mid-September date, which it last occupied in 2005.

    Official Website: walesrallygb.com/

    Listen Live: worldrallyradio.com/

    Watch Speed TV(USA): speedtv.com//filter/program/wrc


    ....

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

    Fastest Rally GB ever in store

    Next week's Wales Rally GB, round 10 of the FIA World Rally Championship, could be the fastest in the event's 80-year history.

    That’s according to WRC TV’s Julian Porter and photographer Colin McMaster of the respected McKlein agency, whose images regularly appear on WRC.com.

    Earlier this week they conducted a reconnaissance of the entire three-day route in preparation for next week’s gravel contest and were full of praise for the work carried out by the event organisers and the Forestry Commission to ensure the stages will be in peak condition when the WRC heads to Wales from 14-16 September.

    Porter, a former national level rally driver, said the stages were immaculate and urged fans yet to buy tickets to watch the action to do so in order to witness what he said would be a high-speed spectacle.

    “The stages are beautiful, so smooth and so super fast,” said Porter. “If fans are in any doubt whether they should come then all I can say is now is the time because the stages are going to be fantastic, the potential of mud is eliminated and the weather should be amazing too.”

    Porter, who has worked in the WRC in a reporting capacity for several years, singled out the Port Talbot stage on the final day of the rally as being potentially decisive to the outcome of the event.

    “It’s everything you’d want as a driver, with flat curves, crests and kinks and it’s really going to be a wake-up call on the final day,” said Porter. “The bravest will be the quickest in there, which could be the same as on the Dyfnant stage on Friday morning where I can see some drivers getting caught out.”

    McMaster, who has only missed one Rally GB since 1992 and captured the image above this week, said: “I’ve never seen the stages in such a good condition. They are beautifully graded and nicely compacted. The organisers have far exceeded the brief when it comes to the spectator areas too - they’ve chopped down trees and prepared nice platform areas to offer great viewing.”

    click: wrc.com/news/17396

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    Loeb beats the rain to set Qualifying pace

    Sebastien Loeb will be the first driver to select his road position for Wales Rally GB's opening stages on Friday after he topped a dramatic Qualifying Stage in his Citroen DS3 WRC this afternoon.

    Loeb, who is chasing his ninth FIA World Rally Championship drivers’ title and Citroen’s eighth makes’ award this season, took 2m22.260s to complete the 3.91-kilometre stage at the Walters Arena complex north of the event base in Cardiff.

    “It was a good run,” said the French ace and current WRC title leader. “I made one or two small mistakes but I am happy, it was not raining for me."

    But while Loeb has gained an early advantage in his bid for his fourth Rally GB triumph, rival Petter Solberg was left frustrated as it began to rain just as he was about to launch his Ford Fiesta RS WRC from the stage start.

    “It’s unbelievable,” he said after losing out to Loeb by 0.051s. “The rain tap is turned on again at the start line [just like in Germany]. I didn’t know what the grip would be like and I was braking too early for some of the corners. It’s frustrating but I still have one aim and that is to win.”

    With drivers picking their road position at the ceremonial start in Llandudno on Thursday evening in order of fastest to slowest, Solberg will select his place on the road after Loeb.

    Mikko Hirvonen, in the second works Citroen, was third quickest with Citroen Junior Thierry Neuville - making his Rally GB debut - fourth fastest, +0.878s down on Loeb. Factory Ford pilot and last year’s winner Jari-Matti Latvala was fifth quickest, 1.133s slower than Loeb with Ford privateer Mads Ostberg completing the top six.

    Matthew Wilson, contesting a Qualifying Stage for the first time in his career, was ninth fastest with Chris Atkinson the leading MINI John Cooper Works WRC driver in 11th place. The Australian reported sliding wide at one corner but was otherwise satisfied with his efforts.

    Local children and government representatives will join each crew when they take to the start podium to choose their road position in Llandudno, a popular seaside resort in the north of Wales, from 19:00hrs local time on Thursday 13 September.

    Prior to the starting ceremony, crews will take part in an autograph signing session in Llandudno from 17:30hrs. A display of iconic cars from the 80-year history of the event will also be on display on the town’s promenade. Vehicles set to feature include Colin McRae’s 2001 Ford Focus WRC.

    The first special stage, Dyfnant 1, goes live at 08:13hrs local time on Friday.

    1. S Loeb Citroen........................2:22.260
    2. P Solberg FORD.........................+0.051
    3. M Hirvonen Citroen.................... +0.872
    4. T Neuville Citroen...................... +0.878
    5. JM Latvala FORD.........................+1.133
    6. M Ostberg FORD.........................+1.271
    7. N Al Attiyah Citroen.....................+1.589

    click: wrc.com/news/loeb-set-qualifying-pace/

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    Belgian Rally GB debutant Thierry Neuville will lead the field away when Britain's round of the World Rally Championship commences from Llandudno on Friday morning.

    Neuville's fellow Citroen DS3 WRC driver Sebastien Loeb was the first to make his choice, courtesy of his fastest time in qualifying. The defending world champion starts third.

    Neuville admitted his job could be tough if the weather remains dry overnight.

    "I hope there will be a lot of rain tonight, if not it will be difficult for me," he said. "It's a challenge but we will manage. My aim is to finish the rally without making a mistake."

    Loeb said: "This was a team decision. It was based on the weather information we have. We heard maybe it can be quite humid in the morning and third on the road is a good place.

    "Also, if it is dry, maybe it's not best to be first on the road in the afternoon. I didn't know what Mikko [Hirvonen] and Thierry would be doing - I just wanted to be third."

    Hirvonen will be running second, making it a Citroen one-two-three through the mid-Wales stages.

    Petter Solberg is the first Ford in fourth, with his team-mate Jari-Matti Latvala right behind him in fifth place on the road.

    click: autosport.com/news/102509

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    Friday

    SS1: Solberg on top in Wales




    Petter Solberg leads Wales Rally GB after heading a Norwegian one-two through Friday’s opening test, Dyfnant. Driving a works Ford Fiesta RS WRC, Solberg completed the run - held in damp and slippery conditions - in a time of 11m53.5s with countryman Mads Ostberg second fastest, 1.5s adrift.

    “I’m very happy with that,” said Solberg, world rally champion in 2003. “It was a good start and the car works well. It feels like it can be a very interesting weekend. It’s not bad being fourth on the road but it looks like it’s becoming slippery and muddy in some places but okay, no problem.”

    Ostberg, in a privateer Fiesta, said: “It was a good pace, I’m pushing hard. My aim for this event we will be to push in all places. There were no moments here so we will push a bit more in the next stage. It’s getting more and more slippery but in a few places it’s cleaning a bit.”

    Jari-Matti Latvala was third fastest after reports of a slightly hesitant getaway from the stage start in his Fiesta. “Petter is driving really well but I’m pleased with that. It will be good to carry on from this point.”

    FIA World Rally Championship leader Sebastien Loeb was fourth fastest in his factory Citroen DS3 WRC, 1.9s down on Solberg. “It was okay, not easy and really muddy with the grip changing so I was not so confident,” said the French ace. “I didn’t do a very, very good stage and I am sure behind they will be faster. I didn’t want to take too many risks but the focus is good and everything is going well.”

    click: wrc.com/news/rallygb ss1



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    SS2: Loeb moves up

    Sebastien Loeb has made up two places in the battle for victory on Wales Rally GB. The Citroen ace, the winner of the FIA World Rally Championship on eight occasions, started the stage in fourth place but has now climbed to second, despite going 0.4s slower than stage victor Petter Solberg in a factory Fiesta.

    The Norwegian’s overall lead increases to 2.3s with Mads Ostberg, who was second overall after the opening test, slipping to third after the Adapta driver feared he picked up a puncture. “I hit a stone and thought I had a punctured and started to slow down,” said Ostberg. “I lost two seconds because of that and couldn’t make it back up.”

    Jari-Matti Latvala, in the second works Fiesta, was 4.4s slower than Solberg after a scare three kilometres into the test when he ran wide off the road and nudged a pile of logs. He completed the stage with a piece of wood wedged between a rim and tyre. He was fifth fastest and falls to fourth overall.

    Thierry Neuville, who chose to run at the head of the field at the ceremonial start in Llandudno on Thursday evening, was 46.3s slower than Solberg. He said: “It’s a little drier than the stage before but still some parts are very slippery.”

    click: wrc.com/news/rallygb ss2



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    SS3: Latvala flies into the lead



    Jari-Matti Latvala has shot into the lead of Wales Rally GB with a sensational run through Myherin, which he describes as his favourite stage of the FIA World Rally Championship event.

    The Ford World Rally Team driver was 5.4s faster than Citroen’s Sebastien Loeb with team-mate Petter Solberg 9.7s down on the flying Finn. As a result, Solberg slips from first to third in the overall classification with Loeb second, 3.3s adrift of Latvala.

    “This is my favourite stage, I always like to get into this stage,” said Latvala. “I had a moment in Hafren Sweet Lamb on a slippery right-hander and pushed the tyre off the rim. There was a massive vibration after that, I lost concentration and it took the time to get a feeling. We need more stages like this one.”

    Loeb, who briefly moved into the lead only for Latvala to go faster, said: “I’ve done a really good stage and the fight with the Fords is really hard so we have to push. It’s very slippery, you have some big slides and it’s difficult to keep the car on the road.”

    Solberg put his time loss down to his decision to carry only one fresh tyre to bolt on to his Fiesta during the morning loop. Meanwhile, Mads Ostberg rued using his old pace notes for the stage after slipping from third to fourth overall after going 13.9s slower than Latvala. “It was not a good stage for us,” said Ostberg. “We decided to make new pace notes for all stages except this one and we couldn’t get a good rhythm, push or drive in the way I wanted.”

    Mikko Hirvonen reported going wide in places in his Citroen after completing the stage 11.8s slower than team-mate Loeb with the fourth best time.

    Crews are now heading to a 15-minute remote service halt in Newtown. Stage four, the repeat of Dyfnant goes live at 13:13hrs local time.

    click: wrc.com/news/rallygb ss3




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    Friday midday wrap:

    Ford's Jari-Matti Latvala leads Wales Rally GB by 3.3s after the opening three stages of Britain's round of the FIA World Rally Championship. Sebastien Loeb is holding up the runner-up spot for Citroen with Petter Solberg third in the second works Fiesta.

    Latvala moved in front with a sensational time through stage three, having been down in fourth place after two runs following an off-road moment early in the run. “I had a moment in Hafren Sweet Lamb on a slippery right-hander and pushed the tyre off the rim,” said Latvala. “There was a massive vibration after that, I lost concentration and it took the time to get a feeling. I calmed down for Myherin and started to get a nice flow. It was not easy to drive, more slippery than I expected, but I got a good feeling with the car, it’s going well.”

    It’s been a strong start to the gravel event for the Ford squad with Latvala’s team-mate Petter Solberg also impressing by going fastest on the opening two runs. The Norwegian is 5.3s adrift of first place after he was unable to maintain his sequence of stage wins through Myherin, although he was at a loss to explain exactly why. However, he remains confident of a strong result: “I feel very comfortable and it’s going really well.”

    Loeb said he was slightly cautious through the first Dyfnant stage, which he completed with the fourth quickest time, but has gradually picked up his pace in his works Citroen DS3 WRC. “The fight with the Fords is really hard so we have to push,” he said. “It’s very slippery, you have some big slides and it’s difficult to keep the car on the road.”

    Mads Ostberg is fourth in his privateer Fiesta. The Norwegian reckoned he could have been closer to the leading pace had he not slowed slightly on stage two when he feared a puncture. He also said his decision to use his old pace notes for stage three hit his confidence.

    Mikko Hirvonen is fifth in the second works Citroen with Ott Tanak sixth, despite reporting a powersteering glitch in his M-Sport Fiesta. Evgeny Novikov is seventh, Thierry Neuville eighth, Matthew Wilson ninth and Martin Prokop, who has no working sixth gear, 10th. Chris Atkinson is the leading MINI John Cooper Works WRC driver in 11th. Sebastien Ogier is 12th overall for Volkswagen Motorsport with Nasser Al-Attiyah 13th for the Qatar World Rally Team.

    Craig Breen leads the Super 2000 World Rally Championship division from Yazeed Al-Rajhi and newcomer Tom Cave. However, there was frustration for title chasers P-G Andersson and Hayden Paddon. Andersson, took a wheel off his PROTON Satria-Neo on stage two, while Paddon dropped out of the lead when his Skoda Fabia lost all power due to an ignition problem on stage 12, losing more than 12 minutes in the process.

    Although it has stayed dry this morning, overnight rain ensured the high-speed gravel tests were slippery with inconsistent grip levels reported by some drivers. Stage four, the repeat of the 20.48-kilometre Dyfnant test, starts at 13:13hrs local time.

    click: wrc.com/news/friday-midday-wrap

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    SS4: Latvala fastest again



    Jari-Matti Latvala has extended his lead of Wales Rally GB by winning the repeat of the Dyfnant stage in his Ford Fiesta RS WRC. The Finn was 2.0s faster than Sebastien Loeb through the run and now heads the eight-time world champion by 5.3s.

    “It’s going very good,” said Latvala. “I had a good feeling with the car, the only question is how the tyres will be now. The soft is the right tyre but we have to manage the tyres now because we have only one spare and it is getting drier now.”

    Sebastien Loeb, who is carrying two spare tyres should his soft compound tyres suffer significant wear during the afternoon loop, said that while the stage surface was drier and less muddy, it remained very slippery, particularly under tree cover. “The stage was good, no problem,” he said. “I was pushing hard.”

    Petter Solberg was third quickest, 4.2s down on Latvala but 0.8s quicker than fellow Norwegian Mads Ostberg, who reported concerns about tyre wear.

    Mikko Hirvonen was 4.3s down on Loeb. He said: “The car was really, really good and it feels like the driver is doing well but it’s not enough. I don’t know how the other boys can be so fast.”

    Thierry Neuville said the settings of his Citroen were perhaps a little too soft, while Ott Tanak reported the powersteering fault continues to plague his M-Sport Fiesta.

    click: wrc.com/news/rallygb ss4



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    SS5: Loeb fearing tough Ford fight

    Sebastien Loeb completed stage five of Wales Rally GB and admitted it’s becoming “impossible” to fight against the factory Ford drivers Jari-Matti Latvala and Petter Solberg.

    Latvala was 10s faster than Loeb through the repeat of Hafren Sweet Lamb, which was more slippery than on the first pass following a recent rain shower. Loeb, in a works Citroen, is now 15.3s adrift of first place in third after he slipped behind Solberg in the overall classification.

    “It was much more slippery than on the first pass,” said Loeb. “When it’s like this it’s difficult to fight with the Ford. They are very fast now and it’s impossible to fight with them.”

    Latvala said: “I really enjoyed it. The road is very slippery, more challenging to drive than on the first passage. The car is very good to drive.” Team-mate Solberg said: “It worked very well, nothing special at all. It was a very tricky stage and Jari had a fantastic time. The car worked very well.”

    click: wrc.com/news/rallygb ss5



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    SS6: Quartet for Latvala in Wales



    Jari-Matti Latvala continues to set the pace on Wales Rally GB after clocking the fastest time on the day-closing Myherin test, his fourth stage win in succession and the sixth for Ford’s Fiesta RS WRC.

    Latvala, from Finland, edged factory Ford team-mate Petter Solberg by 0.3s to grow his overall advantage out front to an impressive 12.1s heading to the overnight halt in Cardiff. “I’ve been trying to push and I’m pleased with my performance,” said Latvala. “I haven’t had this feeling for a long, long time.”

    FIA World Rally Championship leader Sebastien Loeb was third quickest, 6.0s adrift of Latvala in his works Citroen. “It was the same as on the previous stage. I was flat out everywhere but we have no chance [against the Fords] because the grip is so low. But I’m not concerned, I don’t need to win.”

    Mads Ostberg continued his strong start to Rally GB with the fourth quickest time, with Ott Tanak fifth fastest and Mikko Hirvonen sixth. “We are losing time,” said the Finnish Citroen driver. “We really don’t have any grip against the Ford boys. I really tried to push hard but it was so slippery and now I destroy my tyres.”

    Craig Breen was once again the fastest Super 2000 World Rally Championship runner. The Irishman’s lead in the category after six stages is more than one minute.

    click: wrc.com/news/rallygb ss6





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    Friday wrap:



    Jari-Matti Latvala has reached an overnight halt of an FIA World Rally Championship round in the lead for the first time since Portugal in late March following an impressive charge on Wales Rally GB today (Friday).

    Latvala was slightly hesitant through the opening brace of tests while he found the “feeling” on board his Ford Fiesta RS WRC. But a quartet of stage wins has put him out front by 12.1s heading into Saturday’s seven runs.

    Indeed, it’s been a day dominated by the works Ford squad with Petter Solberg moving into an early lead after going quickest on the first two stages. The Norwegian, a four-time winner in Wales, holds second with Citroen’s multiple world champion Sebastien Loeb 9.2s further back after conceding that he couldn’t live with the pace of the Fords on the slippery gravel stages.

    “I’ve been trying to push,” said Latvala, who survived clouting a pile of logs on stage two. “The target was trying to make the difference to the Citroens and I’m pleased with the performance. The first two stages I was not at my best but then I started to catch the feeling. I was very pleased because the car was going really well, I’m enjoying it and the car is great to drive. I haven’t had this feeling for a long, long time.”

    Loeb, who is on course for his ninth world title and can help Citroen secure its eighth world crown in Wales, carried two spare tyres for each loop in the event of his soft compound tyres losing performance in the drying conditions. Latvala and Solberg both relied on one spare. “I was flat out everywhere but there was no chance to catch the Fords,” said Loeb. But I’m not concerned because I don’t need to win.”

    Mads Ostberg is fourth overnight in his Adapta Fiesta having lost precious seconds in the morning when he slowed in the mistaken belief he’d picked up a puncture on stage two. His decision to use an old set of pace notes on stage three also led to a loss of confidence. Mikko Hirvonen is fifth in the second factory Citroen with Ott Tanak sixth despite reporting a powersteering glitch in his M-Sport Fiesta.

    Russian Evgeny Novikov is seventh on his first rally with stand-in co-driver Ilka Minor. Thierry Neuville, who has run at the head of the field throughout the day, is eighth with Matthew Wilson - back in the WRC for the first time since Rallye Monte-Carlo in January - holding a solid ninth overall. Martin Prokop is 10th despite spending much of the day without sixth gear on his privateer Fiesta.

    Chris Atkinson is 11th for WRC Team MINI Portugal with Sebastien Ogier 12th in his Volkswagen Motorsport-run Skoda Fabia S2000. Nasser Al-Attiyah is 13th for the Qatar World Rally Team with Super 2000 World Rally Championship leader Craig Breen 14th.

    Saturday’s competitive action gets underway at 09:02hrs local time consists of two runs through the Crychan, Epynt and Halfway stages, plus the all-asphalt Celtic Manor superspecial, which brings the day’s action to a close at 18:30hrs. The top 14 crews will run in reverse order with Paulo Nobre going first followed by South African Jan Habig.

    click: wrc.com/news/friday-wrap


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

    Friday SWRC wrap:



    Craig Breen heads the FIA Super 2000 World Rally Championship section of Wales Rally GB following a dramatic opening day.

    Breen, in a Ford Fiesta S2000, moved in front when Hayden Paddon suffered an ignition glitch on stage two. And the Irishman has remained in the lead ever since, holding an advantage of 1m24.0s over Yazeed Al-Rajhi after six stages.

    “I’m quite pleased,” said Breen. “I’ve backed off the pace and I’m just trying to be neat and tidy now so I don’t get any punctures or make mistakes. You have to drive in a different frame of mind when you have a lead like this.”

    While Breen could reflect on a solid effort in his Fiesta, Paddon and fellow title rival P-G Andersson both had days to forget. Paddon, in a Skoda Fabia, was eventually able to continue after his stop on stage two - albeit having lost some 12 minutes - but reached the end of the third stage with no second gear. With only a remote service halt available to carry out limited repairs, the New Zealander was unable to make it through stage four.

    Works PROTON driver Andersson was 4.4.s slower than Paddon through the first stage but hit trouble on stage two, first picking up a puncture before tearing off a wheel on his Satria-Neo. Like Paddon, Andersson is expected to restart under Rally 2 rules on Saturday.

    Al-Rajhi made it through the bulk of the day with damaged front suspension to hold second with Tom Cave third on his debut in the SWRC for PROTON Motorsports. “I was trying to get through without any problems and that’s what we’ve done,” said the Welsh driver.

    Maciej Oleksowicz is fourth after losing ground with a puncture this morning. Alastair Fisher was 9.9s behind Breen after two stages but dropped out with broken front suspension on the third stage.

    click: wrc.com/news/friday-swrc-wrap


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    Saturday

    SS7: Flying Ostberg closes on Loeb




    Mads Ostberg has closed to within 8.8s of the final podium spot on Wales Rally GB after winning Saturday’s first stage held in slippery and foggy conditions.

    Jari-Matti Latvala continues to lead the FIA World Rally Championship qualifier with Ford team-mate Petter Solberg second and Citroen’s Sebastien Loeb third, albeit now under pressure from the flying Ostberg.

    “I’m very pleased with that,” said the Adapta Fiesta privateer at the stage finish. “It was a very tricky stage and was getting more and more slippery. I am glad we are in our start position because it can be more slippery for the cars behind.”

    Eight-time world champion Loeb was 2.5s slower than Ostberg through the high-speed test and is now 23.4s adrift of leader Latvala in the overall classification. He said: “Again it was very slippery, very difficult and I tried to push but no chance. For sure for us there’s absolutely no grip, I do my best but it’s really tricky. Nothing has changed with the car but we know when it’s very slippery we struggle a bit and the conditions make it really difficult.”

    Event leader Latvala reported a “couple of moments” in the fog after he completed the stage 0.4s slower than Ostberg. However, his lead over Solberg has increased to 14.5s after the Norwegian slid off the road on a slippery corner early in the stage.”

    Ott Tanak was third fastest with M-Sport team-mate Evgeny Novikov fourth quickest.

    more click: wrc.com/news/rallygb ss7



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

    SS8: Loeb hits back in Wales

    Sebastien Loeb proved he won’t be settling for third position on Wales Rally GB after he closed the gap to second-placed Petter Solberg to 7.9s after claiming his first stage victory on the FIA World Rally Championship, the first time a non-Ford driver has gone fastest on the gravel event.

    Out front, Jari-Matti Latvala leads by 15.2s after he nearly stalled at the stage start due to a fault with his Ford Fiesta RS WRC’s starting mechanism. Nevertheless he was second fastest, 0.3s slower than Loeb.

    Stage seven winner Mads Ostberg reported better grip in comparison to the previous run, which he reckoned actually helped his rivals. He was 0.6s slower than Loeb and is now 9.4s behind the Frenchman in the battle for third place.

    Mikko Hirvonen continues to struggle for pace in his factory Citroen. He was seventh fastest in his DS3 WRC. “I don’t have really anything to say,” he said. “It’s just not going well.”

    click: wrc.com/news/rallygb ss8



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

    SS9: Latvala storms to stage win

    Jari-Matti Latvala has cemented his lead of Wales Rally GB by winning his first stage of day two, Halfway. In doing so, the Ford Fiesta RS WRC driver now leads the FIA World Rally Championship counter by 22.2s heading to the midday service halt in Cardiff.

    In the battle for second place Sebastien Loeb was 4.0s faster than Petter Solberg to close to within 3.9s of the Norwegian, despite experiencing significant tyre wear in his Citroen. Solberg, meanwhile, reported making a few small mistakes and suggested his Fiesta might be set-up too low to the ground. He was fourth quickest, 7.0s down on his works Ford team-mate Latvala.

    Mads Ostberg reached the stage finish with four badly worn tyres following his exploits behind the wheel of his Adapta Fiesta. “I thought they were going to last all stage so we just tried,” said Ostberg, who was third quickest, 5.8s adrift of stage winner Latvala.

    Mikko Hirvonen is now 30.6s behind Ostberg in the overall standings and continues to struggle with handling issues. He said: “I really had to push like hell, I was on the limit all of the time. I was lucky to stay on the road.”

    Super 2000 World Rally Championship leader Craig Breen could be in trouble after discovering an oil leak at the stage finish.

    click: wrc.com/news/rallygb ss9



    ...
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    Saturday midday wrap:



    Jari-Matti Latvala continues to lead Wales Rally GB following a thrilling start to day two with three different drivers claiming stage wins on the FIA World Rally Championship qualifier.

    Mads Ostberg set the pace on the fog-hit stage seven in his Adapta-run Fiesta, Citroen’s Sebastien Loeb went quickest on stage eight with Latvala going fastest on stage nine. Loeb’s resurgence means he is now 3.9s behind second-placed Petter Solberg, albeit 26.1s adrift of the flying Latvala.

    “We haven’t changed so much but we’ve changed the balance of the car at the rear and it’s going well,” said the factory Ford pilot, chasing his first win in the world championship since Rally Sweden back in February.

    Ostberg, whose stage best was his first on gravel since the Acropolis Rally in 2009, remains in the podium fight in fourth with Mikko Hirvonen a frustrated fifth in his Citroen after reporting a lack of grip. Ott Tanak is sixth with M-Sport team-mate Evgeny Novikov seventh after reporting a lack of confidence. Thierry Neuville is eighth despite a build up of mud in his Citroen DS3 WRC. Matthew Wilson and Martin Prokop complete the top 10 in their Fiestas.

    Chris Atkinson is 11th for WRC Team MINI Portugal with Sebastien Ogier 12th in his Volkswagen Motorsport Skoda Fabia S2000. Team-mate Kevin Abbring was in 14th when he reportedly hit a rock and retired on stage nine.

    Behind 13th-placed Nasser Al-Attiyah, Craig Breen’s Super 2000 World Rally Championship lead could be in doubt after he discovered an oil leak at the finish of stage nine. Saudi Yazeed Al-Rajhi could be poised to take advantage, despite a persistent damper problem. Young Welsh driver Tom Cave is currently third in the lead PROTON Satria-Neo. P-G Andersson, Alastair Fisher and Hayden Paddon all restarted under Rally 2 rules after they all retired on Friday.

    Jan Habig was an early casualty, going off the road on today’s first stage in his M-Sport Fiesta and getting stuck.

    click: wrc.com/news/saturday-midday-wrap


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    WRC family remembers McRae



    Leading lights from the FIA World Rally Championship have been remembering Colin McRae, the 1995 world title winner who lost his life in a helicopter accident five years ago today (Saturday 15 September).

    McRae, his son Johnny and two family friends were killed when McRae’s helicopter crashed in woodland at his home in Lanarkshire, Scotland.

    Malcolm Wilson, the boss of the factory Ford team for whom McRae drove from 1999 until the end of the 2002 season, said: “It’s big shock to think that it’s five years ago, I remember the day when it all happened as though it was yesterday. When you’re at places like this [Cardiff] you realise he had such an influence on world rallying, particularly in the UK. He remains a huge miss for the sport.”

    Of his time with the Ford team, Wilson added: “We had lots of highs and lots of lows. Sadly we had a very big low on this event in 2001 when we had the championship really there for the taking. But we also had some fantastic highs with him, great memories.”

    Factory Ford driver Jari-Matti Latvala, who currently leads Wales Rally GB in a Fiesta RS WRC, said: “I remember hearing his name for the first time in Finland in 1992. He was attacking and crashing and I thought he is a really brave guy. Then he started to get the success and was willing to take big risks to win rallies.

    “It was amazing feeling when I came to this rally first time in 2002 and I was actually competing with guys like Colin McRae and Marcus Gronholm,” said Latvala. “When I go to M-Sport [the factory Ford team’s base] and look at some of the old stories written about Ford and Colin it feels very nice to be actually carrying on in the same team he was with. He used to work with the same guys I am working with now. That’s very special.”

    click: wrc.com/news/wrc-family-remembers-mcrae/

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    SS10: Solberg responds to Loeb threat



    Petter Solberg has responded to Sebastien Loeb’s threat by winning the repeat of the Crychan stage to open up a slender advantage of 6.5s over the eight time winner of the FIA World Rally Championship in the battle for second place.

    Solberg, in factory Ford Fiesta RS WRC, was 0.5s faster than the impressive Ott Tanak through the run with Evgeny Novikov third fastest. He is now 20.5s behind team-mate and overall leader Jari-Matti Latvala, who admitted to trying to conserve his soft compound tyres for the drying stage surface. Loeb, meanwhile, was fifth fastest in his Citroen DS3 WRC, 2.6s slower than Solberg.

    Mads Ostberg said his decision to carry two spares in his Adapta Fiesta had prevented a repeat of his stage win on Crychan this morning. “I tried really but I’ve never got the car perfect running on two spares,” he said after going sixth quickest.

    Chris Atkinson was the only driver to run entirely on hard compound Michelin tyres. The WRC Team MINI Portugal driver, who was 12th fastest, said: “It was not perfect for sure because it was more muddy than I expected so we were sliding around a lot but hopefully it will be okay for the next stage.”

    click: wrc.com/news/rallygb ss10



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

    SS11: Latvala edges Novikov

    Evgeny Novikov has come within 0.1s of winning a stage on Wales Rally GB after Jari-Matti Latvala narrowly beat him to the fastest time through the second Epynt test.

    As a result, Latvala’s overall lead on the FIA World Rally Championship round now stands at 22.1s with two stages of the second day remaining.

    Mads Ostberg was third fastest, 0.6s down on Latvala with Novikov’s M-Sport team-mate Ott Tanak fourth quickest. Ostberg, driving an Adapta World Rally Team Fiesta, said: “I’m struggling so much with the extra spare tyre, I can’t drive the way I want to and the car doesn’t react. It’s frustrating but I continue to push.”

    Mikko Hirvonen was fifth fastest in his factory Citroen with Thierry Neuville sixth quickest. Petter Solberg was seventh, 1.6s down on Latvala but, crucially, 0.2s faster than Sebastien Loeb in their battle for second place.

    Matthew Wilson was ninth fastest with Nasser Al-Attiyah completing the top 10 for the Qatar World Rally Team. In the battle for Super 2000 World Rally Championship honours, Yazeed Al-Rajhi has overtaken Craig Breen for first place.

    click: wrc.com/news/rallygb ss11



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

    SS12: Solberg fastest, Latvala still leads



    Jari-Matti Latvala will head to the all-new Celtic Manor stage near Cardiff this evening leading Wales Rally GB by 21.7s following the second Halfway test.

    Latvala was second quickest, 0.4s slower than Ford team-mate Petter Solberg, who continues to fend off Citroen’s Sebastien Loeb in the battle for the runner-up spot. Loeb was 0.2s adrift of Solberg through the stage and is now 29.0s behind Latvala in the overall classification.

    Evgeny Novikov said a “small mistake” prevented a shot at the stage win in his M-Sport Fiesta, while team-mate Ott Tanak said his rear tyres had become badly worn after he set the fourth quickest time.

    Chris Atkinson was distracted when a side window on his MINI John Cooper Works WRC blew out during the stage. Meanwhile, Craig Breen has reclaimed the lead of the Super 2000 World Rally Championship category by edging rival Yazeed Al-Rajhi by a handful of seconds.

    click: wrc.com/news/rallygb ss12



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

    SS13: Latvala tops superspecial



    Jari-Matti Latvala has claimed his first victory on an asphalt superspecial stage in the FIA World Rally Championship after he beat Sebastien Loeb to go fastest on the Celtic Manor test by 1.9s and grow his overall lead to 24.5s.

    Latvala put his impressive time at the former Ryder Cup golf venue down to his decision to run worn tyres on the front of his Ford Fiesta RS WRC. “The car was turning really well,” said Latvala. “I’m not usually so good on these stages but this was a fast one and it seems to suit me quite well.”

    Russian Evgeny Novikov has closed to within 16.5s of sixth-placed M-Sport team-mate Ott Tanak after he beat the Estonian by 2.8s through the test to go third fastest. “It was better than I expected, a bit of fun at the end of the day with these used tyres and I enjoyed it,” said Novikov. “I am satisfied after this day.”

    Petter Solberg was fourth quickest after reporting that he braked too early for one corner. Thierry Neuville was fifth fastest after dropping one second when he made a small mistake at the final hairpin. Mads Ostberg was sixth quickest after he admitted the stage surface had been more slippery than expected.

    Matthew Wilson said his decision to bolt on his badly worn tyres on the front of his car triggered a bout of oversteer that made it difficult to control his Fiesta through the asphalt superspecial. He was 13th fastest behind Volkswagen Motorsport’s Sebastien Ogier.

    Yazeed Al-Rajhi has reclaimed the lead in the Super 2000 World Rally Championship section, albeit by 0.1s over Craig Breen.

    click: wrc.com/news/rallygb ss13




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    Saturday wrap:

    Jari-Matti Latvala is six stages away from winning Wales Rally GB, round 10 of the FIA World Rally Championship, following a controlled, albeit rapid display at the wheel of his Ford Fiesta RS WRC on day two of the gravel event.

    Latvala left the overnight halt in Cardiff this morning leading by 12.1s. In largely dry conditions, the Finn bagged a further three stage bests to stretch his advantage out front to 24.5s. Team-mate Petter Solberg is second after staving off the attentions of Citroen’s world champion Sebastien Loeb, who had closed to within 3.9s of the Norwegian after the morning stages but was then unable to respond when Solberg sped up in the afternoon.

    “We’ve had a good feeling today but we need to keep going and keep fighting for the victory tomorrow,” said Latvala. “When Sebastien has a nice espresso in the morning he can attack and we need to be prepared for that.”

    Solberg lost time in the morning due to the set-up of his Fiesta being too soft and too low for the drying conditions. By stiffening the car at the midday service in Cardiff, Solberg was able to hit back in the afternoon with a brace of stage wins to keep Loeb 6.4s behind.

    Despite ending Ford’s sequence of stage wins with the fastest time on Saturday’s second test, Loeb will start day three trailing Latvala by 30.9s after he admitted to struggling to match the leading Fiestas. “The only thing I can hope is to fight with Petter [for second] but he was very fast today and I couldn’t beat him. For the moment we are third and we didn’t find any miracle with the set-up.”

    Mads Ostberg made a hugely impressive start to day two by winning the first stage to close up to third-placed Loeb. However, his decision to carry two spare tyres for the afternoon loop adversely affected his car’s handling and slowed the Norwegian’s ultimate pace. Ostberg is more than half a minute clear of Mikko Hirvonen, who has struggled to make an impact in his works Citroen.

    read more: wrc.com/news/saturday-wrap

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

    Saturday SWRC wrap:



    Craig Breen will start the final day of Wales Rally GB with an advantage of more than two minutes over Briton Tom Cave in the FIA Super 2000 World Rally Championship class after Yazeed Al-Rajhi was hit with a costly time penalty.

    Al-Rajhi had reached the finish of Saturday’s final stage with a slender 0.1s lead over Breen but the imposition of a five-minute time penalty for a second speeding offence on a liaison section has dropped the Saudi ace down to third position heading into Sunday’s closing six stages.

    Breen, in a Ford Fiesta S2000, had held a comfortable advantage starting day two but an oil leak forced a gearbox change at midday service in Cardiff and resulted in the Irishman incurring 1m20s of time penalties after a powersteering pipe leak was discovered.

    “The gearbox change went perfect but when the guys put the ‘box back in they noticed one of the powersteering pipes was damaged so it all had to come back out again,” explained Breen. “They had the gearbox change done in 22 minutes, which was really impressive because it normally takes 26. We’re quite confident for tomorrow that we can maintain the gap but that’s in a perfect world and it’s not a perfect world.”

    Al-Rajhi’s penalty elevates Tom Cave to second place on his first appearance in the SWRC in a factory PROTON Satria-Neo. “I took a bit of a risk this morning by taking the hard tyres, as I thought the stages would be drier than they were. I didn’t have any confidence with the grip and didn’t feel comfortable with the way the car was working on them, so I elected to back off and make sure I didn’t make any mistakes that would cut the day short. But we were able to push hard for the second run through.”

    Maciej Oleksowicz holds fourth overnight with British wildcard Alastair Fisher fifth after he restarted under Rally 2 rules on Saturday morning. SWRC title chasers P-G Andersson and Hayden Paddon also returned under Rally 2 following their exits on the opening day. They are sixth and seventh starting the final day.

    click: wrc.com/news/sat-swrc-wrap



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    Sunday

    SS14: Loeb cuts Solberg's advantage


    Sebastien Loeb has slashed Petter Solberg’s advantage in the battle for second place on Wales Rally GB to 1.4s following a determined display through Sunday’s opening test.

    Loeb, in a Citroen Total World Rally Team DS3 WRC, was 4.9s quicker than Ford driver Solberg to move to within touching distance of the runner-up spot. “There are still five stages to go so we have to try,” said Loeb, after he claimed his second stage win of the event.

    Solberg added: “He has taken time out of me. I was pushing and maybe I did one small mistake.”

    Out front, Jari-Matti Latvala’s lead stands at 26.8s. The Finn, in a Ford Fiesta RS WRC, was 2.7s slower than Loeb through the stage.

    Fourth-placed Mads Ostberg is in trouble with a suspected engine glitch on his Adapta Fiesta. After going 9.2s slower than stage winner Loeb, Ostberg said: “I don’t have slightest idea what is happening but the engine is not running as it’s supposed to. It’s not running clean but I’m able to drive so I’m pushing like hell.”

    Evgeny Novikov lost time when briefly went off the road after missing his braking for a hairpin turn nearing the stage finish. The Russian lost approximately 30 seconds. Ott Tanak, his M-Sport team-mate, was also in trouble when he spun into a bank in a narrow section.

    The Estonian reported a lengthy delay as he tried to get pointing in the right direction. He is now 37.9s adrift of fifth-placed Citroen driver Mikko Hirvonen having started the day 12.0s behind his Finnish rival.

    Matthew Wilson, the leading British driver on the event, is being hampered by a misfire, particularly when accelerating from second and fourth gears.

    click: wrc.com/news/rallygb ss14



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

    SS15: Loeb grabs second



    A second successive stage win on Wales Rally GB has moved Sebastien Loeb ahead of Petter Solberg and into second place on round 10 of the FIA World Rally Championship qualifier.

    The Citroen driver was 2.1s quicker than Solberg through the first Rheola test to climb 0.7s in front of his Ford-driving rival. “It’s a going a bit better, the grip is better and we changed the set-up of car,” said Loeb. “We were not so fast yesterday, hopefully it will be better today.” Solberg said: “It’s working very well for him, he’s found something extra.”

    Mads Ostberg reported the power problem that struck on the previous run has not been cured and continues to slow his Adapta Fiesta. “I’m trying everything I can, we cannot do anything before service so we have to push.”

    Mikko Hirvonen said the increased grip offered by the dry stage surface had improved his pace in his Citroen DS3 WRC.

    Chris Atkinson confirmed the gearbox issue that developed on stage 14 is being caused by a sensor problem, which means he can’t flat-shift and is not exactly sure what gear he is in due to the indicator no longer working.

    Matthew Wilson, who is still being plagued by a misfire, reported struggling to change gear in his M-Sport Fiesta.

    Evgeny Novikov has confirmed he won’t be taking any more risks following his costly delay on stage 14, preferring instead to settle for seventh place behind M-Sport team-mate Ott Tanak.

    click: wrc.com/news/rallygb ss15



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

    SS16: Awkward landing slows Solberg



    Petter Solberg’s bid to reclaim second place from Sebastien Loeb on Wales Rally GB has suffered a slight setback after he completed Sunday’s third stage with his front-left tyre slightly off the rim following an awkward landing in his Ford Fiesta RS WRC.

    Solberg now trails world champion Loeb by 2.9s heading to the mid-morning service halt in Cardiff. “I lost a bit of time after we landed,” said Solberg.

    Loeb, who was 2.2s quicker than Solberg through the stage in his Citroen DS3 WRC, said: “We are now in front of Petter but it’s not finished. Since the start of the rally we struggled in the afternoon when the morning has always been okay. The stages are better for our car today because we have a bit more grip.”

    While the focus has switched to the battle for second place on the FIA World Rally Championship qualifier, Ford driver Jari-Matti Latvala has stretched his overall advantage to 29.3s after he won the stage by 1.7s.

    “We had a good feeling, which is also good for the Power Stage if you think about that,” said Latvala. “I was not so relaxed this morning but now the feeling is coming.”

    Mads Ostberg’s advantage over Mikko Hirvonen in the race for fourth has been narrowed to 23.0s with the Norwegian still being hampered by a power glitch, and Hirvonen finding more confidence in his Citroen, which is enabling him to push much harder than he was able to do on Saturday.

    click: wrc.com/news/rallygb ss16





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    Sunday midday wrap:

    While Jari-Matti Latvala edges closer to his second win in this season's FIA World Rally Championship, the battle for second on Wales Rally GB continues to thrill with Sebastien Loeb a mere 2.9s ahead of Petter Solberg with three stages left.

    Solberg, in a Ford Fiesta RS WRC, was 6.4s in front of Citroen driver Loeb starting today’s closing six stages but slipped behind on the second test before dropping further behind following an awkward landing on stage 16.

    However, Latvala insists his tenure of second place is far from secure. “We are now in front of Petter but it’s not finished,” said Loeb. “Since the start of the rally we struggled in the afternoon when the morning has always been okay. The stages are better for our car today because we have a bit more grip.”

    Out front, Latvala’s lead now stands at 29.3s at the midday halt in Cardiff. “We had a good feeling, which is also good for the Power Stage if you think about that,” said Latvala. “I was not so relaxed this morning but now the feeling is coming.”

    ....Craig Breen holds a comfortable advantage over PROTON’s Tom Cave in the Super 2000 World Rally Championship division. Yazeed Al-Rajhi is third with Maciej Oleksowicz fourth. Alastair Fisher currently tops a close battle with P-G Andersson for fifth, a mere three seconds ahead of the Swede.

    click: wrc.com/news/sunday-midday-wrap
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    SS17: Solberg reclaims second



    Petter Solberg has retaken second place on Wales Rally GB by outpacing Sebastien Loeb through the repeat of the Port Talbot stage.

    Solberg, in a factory Ford Fiesta RS WRC, was 3.2s quicker than the Citroen DS3 WRC of Loeb through the stage to move 0.3s ahead of the eight-time world champion in the overall classification. Afterwards Solberg said: “The car worked very well, let’s just stay focused and not do any mistakes.”

    Loeb said: “He seems to be faster than me in this one so we will see what we can do. Again in the afternoon we struggle a little bit more.”

    Event leader Jari-Matti Latvala was third fastest in his Fiesta. His overall advantage with two stages remaining is 28.1s.

    Having struggled for pace for much of the event, Finn Mikko Hirvonen impressed with the fifth fastest time in the second works Citroen, 6.4s down on Solberg. However, he was unable to make up any ground on Mads Ostberg in fourth overall after the Norwegian went 0.2s faster than him - his engine misfire having been cured at midday service.

    Ott Tanak has stopped in the stage with the front-right wheel missing from his M-Sport Fiesta. The young Estonian had been in a solid sixth place at the time. Tanak’s team-mate Evgeny Novikov moves into sixth as a result.

    Matthew Wilson reported the misfire that plagued his M-Sport Fiesta during Sunday morning has been cured after going seventh fastest, while Nasser Al-Attiyah dropped time when he spun his Qatar World Rally Team Citroen, which dropped on to ‘safe mode’ as he attempted to continue.

    Paulo Nobre is out after retiring on the road section heading to the stage with a reported battery problem on his WRC Team MINI Portugal WRC.

    click: wrc.com/news/rallygb ss17



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

    SS18: More drama as Loeb retakes second



    Sebastien Loeb will start Wales Rally GB’s Power Stage with a 0.1s advantage in the battle for second place. Loeb was 0.4s faster than Solberg to move in front by one-tenth of a second with one 15.33-kilometre stage remaining.

    “It’s really difficult and I can’t go any faster,” said Loeb. Solberg added: “It was very interesting in that stage. I understeered at the last corner. I have to keep pushing.”

    Jari-Matti Latvala continues to lead the FIA World Rally Championship. He was 0.3s slower than Loeb through the stage. His margin out front stands at 28.1.s

    Mikko Hirvonen edged Mads Ostberg by 1.6s but the gap between the pair starting the final stage will be 21.6s starting the final stage in Ostberg’s favour.

    With M-Sport team-mate Ott Tanak retiring on the previous stage, Evgeny Novikov said he was no longer taking any risks as he looks to consolidate sixth overall.

    Thierry Neuville was sixth fastest for the Citroen Junior World Rally Team with Matthew Wilson, the leading British driver, eighth quickest in his M-Sport Fiesta.

    A light drizzle made the stage more slippery in places than on the first run.

    click: wrc.com/news/rallygb ss18



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

    SS19: Hirvonen wins Power Stage, Latvala wins rally

    Mikko Hirvonen has gone fastest on the event-closing Power Stage on Wales Rally GB as Sebastien Loeb beat Petter Solberg in a thrilling battle for second place on the FIA World Rally Championship qualifier.

    Hirvonen beat Citroen team-mate Loeb by 0.2s through the stage to bag three bonus points with Jari-Matti Latvala claiming the final bonus point - and the event victory - in his factory Ford after going third fastest behind Loeb, whose margin over Solberg at the finish was a scant 0.9s.

    “I was really struggling to find the pace, the speed, the rhythm and the confidence on this rally,” said Hirvonen. “Today was a little more encouraging. It’s not the result we came for but it’s nice to finish the rally like this. Perhaps it was raining more for the others.”

    Chris Atkinson completed the stage with damage to the left-rear wheel of his MINI John Cooper Works WRC. The Australian was not aware how the problem had occurred.

    Craig Breen secured an emotional victory in the Super 2000 World Rally Championship, three months since the death of his former co-driver Gareth Roberts.

    As on the previous stage, a light drizzle was falling on sections of the run.

    click: wrc.com/news/rallygb ss19




    Congratulations to Jari Matti on the win and what a fight between Solberg & Loeb for 2nd/3rd and too Craig Breen on the SWRC win


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