SÃ©bastien Loeb leads team-mate Dani Sordo by a mere 1.5 seconds after the second day of action in the Rally de Catalunya, and look unstoppable heading into Day 3.
“It’s very equal,” said Loeb. “I’m happy with my drive and all the Citroens – including Petter [Solberg] and Sebastien [Ogier] were fast this afternoon.”
The leading CitroÃ«n pair set similar times all day, and nearest rival, Ford’s Mikko Hirvonen was helpless to their blistering pace.
“I was closer to the drivers in front than I was yesterday, but it wasn’t quite enough to match them,” said Hirvonen. “I can’t find the last few seconds that I need so there is still some work to do to improve on asphalt”
It was actually a surprisingly calm day for most, with drivers consolidating their positions instead of going for broke, which must have been a strange proposition for youngster Jari-Matti Latvala. Yet the 24 year-old was 6th fastest in all of the day’s stages and retained 6th place, just under a minute adrift of the CitroÃ«ns of Petter Solberg and Sebastien Ogier.
The one exception though was the ever exuberant Evgeny Novikov who crashed out 9km into Stage 7 and ending his day on the spot.
The JWRC battle however was turned upside down, when champion Martin Prokop crashed on Stage 10 and forcing him to retire from the rally. This left Hans Weijs Jr. in the clear, and avoiding any disasters, looks set to take his maiden win.
Aaron Burkart‘s hopes of taking second in the championship took a big knock, after broken suspension meant he spun into a wall and retired, but will restart tomorrow under SupeRally rules.
Pos Driver Team Time/Gap 1. Sebastien Loeb Citroen 2h24m01.3s 2. Dani Sordo Citroen + 1.5s 3. Mikko Hirvonen Ford + 48.5s 4. Petter Solberg Citroen + 1m10.9s 5. Sebastien Ogier Citroen + 1m30.9s 6. Jari-Matti Latvala Ford + 2m31.7s 7. Matthew Wilson Ford + 5m52.6s 8. Federico Villagra Ford + 6m43.0s 9. Henning Solberg Ford + 7m03.1s 10. Dany Snobeck Peugeot + 8m22.4s