FIA World Rally Championship

Ogier Closes in on Latvala

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Jari-Matti Latvala continues to lead the 2015 Rally de Portugal standings going into the final day, but his Volkswagen Motorsport teammate Sébastien Ogier has reduced Jari-Matti’s lead to only 9.5 seconds after putting in some strong performances today.

The day’s opening stage was Baião, and Andreas Mikkelsen set the fastest time, with Ogier just 0.6 seconds behind. A quick start from Latvala ended disappointingly, after the Finn overshot a corner, costing him about five seconds.

Up next was Marão, and Kris Meeke led Latvala by 0.2 seconds, moving the Northern Irishman up to second in the standings after SS9.

SS10 was held at Fridão, and Meeke set the fastest time, ahead of Ogier and Latvala, who explains his slower performance on this stage: “7km before the end I hit a rock and I feared a front tyre was flat. I was hesitating afterwards – that’s where I lost the time.”

On all three of the repeats that took place in the afternoon, 2014 champion Sébastien Ogier was quickest, with Latvala in second. This moves the Frenchman up from P4 to 2nd. After SS10, the gap between the Volkswagen teammates was 19.1 seconds, but this had shrunk to 9.5 seconds three stages later.

With day three over, Latvala leads Ogier by 9.5 seconds, with Kris Meeke in 3rd. Following him is Mikkelsen, Ott Tänak, Dani Sordo, Hayden Paddon and Mads Østberg. Robert Kubica and Martin Prokop round out the top 10.

The final day’s action starts tomorrow at 08:08 local, with Fafe, followed by Vieira do Minho. The Power Stage will be a return to Fafe, and is set to start at 11:08, with Rally de Portugal finishing before lunchtime.

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Jake covers sportscars for The Checkered Flag, mainly Tudor United SportsCar Championship and World Endurance Championship, along with a variety of other series including World Rally Championship.
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