Loeb holds on in Catalunya
Salou - Sebastien Loeb made history on
Saturday, overtaking legendary Finn Markku Alen's record of 801 special
stage wins as he maintained his lead in the Rally of Catalunya.
seven-time world rally champion posted the quickest time in the first
45km special of day two to draw level with Alen, then overtook his
benchmark in the following 12km stage - his 802nd career success.
By the end of the day, Loeb led Ford duo Jari-Matti Latvala, by 27.6sec, and Mikko Hirvonen, who was 1min 51.8sec off the pace.
and Hirvonen came into this event neck-and-neck on 196 points in the
overall standings as the world rally championship reaches its conclusion
here and at the season-closer in Wales.
"I have a good feeling and my car is going well," said Loeb.
have a good rhythm but I am having to push because Jari-Matti is
surprisingly fast on tarmac. My lead should be enough tomorrow if I make
Latvala said: "It’s been the best day of my career
ever on tarmac, to be fighting in Catalunya with Loeb. I’ve not been
able to catch him so much but I am still pleased for my day. I will
pressurise him tomorrow(Sunday)."
Loeb, whose lead at the end of Friday
stood at 30.6sec, began day two with a brace of stage wins although he
was not able to match Latvala’s pace in the afternoon on Saturday.
endured a lacklustre day in the second Ford Fiesta and was coming under
increasing pressure from fourth-placed Dani Sordo until he went quicker
than the Spanish Mini driver on Saturday's final test.
The Ford driver will start day three with a margin of 37.4sec over Sordo, who went fastest of all on stage 11.
Ogier, in the second factory Citroen, is fifth overnight after losing
more ground when he suffered a puncture for the second consecutive day.