News24

Loeb in firm control

2012-08-25 19:50

Trier, Germany - France's Sebastien Loeb tightened his grip on the Rally of Germany to finish Saturday's second day nearly two minutes clear of the field and is set to win his ninth title here in 10 years.

On the twisting roads around Trier in the Moselle valley, Loeb won three of Saturday's six stages to go 1min 42.9sec clear of second placed Jari-Matti Latvala of Finland.

The 38-year-old Citroen driver has won seven of the 12 stages here, with three more to come Sunday, while his Citroen team-mate Mikko Hirvonen was third at 2mins 12.7secs off the pace.

"With a clear lead at the end of the second day, things look good," said Loeb who leads the drivers' table by 43 points from Latvala with four legs of the world rally championship left after this weekend.

There was bad luck for Norway's Petter Solberg who was forced out while in second place after a mistake on the day's third stage saw him damage his car’s right-rear wheel and suspension after striking a rock.

"It was my fault," said Solberg.

"I lost the back end of the car in a very long left corner and I couldn’t get it back again. We slide and the car hit a rock.

"Unfortunately the damage on the rear-right was too big to continue."

Rally of Germany standings after Saturday's six stages:

1. Sebastien Loeb (FRA/Citroen DS3) 2hr 58min 51.8sec, 2. Jari-Matti Latvala (FIN/Ford Fiesta RS) 1:42.9, 3. Mikko Hirvonen (FIN/Citroen DS3) 2:12.7, 4. Mads Ostberg (NOR/Ford Fiesta RS) 3:07.8, 5. Chris Atkinson (AUS/Citroen DS3) 6:59.0, 6. Sbastien Ogier (FRA/Skoda Fabia) 8:10.6, 7. Andreas Mikkelsen (NOR/Skoda Fabia) 10:20.4, 8. Nasser Al Attiyah (QAT/Citroen DS3) 10:52.0, 9. Ott Tanak (EST/Ford Fiesta) 12:43.1, 10. Mathieu Arzeno (FRA/Peugeot) 13:03.5

Selected

12. Daniel Sordo (ESP/Mini) 13:57.3, 14. Petter Solberg (NOR/Ford Fiesta RS) 20:36.0

Stage winners

Loeb (SS1, SS2, SS3, SS5, SS7, SS9, SS12), Latvala (SS4, SS6), Sordo (SS8), Tanak (SS10, SS11)

AFP