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.
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.
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.
Classification after day 2:
1. Latvala-Anttila (Ford Fiesta RS Wrc) in 2.16'18”4
2. P. Solberg-Patterson (Ford Fiesta Wrc) + 21”7
3. Loeb-Elena (Citroen DS3 Wrc) + 29”0
4. Ostberg-Andersson (Ford Fiesta RS Wrc) + 45”6
5. Hirvonen-Lehtinen (Citroen DS3 Wrc) + 1'16”8
6. Tanak-Sikk (Ford Fiesta RS Wrc) + 1'29”3
7. Novikov-Minor (Ford Fiesta RS Wrc) + 1'48"6
8. Neuville-Gilsoul (Citroen DS3 Wrc) + 3'22”1
9. Wilson-Martin (Ford Fiesta RS Wrc) + 4'30"6
10. Prokop-Hruza (Ford Fiesta RS Wrc) + 5'21”4