Tag Archives: JARI-MATTI LATVALA

WRC

Mikko Hirvonen & Sébastien Loeb & Dani Sordo

LOEB CLAIMS ‘MAGNIFICENT SEVEN’ IN MONTE CARLO

Abu Dhabi, UAE, 20 January, 2013: Abu Dhabi’s new partnership with eight-time World Rally Championship (WRC) manufacturers winners, Citroën Racing, is off to a flying start after another historic win for Sebastien Loeb in the Monte Carlo Rally.

Loeb’s seventh Monte Carlo win alongside co-driver Daniel Elena was confirmed when the final two stages of the event on Saturday night were cancelled for safety reasons as huge numbers of spectators brought the narrow roads to gridlock.

This followed a series of dramatic incidents in the mountains above Monaco when three of the top seven on the leaderboard, Evgeny Novikov, Jari-Matti Latvala and Juho Hanninen crashed out of the rally, which was run through a combination of snow, ice and slush.

Loeb won by 1min 39.9sec from Frenchman Sebastien Ogier to equal Tommi Mäkinen’s record of four consecutive Monte Carlo triumphs. Spain’s Dani Sordo, driving in Al Qassimi’s Abu Dhabi Citroën Total World Rally Team DS3 WRC, finished third, with Mikko Hirvonen and Jarmo Lehtinen fourth in their Citroën Total Abu Dhabi car.

“I had to carve a line through a thick layer of slush, and we were aquaplaning all the time,” said Loeb. “You couldn’t go any faster than 30kph on the straight sections, otherwise you lose the car completely and you go off!”

Following the first of 13 rounds in this year’s World Rally Championship, the Citroën Total Abu Dhabi World Rally Team already leads the manufacturers’ standings and will hope to build on its advantage when round two unfolds in Sweden from February 7-10.

With the UAE’s Sheikh Khalid Al Qassimi returning to WRC action in Sweden, the Emirati will first spearhead a five-car Abu Dhabi Racing assault in this weekend’s Qatar International Rally, the opening round of the seven-event FIA Middle East Rally Championship.

WRC

SEBASTIEN LOEB HAS RESPONDED TO JARI-MATTI LATVALA’S THREAT BY WINNING STAGE FIVE OF RALLYE DE FRANCE ALSACE.

The French driver was 6.3s quicker than Latvala – the winner of the previous stage – on the repeat of the Hohlandsbourg-Firstplan test to pull 13.8s clear in the chase for glory on round 11 of the FIA World Rally Championship.

“The road was okay, more dry than in the morning,” said Citroen ace Loeb, who is running on hard-compound Michelin tyres like the bulk of his rivals. “There was a bit more mud on the road in some places but we had good information from the gravel crew so we know where it is. Jari-Matti is going very fast so we have to push.”

Ford pilot Latvala said he lost time going off the road and running through a ditch: “We went wide on a left-hander where there was gravel on the road. I tried to get the line and stay away from the cuts but I went out into a ditch for quite a while.”

Petter Solberg said he was more confident behind the wheel of his Fiesta. He completed the stage 3.4s slower than Loeb. Mikko Hirvonen was 3.9s slower than Loeb and frustrated after reporting several corner marking posts had moved following the pre-event reconnaissance. Mads Ostberg, meanwhile, said the set-up of his Fiesta was too low to the ground, which resulted in a loss of time.

Thierry Neuville has dropped from fourth to sixth following a spin in his Citroen. Solberg climbs from sixth to fourth while Dani Sordo continues to hold fifth overall in his MINI, despite saying he wasn’t happy with the handling of his car.