WRC: Latvala leads, Mikkelsen closes in

WRC: Latvala leads, Mikkelsen closes in

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WRC: Latvala leads, Mikkelsen closes in

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Jari-Matti Latvala continues to lead Rally Sweden despite Volkswagen teammate Andreas Mikkelsen clawing back time on the Karlstad superspecial.

Latvala had built up a 4.8-second advantage over Mikkelsen on Friday afternoon, but his charging teammate — seeking a first career World Rally Championship podium, let alone victory — reduced that to 3.6sec with the fastest time on Friday evening.

Mads Ostberg still holds a firm grasp of third place in the lead Citroen, despite twice being balked by M-Sport Ford driver Robert Kubica earlier in the day.

The Norwegian extended his advantage over M-Sport pair Mikko Hirvonen and Ott Tanak on the superspecial to 19.7sec. Hirvonen’s narrow lead in the intra-team team fight remains at six seconds.

Kubica’s woes, allied to Juho Hanninen crashing his Hyundai, had elevated Kris Meeke to sixth, and the Citroen driver consolidated that position with the eighth fastest time. Henning Solberg is now his closest rival, 15.8sec back, after leapfrogging Pontus Tidemand.

World champion Sebastien Ogier’s charge back up the order in his VW continued as he nicked ninth place from Elfyn Evans.

The Frenchman continued his fine form from Friday afternoon when he claimed all four stage wins with the second quickest time on the 1.9km Karlstad blast.

Leading positions after SS16:
Pos Driver              Team/Car          Time/Gap
 1. Jari-Matti Latvala  VW                1h48m47.6s
 2. Andreas Mikkelsen   VW                +3.6s
 3. Mads Ostberg        Citroen           +43.0s
 4. Mikko Hirvonen      M-Sport Ford      +1m02.7s
 5. Ott Tanak           M-Sport Ford      +1m08.7s
 6. Kris Meeke          Citroen           +2m31.2s
 7. Henning Solberg     Solberg Ford      +2m47.0s
 8. Pontus Tidemand     M-Sport Ford      +2m48.4s
 9. Sebastien Ogier     VW                +3m38.4s
10. Elfyn Evans         M-Sport Ford      +3m41.8s

Follow Rally Sweden as it happens on Race Centre Live.

Read more http://www.autosport.com/news/report.php/id/112459

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