01 Nov 08
The man in second place on Rally Japan, Jari-Matti Latvala, set the fastest time through the 33.66km Kamuycep stage to give himself a more comfortable lead over the driver in third, Sebastien Loeb.
Latvala completed the stage 9.7sec faster than Loeb and extended his advantage from 7.6sec to 17.3sec. The BP Ford Abu Dhabi team driver said the action was necessary to keep Loeb a safe distance back.
“A Ford one-two is the most important thing for us,” explained the Finn. “We had to do it because Sebastien was pushing hard - like Petter was on the previous stage. In this situation we couldn’t just cruise around - we had to go! The conditions were quite rough and rocky; the edge of the road was very soft and could easily pull you into the ditch but we had no problems. It’s going okay.”
At the stage end Loeb said the gap to Latvala was now too big for him to attempt to close: “Yeah he was fast, but it’s okay; I don’t try to be second, for me third is okay. It’s more important for me to control the gap to Petter behind - and that’s not easy because he’s going well. It’s too risky for me to try and catch Jari-Matti now.”