Stage data: SS14, Pays d’Ormont 2 (43.45 kilometres)
By Citroen Junior World Rally Team co-driver Nicolas Gilsoul: “The longest stage of the rally is a really famous stage. You have a very different style of corners, road and grip. Sometimes it’s flat, sometimes it’s bumpy and sometimes you only have two or three corners with grip then the one after is very slippery. It’s very interesting.”
How the action unfolded:
Mikko Hirvonen says he has no plans to settle for third place on Rallye de France Alsace after narrowing his deficit to Jari-Matti Latvala on the FIA World Rally Championship qualifier.
Hirvonen, who is suffering from a heavy cold, was 1.2s faster than fellow Finn Latvala through the repeat of the Strasbourg-based event’s longest stage. The Citroen driver, who was 0.7s off stage winner Sebastien Loeb’s pace, now trails his Ford rival by 17.8s with two stages remaining until the overnight halt.
“We didn’t take a lot of time out of Jari-Matti but we will see what will happen and for sure I will try,” said Hirvonen, who survived a brief off-road moment.
Ford privateer Mads Ostberg has moved ahead of Dani Sordo into fourth overall despite going off into a ditch after overshooting a hairpin. Sordo, meanwhile, said he couldn’t go any faster in his MINI. Thierry Neuville reckoned he dropped four seconds when he stalled the engine of his Citroen. The Belgian driver remains in sixth overall.
Evgeny Novikov suffered a spin on a right-hand corner one kilometre before the finish. Meanwhile, stage winner Loeb has extend his overall advantage to 28.9s despite reporting worsening understeer on his factory Citroen. Jari-Matti Latvala remains in second place after going third quickest in his works Fiesta.