Saturday | 25 Oct 2014

Spanish hat-trick for Flying Finn

Flying Finn Jari-Matti Latvala won all three speed tests in Saturday morning’s opening loop at RallyRACC - Rally de España, but his pace didn’t rattle leader and world title-chasing team-mate Sébastien Ogier.

Stage info: SS10

Colldejou 1, 26.48km
A classic stage, Colldejou is a very technical test on wide and narrow roads, with many changes in pace. The beginning and end are typically fast and smooth asphalt, demanding good racing lines and strong braking, but the middle is narrower and bumpier.

Second-placed Latvala, who must finish ahead of Ogier to keep his own championship dream alive, was 5.3sec faster than the Frenchman through Colldejou and his morning treble reduced his deficit from an overnight 36.6sec to 28.3sec.

“All we can do is to try to push him at the moment. If we can catch him a bit more then he needs to keep pushing. That’s the only thing I can do for the championship so I’ll keep going like this,” said Latvala before returning to service in Salou.

“Why should I respond?” questioned Ogier. “I didn’t use my spare tyre this morning so I can use it this afternoon. The lead is still almost 30sec so why should I be concerned? When it’s down to zero, then I have to push!”

Sébastien Ogier - remained confident

The battle for third continued between Mikko Hirvonen and Andreas Mikkelsen. The Norwegian clawed back 2.9sec from Hirvonen and the gap stood at 5.5sec, with Mads Østberg a further 11.5sec behind in his Citroen DS3.

Dani Sordo emerged with the oil warning light flashing on the dashboard of his Hyundai i20, the Spaniard fifth fastest and sixth overall despite feeling his engine lacked power.

Team-mate Thierry Neuville climbed to seventh with Martin Prokop’s Ford Fiesta RS eighth. Robert Kubica was ninth, after tackling the loop with a broken rear differential in his Fiesta RS, while Hayden Paddon relegated Ken Block to move up to 10th.

Nasser Al-Attiyah continues to lead WRC 2, but the Qatari had his lead trimmed from marginally over two minutes to 1min 14.6sec by Julien Maurin. Robert Barrable remains third.

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