Saturday | 24 Oct 2015

SS11: Brake despair for Latvala

Brake problems for Jari-Matti Latvala in Saturday morning’s opening two stages of RallyRACC Catalunya - Costa Daurada allowed team-mate Sébastien Ogier to stretch his overnight lead.

Stage info: SS10/11

SS10: Porrera, 7.43km
The opening all-asphalt stage is short, twisty and new to the rally. The road is double width throughout and opens out in the middle, but there is hardly a straight to speak of and racing lines will be important.

SS11: La Figuera 1, 26.26km
La Figuera is the first half of last year’s 50km Escaladei test, which was run to celebrate the 50th edition of the rally. After starting outside El Lloar, wide smooth roads and long bends lead to the famous El Molar hairpin, where fans gather in their thousands. The stage crosses a couple of villages and undulates throughout. It’s a real drivers’ stage.

A frustrated Latvala dropped 2.4sec to his Volkswagen Polo R colleague in Porrera, and a further 4.6sec in La Figuera as Ogier moved 11.0sec clear.

“I had a horrible feeling with the pedal and I can’t drive like that. It was a little better in the second stage but it wasn’t at the level it should be. I don’t have a chance. There’s air in the system and I know I have to get it out, but I didn’t have time on the short road section,” said the downbeat Finn.

There was bigger disappointment for Ott Tänak who retired from third after crashing and ripping a wheel from his Ford Fiesta RS after 21.7km of Porrera.

Ogier was fastest in both tests, the Frenchman having to drive around the crashed car of Lorenzo Bertelli in the opener and keeping out of the cuts on the fast and flowing bends.

Many drivers reported understeering issues, including Mads Østberg who dropped to sixth behind Andreas Mikkelsen after a ‘horrible’ drive through La Figuera in Citroën’s DS 3. Hyundai’s Thierry Neuville and Dani Sordo, who climbed to third after Tänak’s demise, and Kris Meeke had similar complaints.

Hayden Paddon dropped 20sec after hitting a stone on the inside of a corner 3km from the finish of Porrera and puncturing the front left tyre of his Hyundai i20.

Stéphane Lefebvre retired his DS 3 just outside the Salou service with rear brake problems, while Bertelli crashed out for the second consecutive day.

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