Even those winding well barricaded & constructed circuit like asphalt roads of Catalunya
showed some teeth, and Sebastien Ogier
was the one the first to find out in the top class of rally cars. His team-mate, Jari-Matti Latvala
, had put a word of caution – but Frenchman
seems like to have ignored it and ended up with a broken wheel, and lost nearly a minute from his commanding rally position.
It was the last set of asphalt stages of the rally, also for the championship and the leader-board was shuffled with one car[d]. In SS6, Ogier did a cut & hit something hard enough to chip off a good chunk of the wheel – resulted in a flat tyre and lost almost a minute dropping straight to 6th overall. Although he recovered two positions, still not sufficient to re-claim the lead and it will not happen until the top order competition does something similar to even out.
The penultimate asphalt stage, the second run of SS8 Colldejou
being the Power Stage
, went without any shows of dropping time for road-order tactics due to tomorrow’s starting position for gravel stages. Perhaps, it was due to the slippage of the Frenchman
‘s spot for racing to the top, and also because it did also bestowed some vital bonus championship points. A commendable strategy by the event organisers to control such unsporting tactics, I must say!
Anyway, it was Thierry Neuville
who claimed the max 3 points to his championship score, while Ogier
had to be satisfied by couple and single points, respectively. Sordo
finished 4th quickest, maybe conserving his advantageous position rather than going for small counts, or maybe tactical game did happen. Who knows?!
By the end of the rally’s final asphalt stage in the city of Salou
& local WRC hero Dani Sordo
are locked on to the battle for the top spot, separated by just 1.6secs apart.
Belgian driver, Thierry is 29.3secs down the rally leader, while the newly crowned WRC champion, Ogier is locked horns to the final podium step with the Belgian will have to start with a deficit of 46.5s to his team-mate rally leader, Jari-Matti.
A similar fight is brewing right down for the top 5 position between Mikko Hirvonen at 57.8s & Evgeny Novikov, who is just 0.1secs down the Flying Finn.
The bigger task is with the service crew, who have change the car’s complete setup from Tarmac spec
to Gravel spec
in just about 75mins to spare, and also the crews have to switch their mindset to the loose surface – from the stiffer ones today.
In the WRC-2
category, Robert Kubica
continues his domination with a healthy 4minute lead, Elfyn Evans
retired in the final stage, hence Sepp Wiegand
& Yazeed Al-Rajhi
complete the top 3 spot. In Junior WRC
, the rally leaders Pontus Tidemand
& Jose A.Suarez
crashed out at the same spot in SS5, luckily nobody was hurt and Yerey Lemes
Also if we recall the situation in 2011, the front order cars, especially no.1 on the road might just be in good position to avoid any hanging dust which could hamper the visibility – hence affecting speed. If not then it is a different game altogether. What if it rains? Well, anything can happen! So stay tuned, until then good night! ¡hasta mañana – see you tomorrow!