Latvala the New Leader - Rallye de France, Alsace | WRC - 2013

Second day at Rally France was totally action packed, with close calls, punctures, spins and much more over some foggy, & some drenched roads. In simple words, it was a fun rally to watch the whole time and with it being live on the internet - was definitely fantastic.

Early stages of the day opened to cold, foggy and wet stages, making the stages difficult for the crew to tackle. Overnight rally leader, Thierry Neuville struggled to keep the lead, and was mostly successful, although he was challenged stage after stage, all-through the first loop of the day's major stages.

Sebastien Ogier was fastest through SS8 & SS9 by over a second to Neuville, it was Sebastien Loeb who took the stage win of SS10 and here the Belgian struggled to a fifth fastest finish. The stage win also added the 900th stage win to Loeb's career line.

A remote service for the cars and a munch break for the crews, by mid-day it was enough to let the fog to clear away, but not for dampness. Most of the sections of the repitition of the morning's stages were either damp or under the umbrella of moderately pouring rainy clouds. As most of the cars were setup for the soft-compound tyres - well suited for damp conditions, did even out the pressure.

It proved to be a unlucky stage for the rally leader, as the Fiesta suffered a left-rear puncture and he eventually lost the lead and any chance of a prospective podium position with a huge time-lag of over a minute to the new top 4. His loss enabled the quickly trailing Dani Sordo to the lead, though the Finn - Jari-Matti Latvala was not quick enough, even after being immediately behind the young Belgian. It was Ogier who was quickest in SS11 & SS12.

Neuville sprung back to a stage win in SS13, yet the gap is too large to claim unless any of the cars top on him in the leaderboard have similar issues. It never happened, and Ogier took the final stage victory, and Latvala was quick in the final SS14 to move to close the day in his leadership.

By the end of the day, top 4 cars are separated by a miniscule 5 second, and the final day tomorrow is going to be an absolute fun & never miss to all the rally fans across the globe. And if definitely looks like it is going to be Seb.vs.Seb. tomorrow, with a Spaniard & Finn to add the flavour.

Top 5 Overall - After SS14

Pos    No    Driver
2.10D. SORDO
4.1S. LOEB
   2:20:08.7   +1:05.4   +1:10.4

Word of advice - Don't miss it tomorrow, as it will go into the books of WRC history!

In WRC-2, Robert Kubica has a unchallenged leadership, with Elfyn Evans & Rashid Al-Ketbi, finishing in top 3. Q. Gilbert continues to lead WRC-3.

Junior-WRC rally finished with the day's stages & Pontus Tidemand won the event, and with it the Junior World Rally Championship too, with more than 130 points to it. He was in the second place until SS10, and when the rally leader Yerey Lemes - who also suffered a puncture in SS11 and thus promoted Tidemand to the lead.

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