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Two stage wins have Meeke in third
23 May 2015 22:10
Jari-Matti Latvala ended the penultimate day of racing at the Rally de Portugal on top despite winning none of Saturday's six stages.
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Finn Latvala, who led by 11.1 seconds going into Saturday's action, managed four second-place finishes and two third-placed finishes as Sebastien Ogier and Kris Meeke won three and two stages respectively.
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Volkswagen driver Latvala subsequently takes a 9.5-second lead into Sunday's final day, ahead of two-time reigning world champion Ogier in second, who won the day's three final stages, and third-placed Meeke.
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Latvala's lead was cut to 9.9 seconds when team-mate Andreas Mikkelsen won stage eight, but a second-place finish behind Ulster man Meeke (below) in stage nine saw him extend his overall advantage to 11.2 seconds.
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Meeke moved ahead of Mikkelsen into second place by that point and cut Latvala's lead to 6.1 seconds when he also won stage 10, with the race leader securing another third-place finish.
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A second-placed finish behind Ogier on stage 11 saw Latvala enjoy an 8.9-second lead after Meeke could only finish fourth, and Latvala extended his overall lead by a further 0.6secs at the end of the day as he and Ogier repeated their one-two finishes in the final two stages.
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Sunday's action will feature three stages covering 54.65 kilometres and Latvala, although happy to still lead the race, is wary of the threat that Ogier poses him.
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"The tyres started to fade near the end. Maybe I attacked too much in the asphalt section. I'm a bit disappointed but at least we're still ahead," he told the WRC website.
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"Ogier is coming very strongly. In these situations he is fired up. This is like a fuel for him."
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