Wales WRC: Ogier claims early lead as Latvala and Neuville crash out

Sebastien Ogier kicked off the final WRC event of the season in style by topping all three of the opening day’s morning stages in Rally Wales.

Ogier, who gave away a surefire victory with a Power Stage crash three weeks ago in Spain, was only 0.8s quicker than Jari-Matti Latvala after Hafren, the longest stage of this rally.

However, his Finnish teammate then went off in a ditch on the next test and was unable to rejoin the action.

That allowed Kris Meeke to grab second, 12.9s off Ogier’s pace, with Rally Spain winner Andreas Mikkelsen and fellow Citroen driver Mads Ostberg less than 10 seconds behind.

”Difficult for sure, trying to adjust to the grip. I think I managed it okay. I'm happy enough, I got into the rhythm quickly enough," said Mikkelsen, who missed yesterday’s shakedown as he flew to Germany for a quick medical check-up.

Welshman Elfyn Evans ended up in the top five despite struggling for confidence, taking advantage of a spin from Dani Sordo, who dropped down to sixth.

Hayden Paddon in seventh was the only Hyundai not to hit problems as Thierry Neuville lost a wheel after hitting a tree in the third stage, while Kevin Abbring retired as well.

Ott Tanak rounded out the top eight as Robert Kubica was another victim of the third stage, the Polish ex-F1 driver losing around three minutes due to a slow puncture.

Results after SS3:

Pos. Driver / Co-Driver Car Time/Delay
1

Sebastien Ogier

Julien Ingrassia

VW 37m36.3s
2

Kris Meeke

Paul Nagle

Citroen 12.9s
3

Andreas Mikkelsen

Ola Floene

VW 16.8s
4

Mads Ostberg

Jonas Andersson

Citroen 22.8s
5

Elfyn Evans

Daniel Barritt

Ford 40.3s
6

Dani Sordo

Marc Marti

Hyundai 49.4s
7

Hayden Paddon

John Kennard

Hyundai 54.5s
8

Ott Tanak

Raigo Molder

Ford 56.9s
9

 Martin Prokop

 Jan Tomanek

Ford 1m21.9s
10

 Stephane Lefebvre

 Stephane Prevot

Citroen 1m44.8s

 

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About this article
Series WRC
Event Rally Wales GB
Drivers Kris Meeke , Andreas Mikkelsen , Sébastien Ogier , Mads Ostberg
Teams Volkswagen Motorsport
Article type Leg report