Sweden WRC: Latvala leads after topping Thursday superspecial

Toyota’s Jari Matti Latvala leads Rally Sweden after winning the Karlstad superspecial opener, having come out on top in a head-to-head with former teammate Sebastien Ogier.

Sweden WRC: Latvala leads after topping Thursday superspecial

Latvala - who finished on the podium on the WRC’s opening round in Monte Carlo – managed a time 0.6 seconds faster than Thierry Neuville.

Belgian Hyundai driver Neuville broke his suspension while leading in Monte Carlo, but he rebounded to beat M-Sport’s Ford Fiesta WRC driver Ott Tanak in his one-on-one. 

Neuville made a tactical move to start further wide than his fellow competitors, giving him a better start as his Hyundai teammates struggled for launch on the ice and snow.

Dani Sordo sits third overnight, with Tanak and Ogier – the Monte Carlo winner for his new team M-Sport – rounding out the top five.

Mads Ostberg, making his 2017 debut in a private Fiesta WRC, had a strong run to sixth and is only 1.2s behind Latvala, while Kris Meeke was the highest placed Citroen in seventh.

Toyota’s Juho Hanninen, DMACK’s Elfyn Evans and WRC2 leader Ole Christian Veiby rounded out the top 10.

The Skoda Fabia R5 driver, in only his fourth event in the category, headed off works Skoda driver and home hero Pontus Tidemand, who was not registered as a WRC2 competitor in Monte Carlo.

Veiby’s fellow Norwegian and Fabia driver Henning Solberg was third quickest of the R5-class cars, but isn’t registered for WRC2. The class podium was rounded out by another Norwegian, Eyvind Brynildsen.

Stage results:

Pos. Driver Car Time/Gap
1  Jari-Matti Latvala Toyota 1m34.1s
2  Thierry Neuville Hyundai +0.6s
3  Dani Sordo Hyundai +0.7s
4  Ott Tanak Ford +0.8s
5  Sebastien Ogier Ford +0.9s
6  Mads Ostberg Ford +1.2s
7  Kris Meeke Citroen +2.0s
8  Juho Hanninen Toyota +2.1s
9  Elfyn Evans Ford +2.1s
10  Ole Christian Veiby Skoda +2.4s
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