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Ogier leads in Turkey after first loop

16 April 2010

Sebastien Ogier has taken the early lead on the Rally of Turkey this morning, the fourth round in the 2010 World Rally Championship.

Ogier was only sixth quickest in the opening test, but went second in the next to haul himself up to fourth overall. He then grabbed the lead in SS3, when he was fastest, before finishing the first loop with the second best time in SS4. He eventually went into service A at Pendik with a 2.1 second lead.

Dani Sordo is next up, and while he didn't managed to post a quickest time, the Spaniard was close to the pace in every single stage, posting one second quickest time, two thirds and a fourth.

Mikko Hirvonen meanwhile leads the Ford charge, and while he had been top after leading the way in SS2, he slipped back in SS3 and SS4, eventually finishing up third, 3 seconds off the lead and 0.9 seconds off P2.

"It was a good morning with no problems for me or the car," Hirvonen said. "It's hard to find a rhythm because the roads can be very fast, but suddenly there is a crest and on the other side they become tight and twisty. The stages aren't cleaning much but they're rocky and Pirelli's tyres are doing a great job.

"The speeds are so high that when you hit a rock you almost expect the impact to puncture a tyre, but that's not happened. The roads are soft in places and it will be even rockier this afternoon."

Petter Solberg lies fourth and despite setting the pace in SS1 and SS4 is 4.4 seconds adrift of Hirvonen – and only 0.4 seconds up on Sebastien Loeb, who rounds out the top five, and who of course is running first on the road.

Further down the order, Jari-Matti Latvala is sixth and having hit a bank in the final test this morning he was relieved not to have picked up a puncture.

"The first two stages were fine but I wasn't happy with my driving on the last two," said Latvala. "Just after the start of the last test the car slid wide and hit a rock embedded in a bank. I thought the impact had punctured a tyre, but it was just a damaged wheel rim.

"There are rocks everywhere, even in the braking areas, and many drivers have already had problems with them so I have to be careful. Perhaps that's on my mind too much because I struggled to find a good rhythm sometimes."

Of the rest, Federico Villagra and Matt Wilson are seventh and eighth, although both are quite a way off Latvala. Indeed Villagra is already nearly 30 seconds adrift, while Wilson is around 10 seconds further back.

2007 F1 world champion Kimi Raikkonen is ninth with Ott Tanak completing the top ten in his Mitsubishi Evo, 1 minute 10.5 up on Aaron Burkart, the current leader of the Junior WRC category.

There were two notable retirements this morning, with Stobart Ford's Henning Solberg and Monster WRT's Ken Block both going out in the opening test after damaging the steering on their Focus'. Both men are expected to be able to re-join the fold on Saturday under the SupeRally.

The action now continues at 14.00 hours local time with all four of this morning's stages due to be repeated. The day then concludes with a run through the short 2.20 kilometre Istanbul SSS.


Overall standings after Stage 4 (Top 10):

1. Sebastien Ogier Citroen Junior Team C4 WRC 27mins 15.2secs M
2. Dani Sordo Citroen Total WRT C4 WRC +00mins 2.1secs M
3. Mikko Hirvonen BP Ford Abu Dhabi Focus RS WRC +00mins 03.0secs M
4. Petter Solberg PSWRT Citroen C4 WRC +00mins 07.4secs A8
5. Sebastien Loeb Citroen Total WRT C4 WRC +00mins 07.8secs M
6. Jari-Matti Latvala BP Ford Abu Dhabi Focus RS WRC +00mins 12.6secs M
7. Federico Villagra Munchi's Ford Focus WRC +00mins 40.4secs M
8. Matthew Wilson Stobart VK Ford Focus WRC +00mins 51.7secs M
9. Kimi Raikkonen Citroen Junior Team C4 WRC +00mins 58.6secs M
10. Ott Tanak Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X +02mins 10.5secs


JWRC Standings after Stage 4 (Top 3):

1. Aaron Burkart Suzuki Swift S1600 30mins 36.2secs J
2. Thierry Neuville Citroen C2 S1600 +00mins 06.0secs J
3. Kevin Abbring Renault Clio R3 +00mins 24.5secs J


Notable retirements:

SS1. Henning Solberg Stobart VK Ford Focus WRC Broken steering M
SS1. Ken Block Monster WRT Ford Focus WRC Broken steering A8


all times unofficial


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