Ogier hangs onto Rally of Turkey lead

Citroen's Sebastien Ogier heads the pack in Turkey with just the short Istanbul SSS left to run prior to the conclusion of the opening leg.
Sebastien Ogier remains in the lead of the Rally of Turkey following the repeat loop this afternoon, although he was unable to pull out much of a gap on fellow Citroen runner, Dani Sordo.

Ogier, who had finished this morning just 2.1 seconds ahead, began strongly after lunch and was quickest in SS5 and SS6 to stretch his lead to 5 seconds. However he was unable to maintain that form in SS7 and SS8, when he was 'only' third and fourth fastest – and with Sordo quicker in both Bozgoca 2 and Halli 2, the Frenchman saw his advantage cut back to 2.8 seconds.

Mikko Hirvonen meanwhile remains third for Ford, although he slipped back and is now 9.2 seconds off P1 - and a similar amount up on Petter Solberg in fourth.

Solberg struggled initially this afternoon and was off the pace in SS5 and SS6. However he bounced back in the next two tests - setting the second best time in SS7 and winning SS8 - to move back ahead of Sebastien Loeb and Jari-Matti Latvala, who complete the top six. Petter will now go into the Istanbul SSS this evening 7 seconds ahead Loeb, who in turn is 0.8 seconds up on Latvala.

Further down the order, Federico Villagra remains seventh for the Munchi's Ford WRT, although he is over a minute off sixth. Kimi Raikkonen made up a place on the repeat loop and is up to eighth, after Matt Wilson damaged his steering and lost some time. The Englishman trails Raikkonen's Citroen C4 by 9.6 seconds.

Ott Tanek is currently on course for the Group N win and the final 'senior' WRC point, with JWRC duo Aaron Burkart and Thierry Neuville eleventh and twelfth, separated by 9.7 seconds in the battle for Junior glory.

In terms of retirements, all the 'key' runners made it through the repeat tests and as such no one else joined Stobart Ford's Henning Solberg and Monster's Ken Block on the sidelines. Henning and Block both went out this morning in SS1.

The opening leg of the Rally of Turkey now concludes at 19.57 hours local time with the short 2.2 kilometre Istanbul SSS.

Overall standings after Stage 8 (Top 10):

1. Sebastien Ogier Citroen Junior Team C4 WRC 53mins 36.4secs M
2. Dani Sordo Citroen Total WRT C4 WRC +00mins 2.8secs M
3. Mikko Hirvonen BP Ford Abu Dhabi Focus RS WRC +00mins 09.2secs M
4. Petter Solberg PSWRT Citroen C4 WRC +00mins 18.3secs A8
5. Sebastien Loeb Citroen Total WRT C4 WRC +00mins 25.3secs M
6. Jari-Matti Latvala BP Ford Abu Dhabi Focus RS WRC +00mins 26.1secs M
7. Federico Villagra Munchi's Ford Focus WRC +01mins 33.8secs M
8. Kimi Raikkonen Citroen Junior Team C4 WRC +01mins 48.0secs M
9. Matthew Wilson Stobart VK Ford Focus WRC +01mins 57.6secs M
10. Ott Tanak Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X +04mins 45.9secs

JWRC Standings after Stage 8 (Top 3):

1. Aaron Burkart Suzuki Swift S1600 59mins 59.1secs J
2. Thierry Neuville Citroen C2 S1600 +00mins 09.7secs J
3. Kevin Abbring Renault Clio R3 +00mins 17.5secs 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

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Sebastien Ogier (F) Julien Ingrassia (F) Citroen C4 WRC, Citroen Junior Team
Sebastien Ogier (F) Citroen C4 WRC, Citroen Junior Team
Sebastien Ogier (F) Julien Ingrassia (F) Citroen C4 WRC, Citroen Junior Team

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Chris - Unregistered

April 16, 2010 3:30 PM

Good effort from Ogier. Nice to see some of the Junior drivers have talent. And where is our own home grown rallying hero?? Chasing Ogier down hard in second may be? No, that's right, absolutely nowhere. Behind Kimi. How can our slower-than-treacle Wilson look at himself? It's taken Kimi just 4 events to get the measure of our very own wretched excuse of a professional driver. A disgrace to anyone associated with the Blue Oval.

Chris - Unregistered

April 16, 2010 4:24 PM

Must say the tactic of running comic genius Wilson 8th on every event is very cunning. No one can be that slow everywhere, surely. Haven't quite figured out what the objective is but I'm sure it's devil-ishly clever.

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