28 May 2010
Ogier heads pack in Portugal
Sebastien Ogier wins two out of the three morning stages to grab the early lead on Rally de Portugal.
Citroen Junior Team's Sebastien Ogier has taken the lead on Rally de Portugal this morning, the sixth round in the 2010 World Rally Championship.
Ogier, who was sixth quickest in the short super special last night, moved up to second this morning in the first proper test when he was 1.8 seconds slower than Dani Sordo. Ogier then went quickest in SS3 and SS4 to return to the mid-day service at the Algarve Stadium with a 1.8 second cushion over the Spaniard.
Mikko Hirvonen meanwhile lies third, 18.1 seconds off the battle for P1 in his BP Ford Abu Dhabi WRT Focus RS WRC, and narrowly ahead of Petter Solberg and Sebastien Loeb in fourth and fifth.
"I'm happy with the car's handling and my driving, and testing on Monday so close to the rally helped me," said Hirvonen. "I made a few small mistakes under braking in the last stage, but nothing serious. I'm in no rush to catch the guys ahead.
"Third or fourth tonight would give me a good position in the start order tomorrow. The roads were technical and quite demanding and I expect them to be harder on tyre wear this afternoon."
Jari-Matti Latvala completes the top six, 12.1 seconds behind Loeb, followed by Stobart Ford's Henning Solberg and Matt Wilson.
"I made no big mistakes but I was too cautious," admitted Latvala, who of course suffered that massive crash in Portugal twelve months ago. "I was afraid of tyre wear on the hard roads and maybe last year's accident was at the back of my mind as well. I wasn't scared, but just not so confident.
"I carried two spare wheels but it was cloudy and cooler than we expected on the stages so there were no tyre wear concerns. Last year I attacked hard from the start here but that's not my job this year, and I started to find my confidence on the last stage of the loop."
Mads Ostberg and 2007 F1 world champion, Kimi Raikkonen round out the top ten, the latter having set one tenth quickest time and two eleventh best efforts on this morning's loop. He is 1 minute 48.5 seconds off the lead – and 43.2 seconds off P9.
In the SWRC, Nasser Al-Attiyah is out front, 3.2 seconds up on fellow Ford Fiesta S2000 man Jari Ketomaa, while in the JWRC, Thierry Neuville leads in his Citroen C2 S1600.
The opening leg now continues at 14.10 hours local time with all three of this morning's stages due to be repeated.
Rally de Portugal: Overall standings after Stage 4 (Top 10):
1. Sebastien Ogier Citroen Junior Team C4 WRC 41mins 30.2secs M
2. Dani Sordo Citroen Total WRT C4 WRC +00mins 01.8secs M
3. Mikko Hirvonen BP Ford Abu Dhabi Focus RS WRC +00mins 19.9secs M
4. Petter Solberg PSWRT Citroen C4 WRC +00mins 20.7secs A8
5. Sebastien Loeb Citroen Total WRT C4 WRC +00mins 23.0secs M
6. Jari-Matti Latvala BP Ford Abu Dhabi Focus RS WRC +00mins 35.1secs M
7. Henning Solberg Stobart VK Ford Focus WRC +00mins 46.1secs M
8. Matthew Wilson Stobart VK Ford Focus WRC +00mins 52.3secs M
9. Mads Ostberg Adapta Subaru Impreza WRC +01mins 05.3secs A8
10. Kimi Raikkonen Citroen Junior Team C4 WRC +01mins 48.5secs M
SWRC Standings after Stage 4 (Top 3):
1. Nasser Al-Attiyah Ford Fiesta S2000 43mins 45.4secs S
2. Jari Ketomaa Ford Fiesta S2000 +00mins 03.2secs S
3. P-G Andersson Skoda Fabia S2000 +00mins 13.6secs S
JWRC Standings after Stage 4 (Top 3):
1. Thierry Neuville Citroen C2 S1600 45mins 57.6secs J
2. Aaron Burkart Suzuki Swift S1600 +00mins 13.3secs J
3. Yeray Lemes Renault Clio S1600 +00mins 51.1secs J
all times unofficial
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