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
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
2. Dani Sordo
Citroen Total WRT C4 WRC +00mins 01.8secs
3. Mikko Hirvonen
BP Ford Abu Dhabi Focus RS WRC +00mins 19.9secs
4. Petter Solberg
C4 WRC +00mins 20.7secs
5. Sebastien Loeb
Citroen Total WRT C4 WRC +00mins 23.0secs
6. Jari-Matti Latvala
BP Ford Abu Dhabi Focus RS WRC +00mins 35.1secs
7. Henning Solberg
Stobart VK Ford Focus WRC +00mins 46.1secs
8. Matthew Wilson
Stobart VK Ford Focus WRC +00mins 52.3secs
9. Mads Ostberg
Adapta Subaru Impreza WRC +01mins 05.3secs
10. Kimi Raikkonen
Citroen Junior Team C4 WRC +01mins 48.5secs
MSWRC Standings after Stage 4 (Top 3):
1. Nasser Al-Attiyah
Ford Fiesta S2000 43mins 45.4secs
2. Jari Ketomaa
Ford Fiesta S2000 +00mins 03.2secs
3. P-G Andersson
Skoda Fabia S2000 +00mins 13.6secs
SJWRC Standings after Stage 4 (Top 3):
1. Thierry Neuville
Citroen C2 S1600 45mins 57.6secs
2. Aaron Burkart
Suzuki Swift S1600 +00mins 13.3secs
3. Yeray Lemes
Renault Clio S1600 +00mins 51.1secs
Jall times unofficial