Ogier grabs early lead in France

Sebastien Ogier heads the pack after SS4, 5 seconds up on fellow Citroen runner Petter Solberg; Dani Sordo lies third for MINI.

Citroen's Sebastien Ogier leads Rallye de France Alsace following the opening loop of stages this morning.

Ogier moved into the lead on his home event in SS3, when his team-mate Sebastien Loeb, the early leader - albeit by only 0.1 seconds after SS2 – had to stop due to engine problems. It is not yet known if Loeb will be able to continue but whatever happens, it will certainly eat into - and possibly cost him - his championship lead.

Ogier won two of the morning's tests and now returns to service with a 5 second lead over Citroen privateer, Petter Solberg.

Dani Sordo meanwhile made a great start for MINI and having been seventh quickest in SS1, he was second in SS2 and SS4 and third in SS3. He now lies just 1.6 seconds off P2 and 6.6 seconds off the lead.

Kris Meeke has also gone well in the other MINI WRT John Cooper Works WRC car and he is fourth, albeit 21.4 seconds further back.

M-Sport Stobart Ford man Mads Ostberg completes the five - 6.6 seconds up on Mikko Hirvonen, who had a scare in SS3 and went off the road. The Finn is just over a minute off Ogier.

Jari-Matti Latvala is next up in the sister works Ford Abu Dhabi WRT Fiesta RS WRC. He also had problems in Pays d'Ormont 1, but the quickest time in SS4 saw him haul himself back up from ninth to seventh.

Armindo Araujo, Dennis Kuipers and Ken Block round out the top ten, the latter 13.3 seconds ahead of SWRC class leader Ott Tanak. Tanak comfortably leads the SWRC, 59.2 seconds up on Eyvind Brynildsen.

In terms of retirements, in addition to Loeb, Kimi Raikkonen has also had retire from the leg. The F1 2007 world champion went out on the road section between SS2 and SS3. Initially reports said he had damaged his suspension and go off while trying to warm up his tyres. However it has since been reported that he was involved in a collision with Henning Solberg.

The action now continues this afternoon with a repeat-run through this morning's four tests. SS5, the 9.68 kilometre-run through Klevener 2, starts at 13.23 hours local time [12.23 hours British time].

Rallye de France Alsace: Overall standings after Stage 4 (Top 10):

1. Sebastien Ogier Citroen Total WRT DS3 WRC 41mins 26.6secs M
2. Petter Solberg PSWRT Citroen DS3 WRC +00mins 05.0secs M
3. Dani Sordo MINI WRT John Cooper Works +00mins 06.6secs
4. Kris Meeke MINI WRT John Cooper Works +00mins 28.0secs
5. Mads Ostberg M-Sport Stobart Ford Fiesta RS WRC +00mins 53.5secs M
6. Mikko Hirvonen Ford Abu Dhabi WRT Fiesta RS WRC +01mins 00.1secs M
7. Jari-Matti Latvala Ford Abu Dhabi WRT Fiesta RS WRC +01mins 19.7secs M
8. Armindo Araujo Motorsport Italia MINI John Cooper Works +01mins 20.4secs
9. Dennis Kuipers FERM Powertools Ford Fiesta RS WRC +01mins 25.6secs M
10. Ken Block Monster WRT Ford Fiesta RS WRC +01mins 53.8secs M


11. Ott Tanak Ford Fiesta S2000 +02mins 07.1secs S
12. Henning Solberg M-Sport Stobart Ford Fiesta RS WRC +02mins 08.9secs
13. Matthew Wilson M-Sport Stobart Ford Fiesta RS WRC +02mins 20.1secs M
14. Peter van Merksteijn Van Merksteijn Citroen DS3 WRC +02mins 29.8secs M
15. Pierre Campana Equipe de France FFSA MINI John Cooper Works +02mins 30.8secs
16. Evgeny Novikov M-Sport Stobart Ford Fiesta RS WRC +02mins 34.2secs M
17. Khalid Al-Qassimi Team Abu Dhabi Fiesta RS WRC +02mins 38.1secs M
24. Daniel Oliviera Brazil WRT MINI John Cooper Works +04mins 26.0secs M

SWRC standings after Stage 4:

1. Ott Tanak Ford Fiesta S2000 43mins 33.7secs S
2. Eyvind Brynildsen Skoda Fabia S2000 +00mins 59.2secs S
3. Martin Prokop Ford Fiesta S2000 +01mins 19.4secs S

Notable retirements:

SS3. Sebastien Loeb Citroen Total WRT DS3 WRC Engine M
SS2/3. Kimi Raikkonen ICE1 Racing Citroen DS3 WRC Went off on road section M

all times unofficial

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Sebastien Ogier (F) Julien Ingrassia (F) Citroen DS3 WRC, Citroen Total World Rally Team
Sebastien Ogier (F) Julien Ingrassia (F) Citroen DS3 WRC, Citroen Total World Rally Team
Sebastien Ogier (F) Julien Ingrassia (F) Citroen DS3 WRC, Citroen Total World Rally Team
Sebastien Ogier (F) Citroen DS3 WRC, Citroen Total World Rally Team
Sebastien Ogier (F) Julien Ingrassia (F) Citroen DS3 WRC, Citroen Total World Rally Team

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Dafydd Larcombe - Unregistered

September 30, 2011 1:22 PM

If positions remain the same at the finish, Hirvonnen will lead the Championship with 199 Points, Loeb will still have 196 points and Ogier will Leap up to 192 Points Then you have the extra Power stage points ontop. If Ogier crashed out Hirvonnen would have 201 Points for 3rd and Ogier would only have 167 points Loeb has to Retire here or he will get a penalty for using a new Engine before Spain, if he retires now with a broken engine and doesnt use Super Rally the team can replace the engine before Spain Penalty free I think this as exciting as the WRC has ever been for many years, 3 drivers have a chance to be World Champion this year

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