8 February 2013
Ogier in charge on Rally Sweden
Behind, Evgeny Novikov rounds out the top-five in the second Qatar M-Sport WRT entry, the Russian 29.4 seconds off his team-mate.
“There are a lot of different lines on the stages so it has been tricky to follow the correct lines at times, but everything is fine,” Novikov remakred. “We lost a bit of time on the middle stage [SS6] when Dani went off the road and then we didn't have the best tyre choice for the last stage [SS7]. We only took one spare, and in hindsight it might have been better to go with two. But having said that, we didn't lose too much time and we now have more options for the following days. It's been a good day with no real dramas, so we will continue to fight like this tomorrow.”
Pontus Tidemand impressed on his first WRC event in a World Rally Car and ran as high as fourth this morning. He slipped back this afternoon, but remains a very solid sixth in his Ford Fiesta RS WRC: “It feels fantastic,” he said post-SS8, “it feels good [to have done what we have today], but we still need to keep focused.”
Juho Hanninen and Thierry Neuville are seventh and eighth, while Henning Solberg is ninth on his return to the WRC, one spot ahead of Martin Prokop. Dani Sordo is just outside the top-ten after an off this afternoon in SS6.
“It was pretty much the same as everyone else, we lost the back end and we ended up stuck in a snow bank,” Sordo recounted. “Fortunately for us, there were a lot of spectators and we were able to get on our way again pretty easily. It really hasn't been a straightforward day. I never found the right feeling with the car.”
Sordo was not the only WRC front runner in trouble, as Matt Wilson, Michal Kosciousko, Khalid Al-Qassimi, Mikko Hirvonen and Jarkko Nikara also got caught out and end the day way down the order.
In WRC2, Anders Grondal took the lead in SS4 in his Subaru Impreza and he is now 32.4 seconds up on Yazeed Al-Rajhi. Sepp Wiegand is third.
Rally Sweden now continues on Saturday, with two loops of four stages on the bill and a total competitive distance of 114.02 kilometres. SS9, Sagen 1, is due to start at 08.47 hours local time [07.47 hours British time].
Rally Sweden: Overall standings after Stage 8 (Top 10):
1. Sebastien Ogier Volkswagen Motorsport Polo R WRC 1h 16m 00.1s M
2. Sebastien Loeb Citroen Total Abu Dhabi WRT DS3 WRC +31.4s M
3. Jari-Matti Latvala Volkswagen Motorsport Polo R WRC +33.1s M
4. Mads Ostberg Qatar M-Sport WRT Ford Fiesta RS WRC +42.3s M
5. Evgeny Novikov Qatar M-Sport WRT Ford Fiesta RS WRC +1m 11.7s M
6. Pontus Tidemand Ford Fiesta WRC +1m 22.1s
7. Juho Hanninen Qatar WRT Ford Fiesta RS WRC +1m 49.5s
8. Thierry Neuville Qatar WRT Ford Fiesta RS WRC +2m 00.2s T
9. Henning Solberg Ford Fiesta RS WRC +3m 25.3s
10. Martin Prokop Jipocar Czech National TeamFord Fiesta RS WRC +4m 43.3s T
11. Dani Sordo Abu Dhabi Citroen Total WRT DS3 WRC +6m 47.3s
12. Anders Grondal Subaru Impreza +7m 13.5s WRC2
13. Yazeed Al-Rajhi Ford Fiesta RRC +7m 46.1s WRC2
14. Michal Solowow Peugeot 207 S2000 +7m 54.3s
15. Sepp Wiegand Skoda Fabia S2000 +8m 55.7s WRC2
17. Matthew Wilson Qatar WRT Ford Fiesta RS WRC +11m 04.8s
20. Michal Kosciousko Lotos Team WRC MINI John Cooper Works WRC +14m 20.0s T
27. Khalid Al-Qassimi Abu Dhabi Citroen Total WRT DS3 WRC +18m 07.6s T
32. Mikko Hirvonen Citroen Total Abu Dhabi WRT DS3 WRC +25m 53.0s M
39. Jarkko Nikara Prodrive WRC Team MINI John Cooper Works WRC +48m 32.7s
WRC2 standings after Stage 8 (Top 3):
1. Anders Grondal Subaru Impreza 1h 23m 13.6s WRC2
2. Yazeed Al-Rajhi Ford Fiesta RRC +32.6s WRC2
3. Sepp Wiegand Skoda Fabia S2000 +1m 42.2s WRC2
SS5. Jari Ketomaa Ford Fiesta RS WRC Mechanical
all times unofficial
Polo R WRC
Click on relevant pic to enlarge
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