Volkswagen's Sebastien Ogier took a clean sweep of stage wins this afternoon on Wales Rally GB to help cement his place at the top of the Wales Rally GB leaderboard.

Ogier started the day with a 3.2 second advantage and by the mid-day point he had increased that to 13.5 seconds, something he then proceeded to stretch further on the repeat loop.

Indeed he was 1.7 seconds up on team-mate, Jari-Matti Latvala on the second run through Hafren, before taking another 2.7 seconds out of the Finn in SS8, Sweet Lamb 2 - with Jari-Matti 'only' fourth. The new WRC Champion then ended the loop with his fourth stage win of the day - and his sixth of the event - in Myherin 2 and now heads back to service with a 20.1 second cushion.

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"It has been a good day," said Ogier. "It will be a big fight with Jari - he is pushing hard. I am on the limit, but always considering the conditions."

"It is another typical Wales Rally GB, that much is certain," Ogier added. "You can easily make a mistake and find yourself flying off the road. I have experienced that often enough in the past. The conditions are difficult, particularly on the 'Myherin' stage, where the grip level changed so often. For this reason, we did not risk everything all the time. Even I was surprised by my time this morning - fortunately it was a nice surprise.

"There was a great atmosphere on 'Sweet Lamb', and I'm sure the many spectators there were having great fun. You can see almost the entire route, which features a lot of spectacular jumps and the water crossings."

Latvala meanwhile reported a 'big moment' in Myherin 2, although he was still second quickest and only 2.2 seconds behind Ogier: "I'm bitterly disappointed," he said after SS9. "I had a huge moment in there and I think I lost at least five seconds."

"It was not very easy to judge the surface conditions," Latvala continued once back in service. "Some places we thought would be slippery actually offered good levels of grip, while quite the opposite was true of other spots.

"As the first car out onto the route, we did not have any braking marks to use as orientation. As such, it was difficult to find a good rhythm right from the word go. I lost a little time here and there, but hope to be able to push hard again tomorrow morning. We are only halfway through, so a lot can still happen."

Behind, Thierry Neuville holds third, but he has been unable to stay with the VW's ahead and is now more than a minute off the lead and over 40 seconds off second place: "I'm doing my best," said the Qatar WRT man, who was fourth in SS7, seventh in SS8 and third in SS9. "I am driving well. There is some understeer, but I cannot really complain. We need to do some checks in service and try and find a bit more traction for tomorrow. I am still the quickest Ford and without the two Polos ahead I would look quite good!"

Fellow M-Sport Fiesta RS WRC runners Mads Ostberg and Evgeny Novikov round out the top five, split by just 3.7 seconds.

Volkswagen Motorsport II pilot Andreas Mikkelsen is also right up and in the scrap for P4, just 1.1 seconds further back.

"All in all it was a good day for us. The conditions were not easy today, as the special stages were very slippery," Mikkelsen stated. "I struggled with understeer and had to work really hard with the handbrake to keep the car on track. That obviously cost time here and there. However, we couldn't quite match the absolute best times - even on those stages, on which we were clean, quick and error-free. Messieurs Latvala and Ogier are quite simply doing a fantastic and impressive job at the moment. Respect."

Martin Prokop comes in seventh, with local favourite and WRC2 leader, Elfyn Evans in eighth, followed by Citroen's Dani Sordo and three-time British Rally Champion, Mark Higgins, who is making his first appearance in the WRC since 2008 and proving he still has what it takes.

In terms of retirements, no major runners went out on the second loop, although this morning's action claimed both Mikko Hirvonen and Robert Kubica. Hirvonen, who had been fourth, crashed out in SS6, while former F1 man, Kubica, rolled his Citroen in SS4. Kubica had been in P7.

Wales Rally GB now continues on Saturday with seven stages on the bill. SS10, the 14.58 km Gartheiniog test, is due to start at 08.29 hours local time.

Wales Rally GB: Overall standings after Stage 9 (Top 10):

1. Sebastien Ogier Volkswagen Motorsport Polo R WRC 1hr 34m 48.0s M
2. Jari-Matti Latvala Volkswagen Motorsport Polo R WRC +00m 20.1s M
3. Thierry Neuville Qatar WRT Ford Fiesta RS WRC +01m 02.6s M
4. Mads Ostberg Qatar M-Sport WRT Ford Fiesta RS WRC +01m 30.8s M
5. Evgeny Novikov Qatar M-Sport WRT Ford Fiesta RS WRC +01m 34.5s M
6. Andreas Mikkelsen Volkswagen Motorsport II Polo R WRC +01m 35.6s M
7. Martin Prokop Jipocar Czech National Team Ford Fiesta RS WRC +04m 56.2s M
8. Elfyn Evans Qatar M-Sport WRT Ford Fiesta R5 +06m 29.6s WRC2
9. Dani Sordo Citroen Total Abu Dhabi WRT DS3 WRC +06m 54.6s M##
10. Mark Higgins Ford Fiesta R5 +06m 56.6s WRC2


11. Jari Ketomaa Ford Fiesta R5 +06m 57.6s WRC2
12. Yazeed Al Rajhi Ford Fiesta RRC +08m 00.4s WRC2
13. Eyvind Brynildsen Ford Fiesta R5 +08m 51.2s WRC2
14. Edoardo Bresolin Ford Fiesta RRC +09m 28.6s WRC2

WRC2 standings after Stage 9 (Top 3):

1. Elfyn Evans Qatar M-Sport WRT Ford Fiesta R5 1hr 41m 17.6s WRC2
2. Mark Higgins Ford Fiesta R5 +00m 27.0s WRC2
3. Jari Ketomaa Ford Fiesta R5 +00m 28.0s WRC2

WRC3 standings after Stage 9 (Top 3):

1. Jukka Korhonen Citroen DS3 R3T 1hr 57m 31.4s WRC3
2. Bryan Bouffier Citroen DS3 R3T +10m 53.4s WRC3
3. Keith Cronin Citroen DS3 R3T +17m 04.9s WRC3

Notable retirements:

DNS. Nasser Al-Attiyah Qatar WRT Ford Fiesta RS WRC Did not start - hand injury M

SS4. Robert Kubica Abu Dhabi Citroen Total WRT DS3 WRC Crashed M
SS6. Mikko Hirvonen Citroen Total Abu Dhabi WRT DS3 WRC Crashed M

*denotes re-started under the Rally 2 regulations;
##Started with a 5 minute penalty;
M denotes Manufacturer entry;

all times unofficial