Volkswagen's Sebastien Ogier has lost the lead on Rally Sweden after making a 'stupid mistake' in the opening test of the day.
Ogier began the second full day of competition 5.8 seconds up on team-mate Andreas Mikkelsen following the Norwegian's decision to purposely ease off in the final test on Thursday to save tyres [see separate story - HERE
]. Ogier was then pushing to stay in front when he made an made an error in a slow corner near the end of the 15 km Lesjofors 1 test, SS8, and put his Polo R WRC into a snowbank. The off cost him over 4.5 minutes dropping him from P1 to P20.
“I missed a little bit the entry point. I wasn't concentrating. I wanted to push, it was a stupid mistake,” he told the official WRC site. “I'll do my best now [to see what result I can get]. I don't know what is possible but I guess it will be hard.”
Thierry Neuville also had problems in SS8, with Hyundai reporting he damaged a front wheel carrier. He completed the test, but lost around 42 minutes and had to retire. It is not yet known if he will be able to re-start on Saturday.
“Damage on @thierryneuville i20 #WRC caused by an impact with a loose stone on the road. Mechanics on the way to recover the car,” the team tweeted.
Meanwhile, Mikkelsen now heads the leaderboard, 0.6 seconds up on Jari-Matti Latvala. Mads Ostberg is third for Citroen ahead of M-Sport men Mikko Hirvonen and Ott Tanak, the latter losing two places after a spin – costing him around 10-15 seconds. Juho Hanninen, Pontus Tidemand, Kris Meeke, Elfyn Evans and Henning Solberg complete the new look top-ten, with former F1 man, Robert Kubica just outside the points in P11. Yazeed Al-Rajhi remains top in the battle for WRC2 honours, although Jari-Ketomaa has slashed the gap from 34.4 seconds overnight to 13.8 seconds post-SS8.