27 June 2014
Rally Poland: Ogier still in lead
Sebastien Ogier leads Rally Poland by 1.5 seconds following SS6; Andreas Mikkelsen is second with Mads Ostberg third; Jari-Matti Latvala and Kris Meeke complete the top five; Robert Kubica is ninth
Volkswagen's Sebastien Ogier still leads the way on Rally Poland following the morning loop, albeit just 1.5 seconds up on team-mate Andreas Mikkelsen.
Ogier started Friday with a 2.8 second lead, but in SS4 lost time running first in the order and was only seventh quickest. That allowed Mikkelsen back in front and he stayed there after SS5 too, although only just as Ogier was second quickest and cut the gap to 0.1 seconds. Ogier was then fastest, however, in the final test of the loop and re-took P1 ahead of the mid-day remote service in Druskininkai.
“It is definitely better,” he told the official WRC site after SS6. “It's not a disadvantage to be first on the road on this one. A tricky stage [though] but another good one for us.”
Behind the duelling Volkswagen's, Mads Ostberg is third, 13.7 seconds back and a similar amount up on Jari-Matti Latvala in fourth.
“It is not the best feeling. I don't have a fighting spirit for the victory any more. Now we have to see what we can do and see what the highest position is that we can achieve,” Latvala stated.
Kris Meeke completes the top five, having fallen back from third overnight, with Hyundai's Juho Hanninen sixth, 2.4 seconds adrift.
Mikko Hirvonen holds seventh, although he remains unhappy with his form and particularly his pace-notes: “My notes are just far too slow for these stages. I don't know what I was thinking on the recce because the scale is completely off. But then I don't have the confidence to go one scale higher through all of the corners – it's just down to a bad recce,” he explained.
“We've made some changes to the notes after this morning's pass so hopefully it will be better this afternoon. I will try to push harder and take some time out of the boys who are close in front. We just have to try and get on the pace. Saying that, it is good to see that we managed to gain some places this morning!”
Further back, Thierry Neuville is eighth after a bit of scruffy morning, following a spin in SS6 and an overshoot in SS4 that briefly put him in a ditch: “It was horrible in that last test - and dangerous like hell. The ruts are getting worse and it is very rough. I spun in a very fast corner as I couldn't hold the steering wheel anymore,” said the Belgian.
Robert Kubica has climbed back to ninth on his home event, with Elfyn Evans tenth and Haydon Paddon eleventh.
“The stages are very soft so the further behind you start the worse position you have,” Kubica noted. “The conditions are getting worse and worse but to be honest, I have been very happy with my driving and so far I think it is going well.
“I cannot imagine what the second loop will be like after this morning. It will be very challenging, especially because it is very fast and very narrow and with my limitations it will be difficult. I think we did a good job this morning so let's wait and see.”
Evans added: “This morning has definitely been an improvement on yesterday. We didn't have a fantastic run through the first stage this morning [SS4] as we weren't carrying enough speed into some of the faster sections; but it steadily got better and I found a good rhythm in the middle of the last one [SS6].
“We've made some gains, but we still need to identify where we can bring it up to the level of the guys in front.”
In WRC2, Ott Tanak won all three tests to extend his margin over Jari Ketomaa from 3.9 seconds overnight to 14.2. Martin Kangur is now third, with Karl Kruuda fourth.
Rally Poland now continues with a repeat run through the two Lithiania tests, before competitors tackle Wieliczki again. The leg concludes with a second blast through the 2.50 km Mikolajki Arena super special.
SS7 Kapciamiestis is scheduled to start 14.58 [13.58 UK time], slightly later than originally planned as the test has been shortened from 26.61km to 12.92km after heavy rain earlier in the week.
Rally Poland: Overall standings after Stage 6 (Top 10):
1. Sebastien Ogier Volkswagen Motorsport Polo R WRC 39m 54.0s M
2. Andreas Mikkelsen Volkswagen Motorsport II Polo R WRC +00m 01.5s M
3. Mads Ostberg Citroen Total Abu Dhabi WRT DS3 WRC +00m 15.2s M
4. Jari-Matti Latvala Volkswagen Motorsport Polo R WRC +00m 29.4s M
5. Kris Meeke Citroen Total Abu Dhabi WRT DS3 WRC +00m 36.0s M
6. Juho Hanninen Hyundai Motorsport i20 WRC +00m 38.4s M
7. Mikko Hirvonen M-Sport WRT Ford Fiesta RS WRC +00m 59.7s M
8. Thierry Neuville Hyundai Motorsport i20 WRC +01m 01.8s M
9. Robert Kubica RK M-Sport WRT Ford Fiesta RS WRC +01m 12.0s M
10. Elfyn Evans M-Sport WRT Ford Fiesta RS WRC +01m 13.8s M
11. Hayden Paddon Hyundai Motorsport N i20 WRC +01m 17.5s M
12. Henning Solberg Adapta Motorsport Ford Fiesta RS WRC +01m 18.6s
13. Martin Prokop Jipocar Czech National Team Ford Fiesta RS WRC +01m 28.3s M
14. Ott Tanak Drive DMACK Ford Fiesta R5 +01m 51.1s WRC2
15. Jari Ketomaa Drive DMACK Ford Fiesta R5 +02m 05.3s WRC2
WRC2 standings after Stage 3 (Top 3):
1. Ott Tanak Drive DMACK Ford Fiesta R5 41m 45.1s WRC2
2. Jari Ketomaa Drive DMACK Ford Fiesta R5 +00m 14.2s WRC2
3. Martin Kangur Ford Fiesta S2000 +01m 33.0s WRC2
M denotes Manufacturer entry
all times unofficial
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