27 June 2014
Rally Poland: Ogier edges back in front
Sebastien Ogier concludes Friday's action in the lead, 0.9 seconds up on Andreas Mikkelsen; Mads Ostberg is third with Jari-Matti Latvala and Kris Meeke fourth and fifth; Robert Kubica holds P8
Volkswagen's Sebastien Ogier has finished day two of Rally Poland on top, but it has been nip-and-tuck between him and team-mate Andreas Mikkelsen all day.
Ogier started Friday's action with a 2.8 second lead, but it was Mikkelsen who was quickest in the opening test, SS4, moving in front by 0.4 seconds. Ogier then re-took the lead in SS6, before Mikkelsen claimed it back on the re-runs, although only Wieliczki - SS9 - was repeated, as organisers cancelled SS7 and SS8. The pendulum then swung the other way in SS10, with Ogier quickest in the 2.50km Mikolajki Arena super special to end the leg with a slender 0.9 second advantage.
“Obviously, I'm more than happy with today's outcome. Julien [Ingrassia – my co-driver] and I are in the lead – albeit only just, with our teammates Andreas Mikkelsen and Ola Floene right behind us,” Ogier said.
“Tomorrow is the penultimate day of Rally Poland and I'm looking forward to engaging in a great duel with Andreas. But as far as the WRC is concerned, it's just as important for me to finish ahead of Jari-Matti Latvala. It's a shame for the fans that the afternoon stages had to be cancelled, but the organisers made the right decision. The track conditions were very bad – there were deep furrows in the tracks and they were crumbling. Already this morning, there were some sections that were barely passable because they were wet from the night and the morning mist. You can see on the photos that a tractor would probably have been more use than a rally car.”
“Not a perfect run for me [in SS10], but I am happy with today,” Mikkelsen added. “It will be a long day tomorrow and I need to keep my concentration.”
“We're enjoying every metre of this rally. Ola and I even have beaming smiles on our faces at some points during the special stages because driving here in Poland is hugely enjoyable. These are my kind of special stage, I've been hitting a good line and our pace notes are accurate. I have a lot of self-confidence and I can't really go much faster than I did today,” Mikkelsen continued. “But we also know that there's still a lot of the rally to go and that we need to keep our wits about us. The duel with my teammate Sebastien Ogier is fantastic and I'm sure it's very entertaining for the fans too. But we will continue to try to drive cleanly and not take too many risks.”
Mads Ostberg meanwhile is third for Citroen, almost 20 seconds further back, and 14.2 seconds up Jari-Matti Latvala.
“We had started the day very well. It's a shame that we lost a few seconds in the ruts. We have a very full schedule ahead of us tomorrow. We have to keep pushing. I have been saying since we completed the recce that I fancy Saturday's stages the most. I can't wait!” Ostberg stated.
Latvala noted: “After yesterday, we changed our vehicle set-up, which allowed us to advance a bit and we gradually improved. This is a good basis for us to build on over the next few days and gives us the chance to fight for a podium position. My teammates Andreas Mikkelsen and Swbastien Ogier are really fast and we definitely can't beat them.
“But I'm in the middle of a fight with Mads Østberg for third place. We need to bear in mind that the points aren't dished out until the end of the rally – and we definitely want to pick up some points in order to increase our chances overall in the WRC.”
Kris Meeke completes the top five, 6.6 seconds further back, and he was frustrated at having lost ground. The Briton was third last night.
“It was a long day for relatively few kilometres of stages. On the roads in Poland, we were on the pace. However, the conditions we had to deal with in Lithuania were really appalling,” Meeke noted. “We were seventh on the road and we just couldn't get near the pace of the leaders. We have to move on quickly to tomorrow. It should be a good fight with Latvala and Hanninen.”
Behind, Hyundai's Juho Hanninen is sixth followed by Mikko Hirvonen and local star, Robert Kubica. Elfyn Evans and Thierry Neuville round out the top ten.
“It's been a long day without so much driving, but I'm pleased with what we have done today and I think the driving has been good,” said Kubica. “The stages in Lithuania were getting worse and worse the further down the order you were so it was not easy, but we managed it well. I'm sure there will be even more people out on the stages tomorrow so I hope it will be a good day for us that the spectators can enjoy. It's a longer day with five different stages. A lot can happen, but hopefully we can do them well and continue as we have today.”
In WRC2, Ott Tanak won four of the day's five tests and now has a 14.9 second lead over Jari Ketomaa. Martin Kangur is third.
Rally Poland now continues on Saturday with ten stages on the bill in total, covering 161.58 competitive kilometres.
SS11, the 6.75 km Chmielewo 1 test, is scheduled to start tomorrow at 08.00 hours local time [07.00 hours UK time].
Rally Poland: Overall standings after Stage 10 (Top 10):
1. Sebastien Ogier Volkswagen Motorsport Polo R WRC 47m 22.4s M
2. Andreas Mikkelsen Volkswagen Motorsport II Polo R WRC +00m 00.9s M
3. Mads Ostberg Citroen Total Abu Dhabi WRT DS3 WRC
+00m 19.5s M
4. Jari-Matti Latvala Volkswagen Motorsport Polo R WRC +00m 32.0s M
5. Kris Meeke Citroen Total Abu Dhabi WRT DS3 WRC +00m 40.0s M
6. Juho Hanninen Hyundai Motorsport i20 WRC +00m 46.8s M
7. Mikko Hirvonen M-Sport WRT Ford Fiesta RS WRC +01m 06.8s M
8. Robert Kubica RK M-Sport WRT Ford Fiesta RS WRC +01m 16.1s M
9. Elfyn Evans M-Sport WRT Ford Fiesta RS WRC +01m 21.4s M
10. Thierry Neuville Hyundai Motorsport i20 WRC +01m 22.8s M
11. Hayden Paddon Hyundai Motorsport N i20 WRC +01m 24.2s M
12. Henning Solberg Adapta Motorsport Ford Fiesta RS WRC +01m 27.8s
13. Martin Prokop Jipocar Czech National Team Ford Fiesta RS WRC +01m 40.9s M
14. Ott Tanak Drive DMACK Ford Fiesta R5 +02m 09.8s WRC2
15. Jari Ketomaa Drive DMACK Ford Fiesta R5 +02m 24.7s WRC2
WRC2 standings after Stage 10 (Top 3):
1. Ott Tanak Drive DMACK Ford Fiesta R5 49m 32.2s WRC2
2. Jari Ketomaa Drive DMACK Ford Fiesta R5 +00m 14.9s WRC2
3. Martin Kangur Ford Fiesta S2000 +01m 45.0s WRC2
SS5/6. Michal Solowow Ford Fiesta RS WRC Mechanical
SS9. Karl Kruuda Peugeot 208 T16 Rolled WRC2
M denotes Manufacturer entry
all times unofficial
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