WRC Rallye de France: Latvala edges Mikkelsen to lead, Ogier in trouble

Jari-Matti Latvala completes the opening loop of Rallye de France just 0.7 seconds up on Andreas Mikkelsen; Kris Meeke holds third – 6.5 seconds back, with Elfyn Evans fourth and Dani Sordo fifth; WRC Championship leader Sebastien Ogier is well and truly on the backfoot after struggling with engine problems in SS2 and SS3...
Jari-Matti Latvala heads Andreas Mikkelsen by just 0.7 seconds following the opening three stages of Rallye de France-Alsace, while Sebastien Ogier has dropped out of contention.

Ogier began the event looking to secure his second WRC Drivers' title, and he was second quickest in the first stage, just 0.3 seconds off Latvala. However, disaster struck for the Frenchman in SS2.

Ogier spun early on, but far worse was to come with engine problems costing him over 4 minutes. He also lost more time in Pays de Salm 1, before picking up a four minute penalty for checking in early for the time control for SS3.

It means he goes into the mid-day service 8 minutes 26.1 seconds off the lead and way down in 64th position overall.

Meanwhile, Latvala is engaged in a close scrap with Mikkelsen for the lead. Mikkelsen moved in front in SS2, when he set the pace and was 3.8 seconds up on Latvala. However in SS3, Latvala took back 4 seconds and re-took top spot.

Behind, Kris Meeke is third in his Citroen, 6.5 seconds back, while fellow Brit Elfyn Evans is fourth, despite completing SS3 with a warning light flashing in his M-Sport Fiesta RS WRC

Dani Sordo heads the Hyundai charge in fifth, after team leader Thierry Neuville lost time in SS2 and SS3 with a power problem. The Belgian also briefly went off into a ditch in the second stage. He had been fifth, but now drops to 21st.

Further back, Mads Ostberg is sixth, just 0.9 seconds off Sordo, while Robert Kubica, Mikko Hirvonen, Bryan Bouffier and Martin Prokop hold positions 7 through to 10.

In WRC2, Quentin Gilbert leads in his Ford Fiesta R5, 3.4 seconds ahead of Bernardo Sousa. Pontus Tidemand is third.

The event now continues this afternoon with a repeat run through this morning's three stages. The day then concludes with a run through the short 4.67 km Strasbourg super special.

Rallye de France-Alsace: Overall standings after Stage 3 (Top 10):

1. Jari-Matti Latvala Volkswagen Motorsport Polo R WRC 29m 06.8s M
2. Andreas Mikkelsen Volkswagen Motorsport II Polo R WRC +00m 00.7s M
3. Kris Meeke Citroen Total Abu Dhabi WRT DS3 WRC +00m 07.2s M
4. Elfyn Evans M-Sport WRT Ford Fiesta RS WRC +00m 15.3s M
5. Dani Sordo Hyundai Motorsport i20 WRC +00m 20.3s M
6. Mads Ostberg Citroen Total Abu Dhabi WRT DS3 WRC +00m 21.2s M
7. Robert Kubica RK M-Sport WRT Ford Fiesta RS WRC +00m 26.1s M
8. Mikko Hirvonen M-Sport WRT Ford Fiesta RS WRC +00m 34.6s M
9. Bryan Bouffier Hyundai Motorsport N i20 WRC +00m 48.7s M
10. Martin Prokop Jipocar Czech National Team Ford Fiesta RS WRC +01m 07.3s M


11. Dennis Kuipers M-Sport WRT Ford Fiesta RS WRC +01m 33.2s
12. Kevin Abbring Peugeot 208 T16 +01m 37.9s
13. Quentin Gilbert Ford Fiesta R5 +01m 53.5s WRC2
14. Bernardo Sousa Ford Fiesta RRC +01m 56.9s WRC2
15. Pontus Tidemand Ford Fiesta R5 +01m 58.3s WRC2
21. Thierry Neuville Hyundai Motorsport i20 WRC +02m 35.7s M
64. Sebastien Ogier Volkswagen Motorsport Polo R WRC +08m 26.1s M

WRC2 standings after Stage 3 (Top 3):

1. Quentin Gilbert Ford Fiesta R5 +31m 00.3s WRC2
2. Bernardo Sousa Ford Fiesta RRC +00m 03.4s WRC2
3. Pontus Tidemand Ford Fiesta R5 +00m 04.8s WRC2

Notable retirements:


M denotes Manufacturer entry

all times unofficial

Related Pictures

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Jari-Matti Latvala,  Miikka Anttila (Volkswagen Polo WRC #2, Volkswagen Motorsport)

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