Volkswagen's Andreas Mikkelsen has inherited the lead on Rally Sweden after team-mates Sebastien Ogier and Jari-Matti Latvala both went off in Torsby 2.
Mikkelsen had finished the first loop this morning trailing both Ogier and Latvala - 19.6s off the lead and 10.5s off second place.
However, he was able to close on the repeat loop, and in SS9 came through to go top. He will now take a 19.7s advantage into the second-run through the Karlstad SSS.
“Am I?” Mikkelsen told the official WRC site, when told he is now leading. “Well, that makes things interesting.”
“Sad for them, but if I know Ogier he won't give up,” added the Norwegian.
Ogier was the first to hit trouble in Torsby 2 when he went off into a snow bank, losing 30 odd seconds.
The Frenchman had already been struggling after reporting his wipers had broke in SS6, the first test of the afternoon.
Ogier also forgot to secure the bonnet properly in SS7, which meant it flipped up and damaged the windscreen, although he had managed to hang onto P1 until SS9.
“We hit a snow bank in a slow corner,” Ogier explained. “We braked a bit too late. I thought it would be okay. It wasn't - just a mistake.”
Latvala then briefly took over as the rally leader, but right at the end of the penultimate test of the day he too went off and got stuck. He was able to eventually continue, but only after losing almost 8.5 minutes.
“After a long, long straight we hit a right-hand corner too fast. I saw gravel and expected the grip to be better. The rear hit the snow bank and it pulled in the front. Then the whole car was sucked in,” he explained.
All that shook up the leaderboard, leaving Thierry Neuville and Mads Ostberg as Mikkelsen's closest rivals in second and third respectivley, split by just 0.9s, while Ogier is now fourth, 5.5s further back – and 26.1s off the lead.
Ott Tanak completes the top-five, albeit 40 seconds adrift in his M-Sport-run Fiesta RS WRC followed by Hyundai's Hayden Paddon and Ford privateers Martin Prokop and Yuriy Protasov in positions 6 through to 8. Protasov incidentally was quickest in SS6.
Henning Solberg is then ninth, with Elfyn Evans tenth ahead of Kevin Abbring and Kris Meeke, the latter losing almost 3 minutes in SS7 when he went off into a snow bank.
“I got caught out,” Meeke conceded. “I could not get the entry point. It was my fault.”
In WRC2, Jari Ketomaa continues to lead, now 44.2 seconds up on Eyvind Brynildsen. Valeriy Gorban is third. Pontus Tidemand, who had been second, has dropped right back after an off in Finnskogen 2.
The leg now concludes – as mentioned – with a second-run through the 1.90 km Karlstad super special stage. It is due to start at 19.00 hours local time.
Full itinerary for event available – HERE
2015 Rally Sweden: Overall standings after Stage 9 (Top 10):
1. Andreas Mikkelsen
Volkswagen Motorsport II Polo R WRC 1h 12m 27.7s
2. Thierry Neuville
Hyundai Motorsport i20 WRC +19.7s
3. Mads Ostberg
Citroen Total Abu Dhabi WRT DS 3 WRC +20.6s
4. Sebastien Ogier
Volkswagen Motorsport Polo R WRC +26.1s
5. Ott Tanak
M-Sport WRT Ford Fiesta RS WRC +1m 06.1s
6. Hayden Paddon
Hyundai Motorsport i20 WRC +1m 36.0s
7. Martin Prokop
Jipocar Czech National Team Ford Fiesta RS WRC +1m 59.1s
8. Yuriy Protasov
M-Sport Ford Fiesta RS WRC +2m 11.8s
9. Henning Solberg
M-Sport Ford Fiesta RS WRC +2m 17.8s
10. Elfyn Evans
M-Sport WRT Ford Fiesta RS WRC +2m 47.4s
11. Kevin Abbring
Hyundai Motorsport N i20 WRC +3m 09.0s
12. Kris Meeke
Citroen Total Abu Dhabi WRT DS 3 WRC +3m 31.5s
13. Jari Ketomaa
Ford Fiesta R5 +3m 37.0s
14. Michal Solowow
Synthos Cersanit RT Ford Fiesta RS WRC +4m 01.4s
15. Eyvind Brynildsen
Ford Fiesta RRC +4m 21.2s
16. Valeriy Gorban
Mini Cooper S2000 1.6T +4m 23.4s
17. Fredrik Ahlin
Ford Fiesta R5 +4m 24.6s
22. Robert Kubica
RK WRT Ford Fiesta RS WRC +7m 29.4s
23. Jari-Matti Latvala
Volkswagen Motorsport Polo R WRC +8m 26.9s
WRC2 standings after Stage 9 (Top 3):
1. Jari Ketomaa
Ford Fiesta R5 1h 16m 04.7s
2. Eyvind Brynildsen
Ford Fiesta RRC +0m 44.2s
3. Valeriy Gorban
Mini Cooper S2000 1.6T +0m 46.4s
SS5/6. Lorenzo Bertelli
FWRT SRL Ford Fiesta RS WRC Mechanical
*denotes expected to re-start under Rally 2 on Saturday
M denotes Manufacturer entry
all times unofficial