5 July 2015
WRC Rally Poland: Ogier stretches lead with one to go
Sebastien Ogier wins SS18 in Poland and increases his cushion over Andreas Mikkelsen from 5.5s to 8.1s with just the Power Stage to go
Volkswagen's Sebastien Ogier won the penultimate test this morning on Rally Poland to increase his advantage over team-mate Andreas Mikkelsen.
Ogier completed the 14.60km Baranowo test in 6m 56.3s, 2.5s up on Mikkelsen. It means Ogier will now go into the repeat-run through Baranowo – the Power Stage – with a 8.1s lead.
“I was clear yesterday that knew I just had to do my job like always. That was a clean push. No more than I have done so far here,” Ogier told the official WRC site after the test.
Meanwhile, Mikkelsen admitted that he will need a mistake from Ogier now to stand any chance of claiming the victory: “A clean stage, no problems and I'm happy. Close to perfect driving but in some places I can go a lot faster. Okay, we would like to try for the win, but not at any cost. Without Seb making a mistake I think it will be difficult,” he confirmed.
Behind, M-Sport's Ott Tanak remains third, successfully holding off Jari-Matti Latvala, although the Finn did close ever so slightly in his Polo R WRC, reducing the gap from 1.5s to 1.1s.
“It was enough. I made many corrections to the notes and the second time will be better. I think whatever happens we have had a good rally and we are improving like we promised,” Tanak stated.
“I pushed really hard,” added Latvala, who was third quickest in the test. “There were places where I made some mistakes. I could have been better. Sometimes when you push hard, you cannot get the optimum line. Maybe pushing too much.”
Hayden Paddon completes the top-five for Hyundai, now 31.1s up on team-mate, Thierry Neuville after the Belgian lost time with a roll: “I took a curve and I rolled the car,” he explained. “I was lucky we could continue. There was something that tripped me up.”
Former F1 driver and local star Robert Kubica is next up in seventh, reporting issues with the diff and handbrake, while Kris Meeke, Mads Ostberg and Dani Sordo fill out the remaining top-ten positions.
In WRC2, Skoda duo Esapekka Lappi and Pontus Tidemand remain 1-2, now split by 43.3s. Karl Kruuda is third.
Competitors now head to the regroup. The final stage – the second run through Baranowo – is scheduled to start at 12.08 hours local time.
2015 Rally Poland: Overall standings after Stage 18 (Top 10):
1. Sebastien Ogier Volkswagen Motorsport Polo R WRC 2h 19m 19.5s M
2. Andreas Mikkelsen Volkswagen Motorsport II Polo R WRC +0m 08.1s M
3. Ott Tanak M-Sport WRT Ford Fiesta RS WRC +0m 22.9s M
4. Jari-Matti Latvala Volkswagen Motorsport Polo R WRC +0m 24.0s M
5. Hayden Paddon Hyundai Motorsport N i20 WRC +1m 06.1s M
6. Thierry Neuville Hyundai Motorsport i20 WRC +1m 37.2s M
7. Robert Kubica Ford Fiesta RS WRC +1m 46.8s
8. Kris Meeke Citroen Total Abu Dhabi WRT DS 3 WRC +1m 52.2s M
9. Mads Ostberg Citroen Total Abu Dhabi WRT DS 3 WRC +2m 11.0s M
10. Dani Sordo Hyundai Motorsport i20 WRC +2m 36.5s M
11. Martin Prokop Jipocar Czech National Team Ford Fiesta RS WRC +4m 29.0s M
12. Esapekka Lappi Skoda Fabia R5 +5m 25.6s WRC2
13. Pontus Tidemand Skoda Fabia R5 +6m 08.9s WRC2
14. Karl Kruuda Citroen DS 3 R5 +7m 28.1s WRC2
15. Kevin Abbring Hyundai Motorsport i20 WRC +8m 18.9s
16. Lorenzo Bertelli Ford Fiesta RS WRC +8m 22.7s M
WRC2 standings after Stage 18 (Top 3):
1. Esapekka Lappi Skoda Fabia R5 2h 24m 45.1s WRC2
2. Pontus Tidemand Skoda Fabia R5 +0m 43.3s WRC2
3. Karl Kruuda Citroen DS 3 R5 +2m 02.5s WRC2
SS10/11. Elfyn Evans M-Sport WRT Ford Fiesta RS WRC Suspected water pump failure M*
*denotes re-started under Rally 2 on Sunday
M denotes Manufacturer entry
all times unofficial
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