Volkswagen's Sebastien Ogier has completed Friday's opening loop of RallyRACC Catalunya-Costa Daurada on top.

Ogier, who won the 3.20km Barcelona super special on Thursday evening, maintained his overnight lead in the first test of the day, despite completing it only sixth quickest.

The Frenchman, however, then dropped back in SS3 and in SS4 - slipping to sixth overall - before moving back to the fore with the second best time in the long 35.68 km Terra Alta 1 test.

He now goes into the mid-day re-group - there is no service until the end of the day - with a slender 0.8s lead over team-mate, Jari-Matti Latvala.

"I struggled a lot with the grip [in SS5] - especially near the end," Ogier told the official WRC site. "I thought at the end my tyres were gone but in fact they were okay."

Latvala, who was quickest in SS5 to jump up from P7 to P2 overall, added: "Towards the end it started to get quite difficult with the tyres but I think we managed it quite well.

"I drove completely differently this time to last year - the car set-up is changed and my approach to the corners is a lot more brave."

M-Sport's Ott Tanak is next up in third, 1.7s adrift of Latvala, and 7.2s up on local favourite Dani Sordo in his Hyundai i20 WRC.

"There are a couple of new stages and new sections today. Most of the route is new for me as I've not competed here since 2012. We made quite a lot of changes to the notes, so hopefully they will be even better this afternoon," Tanak said.

"There is a lot of loose gravel out there but there is also a line emerging. In the line you have pretty good grip, but if you go even slightly off-line there is no grip at all. It's difficult because it can change quite a lot but we're still pushing hard.

"All we're thinking about is doing the best job that we possibly can. We had a really good rhythm this morning so if we keep doing that then I'm confident of setting good times again this afternoon."

Mads Ostberg rounds out the top five, losing over 20s in SS5 when he picked up a right-rear puncture: "I did absolutely nothing," the Citroen pilot insisted at the finish. "I had a good run but suddenly I started to feel a slow puncture. We drove 13km on the puncture."

Further back, Hayden Paddon, who was joint quickest with Ostberg in the first test of the day, comes in sixth, just 1.5s back, and only 0.7s up on Andreas Mikkelsen, who reported brake issues at the end of Terra Alta 1.

Elfyn Evans, Kris Meeke and Thierry Neuville hold positions 8 through to 10, ahead of Martin Prokop and WRC2 class leader Pontus Tidemand.

Tidemand was quickest in all four tests to build a 30.9s lead over fellow Skoda Fabia R5 runner, Jan Kopecky. Teemu Suninen holds third, 20.4s further back, and only 0.8s up on WRC2 Championship leader Nasser Al-Attiyah.

Robert Kubica made a strong start and was third in SS2 to move up to second overall. He then took the lead with the quickest time in SS3, before losing over 5 minutes in SS4 with two punctures: "The first one happened when I went into a right-hand corner too fast corner with massive over steer," he explained. "I hit a bank and we stopped to change the wheel.

"The next one I have no idea. It always seems like this. Okay, I'm happy because I won a stage on gravel but we cannot seem to get it all right."

As for retirements, Lorenzo Bertelli was the most notable casualty, rolling his Fiesta RS WRC less than 3 km into the first test of day.

The event now continues this afternoon, with repeat runs through all four of this morning's tests. SS6, the 9.62km Mora d'Ebre-Asco 2 test, is due to start at 14.42 hours local time [13.42 hours UK time]. Full itinerary for round twelve in WRC 2015 available - HERE.

2015 Rally RACC Catalunya-Costa Daurada: Overall standings after Stage 5 (Top 10):

1. Sebastien Ogier Volkswagen Motorsport Polo R WRC 44m 52.2s M
2. Jari-Matti Latvala Volkswagen Motorsport Polo R WRC +0m 00.8s M
3. Ott Tanak M-Sport WRT Ford Fiesta RS WRC +0m 02.5s M
4. Dani Sordo Hyundai Motorsport i20 WRC +0m 09.7s M
5. Mads Ostberg Citroen Total Abu Dhabi WRT DS 3 WRC +0m 17.3s M
6. Hayden Paddon Hyundai Motorsport N i20 WRC +0m 18.8s M
7. Andreas Mikkelsen Volkswagen Motorsport II Polo R WRC +0m 19.5s M
8. Elfyn Evans M-Sport WRT Ford Fiesta RS WRC +0m 32.0s M
9. Kris Meeke Citroen Total Abu Dhabi WRT DS 3 WRC +0m 33.4s M
10. Thierry Neuville Hyundai Motorsport i20 WRC +0m 42.0s M


11. Martin Prokop Jipocar Czech National Team Ford Fiesta RS WRC +1m 05.6s M
12. Pontus Tidemand Skoda Fabia R5 +1m 21.3s WRC2
13. Jan Kopecky Skoda Fabia R5 +1m 52.2s WRC2
14. Stephane Lefebvre Citroen Total Abu Dhabi WRT DS 3 WRC +2m 02.3s
15. Teemu Suninen Ford Fiesta R5 +2m 12.6s WRC2
16. Nasser Al-Attiyah Skoda Fabia R5 +2m 13.4s WRC2

WRC2 standings after Stage 5 (Top 3):

1. Pontus Tidemand Skoda Fabia R5 46m 13.5s WRC2
2. Jan Kopecky Skoda Fabia R5 +0m 30.9s WRC2
3. Teemu Suninen Ford Fiesta R5 +0m 51.3s WRC2

Notable retirements:

SS2. Lorenzo Bertelli Ford Fiesta RS WRC Rolled M

M denotes Manufacturer entry

all times unofficial


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