WRC Wales Rally GB: Ogier ekes out lead

Sebastien Ogier completes SS8 of Wales Rally GB with a 15.1s lead over Kris Meeke; Andreas Mikkelsen remains third, with Dani Sordo now fourth; Mads Ostberg slips to fifth after losing time with a “big-impact” on the front-right in Dyfi 1
Volkswagen's Sebastien Ogier continues to lead Wales Rally GB following Saturday's opening two muddy tests, stretching his advantage over Kris Meeke to 15.1s.

Ogier, who won five of the six stages on Friday to end the leg with a 13.5s cushion, was fifth in the opening test, Gartheiniog 1, 1.4s off Meeke. However in the next one, Dyfi 1, the Frenchman came in second, 3s up on Meeke, to complete the loop having eked out his overnight lead by 1.6s.

Speaking at the end of SS8, Ogier admitted however, that he was finding it difficult to concentrate after the attacks last night in his native Paris.

“It is hard to carry on with what is going on,” he confirmed. “We'll try to find a better mind later. Conditions are okay but [as I said] it's hard when these kind of things are happening.

“You realise what we do is secondary.”

Meanwhile, Meeke was happy with his form in SS7 and SS8: “It's damp but the grip's quite good with the resurfacing work they've done. If the rain continues though, the second pass will be difficult. We'll have to be careful.”

Behind, Andreas Mikkelsen remains third, but has dropped further off the battle for the lead, losing time in the second stage of the loop with a front right puncture.

“I think we have a right-front puncture,” he stated post-SS8. “I heard something go bang 10km before the finish. After that the car felt strange and lost grip. We don't know what it was. After that I lost a lot of grip - could be suspension damage.”

Dani Sordo now holds fourth for Hyundai, with Mads Ostberg slipping back to fifth after a "big-impact" on the front-right in SS8.

“I have no idea what the problem is. I had a big impact on a straight - the right front. I was completely shocked by the impact. I didn't see anything,” the Citroen man reported.

M-Sport's Ott Tanak is next up in sixth, 6.4s off Ostberg, with Hayden Paddon seventh and still not happy with his performance.

“The conditions are very tricky,” Paddon noted. “It's very difficult to read the grip levels. It's not my favoured conditions but we've got to learn. I think we made improvements with the car that improve the feel. We had a couple of big ones out there but we'll try and push a bit more. I need to grow a bigger pair!”

Further back, Elfyn Evans is eighth, distracted by a loose light pod in SS8 and also losing a few seconds in SS7 with a stall.

“It [the loose light pod] was distracting yes. We weren't able to take it off before the stage. I felt we had a decent stage however, but we had the stall on the previous one. Not really the morning we wanted but okay,” summarised the Welshman.

Stephane Lefebvre is up to ninth, with Lorenzo Bertelli slipping to tenth, 11.2s up on Martin Prokop.

Robert Kubica holds 12th, while Thierry Neuville, who re-started under Rally 2, after losing a wheel in SS3 on Friday, has returned with a bang and was quickest in SS7 and SS8. He now lies in 40th position overall.

Jari-Matti Latvala also rejoined, but was forced to retire again after SS8 due to a broken driveshaft. Kevin Abbring could not re-start today.

In WRC2, Eric Camilli continues to lead, although Teemu Suninen has closed, reducing the gap from 9.4s last night to 6.5s post-SS8. Yuriy Protasov remains third.

Competitors now head to the re-group in Corris, before starting the next loop – made up of five stages – at 09.38 hours local time. Full event itinerary available - HERE.

2015 Wales Rally GB: Overall standings after Stage 8 (Top 10):

1. Sebastien Ogier Volkswagen Motorsport Polo R WRC 1hr 38m 23.3s M
2. Kris Meeke Citroen Total Abu Dhabi WRT DS 3 WRC +0m 15.1s M
3. Andreas Mikkelsen Volkswagen Motorsport II Polo R WRC +0m 40.2s M
4. Dani Sordo Hyundai Motorsport i20 WRC +1m 36.6s M
5. Mads Ostberg Citroen Total Abu Dhabi WRT DS 3 WRC +1m 44.3s M
6. Ott Tanak M-Sport WRT Ford Fiesta RS WRC +1m 50.7s M
7. Hayden Paddon Hyundai Motorsport i20 WRC +2m 22.0s M
8. Elfyn Evans M-Sport WRT Ford Fiesta RS WRC +2m 40.2s M
9. Stephane Lefebvre Citroen Total Abu Dhabi WRT DS 3 WRC +4m 07.7s
10. Lorenzo Bertelli Ford Fiesta RS WRC +4m 22.7s M


11. Martin Prokop Jipocar Czech National Team Ford Fiesta RS WRC +4m 33.9s M
12. Robert Kubica Ford Fiesta RS WRC +5m 46.2s
13. Eric Camilli Ford Fiesta R5 +6m 20.5s WRC2
14. Teemu Suninen Skoda Fabia S2000 +6m 27.0s WRC2
15. Yuriy Protasov Ford Fiesta RRC +7m 43.5s WRC2
16. Valeriy Gorban Mini Cooper S2000 1.6T +8m 04.7s WRC2
17. Eyvind Brynildsen Skoda Fabia R5 +8m 06.0s WRC2

WRC2 standings after Stage 8 (Top 3):

1. Eric Camilli Ford Fiesta R5 1h 44m 43.8s WRC2
2. Teemu Suninen Skoda Fabia S2000 +0m 06.5s WRC2
3. Yuriy Protasov Ford Fiesta RRC +1m 23.0s WRC2

Notable retirements:

SS2. Jari-Matti Latvala Volkswagen Motorsport Polo R WRC Went off M*
SS3. Thierry Neuville Hyundai Motorsport N i20 WRC Lost a wheel M*
SS3. Kevin Abbring Hyundai Motorsport i20 WRC Mechanical

SS8/9. Jari-Matti Latvala Volkswagen Motorsport Polo R WRC Broken driveshaft M

M denotes Manufacturer entry

*denotes re-started under Rally 2 on Saturday

all times unofficial
by Rob Wilkins

Related Pictures

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Sebastien Ogier, Julien Ingrassia (Volkswagen Polo WRC #1, Volkswagen Motorsport)

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