Volkswagen's Sebastien Ogier showed team-mate Jari-Matti Latvala that 'there would be no chance to comeback' by winning the opening stage this morning and then pacing himself through the following one to all-but maintain his 20-odd second lead on Wales Rally GB.

Ogier began the fourth and final leg 20.3 seconds up on Latvala and was 0.6 seconds quicker through the 21.34 km Dyfnant 2 test. The Frenchman was then fifth in SS18, Penilyn, 1.4 seconds behind Jari-Matti, who set the third best time. Drivers now head to Corwen for a re-fuel before then tackling the final four tests.

"I set a good time on the first stage this morning and now I can control it more and more - it was the plan to show Jari-Matti that he has no chance to comeback. We just have to get to the end," Ogier remarked after SS18.

"The pace is fine now, but the gap is too big," Latvala added. "I should have started the rally faster. It's been a bit difficult because we found the pace too late. But he [Ogier] needs to keep going to the end, so do I, so he can't relax, we'll fight to the end."

Thierry Neuville meanwhile is still on course for the final place on the podium, more than a minute further back, and still having to push as he has no split times. He now lies 19.2 seconds up on fellow Qatar M-Sport Fiesta RS WRC man, Mads Ostberg.

Ostberg moved ahead of Andreas Mikkelsen and up into P4 overalll in SS17, when the Volkswagen Motorsport II man spun in his Polo R WRC and lost about 10 seconds. Mads then won the following test, but with Mikkelsen second, they remain split by a whisker - just 1.9 seconds.

"Not a bad stage!" said Ostberg after winning SS18. "I feel we are going really well. I'm enjoying the stages and the fight. The focus still on doing our best! Still fourth overall and ahead of Andreas."

Behind, there were no other changes to the top-ten, with Martin Prokop and Dani Sordo a distant sixth and seventh, followed by WRC2 runners, Elfyn Evans, Jari Ketomaa and Mark Higgins in positions 8 through to 10. Evans now heads the WRC2 class by 1m 01.1s.

Elsewhere, Evgeny Novikov re-started under the Rally 2 regulations after his off on Saturday in SS11. He is now running 22nd overall in his Qatar M-Sport Ford Fiesta RS WRC.

Competitors now tackle the 7.52 km Clocaenog test again - ran on Thursday in the dark as SS3. This time it acts as the Power Stage, with bonus points on offer to the top three.

Wales Rally GB: Overall standings after Stage 18 (Top 10):

1. Sebastien OgierVolkswagen Motorsport Polo R WRC2hrs 53m 28.5s M
2. Jari-Matti LatvalaVolkswagen Motorsport Polo R WRC+00m 19.5s M
3. Thierry Neuville Qatar WRT Ford Fiesta RS WRC +01m 19.9s M
4. Mads OstbergQatar M-Sport WRT Ford Fiesta RS WRC+01m 39.1s M
5. Andreas MikkelsenVolkswagen Motorsport II Polo R WRC+01m 41.0s M
6. Martin ProkopJipocar Czech National Team Ford Fiesta RS WRC +07m 11.5s M
7. Dani SordoCitroen Total Abu Dhabi WRT DS3 WRC+08m 10.1s M##
8. Elfyn EvansQatar M-Sport WRT Ford Fiesta R5 +10m 29.4s WRC2
9. Jari KetomaaFord Fiesta R5+11m 30.5s WRC2
10. Mark HigginsFord Fiesta R5+12m 26.7s WRC2


11. Eyvind BrynildsenFord Fiesta R5+15m 18.4s WRC2
12. Tom CaveFord Fiesta R5+17m 33.1s WRC2
13. Edoardo BresolinFord Fiesta RRC+18m 20.3s WRC2
14. Michal SolowowQatar M-Sport WRT Ford Fiesta RS WRC+19m 27.9s

WRC2 standings after Stage 18 (Top 3):

1. Elfyn EvansQatar M-Sport WRT Ford Fiesta R5 3hrs 03m 57.9s WRC2
2. Jari KetomaaFord Fiesta R5+01m 01.1s WRC2
3. Mark HigginsFord Fiesta R5+01m 57.3s WRC2

WRC3 standings after Stage 18:

1. Jukka KorhonenCitroen DS3 R3T3hrs 36m 50.0s WRC3
2. Keith CroninCitroen DS3 R3T+07m 34.2s WRC3

Notable retirements:

DNS. Nasser Al-AttiyahQatar WRT Ford Fiesta RS WRC Did not start - hand injury M

SS4. Robert KubicaAbu Dhabi Citroen Total WRT DS3 WRC Crashed M*
SS6. Mikko HirvonenCitroen Total Abu Dhabi WRT DS3 WRCCrashed M

SS11. Evgeny NovikovQatar M-Sport WRT Ford Fiesta RS WRCCrashed M*
SS11. Robert KubicaAbu Dhabi Citroen Total WRT DS3 WRC Crashed M

*denotes re-started under the Rally 2 regulations;
##Started with a 5 minute penalty;
M denotes Manufacturer entry;

all times unofficial



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