SS13: Ogier sets early pace
Citroen team-mate Loeb extends overall advantage
Sebastien Ogier has gone fastest on Sunday’s opening stage despite reporting that he slowed down towards the end of the run fearing he had a puncture.
The Citroen DS3 WRC driver dropped out of contention for victory on RallyRACC-Rally de Espana with a brace of punctures earlier in the event. He remains in fifth overall after going 0.1s faster than team-mate Sebastien Loeb.
“It’s a surprise because we slow down at the end when we had a feeling something was wrong with our front tyres - we had the same feeling when I had a puncture,” said Ogier. “We have to try otherwise the rally is so long. We stay in a good rhythm.”
Loeb, who was second fastest to maintain his overall lead, said: “It’s not easy because the stage is quite fast and with the headlights [in the dark] you discover everything quite late compared to daylight. You have to be very concentrated. But the grip was good in the stage so no problem.”
Jari-Matti Latvala, in second overall, reported a moment after moving back onto the wide road following the narrow mid-stage section in his Ford Fiesta RS WRC. “I did a mistake,” said the Finn, who is now 31.1s behind Loeb. “I didn’t realise how quickly the road was turning. I thought I would overshoot so I pulled the handbrake. I went massive sideways but I didn’t lose too much time.”
Mikko Hirvonen, bidding to fend off Dani Sordo for third, said: “I found the rhythm and I was understanding how to drive the car. I’m getting the hang of it now.”
MINI driver Sordo has all but given up on catching Hirvonen for the final podium spot after he was 3.4s slower than the Ford-driving Finn. “After this stage it’s impossible,” said the Spaniard. “I think I will drive more quiet now.”
Norwegian Mads Ostberg, in an M-Sport Stobart Fiesta, reported wearing out his brakes by the mid-point of the stage. Armindo Araujo stopped his Motorsport Italia MINI John Cooper Works WRC less than a kilometre into the test. It’s not clear if the Portuguese will be able to complete the run.
Matthew Wilson survived a scare early in the run when he outbraked himself into a tight left-hand corner. Ken Block has also stopped in the stage after going off the road.
Standings after SS13:
|01||S. LOEB / D. ELENA||Citroën DS3 WRC||3h21m56.7s|
|02||J. LATVALA / M. ANTTILA||Ford Fiesta RS WRC||+31.1s|
|03||M. HIRVONEN / J. LEHTINEN||Ford Fiesta RS WRC||+1m54.3s|
|04||D. SORDO / C. DEL BARRIO||MINI WRC||+2m35.1s|
|05||S. OGIER / J. INGRASSIA||Citroën DS3 WRC||+3m41.3s|
|06||K. MEEKE / P. NAGLE||MINI WRC||+4m30.1s|
|07||M. ØSTBERG / J. ANDERSSON||Ford Fiesta RS WRC||+5m22.8s|
|08||H. SOLBERG / I. MINOR||Ford Fiesta RS WRC||+7m51.3s|
|09||E. NOVIKOV / D. GIRAUDET||Citroën DS3 WRC||+8m09.1s|
|10||M. WILSON / S. MARTIN||Ford Fiesta RS WRC||+9m33.9s|
|11||D. KUIPERS / F. MICLOTTE||Ford Fiesta RS WRC||+9m56.5s|
|12||J. HÄNNINEN / M. MARKKULA||SKODA Fabia S2000||+11m19.8s|
|13||N. AL-ATTIYAH / G. BERNACCHINI||FORD Fiesta S2000||+11m20.3s|
|14||M. PROKOP / J. TOMÁNEK||FORD Fiesta S2000||+12m04.1s|
|15||K. AL QASSIMI / M. ORR||Ford Fiesta RS WRC||+12m13.5s|
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