SS18: Ostberg edges clear
The all-Norwegian battle for fourth in Wales Rally GB edged slightly towards Mads Ostberg when he clawed more fractions of a second from Andreas Mikkelsen through the Penllyn test.
Ostberg’s first fastest time of the weekend came at a crucial time for the Ford Fiesta RS pilot as it extended his advantage over Mikkelsen to 1.9sec.
“I feel we’re going really well. It’s a close fight and it’s enjoyable. It’s more stressful battling like this, but we’re trying to enjoy it and focus on doing our best,” said Ostberg.
Mikkelsen, who slipped behind Ostberg after a spin in today’s opening test, hasn’t given up the battle. “There are still four stages to go so nothing is certain,” said the Volkswagen Polo R pilot, before reminding everyone that he holds the stage record for the final asphalt Great Orme test.
Jari-Matti Latvala was third and took 1.4sec back from leader Sebastien Ogier, but the Finn admitted the chances of catching his Volkswagen team-mate were slim.
“My pace is fine but we have too much difference. I should have started the rally with better speed. I got the spark too late and I can’t catch him by driving unless he makes a mistake, but still neither of us can relax,” he said.
Ogier was fifth and Thierry Neuville rounded off the top six in his Ford Fiesta RS, despite an error close to the finish.
“It was a mistake in the pace notes,” he explained. “It was too optimistic. I had to slow a little and put the car sideways to be able to take the corner and lost about five seconds. It’s a bit strange when we’ve nearly finished the rally and still have to drive fast because the guys are pushing and we have no split times.”
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