Sebastien Ogier leads after the first day of Rally Great Britain. The Volkswagen driver is 37.3s in front of Ott Tanak. Thierry Neuville (Hyundai) is third.
With over 178 kilometres of stages, Friday has been the longest day of the rally. With no lunchtime service the patience and consistency was key in bringing the cars back to Deeside.
In damp and foggy conditions all crews struggled initially with visibility and variable grip levels on the classic Welsh stages.
Sebastien Ogier: “The first stage this morning was extremely difficult and slippery. The priority there was to make it through to finish in one piece. After that, the grip was noticeably better – particularly for us as the first car onto the route. I think that goes someway to explaining the large lead we had opened up over the majority of the opposition by midday.”
Sebastien Ogier: “I am jolly glad to have made it through the day”
“It is obviously a great shame for my team-mates that they struggled with issues. I am confident that our team will get to grips with the problems, and that we will all be able to push hard again with the Polo R WRC tomorrow. Winning the Manufacturers’ title is the top priority for us – without our fantastic team, Julien and I will not be world champions. We want to give them something back by winning in Wales.”
Ott Tanak won two stages this morning in his Ford Fiesta RS to restrict Ogier’s mid-leg lead to 7.7sec. A rear suspension issue slowed him this afternoon before a front right puncture 6km from the end of the final test cost more time.
Thierry Neuville was surprised that he lost so much time in the swirling fog and slippery conditions on SS1
He also had a spin at the start of SS3 Hafren, but since then has been setting times to challenge for a podium, with four top three stage results including a win in SS8, Dyfant.
Neuville said: “Conditions are tricky and we can’t relax at all. It was very slippery in there. I lost too much time in the fog on the first stage and we had a spin and stalled the car near the start of SS3 which cost us about six seconds. This afternoon has gone much better although the stages were still wet and it was easy to get caught out. It’s now a great battle and I tried to do a good stage to finish the day in the podium position.”
- Sebastien Ogier 1h 44m 31.2s
- Ott Tanak +37.3s
- Thierry Neuville +1m 09.0s
- Hayden Paddon +1m 12.8s
- Kris Meeke +1m 14.8s
- Dani Sordo +2m 07.2s
- Mads Ostberg +2m 37.3s
- Jari-Matti Latvala +3m 43.6s
- Stephane Lefebvre +4m 31.6s
- Esapekka Lappi +4m 55.0s
- Eric Camilli +5m 26.0s
- Teemu Suninen +5m 41.7s
- Pontus Tidemand +6m 06.2s
- Jan Kopecky +6m 34.6s
- Gilbert Quentin +7m 04.2s