Sebastien Ogier managed to withheld Ott Tanak’s attack during the second day of Rally Great Britain. He has 33.8s advantage before the final day on the Welsh roads.
Sebastien Ogier said: “On the whole I am very happy with our day
“It could hardly have gone better for Julien [Ingrassia] and me. We went on the attack and tried to make the most of our start position, which gives us a slight advantage here. We know that even our soft tyre compound is a little too hard for the conditions in Wales. For this reason, we wanted to open a good lead ahead of the finale on Sunday, in order to finish ahead of Ott Tanak.”
“On the other hand, the fact that we had a harder tyre compound than our rivals meant we had absolutely no problem completing the hundred kilometres of special stage without a tyre change. Tomorrow is definitely going to be exciting, that much is certain. Ott is quick here at the rally in Wales. However, I am very determined to do my bit towards winning the Manufacturers’ title for the Volkswagen team, hopefully with a win.”
Tanak won four of the first six special stages, trying to cut Ogier’s lead from 37.3sec to 24.8sec. But his hopes evaporated when Ogier regained a large chunk of time in the dank and muddy penultimate test at Aberhirnant.
For Thierry Neuville and co-driver Nicolas Gilsoul it was another strong showing
The Belgians were rarely outside the top-three in Saturday’s stages and added another stage win in SS11, the first run through Gartheiniog.
Neuville said: “We’ve had a good day, driving fast and smooth. The morning loop went OK. The first run through Dyfi was a bit more difficult. I clipped a bank on the inside and lost the steering, so I was a bit out of rhythm. We were fortunate because it could have been worse. We lost too much time in the foggy conditions but other than that it went well. We set the fastest time on the following stage and we’ve been able to extend our hold on third place. In the afternoon, we focused on controlling our pace, driving efficiently and finding traction. As long as we are on the podium tomorrow I’ll be content, but there’s still work to do before we can think of that.”
Hayden Paddon and co-driver John Kennard are doing all they can to chase down their Belgian colleagues for the final podium position
The Kiwi crew took second in the afternoon’s Aberhirnant stage.
Paddon said: “It’s been a day of careful strategy today with no lunchtime service and no remote tyre fitting zone. We struggled slightly to get confidence on the morning loop. We didn’t lose much time but I needed to find my mojo a bit. The conditions were quite typical for Wales, still very slippery but with more consistent grip. I’ve had to dial-in the driving because it’s not my natural style, so that’s been the main struggle. We made some changes, which gave me a better feeling, but we couldn’t find enough traction. It’s a close fight for the podium with Thierry and the gap is not so big. We’ll have to see what we can do to build more confidence for Sunday’s final stages.”
2nd day results:
- Sebastien Ogier 2h 43m 25.3s
- Ott Tanak +33.8s
- Thierry Neuville +1m 34.5s
- Hayden Paddon +1m 47.1s
- Kris Meeke +2m 29.5s
- Dani Sordo +3m 36.0s
- Mads Ostberg +4m 15.0s
- Jari-Matti Latvala +4m 22.2s
- Stephane Lefebvre +6m 52.7s
- Eric Camilli +7m 35.6s