Belgian Thierry Neuville lead the way in the shakedown for penultimate FIA World Rally Championship round in Spain this morning in his Hyundai i20 by just 0.2 seconds over championship leader Sébastien Ogier‘s Volkswagen.
Local hero Dani Sordo in the second Hyundai showed promising pace as he finished in third place in front of the ever improving Robert Kubica.
Andreas Mikkelsen got the advantage over team-mate Jari-Matti Latvala who is still in with a very slim chance of winning the championship; the two Volkswagen drivers finished the shakedown behind Ukrainian driver Yuriy Protasov who will be making his second WRC start this weekend.
Ken Block finished in eighth place as he makes his WRC return for the first time since Mexico in 2013 where he finished in seventh place.
Despite not finishing top of the times Ogier told wrc.com “I don’t feel any pressure, I already have one title and a 27-point advantage so there’s no reason to feel pressure. I like my situation, I have everything in my hands and I feel good. This morning was just to check the car was fine.
“It’s great to have a mixed surface rally. The gravel is beautiful and the asphalt is like a circuit and nice also. Last year we had a good weekend here, even though on asphalt the set-up wasn’t perfect. That’s why I worked hard in the test before this rally and I’m much more ready,” he added.
Top 10 times
1. Thierry Neuville 2min 09.2sec
2. Sébastien Ogier + 0.2sec
3. Dani Sordo + 0.5sec
4. Robert Kubica + 0.6sec
5. Yuriy Protasov + 0.8sec
6. Andreas Mikkelsen + 0.9sec
7. Jari-Matti Latvala + 1.1sec
8. Ken Block + 1.2sec
9. Hayden Paddon + 2.4sec
10. Mikko Hirvonen + 2.6sec