The first day of 2015 Rallye Deutschland saw Sebastien Ogier win seven of eight stages, losing only one to Volkswagen team-mate Jari-Matti Latvala.
Mathematically, Ogier is in a position to win the championship this weekend at his team’s home rally, and so far he is certainly going the right way about doing it.
Ogier led the way for the first two stages but he lost the third challenge to Latvala, who won last time out in Finland. The #2 Volkswagen completed Moselland 1 with a time 2.3 seconds quicker than the championship leader, which placed him in the overall lead by 0.5 seconds.
Although Ogier was fastest through SS4, Latvala still held on to his overall lead at the midday service point by just 0.1 seconds.
The four afternoon stages all went Ogier’s way, and by the end of Mittelmosel 2, closing the opening day’s action, he held a 9.5 second lead over Latvala.
“I had a great afternoon, it was really good fun,” said Ogier. “It’s a long time since I pushed so hard on asphalt. I found a better set-up for the afternoon, but Jari-Matti [Latvala] isn’t far behind so we have to keep going the same way tomorrow.”
Third place was occupied by Andreas Mikkelsen all day long, and although he completes a Volkswagen 1-2-3, he was unable to keep up with his team-mates and is 34.9 seconds down on the leader.
Just over 30 seconds behind the final Volkswagen are the Hyundais of Dani Sordo and Thierry Neuville, the latter won here last year.
Before the final Hyundai of Hayden Paddon in eighth place are the two M-Sport entries of Elfyn Evans and Ott Tanak. The Welshman suffered from an early handbrake issue whilst Tanak understeered into a field.
The top Citroen is Mads Ostberg, in ninth. His team-mate Kris Meeke made an excursion into a field when caught out by a gravel patch on SS6, losing him nine minutes through heavily damaged front left suspension.
Day two’s action starts tomorrow at 07:34 (06:34 UK), with drivers facing a marathon 170.79 km of running.