2016 Rally Catalunya – Rally de España: Tänak leads wet SS1 in Barcelona

by Umar Hassan

DMACK World Rally Team’s Ott Tänak is the surprise leader after a wet opening stage at the 2016 Rally Catalunya – Rally de España.

Tänak, who was one of the few drivers to start SS1 in Barcelona when the rain was at its lightest, set a 3:47.6 on the 3.2 kilometre stage to go quickest.

Surprisingly, Italy’s Lorenzo Bertelli was second, +2.7 seconds off the Estonian’s pace in identical Ford Fiesta RS WRC cars.

Sébastien Ogier put in a heroic effort in the heavy rain conditions to set the third quickest time in the lead Volkswagen, ahead of WRC2 SS1 Leader Jan Kopecký in fourth.

The two Citroën DS 3 WRC’s of Craig Breen and Kris Meeke are joint-fifth after setting identical times. Thierry Neuville is seventh in the lead Hyundai Motorsport i20 WRC car.

Andreas Mikkelsen was eighth in the second Volkswagen Polo R WRC, ahead of his fellow Norwegian Mads Østberg for M-Sport and the second Hyundai of Hayden Paddon completes the top ten post-SS1.

Credit: ŠKODA

Credit: ŠKODA

In WRC2, Jan Kopecký topped the opening stage timesheets by four seconds of Sweden’s Pontus Tidemand.

The Czech driver was four seconds quicker in the wet Barcelona conditions, in comparison with the Swede in second.

Germany’s Armin Kremer is third, while Teemu Suninen is fourth. José Antonio Suárez and Hungary’s Frigyes Turán complete the top six in the WRC2 category for SS1.

Meanwhile, in WRC3, Switzerland’s Michaël Burri has a +10.6 second lead over Italy’s Damiano De Tommaso going into tomorrow’s gravel stages.

Tommaso’s fellow Italians Fabio Andolfi and Enrico Brazzoli are third and fourth, while Michel Fabre completes the WRC3 category for SS1.

Finally, in the Drive DMACK Fiesta Trophy, France’s Nicolas Ciamin leads Northern Ireland’s Jon Armstrong by +5.5 seconds going into tomorrow’s gravel stages.

Gus Greensmith is third, while the two Trophy contenders Osian Pryce and Max Vatanen are fifth and seventh respectively after SS1 in Barcelona.

The 2016 Rally Catalunya – Rally de España continues with an all gravel stages day tomorrow as SS2 starts at 10:08am Spanish time (09:08am UK time).

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