Sébastien Ogier goes into the first full day of Wales Rally GB tomorrow as rally leader, winning the opening superspecial around the Tir Prince horse racing track.
The championship leader was the final WRC car into the stage, and pipped Jari-Matti Latvala to the quickest time by four tenths of a second.
Third quickest Thierry Neuville was livid at the end of the stage, throwing his gloves off and refusing to speak to reporters at the end of the stage despite going only half a second off Ogier’s pace.
M-Sport completed the top five, Ott Tänak a tenth slower than Neuville and home favourite Elfyn Evans just over a second off his world champions team-mate’s time.
Two WRC drivers found themselves swamped by WRC2 competitors in the timesheets after issues for both. Kris Meeke had complained of a lack of proper preparation for the event by his Citroën team, and his superspecial run was blighted by a handbrake issue that caused a stall and dropped him 2.5 seconds compared to Ogier.
Mads Østberg was also deeply frustrated at stage end, calling the stage organisation “absolutely disastrous” and feeling unsure he had completed the 1.5 kilometre test in the correct sequence. Blaming the lack of marking on his navigational uncertainty, he was 3.3 seconds off the pace.
Pontus Tidemand led a Škoda 1-2 in the WRC2 category, the newly crowned champion only two seconds slower than Ogier and four tenths ahead of new factory team recruit Ole Christian Veiby.
|M-Sport World Rally Team||M||1:09.7|
|Toyota GAZOO Racing WRT||M||+0.4|
|M-Sport World Rally Team||M||+0.6|
|M-Sport World Rally Team||M||+1.1|
|Toyota GAZOO Racing WRT||M||+1.2|
|Toyota GAZOO Racing WRT||M||+1.3|
|Citroën Total Abu Dhabi WRT||M||+1.3|