Ogier fastest as Neuville rolls in Rally de España shakedown, Solberg tops WRC2

by Vince Pettit
Sébastien Ogier - RallyRACC - 2018

FIA World Rally Championship leader Thierry Neuville had his morning shakedown in Salou disrupted when he rolled his car on a tight low speed section, 0.5km in to his second pass of the mixed surface test.

The Hyundai Shell Mobis World Rally Team driver was forced to sit out the rest of the session as the car was recovered and returned to the service park on the back of a truck.

Damage to the panels on the front left, bonnet and roof was quickly repaired by the Hyundai squad but the session was over at this point, limiting the Belgian to just his first run.

“It was a square right, I came into the corner and the ruts were already deeper than on the first pass. The car started to go onto two wheels and I tried to save the situation but we flipped over,” said Neuville.

“Obviously we were hoping for better on the shakedown. It’s a good omen as well because back in Germany a couple of years ago we rolled in shakedown and won the rally. So let’s cross fingers that it will be a similar scenario this weekend!”

Sébastien Loeb was lucky to escape a similar incident, thankfully for the nine-time world champion he managed to hold on as the car flipped up on to two wheels, landing back on all four wheels before continuing on to fourth fastest of the session on his third and final run.

Sébastien Ogier topped the times as he chases down Neuville, the M-Sport Ford World Rally Team driver finished 0.3 seconds faster than the Toyota of Jari-Matti Latvala and his Ford Fiesta WRC team-mate Teemu Suninen in third place.

Volkswagen Motorsport blitz WRC2 with new Polo GTI R5

Petter Solberg - RallyRACC 2018

Credit: Jaanus Ree/RedBull Content Pool.

In WRC2 it was Petter Solberg who topped the timesheets in his return to the World Rally Championship for the first time since 2012 in the brand-new Volkswagen Motorsport Polo GTI R5, team-mate Eric Camilli finished just 0.3 seconds off of the pace in second in a strong showing of pace in the one-off appearance.

Stéphane Lefebvre rounded out the top three of WRC2 in the Citroën C3 R5 ahead of a trio of Škoda Fabia R5’s with Henning Solberg leading Jan Kopecký and Kalle Rovanperä.

Taisko Lario was fastest of the two WRC3 entries, finishing 5.6 seconds ahead of Enrico Brazzoli.

Elfyn Evans was the top British driver, finishing ninth fasted, 0.4 seconds ahead of Petter Solberg, the other British interest this weekend Rhys Yates took his Škoda Fabia R5 to twenty-sixth fastest, just ahead of Khalid Al-Qassimi in the Citroën C3 WRC.

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