A surprising day

A surprising day


The reigning world champion and hot favourite for his home event, Sébastien Ogier, made a poor start to the French round of the world rally championship. This gave Jari-Matti Latvala a chance which he seized with both hands. A quick analysis of an action-packed first leg.

The Volkswagen Motorsport team had a problematic first leg, and for the moment the chances of the current overall leader, Sébastien Ogier, clinching the title seem to be receding as he ran into mechanical problems. The Frenchman suffered a glitch with a gear shift sensor this morning in SS2. He had to stop briefly after a spin letting Norwegian Andreas Mikkelsen (VW Polo – R WRC) pull out a comfortable lead of four minutes. The French driver then clocked in four minutes early at the start of SS3 and was handed a 4-minute penalty.

Finnish driver Jari-Matti Latvala made the most of the situation setting the fastest times in SS2, 3 and 5 and at the end of SS6 he clinched his fourth scratch time of the day in front of Mikkelsen and Robert Kubica.

Dani Sordo from Spain was fastest in SS7 with the same time as Mikkelsen (3m 53sec) followed by Latvala in third Ogier was fifth.

At the end of the first leg Latvala put everybody in their place with four fastest times in front of Mikkelsen and Kris Meeke. Due to his penalties Ogier finished the day in 30th spot.

Tomorrow I need to drive quickly. That way the day won’t seem as long!” quipped Ogier.  

Overall classification at the end of the first day of Rally France-Alsace

1. Jari-Matti Latvala-Mikka Anttila (FIN/Volkswagen Polo-R WRC) 1h 01m 42.9sec

2. Andreas Mikkelsen-Ola Floene (NOR/ Volkswagen Polo-R WRC) 8.2sec behind

3. Kris Meeke-Paul Nagle (GBR-IRL/Citroën DS3 WRC) 23.1sec behind

4. Dani Sordo-Marc Marti (ESP/Hyundai i20 WRC) 51.2sec behind

5. Mads Ostberg-Jonas Andersson (NOR-SWE/Citroën DS3 WRC) 1m 01.9sec behind

6. Mikko Hirvonen-Jarmo Lehtinen (FIN/Ford Fiesta RS WRC) 1m 02.9sec behind

7. Robert Kubica-Maciek Szczepaniak (POL/Citroën DS3 WRC) 1m 04.7sec behind

8. Bryan Bouffier-Xavier Panseri (FRA/Hyundai i20 WRC) à 1m 45.7sec behind

9. Martin Prokop-Jan Tomanek (CZE/Ford Fiesta RS WRC) 2m 24.1sec behind

10. Elfyn Evans-Daniel Barritt (GBR/Ford Fiesta RS WRC) 2m 28.1sec behind

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