Wales Rally GB: Ogier's lead survived chaotic Day 2
Sebastien Ogier (Volkswagen) remained in the lead after long and chaotic Day 2 of Wales Rally GB, the last round of World Rally Championship. Ogier’s lead survived during Saturday’s nine special stages, of which he was fastest four times. Kris Meeke (Citroen) is second, same as at the end of the previous day, but the gap is now 35.7s. Third placed Andreas Mikkelsen, who won two stages today, is one minute behind Ogier.
First today’s loop of seven stages and almost 110km is the longest series of special stages without service in the last 13 years, since 1992 Safari Rally. It was tough for tyres, cars and crews, so many of them had problems. Thierry Neuville (Hyundai) had the fantastic restart after yesterday retirement, with two stage wins in the morning. Latvala also restarted but not for long, because broken driveshaft forced him to another retirement after second stage of the day (SS8). Mads Ostberg (Citroen) had a puncture on the same stage and dropped from fourth to fifth, behind Dani Sordo (Hyundai).
Shortly after that, Sordo had a gearbox problems at SS10 and he dropped two places, behind Ott Tanak (Ford) and Mads Ostberg. At next special stage we saw spectacular crash of Thierry Neuville, with his car blocked the road. Ogier was first on the road after him and he had to stop, while spectators were moving the car. He lost half a minute, but rally officials gave him time compensation and he won that stage.
Mads Ostberg also had a problems at SS11, he lost 90sec after went off road and dropped from 4th to 8th. That promoted Ott Tanak, Dani Sordo, Hayden Paddon (Hyundai) and Elfyn Evans (Ford). All position remained unchanged until end of the day. Stephane Lefebvre (Citroen) and Robert Kubica (Ford) completed the Top 10.
Four more stages are scheduled for tomorrow, with 36.4 competitive kilometres. With current positions Citroen Total Abu Dhabi WRT will take second place in manufacturers’ classification, ahead Hyundai Motorsport. Hyundai’s driver Haydon Paddon had an unusual accident on a road section between SS12 (Aberhirnant) and SS13 (Chirk Castle). He collided with rival Martin Prokop after both took the wrong route. Paddon continued but Prokop retired.