SS1: Ogier wins GB opener
Sébastien Ogier won Thursday night’s short opening speed test at Dayinsure Wales Rally GB to preserve an amazing five-year record.
Stage info: SS1
Visit Conwy Tir Prince, 1.49km
Thursday evening’s curtain-raiser is a short floodlit blast at Tir Prince trotting track and includes a slalom section and two eye-catching jumps. After a high-speed lap around long and flowing bends of the oval horse racing track, the stage ends with a twisty section on adjoining roads.
Ogier has led every kilometre of the British round since the opening special stage of 2013. Victory at the 1.49km test at Tir Prince trotting track means he has now topped the GB leaderboard for 87 consecutive stages covering a remarkable 1258.64km!
The Frenchman, chasing a record fifth GB win and a fifth straight world title, completed the sweeping bends and jumps fastest in his Ford Fiesta by 0.4sec from Jari-Matti Latvala’s Toyota Yaris.
Thierry Neuville was third in a Hyundai i20, a tenth of a second further back, and a similar margin clear of Estonia’s Ott Tänak. A tying Andreas Mikkelsen and Elfyn Evans completed the top six, 1.1sec off Ogier’s lead pace.
Kris Meeke finished a lowly 15th, the winner of the previous round in Spain complaining his Citroën C3’s engine stalled mid-stage when he pulled the handbrake.
This penultimate round of the WRC season continues tomorrow when the action begins in earnest in the forests of mid-Wales. Drivers face two loops of the Myherin, Sweet Lamb and Hafren stages covering 119.32km, with just a mid-leg tyre change to break the action.
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