WRC 2 push for Ott and Nasser
Leader’s absence hands opportunity to pursuers
Five different drivers topped the stage rankings in six asphalt tests, but the Portuguese pilot brought his Ford Fiesta RRC to the overnight halt with a 4.2sec advantage over his Swedish rival in a Fiesta R5.
Sousa was only sixth through the opening test after a puncture, but fastest time in the third stage propelled him into a lead he was not to surrender.
Julien Maurin won two stages in his Fiesta R5 to hold third, 14.7sec behind Tidemand. The French driver survived a brief opening stage off which cost a handful of seconds.
Nasser Al-Attiyah is fourth, despite an overshoot in the final stage. The Qatari’s Fiesta RRC is 2.2sec clear of a subdued Ott Tanak, with Armin Kremer sixth at his home event in a Skoda Fabia S2000.
Sébastien Chardonnet led after the first stage. However, a power steering problem in his Citroen DS3 R5 in the morning’s final stage through the tight and twisty Mosel vineyards, cost more than two minutes and he is eighth.
Rashid Al Ketbi survived engine problems in yesterday’s shakedown but separate issues today cost time and he is ninth.