Wednesday | 19 Nov 2014

Britain driver report: part 1

We examine the performances of the big names from last weekend’s Wales Rally GB in the first of a two-part analysis.

Sébastien Ogier (Volkswagen Polo R)
Last weekend showed why the Frenchman is a double world champion. He held off Jari-Matti Latvala during an intense first day duel and when JML ditched his Polo, Ogier was clear. The hard work done, he eased through the final two legs on roads he loved and his supremacy was greater than the 37.6sec winning margin indicated. Simple but masterful.

Kris Meeke (Citroen DS3) 
Delighted the fans with a monumental scrap for second with Mikko Hirvonen. Something had to give and it did when Kris banged his DS3 into a ditch in Sunday’s opener. It damaged two tyres and with only one spare onboard, he could only hope for the best. Michelin’s finest kept him fighting for longer than he could honestly expect, before crying enough in the penultimate test and second became sixth.

Mikko Hirvonen (Ford Fiesta RS)
What a way to bid farewell to the WRC! Mikko turned the clock back with a fully committed drive on one of his favourite rallies. While emotions ran high around him, Hirvonen just got on with the driving and held off Kris Meeke and Mads Østberg to take second. The Finn always relished a good, honest fight and he loved this one. As good a way of bowing out as he could have hoped for.

Juho Hänninen (Hyundai i20) 
His rally was effectively over after he slithered down a bank in SS3 on Friday morning. The i20 wasn’t coming back from its resting place and Hänninen spent Saturday and Sunday keeping out of trouble in Rally 2. Not a great way to end a difficult season and the signs aren’t looking promising for 2015……

Andreas Mikkelsen (Volkswagen Polo R)
Wanted to secure third in the co-drivers’ standings for Ola Floene, and if that put him in with a shout of his first win, so much the better. Second fastest in SS1, off the road and out with broken suspension in SS2. Rattled off a string of fastest times from first in the running order when he returned in Rally 2 on Saturday, but slithered off and out again on Sunday at a bend that almost snared Ogier as well.

Henning Solberg (Ford Fiesta RS) - he's the one on the right!
After 12 consecutive fastest times for Volkswagen, who should break the German manufacturer’s domination? Step forward Henning Solberg! He drove a well-used test car that completed five days of pre-event work without a mark being put on it, before crashing in his first run at shakedown. Had a steady run before retiring on the final morning with a fuel leak.

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