Friday | 07 Feb 2014

Latvala leads after dramatic morning

Jari-Matti Latvala leads Rally Sweden by 1.6sec after a topsy-turvy morning which saw three drivers top the leaderboard.

Sébastien Ogier led the field into the opening Lesjofors test, but a moment’s lack of concentration ended with his Volkswagen Polo R buried in a snow bank. Four minutes and 30 seconds passed before he got out again and Andreas Mikkelsen was in the lead.

The Norwegian stayed on top through the classic Fredriksberg, but it was his turn to sample the snow in Rämmen. He visited a ditch at high speed and although the time loss was only a handful of seconds, it was enough to allow Latvala to move ahead. He arrived at the Hagfors service with a 1.6sec lead over Mikkelsen.

Mads Ostberg and Mikko Hirvonen were tied for position overnight. Ostberg had the best of the morning and lies 7.2sec ahead of the Finn, with Ott Tanak dropping behind both after a tough day. A spin and pace note issues hampered the Estonian.

Juho Hanninen holds sixth but he is the sole surviving Hyundai. Thierry Neuville hit a rock in the opening stage and damaged the wheel hub assembly of his i20. He eventually emerged from the stage but the damage was too great to continue.     

Pontus Tidemand, Kris Meeke, Henning Solberg and Robert Kubica complete the leaderboard with Ogier now 13th.