Sébastien Ogier proved fatherhood hasn’t slowed him by topping an incredibly close shakedown at PZM 73rd Rally Poland on Thursday morning.
The Frenchman, whose wife Andrea gave birth to Tim following the previous round in Italy, went fastest on his fourth and final run in the 3.38km Lubiewo stage, close to the rally base in Mikolajki.
Just four-tenths of a second covered the leading four cars. Volkswagen Polo R team-mate Andreas Mikkelsen was second, 0.1sec behind Ogier, with Hyundai i20 drivers Thierry Neuville and Hayden Paddon next up.
Ott Tänak twice topped the times in his Ford Fiesta RS before Mikkelsen and finally Ogier moved to the front over sandy but blisteringly fast roads of the type which characterise this event.
“There are many sections where you are full throttle for a long time. It’s demanding for the engine and the times in the shakedown suggest the rally will be very close,” said Ogier.
“It’s another kind of driving compared to the previous round in Italy, and you need even more commitment here. I knew I would need the shakedown because I skipped the test before the event, but after a few passes in shakedown I feel good in the car so I’m ready to start.”
Dani Sordo was fifth and Jari-Matti Latvala completed the top six, the Finn only 1.0sec behind team-mate Ogier.
The start was delayed after fans refused to comply with organisers’ requests to move from dangerous viewing positions. It was briefly halted after a handful of cars for similar reasons before continuing to its conclusion with no further hold-ups.
The leading times were:
|1.||Sébastien Ogier||Volkswagen Polo R||1min 36.3sec|
|2.||Andreas Mikkelsen||Volkswagen Polo R||+ 0.1sec|
|3.||Thierry Neuville||Hyundai i20||+ 0.2sec|
|4.||Hayden Paddon||Hyundai i20||+ 0.3sec|
|5.||Dani Sordo||Hyundai i20||+ 0.7sec|
|6.||Jari-Matti Latvala||Volkswagen Polo R||+ 1.0sec|
|7=||Ott Tänak||Ford Fiesta RS||+ 1.1sec|
|7=||Mads Østberg||Ford Fiesta RS||+ 1.1sec|
|9.||Craig Breen||DS 3||+ 1.9sec|
|10.||Stéphane Lefebvre||DS 3||+ 2.0sec|