Ogier takes an early lead at Rally Poland
Aggression and consistency take the world champion to top spot
Friday morning (SS4-6)
The crews took a trip into Lithuania on the second morning to tackle three forest stages. The second test of the day at ‘Kapciamiestis-Lithuania 1’ was shortened from 26.61km to 12.92km after heavy rain before the rally led to a severe deterioration in the condition of the road.
Andreas Mikkelsen woke up in a determined mood on Friday morning and blasted his way back into the lead of the rally with a stunning time on the opener at ‘Wieliczki 1’. The VW Polo driver was 3.2s faster than overnight leader Ogier over the 12.89km stage. The Frenchman predicted he would lose some time as the road cleaned and he was right. “That was a good stage for us,” Mikkelsen said. “There were some places where I could have improved but overall I’m happy.”
Robert Kubica bounced back from yesterday’s disappointment by setting the third fastest time on Friday’s opener. He was still down in tenth place and 35.6s off the lead, but at least he was giving his fans something to cheer about. He felt he could have been faster: “I was thinking about my notes a lot after yesterday and was doing some very big braking into the junctions,” he said.
Also impressing on Friday’s first stage was Hyundai’s Hayden Paddon. The Kiwi was second fastest – only 0.7s slower than Mikkelsen’s benchmark pace. That left him in sixth place overall, a great position on only his second event in the i20 WRC. “I’m a bit surprised we’re that fast because our pace notes were on the slow side, but I've got to be happy with that," he said. "For sure, the road is cleaning but I'm feeling confident on these roads as well."