Friday | 27 Jun 2014

Road position benefits Ogier

Sebastien Ogier continued to lead LOTOS 71st Rally Poland at Friday’s mid-way point, thanks to a 1.5s advantage over his team-mate Andreas Mikkelsen.

Success on Friday morning’s Lithuanian stages was largely governed by road position and, for once, Ogier benefited when it mattered the most.

He momentarily lose the lead to Mikkelsen on the drier and looser opening two stages, but when the action moved to the wetter third stage on Friday morning, Ogier was able to march on without any trouble.

The same couldn’t be said for those behind him on the road – including Mikkelsen – as they struggled in the ruts that were created as the damp road surface disintegrated.

Ogier said: “When I saw the damp stage, I knew it would be good for me. I could go fast without taking any risks in the forests.”

Citroen’s Mads Ostberg moved up to third place 15.2s off the lead, largely thanks to his fastest stage time on Friday morning’s second stage, but the road conditions caused the positions and gaps behind him to change considerably.

Mikko Hirvonen wasn't happy with the speed of his pace notes on Friday morning

Kris Meeke was the biggest loser as he dropped from third place to fifth in his Citroen DS3 WRC. He was just behind Jari-Matti Latvala who had jumped up the order thanks to him running second on the road.

The Finnish duo of Juhn Hanninen and Mikko Hirvonen filled sixth and seventh places respectively, the latter’s overall pace suffering at the hands of pace notes that he described as “way too slow”.

Thierry Neuville, local hero Robert Kubica and M-Sport World Rally Team driver Elfyn Evans completed the top ten.

In the WRC 2 category, Ott Tanak continued to lead Drive DMACK team-mate Jari Ketomaa by 14.2s. Third place was filled by Estonia’s Martin Kangur, albeit 1m 33.0s off the pace.

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