Thursday | 22 Oct 2015

SS1: Ogier on top in Barcelona

Sébastien Ogier blitzed his rivals to win Thursday night’s opening speed test of RallyRACC Catalunya - Costa Daurada in Barcelona.

Stage info: SS1

Barcelona, 3.20km
A street stage in Barcelona kicks off the action for the second year. It is based in the lower section of the Montjuïc hill on roads that used to host the Spanish Grand Prix. It starts and finishes on the Avenida Reina Maria Cristina and circles the famous Magic Fountain, with a 360 degree doughnut in front of the spectacular Palau Nacional building.

Last to start of the top seeds, Ogier headed long-time leader Thierry Neuville by 2.1sec through the 3.20km asphalt stage in a Volkswagen Polo R, with team-mate Andreas Mikkelsen a further 0.8sec behind.

“It’s good to start like this but at the last round in Corsica we started in the lead but the rest of the weekend wasn’t good. The rally really starts tomorrow but it was nice to be here in front of a huge crowd. It was a clean drive and I’m going to go for it tomorrow,” said Ogier.

Neuville’s time was surprising as the Belgian had no handbrake to help guide his Hyundai i20 around the tight hairpin bends.

Mikkelsen admitted to a couple of small mistakes but the Norwegian was four-tenths of a second ahead of Kris Meeke’s DS 3, with Robert Kubica and Mads Østberg completing the top six.

Kubica believed he may have accidentally knocked his Ford Fiesta RS out of stage mode and into road format shortly before the finish. “I went into a corner and then there was no power for the last 300 metres, like no anti-lag,” said the Pole.

Lorenzo Bertelli reported a gearshift problem in his Fiesta RS while Abdulaziz Al-Kuwari, one of six drivers chasing the WRC 2 title, failed to start the stage with a power steering issue. Yazeed Al-Rajhi withdrew before the start after falling ill during the recce.

After overnighting in Salou, drivers face eight predominantly gravel stages tomorrow covering 128.60km.

Tonight's stage will be available to watch as live on WRC+ here.

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