Friday | 12 Feb 2016

SS2: Ogier sets early pace in Sweden

Sébastien Ogier held a slender lead at Rally Sweden following Friday morning’s opening speed test at Torsby.

Stage info: SS2

Torsby 1, 16.48km
Rally Sweden’s opener contains new start and finish sections but is otherwise the same as 2015. Although the roads are narrow, they are fast and tricky and among those to have fallen foul of Torsby are Sébastien Ogier, Jari-Matti Latvala and Ott Tänak. The final 3km run alongside an airfield, and just before the final section is a rallycross-style arena with plenty of fast bends and a jump.

The Frenchman was fastest by three-tenths of a second from Volkswagen Polo R team-mate Andreas Mikkelsen on roads much improved from two days ago when they tackled the recce in soft and muddy conditions.

“The road is pretty hard, it was OK,” said Ogier. “With no test or shakedown in these conditions it was good to try hard.”

However, all was not well with the third member of the Volkswagen squad, Jari-Matti Latvala. He was right on Ogier’s pace at the midpoint but reached the finish 23.1sec down.

“The driveshaft broke 2km from the end. I don’t know what spares we have in the car,” said Latvala before rushing off to work on the car (pictured below). With no mid-leg service, there is no opportunity for his team to examine the damage until they return to the rally base in Karlstad tonight.

Kris Meeke completed the top three in Citroën’s DS 3, 4.4sec off Ogier’s pace. “Credit to the organisers, they’ve worked hard on this stage. I was quite steady at the beginning. It’s all about picking your braking point,” said the Ulsterman.

Dani Sordo was fourth in a Hyundai i20 but a warning light on the dashboard signalled a high water temperature, with team-mates Thierry Neuville and Hayden Paddon completing the top six.

Both Khalid Al Qassimi and Lorenzo Bertelli escaped lurid moments on the final bend of the stage.

Head to WRC+ to see the latest onboard and video reports from Rally Sweden 

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