SS17: Tänak crashes
out in Sunday's opener

Ott Tänak retired from fourth place in Wales Rally GB after crashing in Sunday’s morning’s opening special stage.

Stage info: SS16/17

SS16: Brenig 1, 10.64km
A slightly shorter test than the one used last year, Brenig is different in character to other stages. After a fast start it narrows until a 1.3km asphalt stretch leads onto moorland roads. After 6.5km the route meets a reservoir and runs along the water edge to the finish, providing stunning views for TV cameras. There are several surface changes to keep drivers alert.

SS17: Alwen, 10.41km
Alwen is used in the reverse direction to 2014 and is littered with square junctions. Trees have been cut back in places to improve drivers’ vision and it’s likely to be extremely wet and muddy.

The Estonian, who topped the times in yesterday’s short Chirk Castle test, went off the road at a right bend just over 5km into the Brenig test. The accident damaged the rear left of his Ford Fiesta RS too badly to continue.

Conditions in the north Wales forests were again wild. Gale force winds and persistent rain battered the region overnight but grip was surprisingly good on the gravel roads as the volume of water had washed away the slimy layer of mud on the surface.

Road opener Jari-Matti Latvala was fastest through both stages in his Volkswagen Polo R from team-mate Andreas Mikkelsen.

Leader Sébastien Ogier was ultra-cautious, eighth fastest in Brenig and sixth in Alwen, to preserve a comfortable 27.9sec advantage over Kris Meeke in Citroën’s DS 3, with Mikkelsen 17.4sec further back in third.

“This morning is a very safe rhythm. Today I just need to finish like this,” said Ogier, who promised there would be no attack in search of bonus points in the final live TV Power Stage after his rally-ending accident in Spain last month.

Lorenzo Bertelli overshot a junction in Alwen in his Fiesta RS.

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